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M. B. Rees Called By Death Last Night; Aged 84 Years. Man Who Came To Oregon During The Fifties And Settled In The Grande Ronde In 1864,
Succumbs Suddenly At Dove Last Night-Four Sons Will Gather At Funeral
M. B. Rees-one of Union county’s staunchest citizens, and also one of its earliest pioneers- died shortly after 12 o’clock last night at his home in Cove. He went to bed last night feeling fit and fine, but at 11 o’clock he was heard to leave his bed. About midnight groaning was heard, and when his family went to his room they found him dying. He passed away about midnight. Death was entirely unexpected, for although he was 84 years of age he was in reasonable health. Not only does Cove lose one of its foremost citizens, but the county feels the loss, for “Uncle Mac” was known from center to circumference as an exemplary citizen, kind and generous.
His sons will be assembled in Cove tomorrow morning, Sherman having come from Portland; Tobe (E.C.); and Walter live at Cove and H.C. Rees, deputy sheriff, lives in La Grande. Mrs. Rees has been dead several years. An only brother, a retired naval officer, resides in Erie, Penn. [Corwin Pottenger Rees]
The funeral will be held from the Episcopal church at Cove tomorrow at 2:30.
McDonough B. Rees was an active, energetic and progressive man who had ever been in the vanguard of advancement and his vigorous spirit and fine abilities have been an equipment for the conflicts and struggles of life which have given him victory at every point and caused him to he attended with prosperity while his walk has been of such a character that he has always to the fullest extent enjoyed the esteem and confidence of his fellows. Mr. Rees had been a man of wide and extended experience in many walks of life and his powers of adaptability had ever given him prestige and success that many another has missed.
The birth of Mr. Rees occurred in Butler county, Ohio, February 10, 1831, being the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Rees. The old log school houses of primitive days were the centers whence the lad received his education. For the first 17 years of his life, he was at home and in the service of the farm and working for neighbors and then he started into the commercial world as a peddler, handling oil cloth, pumps, and wind mills, and later selling lightning rods through Tennessee and Mississippi.
In the fall of 1852, he returned to Ohio and entered business with his brother, J. G. [Jacob Griffin], who was proprietor and editor of the Greenville Journal, in Darke county, of his native state. Two years he operated in that capacity and then started for the Pacific coast, making the trip by way of New York, the isthmus, and the Pacific ocean to Portland.
His brother W. H. [Willard Hall] Rees, had previously, in 1844, settled in what is now Marion county, and there he went, settling at Butteville on the old French Prairie, remaining there until July, 1855, engaged in various occupations.
At the date mentioned he went on a mining trip to the mouth of the Pend Oreille river, where placer diggings had been discovered. He went by steamer to The Dalles and thence by horseback to his destination. Success smiled upon him and he was enabled to have the joy of returning to Butteville with a goodly portion.
The following winter was spent in that place and there, in 1865, was contracted his marriage with America Frances Hall, whose parents, James and Cynthia, were pioneers to that section in 1845. Mr. Rees then bought a farm and also taught school for some time in the vicinity of Butteville, being occupied also in tilling his farm until 1860, when he was again stirred to take part in mining and so went to the new and thriving camps of Oro Fino, in Idaho. One summer was spent there and then he repaired to Florence, where two years were spent, being crowned with reasonable success. In the fall of 1862 he returned to Butteville and the following spring found his vigorous and exploring spirit in the Bannock camps in Idaho, whence he returned to Butteville for the winter of 1863 and there in company with J. Herren bought cattle, which they drove to Union county in the Spring and herded them on Willow creek and arrived in the valley in 1864. For several years the family were connected with the sheep business, buying land and more sheep until 1889 when the sheep were disposed of in a bunch.
There have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Rees seven children, four of whom are now living.
Politically Mr. Rees had always been republican. In 1866 his friends placed him in nomination on the Republican ticket for the state legislature and in 1892 he was brought forward for the senate but to use his own words, he “was fortunate enough to get beaten each time.” He has been on of the pillars of the Republican party in this county however, for two score and more of years. In all his dealing Mr. Rees was a man of uprightness and prospered and was highly respected in the community in which he lived and the county at large.
M. B. Rees died April 19, 1915.
From the La Grande Observer-
This is an article about Mr. Rees sent in by Peggy
Mack Rees Operation
Contributed by: Peggy Lovelace Contreras