Biography of Michael S. Rees
Warren County, IL Biographies



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REES, MICHAEL S., farmer and stock raiser, Kelly Township, Warren County, Ill., whose post office address is Gerlaw, is of that stanch and trustworthy German stock which has been so influential upon American civilization and prosperity. Martin Rees, his grandfather, came over from the fatherland and located in Pennsylvania and when his son Martin, who was born on Pine Creek, Penn., in 1784, was nineteen years old, took his family to Warren County, in that State, where its male members became farmers and lumbermen, and where the younger Martin accumulated considerable property and married Jane Davis. In 1836 Martin Rees, Jr., disposed of his interests in Warren County, Penn., and took his family on a raft down the Alleghany to Pittsburg, where he arrived May 10. He sold his raft and, with the proceeds, bought a small boat which he ran down the Ohio as far as Rising Sun, Indiana There he bought two spans of horses, several young horses, and several yoke of oxen, five wagons and other necessary articles, and set out for Monmouth, Ill., where he arrived September 10, 1836. He settled about one and a half miles east of where Gerlaw now is, on portions of Section 36, Spring Grove Township, and moved to Section 32, Kelly Township. His half section in Kelly Township had upon it a log house and thirty acres of it had been broken. There he lived until his death in 1861. He acquired much land in Kelly and adjoining townships. For more than half a century he was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was a Whig and later a Republican pohticaliy. He filled the office of Justice of the Peace many years, and was a soldier of the War of 1812, serving as captain of a Pennsylvania Volunteer Company, and his last wife drew a pension on his account until December 17, 1882, when she died. His second wife was Sarah Smith; his third, who survived him, was Catherine Struthers, a member of an old family of Warren County, Ill. His first wife bore him seven children and his second wife two: Michael S., and Eliza E. The latter married John Presler and died in 1887.

Michael S. Rees was educated in the public schools and, after the death of his father in 1861 until August, 1862, he managed the home farm. He then enlisted in Company B, One Hundred and Second Regiment, Illiaois Volunteer Infantry, he was Corporal and promoted to Sergeant for meritorious conduct and served in. the Twentieth Army Corps until the close of the war, participating in the fighting at Resaca, Burnt Hickory, Kennesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek and Atlanta, Savanna, Averies borrough, and in many minor engagements, finally taking part in Sherman's march to the sea and grand review at Washington. He was discharged from the service in June, 1865, after about three years' arduous experience. His regimental commander was Col. William McMnrty and his brigade commander was Gea. Beajamin Harrison, afterward President of the United States. After the war he resumed f arming on his father's old homestead, and he is now the owner of 405 acres.

Mr. Rees was married, in Spring Grove Township, Warren County, January 16, 1868, to Miss Margaret Low, who was born August 3. 1844. a daughter of John and Margaret (Reynolds) Low. Her father was a native of England and her mother and the latter's parents were born in Pennsylvania. Her mother bore her husband twelve children and died in 1866 and Mr. Low later married Lenora Stewart, who bore him one child. William Low, brother of Mrs. Rees, was a member of Company A, Thirtieth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and died in a hospital at Paducah, Ky., March 5, 1862. He had been promoted from fifth corporal to Commissary Sergeant. Mr. and Mrs. Rees have had five children as follows: Eva, who was born January 24, 1871, died August 8th, 1871; Elsie R., born May 16, 1872; Effa E., born August 6, 1875; Daisy F., born January 9, 1877; Bertha A., born September 4, 1879. Daisy F. marfied Oscar H. Hartzell, of Monmouth Township. Bertha A. married C. Wilber Rose, of Kelly Township. Elsie R. has during the past ten years gained an enviable reputation as a teacher. Effa E. resides at home. Mr. and Mrs. Rces and all their children are members of the Christian Church. Mr. Rees is a Republican and is at this time serving his townsmen as School Trustee. He has also filled the office of Commissioner of Highways. The names of the children of Martin Rees by his first marriage are as follows: Annie E., Thomas D., Catherine, Martin D., William R., Margaret J. and Isabel. Annie E. married Anson Gregory, Thomas D. married Melinda Black, Catherine married Martin Waddell. Martin D. married Catherine Berchem, William R. married Clarissa Porter and afterwards Sarah Williams, Margaret J. married Orange Rees, and Isabel married Hubbard Coggswell. The family of Thomas D. Rees consists of five children and has lived in Kansas since 1867. William, the eldest son, n-as a soldier in the Civil War and is a prominent physician at Pleasanton, Kan. John D. is a physician at Mapleton, Kan. Jane married Arthur Ball. a farmer. Alice married Doctor Brandan of Elsmore, Kan. Elmer E. is a farmer. Samuel. another son, died in 1874.

Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois
and the history of Warren County.
Edited by: Newton Bareman, LL. D. & Paul Selby, A. M.
Published by: Munsell Publishing Company
Chicago 1903.