Reed family lore from Sallie Greer Reed

1951 Letter from Sallie Greer Reed

The following letter was written by Sallie (Greer) Reed to her 
granddaughter Virginia Joan (Reed) Vineyard and transcribed by Tony 
D'Agostino (the husband of Virginia's niece Tammi) as written:

								Meridian, Texas
								Feb. 27, 1951

     Dear Virginia,
     I received you nice rather long letter, that is, it is some 
longer than girls usually write these days, but very welcome.
     Was glad to hear from you again, & I have been trying to write 
the little I know about your Reed ancestors for you.  
     I write so very badly, & unless I write slowly, it is most 
impossible to read, so I have spent some time on the job.
     I have not mentioned my own people, the Greers nor the Howards.
     My mother was Mintie Howard, daughter of Phillip & Sarah Howard, 
& she had two sisters, one older and one younger than she, but no 
brother. [transciber's note: Eugenia Howard was two years older than 
Mintie and Susan Howard was three years younger]
     I wrote all I could remember about both families two years ago 
for Earl White, my nephew here, who said he would typewrite copies for 
all my children, but I don't think he has done so.
     I don't think I will try to write that again, writing is getting 
too hard for me, but I will get Earl to let me use his
- end page one -

typewriter, & make a copy for your father, then you can get a copy 
from him, if you care for it.
     My Greer grandparents were both born in Virginia, about 30 miles 
apart, but in adjoining counties & did not meet till grandma was 16 
years old; & then in a different state.
     She was born Nancy Roberts, August 4, 1805, in Fairfax Co. near 
Fairfax Courthouse, & her mother died when she was a baby: she had one 
brother, no sister, & her father never married again.
     Her father and grandfather Roberts, who lived together, moved to 
north Georgia soon after her mother died & they, particularly her 
grandfather, were her school teachers.  There were no schools near.
     I don't know in which Co. grandpa Greer was born, only it joined
     He died ten years before I was born. [transcriber's note: Sally 
Greer was born on June 4, 1860]
     They lived in Ga. & Tennesee, first one, & then the other till 
1837, when they came to Texas:  My father was seven years old then, & 
he was their fourth child, & if I don't stop I'll never get done.
- end page two -

     Penelope Rebecka Black, your great grandmother Reed, was born in 
Hempstead co. Ark. Sept. 5, 1812 of strictly Irish parentage; both 
father & mother were born in Ireland.
     Her mother's name was Hogg, her father, of course, was named 
     I do not know the given name of either.
     She had asthma from middle age, & three of her 8 girls had it: I 
don't think either of her 5 sons had it.
     Her youngest girl, younger than your grandfather, died at about 6 
months of age: the next youngest, just older than your grandfather, 
was about 18 years old when she died.
     The oldest daughter, Helen, had, I think, three little children 
when she died.  She lived & died in Ark.  Her name was Cornish.  The 
next daughter was named Jane & she married William Smith, had three 
boys & 4 girls: the youngest girl died in infancy: the oldest girl 
lived to about 40 & left 5 children, 3 girls & 2 boys.  She died from 
     This was my sister-in-law & family I was best accuanted with, & 
loved all of them dearly, like I did my own folks.
     Grandma Reed [transcriber's note: i.e. Penelope Black] was 74 
when she died in 1886: Aunt Jane was 75 at her death.
     Robert Reed, the oldest son came next & he spent nearly all his 
life in Ark., he left a family of ten children, three sons & seven 
girls.  They lived in Hope, Ark. those I know about & are all rather 
well to do.
     Aunt Jane's children are all dead but the youngest son, William, 
& the young
- end page three -

girl who grew up, Beatrice: they live together in Aspermont, Texas.
     Your grandfather [transcriber's note: i.e. James Harvey Reed] 
took care of his father & mother & made a home for them from 1870, 
when he was 18 years old.
     His two brother's next older than him married that year & left 
him in charge.
     His mother [transcriber's note: i.e. Penelope Black] lived 16 
years & his father [transcriber's note: i.e. Watson Reed] a little 
more than 20 years.
     Grandpa & grandma Reed were married in Hempstead co. Ark. in 
1828, & lived there as long as his mother lived: she lived to be 
nearly 100, so I have heard him say.
     Grandma & Grandpa Black also lived to be nearly a hundred & died 
of "galloping consumption", they used to call it "Hasty consumption or 
quick consumption", I have heard it called, too.
     Anyway people who have it don't last long.
- end page four -

     Grandpa Reed [transcriber's note: i.e. Watson Reed] came to Texas 
in 1850 or 1851 & lived in Brazos co., I think not more than two 
years.  James Harvey Reed, his youngest son was born March 13, 1852 on 
the bank of the Brazos River.
     This was his only Texas born child.
     They moved to Nacatosh Parish in Louisiana in the fall of 1852 & 
lived there till late in 1863 or early in 1864: sometime that winter 
he came back to Texas. [transcriber's note: Watson Reed and his family 
are residing in Gordon, Claiborne Co., LA in 1860 census]
     Then he lived in Brazos co. Freestone co. then in Limestone co.  
I don't know how long in either, but up to 1876.
     Aunt Jane had always lived near her father & mother, even while 
Bill Smith lived.
     He died about 1870, & Aunt Jane moved when her father did: he 
helped her with her family: her oldest son only about 17 & while he 
was an extra good boy, he was too young to be expected to manage a 
large family & make a living for them.
     He had a brother two years younger & they were unusually good 
boys, good workers & always willing to do all they could to help their 
mother & make life as pleasant for the family as they could.
     In 1876 the Smith boys, Jerry & Watson, moved to Eastland co. 
Texas, with their cattle.
     More than 100 head & James Reed, their uncle, brought his & his 
father's cattle too.
     The two families together had about 300 head of cattle & horses.
     Grandpa & grandma Reed moved to Eastland in the summer of 1877; 
Jim Reed made & gathered a crop in Limestone co. that year, then moved 
to Eastland that fall, where he lived till 1886.
- end page five -

     Grandfather, Watson Reed, your great grandfather, was born in 
Missouri, Saint Gennevive, Mo. Nov. 14, 1806.
     He was strictly English stock in origin.  His ancestors came to 
Jamestown, Va. in very early times & I am pretty sure there were 
several brothers.
     If I am not mistaken, he told me there were seven Reed brothers 
who came to Virginia in early Collonial days.
     His own particular great grandfather was the oldest of these 
boys, & was married to an English girl before he came.
     They had not been in America long when they were notified that 
they were heirs to a considerable estate in England.
     I don't know if it was their parents or some other ancestor from 
whom the estate came, however they thought it needful some one of them 
go to England to dispose of the property & bring the money to them.
     This oldest brother, our ancestor, was chosen for the duty & he 
took passage on a ship that never returned.
     No one who sailed on that ship was heard of for seven years; then 
grandfather came back to Virginia to find his wife had married a man 
named Watson & they had a son too.  This man, Watson provedd to be a 
really good honest man, & he & our ancestor talked the situation over 
& decided to let the woman choose which man she preferred to live 
with, either way she was to keep both boys.  Of course she chose Reed.
     The grandfather I knew did not know what happened to his ancestor 
during those 7 years, but I think I know.
- end page six -

     Knowing as much of history as I do, I think that ship was 
captured by pirates from the Barbary states.
     Those who were not killed in the fight or murdered outright, were 
sold into slavery, & grandfather Reed was one of these, & managed to 
escape after so many years.
     If you can find any straight to his you can beat me.  I have just 
made a mess of the whole thing.
- end page seven -

     I knew only three of grandpa Reed's sons & three of the 
     Aunt Jane Smith, second oldest girl, and Aunt Josephine Smith, & 
aunt Mira.
     Aunt Jane & Aunt Joe both married Smiths but their husbands were 
no kin.
     Aunt Joe raised 4 girls & one boy.
     Aunt Mira never had a child.
     She did not marry young, & her husband did not live a year.  She 
never married again: her name was Turner.
     Watson Reed, grandpa's middle son was born on his father's 
birthday & was nearly 80 years old when he died of heart failure.
     Aunt Joe was 95, Aunt Mira 79 & your grandfather, my husband, 
most 96, so you see we are rather long lifed bunch.
     Four of the daughters died before I knew the family, & the second 
son, Augustus died in 1879 & left three children, 2 girls & a boy: the 
oldest son died in 1884 in Ark.
     I never saw him or any of his family but his second daughter, 
Zenobia Reed.
     She came to the Fat Stock Show at Ft. Worth with her brother Sid, 
about ten year ago, & came to Carbon [transcriber's note: Carbon is in 
Eastland county] & hunted us up: she made a short call.
     Zenobia & Sid & the rest of Uncle Robert's family who are living 
still live Hope, Ark.  I had a Christmas card from Zenobia last Dec.
     Now, I have done my best.  I hope you appreciate what a job it 
was for such an old woman.
     I'd love to see Veronica Jo & that man of yours, as well as 
     your loving grandmother Sallie G. R.
- end page eight -


The following document may have been written by Sallie (Greer) Reed.  
It was transcribed by Tony D'Agostino (the husband of Sallie's great 
granddaughter Tammi) as written:

     The original Reeds came from England and settled in Virginia.  I 
am sure they were among the early colonists and that the ancestor of 
our branch of the family was married when he came, or maybe married 
the daughter of an immigrant on the way, or soon after he arrived in 
America.  However he was a married man, with a wife and one son when 
his history started to be important enough for his descendants to 
remember about it.
     For some, to him, very important business reason he had to return 
to England.  He sailed away on a ship that was lost and left the wife 
and little son in Virginia to await his return.
     Seven years later he came back to Virginia, the only person who 
sailed on that ship that did
- end page one -

ever return to their knowledge and his wife had given him up for lost 
and had married a man named Watson, and she had a son by Watson when 
Grandfather Reed made his appearance.
     The two men talked the situation over and agreed to leave both 
children with Mother Reed and let her choose which husband she 
preferred: the other to leave that part of the country and stay away.  
She chose her first love and friend Watson departed never to be heard 
from again by them.
     Now my opinion is this story makes it easy for anyone who has any 
money to spend on geneologies to have our branch of the Reed family 
traced from there to now or even generations later if need be.  Father 
Reed was named Watson Reed.  his fa-
- end page two -

ther was named Robert Reed.  Robert Reed had two sons, Robert and 
Watson and three daughters, Epsy who married a man named Ainsworth, 
Rachel who married Charlie Smith, and Nellie who married a man named 
Foster.  All of them had families, but I do not know their names.
     I spose you know about uncle Bob Reed's family.  They all lived 
in Arkansas as far as we know.  He had one son, Watson and four or 
more daughters.
     Watson Reed had 13 children.  Helen who married a man named 
Cornish, Jane who married William Smith, a brother of her uncle 
Charlie Smith, and Robert your wife's grandfather, Johnathan Augustus, 
then Mary who married John Cole, Watson Reed, and Josephine who 
- end page three -

Sam Smith.  John Reed and Sallie who married a man named Brewer or 
Brower, and Elmira who married a man named Noah Turner and Penelope 
who died young and single and James Harvey, the only one left alive 
now and Zenobia who died in infancy.  All the older children were born 
in Arkansas.  James Harvey was born in Texas 1852.  Zenobia was born 
in La. and died there before she was a year old.
     Grandfather Robert Reed moved from Virginia, one or more brothers 
with him to St. Genevieve, Missouri sometime prior to 1806 because 
Watson Reed was born in that place November 14, 1806, and before he 
was grown his father moved to Hempstead co. Arkansas, where his father 
continued to live the rest of his life.
- end page four -

     The year Watson Reed was 24, in 1830, (I do not know month nor 
day of the month) he was married to Penelope Rebeca Black by a justice 
of the peace named Moss in Hempstead co. Arkansas.
     Mother Reed's father was named Johnathan Augustus Black, her 
mother was a Miss Hogg, given name forgotten, if we ever knew what it 
was.  Penelope R. Reed (nee, Penelope R. Black was an only girl with 
three brothers, James Harvey, Johnathan Augustus & William.
     We have no idea what part of Ireland the Blacks or Hoggs came 
from, I think very likely they were neighbors and friends in the old 
country, and came together to the new world, and continued to be 
     At least we know both were "Irish as Pat's pig".
- end page five -

     Watson Reed moved from Ark. to Texas in 1851, and rented land in 
Brazos Co. where he made a crop in 1852.  In the winter of 1852 he 
moved to Naccatush Parrish where be bought a saw mill, a grist mill 
and a cotton gin, and later bought land near Gordonville where his son 
Johnathan Augustus, with the negro slaves cleared up and put in 
cultivation quite a plantation.
     Later, Father Reed sold his mill and gin business and moved to 
Gordonville where he became a dealer in dry goods and general 
merchandise and here the Civil War found him and his family.
     When war was declared "Gus", as he was known to his family, 
volunteered and entered Lee's army in Virginia.  Watson and John, the 
other two sons joined the southern army and were in the seige
- end page six -

of Vicksburg, parolled and sent home after Vicksburg fell.
     Watson became tired of being hustled about to report here and
yonder so much, father Reed like so many slave owners, sold his 
plantation for Confederate paper money and refuged to Texas to hold 
his slaves: so Watson went to Brownsville and reentered the 
Confederate army which fought a battle there after Lee's surrender.
     Now this is all I can tell you about our branch of the Reed 
     You see the explanation of how the Watson name came into the Reed 
family, and I argue that any Reed family who does not have a Watson 
Reed among his own immediate family, or who does not know of a 
relative of that name is two distant to con-
- end page seven -

sider as kinfolk.  Don't you.
     Nearly every family of father Reed's own children have a Watson, 
and he said his father's family claimed they all honored the name.  So 
you see it is a bit item in the history.
     Father Reed's son Watson was born on his father's birthday, and 
he had one sone named Emmett Watson and Emmett has a son named Watson, 
so they are following the family Tradition.
     One reason I am sure the first Reeds in America were colonists, 
Grandfather Reed said his grandmother Reed killed a British spy in her 
own door yard with a pine knot.  The soldier was hidden in a fig bush 
to watch if any of her men folk came home from the Continental Army 
for the night and she got him.
- end page eight -

My Links

Ahnentafel of Augustus George, Margrave of Baden-Baden: (no. 814 in my ahnentafel)
Descendants of August Georg of Baden-Baden: Did his daughter flee to America?
Descendants of August Georg of Baden-Baden: Did he have a dauther in America?
Ahnentafel of Maria Victoria of Arenberg: August Georg of Baden-Baden's wife
A brief Biography of August Georg von Baden-Baden:
Chronicles of the Croft Family: by W. P. Horton.
Godfrey Vought (1760-1849) : of Peekskill, NY and Rome, PA
The Vought Family, and reminiscences of Early Times: by C.F. Heverly
page 1 of the Tudor descendants: descendants of Owen Tudor and Catherine of Valois
page 2 of the Tudor descendants: descendants of Owen Tudor and Catherine of Valois
page 3 of the Tudor descendants: descendants of Owen Tudor and Catherine of Valois
James Barker & Elizabeth Wooer: founders of Woodstock, NY
Coxsackie Declaration of Independence: May 17, 1775 in Coxsackie, NY
Early History of the George Baker Family: of Bennington Co., VT., and Otsego Co., N.Y.
George and Ella May Hall: Of Chenango, Delaware, and Otsego counties, NY
Hamdanid Ancestry: Arab traditions back to Adam
My peace plan for Cyprus: compromise is the key
My Bible Chronology: back to 4173 BCE
Learn about the International Language: No, it's not English!
Let's go Metric!: Its easier, will help the economy, etc.
My family tree:
To learn Lucano: The dialect of Basilicata
Dump Bush in 2004!: Please help save the republic
Descendants of Pocahontas: through seven generations
Notes on the Rodemeyer family: Altona, Germany/New York, NY
Babcock Family: Bradford & Susquehanna counties, Pennsylvania
Y Chromosome E3b Haplogroup: general notes
Frank Abarno and Carmine Carbone: Anarchists convicted of trying to blow up St. Patricks Cathedral in 1915
Origins of the Lung Family: Harwinton, CT & Susquehanna county, PA

This page has been visited times.