JUDGE O. T. REEVES, who presides over the Circuit Court of McLean, Ford, Iroquois and Kankakee Counties, is a resident of Bloomington and one of her most valued citizens. He is a native of Ross County, Ohio, born in 1829, and the son of William and Mary (McLain) Reeves, both natives of Virginia. The grandfather of our subject, Josiah Reeves, emigrated from Culpeper Court House, Va., to Ross County, Ohio, in about 1804, where he engaged in farming pursuits. He went to Ross County in 1804, when the territory was but a wilderness, being among the earliest settlers of that region. He entered a claim and cleared 200 acres of land, where he established a permanent home and passed the remainder of his days. All of his thirteen children lived to become men and women and were all married. One of his sons, Owen T., was the County Judge of Ross County for a number of years. William, the father of our subject, was a member of the State Legislature. Josiah Reeves departed this life in 1841, aged eighty-one years. His wife, the grandmother of our subject, died the following year, aged eighty. Both were devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in early days meetings were held in his log house and were presided over by such men as Rev. Henry B. Bascom, of Kentucky, and Bishop McKendree. The children all received a good education. Grandfather Reeves belonged to the Whig party and took an active part in promoting the interests of his State and county.

William Reeves was reared on the farm, and when twenty-one years of age purchased a tract of land and engaged extensively in grain and stockraising. Like his father before him he became prominent in the affairs of that locality and was elected to the Ohio Legislature in 1852. He also held the various township offices and was an acknowledged leader of rare intelligence and sound sense. He was married in Ohio, in 1818, to Miss McLain, of that State, and the daughter of John McLain, a prominent resident of the Buckeye State. Of the ten children born of this marriage, five only are living: Mrs. Julia A. Hitch, of Bloomington; James M., a grain and stock farmer of Ross County, Ohio; Owen T., our subject; William M., Deputy Recorder of McLean County, and Emma, Mrs. Landon, of Kokomo, Ind. William Reeves moved to Illinois in 1855, settling in McLean County. He had disposed of all his property in Ohio, and after coming here purchased a farm in Bloomington Township, which he occupied for a number of years and then selling out, moved into Old Town Township. The wife and mother departed this life in 1860, and in 1862 Mr. Reeves was married the second time, to Mrs. Mary M. Reeves, of Pennsylvania. He departed this life in 1876, and the second wife died in 1882.

Owen T. Reeves remained on his father's farm, attending the common schools, until seventeen years old. He then took a two years' course at Salem Academy and afterward attended the University of Delaware, Ohio, where he studied another two years and graduated in 1850. He then became tutor of languages in the University, and the following year was Principal of Berea Seminary, which was located near Cleveland, Ohio. Then, on account of failing health, he retired from active labor for one year. In 1853 he became Principal of the Chillicothe High School and the year following completed his law studies which he had been pursuing while teaching at Chillicothe, under the instruction of W. T. McClintock. He was admitted to the bar in 1854, and immediately removed to Bloomington and commenced the practice of his profession. His talents and ability received ready recognition and he very soon attained to a leading position among the professional men of this State. In 1862 he raised and commanded the 75th Regiment, Illinois Infantry. After filling various positions of trust and responsibility connected with legal matters he was elected Circuit Judge in March, 1877, which position he has held since that time. He is Republican in politics and has conscientiously devoted his time and attention to the duties of his position. In addition to other interests, he purchased in 1877, the woolen factory which is located on University avenue, and which gives employment to twelve operatives, yielding to its proprietor large profits annually.

Judge Reeves was married in 1851, to Miss Lucy A., daughter of Reuben and Abbie King, of Delaware, Ohio, and of this union there were born four children, of whom only one is now living, Edward C. This son married Miss Nettie Jones, of Normal, and they have two children, Ella B. and Owen F. Mrs. Reeves departed this life in February, 1861. The second wife of our subject, to whom he was married in 1862, was Miss Mary E. Hawks, a native of Bloomington, and daughter of M. H. and Elizabeth A. Hawks, of Bloomington. The family of our subject includes eight children: Lucy, a graduate of Wellesley College, Massachusetts; Lincoln, a farmer of Normal; William H., a graduate of Champaign University; Owen T., student at Dean Academy, Franklin, Mass., and Lewis M.; James M., Mabel and Huston M., students in Bloomington. Besides his city property the Judge owns 440 acres of choice land, and in his profession has accumulated a competency. Both Mr. and Mrs. Reeves are members in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and greatly respected by all who know them.


Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill.: containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 215-16. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards




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