Biography of the Rea Family
Allegheny County, PA Biographies

THE REA FAMILY. Among the old time families of Greater Pittsburg [sic] is that of the Reas. The first member of this family of which there is any definite account of in Pennsylvania, is General John Rea, who was born pear Chambersburg, Franklin county, Pennsylvania, in 1775. Lamb in his Biogiaphical Encyclopadia states that, "John Rea was in the Revolutionary war; served as a States representative in Pennsylvania several years, and was elected on the Democratic ticket from the Chambersburg district to the Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Congresses - 1803-1811; defeated in 1810 and 1812; elected to the Thirteenth congress in 1813 and died at Chambersburg, February 6, 1829." It is also known that he served in the war of 1812-14. He married Elizabeth Culbertson, daughter of colonel Samuel Culbertson, of Revolutionary fame By this union were born the following children

1. Samuel, born in 1808, near Chambersburg, Franklin county, Pennsylvania, died in Pittsburg in 1878. He was one of the original members of the First Presbyterian church, Dr. Herron being the pastor. He was always interested and closely identified with the work of this denomination. In his early life he was connected with and helped to organize the Union Boat Line, which operated both canal and river boats before the Pennsylvania Railroad entered Pittsburg. He was from the organization of the Peoples National Bank of Pittsburg its president for many years. Was also identified with the Pittsburg City Life Insurance Company, and had other large business interests. He retired from the above lines of pursuit and engaged in the oil producing business with others, and as a result lost his goodly fortune by the fault of others, but was always held in high esteem for his personal integrity. He married Elizabeth McKee, of Blairs Gap, Blair county, Pennsylvania, daughter of Guy Carlelpn McKee. By this union were born four children, who grew to maturity as follows: Anna, who married Professor J. E. Ayers, now residing near Denver, Colorado, and they have three children, Joseph H., Eleanor C. and Lucy E.; John: A., who lives in California and married Katherine Ford, by whom was born, Florence, James C. and Katherine E.; Doctor James C., who died unmarried; Mary Laughlin, who married Henry Clinton Ayers, now deceased, leaving two children, Elizabeth Rea, who married Graham C. Wells, and has one child, Clinton Ayers; Eleanor Sharlurne.

2. John Rea, M. D., married Hannah Laughlin, daughter of Alexander Laughlin, whose family sketch appears elsewhere in this work. They were the parents of three children: Samuel, who married, and the issue is, Marjorie Dorothy; Mary Ann, who died unmarried; Elizabeth, who married Edward Simonds, of New Orleans, Louisiana.

3. James D. Rea, who married Ruth Blair Moore, of Blair county, Pennsylvania, and their children are: Jane M., who died unmarried; Thomas B., who married; Samuel Rea, who is the second vice president of the Pennsylvania Railroad company and married Mary Black of Pittsburg and has children, George and Ruth.

4. William Rea, of whom later.

5. Charles Rea (only surviving child) married Elizabeth Cochran and had children: Charles S., who married Irene Palmer; Louise, who married Rev. Walter Wilson, and they have three children, Katherine E., Charles and Ruth R.

(II) William Rea, fourth child of General John Rea, was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, in 1820, and married Matilda Robinson, daughter of William C Rob1nson; she was a native of Pittsburg They had two children: William H., who married Mary Childs of Pittsburg, daughter of Colonel James H. Childs and wife, Mary Howe. The issue by this union was; James Childs, Majory and Mamanne Henry Robinson Rea, who marned Edith Oliver, daughter of Henry W Oliver They have two children, Edith Anne and Henry Oliver.

William Rea, the father, came to Pittsburg in 1837, and was first employed with the Pennsylvania Canal Compiny in its transportation department, but subsequently he engaged in the commission business. Later he became a member of the firm of Robinson, Rea & Company, and was connected with their iron foundry until his death in 1892. He was also a director in the Merchants and Mechanics Bank, the Peoples Savings Bank and of the Homewood Cemetery. He was a member of the Presbyterian church.

A Century and a half of
Pittsburg and her people.
By: John Newton Boucher
The Lewis Publishing Company

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