CHARLES D. REED, who is now living a retired life in Springfield, was born in Virgil, Cortland county, New York, October 3, 1836, a son of Asa Reed, whose birth occurred in the Empire state December 4, 1800. The paternal grandfather, William Reed, was a native of Ireland and became the founder of the family in the new world. Asa Reed was a wagon maker by trade, following that pursuit until his death, April 4, 1845. He was married July 20, 1828, to Laura Amanda Curtis, whose birth occurred November 27, 1805. Her people were natives of Bridgeport, Connecticut. She died March 17, 1856. By her marriage she became the mother of eight children: Harriet Lucinda, born August 15, 1829, became the wife of G. F. Wilder, of Cortland county, New York, and has two children: Florence Rosina, the wife of William Joyner, of Harford, New York, and of Charles F. Wilder, who married Mamie Seaman and lives in the village of Cortland. Mary E. Reed was born June 22, 1832, became the wife of Samuel Mott and died, leaving four children: David C., born July 4, 1834, married Sally Ballard, lives in Harford, New York, and has two children. Charles is the fourth of the family. Sally A. Tainter was born August 21, 1838, and died in Springfield, Illinois. Laura A., who was born September 25, 1840, is the deceased wife of Christian Wilder. Sylvester M., born February 6, 1843, is in Harford, New York. Lyman D., born December 31, 1847, died, leaving six children.
Charles D. Reed was only eight years of age when his father died and he then went to live with a German, for whom he worked for his board and clothes. At the age of fourteen he accompanied an aunt and uncle to Kenosha, Wisconsin, and there worked on a farm in the summer and attended school in the winter for two years. At the age of sixteen he returned to his native state and after two and a half years again went to Wisconsin, where he engaged in the cultivation of a rented farm. He made several trips between the two states. In the spring of 1860 he traded forty acres of land for a yoke of oxen and with this team and three companions he started across the plains, during which trip they had to guard their cattle from the Indians. Mr. Reed went as far as Pike's Peak and then again returned to Wisconsin, and in the fall to New York.
On the 15th of April, 1861, President Lincoln issued his call for seventy-five thousand troops and two days later Mr. Reed enlisted, serving until September. He then returned to Milwaukee, Wisconsin - where he had joined the army - and was honorably discharged. In the fall of the same year - 1861 - he returned to New York, and in the spring of 1862 once more made his way to Kenosha, Wisconsin, but almost immediately returned to his native state, where he remained until January, 1863, when he started for Springfield, Illinois - then a small town. Here he worked in a brickyard for three summers, while in the winter months he drove a government team, and for one summer he engaged in hauling brick.
About this time - on the 10th of October, 1866 - Mr. Reed was married to Martha A. Marsh, and in 1867 he began railroading for the Alton company, being thus employed until the winter of 1870. He then entered the service of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad and was upon the first train, as conductor, that ran between Springfield and Beardstown. This was just after the road was completed from Beardstown to Pana.
In the fall of 1871, accompanied by his wife and daughter Mary, he went to Philadelphia, visiting between that city and Lancaster, and he saw the first trainload of provisions that was sent from Philadelphia for the relief of the fire sufferers in Chicago. That fall Mr. Reed again returned to Springfield and was engaged in the railroad service of the Ohio & Mississippi road until 1872, after which he worked in the yards of the Chicago & Alton road at this place until the fall of 1873. The following year he assisted in building the state house, and in the winter of 1874 he returned to the Chicago & Alton yards. In the fall of 1875 he went to the Illinois Central yards, where he remained for six years, after which he entered the transfer business, conducting it for more than ten years. At the time he sold out he was employing three teams in handling the business. On the 28th of March, 1891, however, he sold out and has since lived retired in the enjoyment of a well earned rest.
Mr. Reed was twice married. His first wife, Martha A. Marsh, was born in Springfield in 1840 and died June 12, 1880, a daughter of William H. and Mary Marsh, early settlers of the county. The only daughter, Mary Reed, died in 1891, at the age of twenty-three years, one month and three days. On the 16th of June, 1886, Mr. Reed wedded Mary Jane Stockwell, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, who was born July 11, 1839, a daughter of Thomas and Ann Stockwell, and they now have a comfortable home in Springfield. Mr. Reed is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He has traveled quite extensively through California, Colorado, Texas and the east as far as Philadelphia, and has thus gained much valuable information concerning the country. He is a keen observer and has kept a diary, in which he has recorded the points of interest which he has visited.