William A. Reynolds

William A. Reynolds, one of Spencerville's substantial
citizens and representative men, has been identified with the interests
of this town for the past 24 years, mainly, but not exclusively, in the
line of lumber. Mr. Reynolds was born August 3, 1849, near Wilmington,
Clinton County, Ohio, and is a son of George and Malinda (Moon)
Reynolds, and a grandson of John and Julia (Lively) Reynolds.
The grandparents of Mr. Reynolds were natives of Greenbrier County,
formerly in Virginia, but now a part of West Virginia. In 1862, during
the Civil War, they moved to Clinton County, Ohio, where the grandmother
died, reaching old age although she had borne and reared nine sons and
six daughters. She possessed what has been considered a mark of
beauty, perhaps on account of its rarity one black and one blue eye.
The 13th child of the above family still survives, Mrs. Rebecca Flint,
who resides a Paulding, Ohio. It is a curious and unusual coincidence
that Mr. Flint was also the 13th child in a family of 14 children. The
Virginia Livelys were large slave-owners.
George Reynolds, father of our subject, and his twin brother,
David, were born in Greenbrier County, Virginia, in 1822. George
Reynolds was a farmer from the humbler walks of life, dying in 1880, aged
58 years. In 1847 he married (first) Malinda Moon, in Clinton County,
Ohio, removing at an early day to Fayette County, Ohio. The children of
this marriage were: William A.; James, who died aged six years; Mary
Jane, who is the widow of Joseph Workman, a veteran of the Civil War and
a resident of Spencerville; and Malinda. The last named died with the
mother, at the time of birth, and both were laid to rest in the same
casket. George Reynolds marred (second) Charity M. Ellis, and five of
their seven children still survive.
William A. Reynolds was reared on a small farm in Clinton
County, Ohio, and can remember as far back as his sixth year; for then
it was that he commenced attending school at Reeseville, two miles
distant. It was a long walk to take, but he was always a sturdy lad,
and now is a splendid specimen of manhood, being six feet, one inch in
height, and carrying easily his weight of 240 pounds. He is the father
of three sons, who are but a shade less developed. In the days when Mr.
Reynolds was a boy, it was considered advisable for children to be "
hardened" to the weather, and he was 12 years old before he owned an
overcoat. At that age he was able to plow as well as his father;
perhaps better, as the latter had been injured by being kicked by a
horse, and in later years depended largely on the filial care of our
subject. A handsome granite monument has been erected to the father's
memory by this same son.
Until he was 24 years of age, our subject continued to work on
the home farm, and he assisted in the raising of the flax and in
preparing it for the loom; he also collected the walnut bark with which
to dye the material after is was woven. He has comfortably worn many a
suit of jeans, as his sisters did dresses of linen and wools. He became
a thorough and practical farmer and in 1874 worked as a farm hand. In
1875 he moved to Auglaize County and secured work in George Kephart's
mill, taking much interest in his job of hauling logs. This was not
lost on Mr. Kephart, and he soon made his new employee a fireman in the
mill. Later on, when the sawyer quit, Mr. Reynolds was promoted to that
position, and, as before, worked so faithfully and carefully that Mr.
Kephart valued him highly. He remained there for five years, receiving
$20 a month for his services. In 1877 the mill was moved to
Spencerville and Mr. Reynolds accompanied Mr. Kephart as head sawyer.
In 1879 he branched out on his own account, buying logs and lumber for
some two years. At the death of Johnzey Keith, he purchased the
portable mill the former had been running, and operated it until it was
burned in the great fire of June 1877. His next business venture was
the purchase of the old sawmill on the west side of the canal, and some
time later he embarked in a lumber business in connection with the mill
work. Since 1894 he has owned and operated a large lumber-yard. On
August 23, 1897, Mr. Reynolds was again burned out, sustaining a very
heavy loss.
Upon resuming business, Mr. Reynolds formed a partnership with
C. A. Mauk, and together they purchased the present lumber business,
continuing to be associated for two years, when Mr. Reynolds bought his
partner's interest and has operated the business alone ever since. This
concern has furnished the material for nearly all the buildings in
Spencerville since is has been established. Mr. Reynolds has many other
interests. For about four years he operated a handle factory south of
his present office, continuing it as long as conditions made it
profitable. From the date of the first oil boom, he has been interested
in oil development in this section and is now a contractor, with a
complete string of tools. He is a large owner of town realty and is
also proprietor of a farm of 200 acres in Amanda Township, located in
section 17. At one time 130 acres of it were covered with a heavy
growth of timber. This he has utilized and transformed nearly the
entire tract into one great grass pasture, having 50 acres yet that is
timbered. He pastures a large number of fine sheep. In 1905 he erected
a new barn on the farm, with dimensions of 36 by 70 feet, and 20 feet
high. A commodious tenant house also stands there.
In 1881 Mr. Reynolds was married in Auglaize County, Ohio, to
Mary C. Dietsch, who is a daughter of Michael and Lydia (Berringer)
Dietsch, who were born in Auglaize County and reside there in the old
home, just across the Allen County line. They are aged 74 years.
They have two children: Mrs. Sarah Eisley and Mrs. Reynolds.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds are: John, who was
educated in a business college at Poughkeepsie, New York; Earl, who took
a business course at Delaware, Ohio; Wilmer, who is a student at
Spencerville; Ruth, Myrel and Homer (all students), and Morris, the
youngest of the family, who is a bright and beautiful child of three
years. Being seven years the junior of his next brother, he is
naturally the pet of the family, as well as one of its brightest
members. Mr. Reynolds has kept his older sons with him educating them
to business methods, and now paying them the same salaries they could
command elsewhere.
The pleasant family home of Mr. Reynolds is situated on Fourth
street, on the Lima turnpike road, being a modern residence shaded by
beautiful evergreens. When Mr. Reynolds came first to Spencerville,
there were no pavements in the village, nor was it reached by a railroad
line. Weeds stood as high as a horse on the preset site of the Keith
House, and the well-known citizen, Johnzey Keith, owned the greater part
of all the land north and south of the present railroad to the river.
As a member of the early Town Council Mr. Reynolds has been personally
concerned in much of the development and improvements that have taken
place. For over 18 years he has served on the Board of Education, has
been president of that body, and was its treasurer when the last
addition was made to the new school edifice.
Politically Mr. Reynolds is one of the county's leading
Democrats, and on numerous occasions has served as delegate to county
and congressional conventions. For years he has been a member of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he is one of the directors, and is
in every regard one of Spencerville's useful and popular citizens.