The Sonnystone Saga: The Reeds Again

To celebrate 17 years living at Sonnystone Acres, we are publishing  a series of posts chronicling the first three families who lived here, spanning 111 years… This is the fourth installment of the series…

When the enumerators returned to Reedmont, aka Sonnystone Acres, in 1870, John, now 54 years old, and Mary, 47, still had four of their children living with them:  Sarah Childs, 27; George Childs, 23; Minnie, 14; Ada, 12.

By the time of the 1870 census, Jack Reed was 28 years old and married to Jane Sutton.  His occupation is listed as “laborer” and he owns his own home in Evansville valued at $1100 with personal property $200.  Living with him are his father-in-law, William Sutton, a laborer, and his brother-in-law, Joseph Sutton, an insurance clerk.  Mr. Sutton and his family had arrived from England in 1853 when Jane was 11 years old.

John’s ex-wife, Sarah Inwood  Green, 50,  was living with her sons, William, 15, and Benjamin, 13, in downtown Evansville near the home of her brother, William.  She says she is a widow, keeping house.

Regarding the rest of the Inwood siblings, John had retired from farming and was also living in downtown Evansville.  John evidently thought a lot of the Reeds, as he named one of his sons Thomas Reed Inwood…very confusing because he and Thomas Reed are nearly the same age.  Uncle George Inwood is still living on the farm nearby Reedmont and has a servant by the name of Anna Davidson living with him and his wife,

The decade of the 70’s brought many changes, particularly weddings…

Thomas got the ball rolling in 1873 when he married — get this– his cousin, Amelia Inwood, one of his Uncle John Inwood’s daughters!  So Thomas Reed and Thomas Reed Inwood were cousin/brothers-in-law…weird…

In 1874, George Childs, 27, married Anna Georgianna Davidson, 22.  Anna is the same servant who had been living with Uncle George Inwood, but she is subsequently listed as a schoolteacher.

Early in 1878, Uncle John Inwood died and was buried in the McCutchanville cemetery next to his wife, Harriett.

1878 saw the wedding of the youngest Reed, Ada, who was also called Belle.  She was 18 when she married Louis Van Dusen, 22.  Louis was the son of Martin Van Dusen, a wealthy farmer who lived in nearby Kratzville.  His mother was Abby Olmsted, daughter of Judge William Olmsted, one of Vanderburgh County’s first magistrates.  Judge Olmsted, who had come to Evansville in 1818 from Ridgefield, Connecticut, was not “learned in the law”, but he was scrupulously honest, unlike many judges at that time.  He was also County Commissioner and a well-respected public servant.

In 1879, Minnie Faye Reed married Charles Goodrich Olmsted, Jr., a cousin of Louis VanDusen,  and another grandson of Judge Olmsted.  His grandfather wasn’t his only claim to fame, though.  His father, Charles,Sr. was 37 years old with four children when he joined the Union Army in 1861.  He was captain of the 42nd Indiana Volunteers, and by all accounts an excellent leader.  He died at the head of his command at the Battle of Perryville, KY.  He was a Hero to the residents of Vanderburgh County.  His widow kept his farms in Mechanicsville near Reedmont and raised the children there.  Charles, Jr. went by the name “Goodrich”…

The Reed-Olmsted nuptials were held right here at Sonnystone…

In 1880 John Reed’s property was a compound of four families.  John and Mary Reed lived in Sonnystone house with George and Anna Childs and their son, John Reis Childs; next door were the Van Dusens, Ada and Louis, and their daughter, Mary Irene; next door to them were Goodrich and Minnie Olmstead who were newly-weds.  All the men were farmers and Anna is a schoolteacher.

Thomas and Amelia Reed, living on Goodsell Street in Evansville, had two sons by 1880, Harry, 4, and Benjamin, 11 months.   Thom’s sister-in-law/cousin, Mary Inwood, (daughter of the late John Inwood) was also living with them, working as a schoolteacher.

Where’s Jack?  In 1880 Jack was living with his cousin, James Inwood, son of the late Uncle John.  He was not listed as a cousin, however.  Instead, his relationship to James was “servant” and his occupation was listed as “servant/farm laborer.  Jack is divorced.  His ex-wife, Jane Sutton Reed, and his daughters, Alice and Mary, were living with her brother, Joseph, and his family.

Jack seems a little troubled, doesn’t he?  He probably blamed it on the divorce…  I have reason to believe that he didn’t get along well with his half-siblings…

Sarah Inwood Green,  ex-wife /sister-in-law of of John E. Reed,  died in 1884 and was buried in the Inwood family plot at McCutchanville Cemetery.  I continue to look for her sons, the Green boys, to no avail.

In 1886, George Inwood, Mary’s last surviving brother, sold his farm adjacent to Reedmont and moved with his family to Kansas.

John E. Reed died on January 14, 1888 at the age of 72.  He left a Last Will and Testament that is a doozey…  It sits prominently at the front of the Abstract of Sonnystone, so it caught my eye immediately as I started my research.  Anytime you end a Will with the warning that anyone who objects to it should be disinherited you figure you’ve got a Feuding Family…

Stay Tuned…


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