This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Walter Reese

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


WALTER REESE, of Henley Township, is a native of Washington County, Ohio, and the son of George REESE, of Hazel Valley, Pa. His grandfather, Stephen REESE, a native of Wales, came to America with his parents when a small child. The family located in Pennsylvania, where the great-grandparents of our subject spent the last years of their life. Their son, Stephen, was reared, married and lived in his native State until about 1818, when he removed to Ohio and located in Washington County, where he died six years later during the cholera epidemic of 1822.

George Reese, the father of our subject, grew to manhood in his native State, where he learned the trade of a carpenter but afterward followed his father to Ohio. His first work in Ohio was to assist in the building of a keel-boat. After this he removed to Washington County, and purchased a farm near Newport. This he cultivated with the aid of hired help while also carrying on his carpenter business, in which he became quite famous, and was finally engaged solely as a contractor. He died in Washington County, Ohio, in about 1876. The mother of our subject, who before her marriage was Miss Margaret KERR, was born in Westmoreland County, Pa., Aug. 22, 1800, and lived there until eighteen years of age. She then went to Ohio with the family of her father, Charles KERR. The latter was a native of Pennsylvania and of German parentage and descent. Mrs. Margaret Reese departed this life on the old homestead in Ohio in about 1885, after having been the faithful and affectionate companion of her husband for a period of over fifty years.

The parental household included ten children, of whom the subject of this sketch was the eldest. He was reared on his father’s farm, and when seventeen years of age became employed in a nursery at Newport. After seven or eight years thus occupied he removed to Lawrence County, Ohio, where he rented a farm and lived until 1856. He then came to Illinois, worked out one season, and then took a piece of land for another party. In 1861 he located on the place which he now owns and occupies. It was wild land when he took possession, but he has brought it to a good state of cultivation, erected a shapely and convenient set of frame buildings, planted fruit and shade trees, and marked off the different fields with hedge fences. It now bears fair comparison with the thrifty homesteads for which this section is noted.

The marriage of Walter Reese and Miss Julia GORRELL took place in July, 1847. Mrs. R. is a native of Tyler County, W. Va., and the daughter of Levi and Charity (SHINN) GORRELL. Of this union there were born seven children; Joseph B. was the Assessor of Hensley Township four years; Eliza became the wife of William CHAMBERS, now deceased and lives in Danville, Iowa; Trella R. married James R. SHIVVERS, and lives in Winfield, kan. Mr. and Mrs. Reese are members in good standing of the Methodist episcopal Church, and politically he is a straight Republican.

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