James Henry Reed, superintendent of the city schools of Grenola, is an educator of wide and diversified experience, and had taught in various localities of several different states.
He was born in Orleans, Indiana, January 15, 1858. His Reed ancestors came from England to Virginia in colonial days, and they were also connected with the Massachusetts branch of the same family. His grandfather, Jesse Reed, who was a blacksmith by trade, spent his last years at Orleans, Indiana. The family had lived in Kentucky after leaving Virginia, and from Kentucky went to Indiana. Henry Reed, father of Professor Reed, was born in Kentucky in 1827 and died at Orleans, Indiana, in 1904. His parents had gone to Orleans in 1831, and he grew up as a blacksmith and wagon maker, a trade he followed many years, and subsequently was a farmer. He was elected to fill the office of county treasurer of Orange County and was also township trustee of Orleans Township. He was a democrat and a member and steward in the Methodist Episcopal Church. His wife, Martha Sears, was born at Orleans, Indiana, in 1835 and died there in 1867. A brief record of their children is as follows: Mary, wife of William Lindsey, a farmer at Quenemo in Osage County, Kansas; George F., an architect at Springfield, Missouri; James H.; Sallie, wife of Leonard M. Hardman, a farmer at Livonia, Indiana; William A., in the real estate business in the State of Washington; and Martha, who lives at Martinsville, Indiana, widow of Fred Mitchell.
James H. Reed received his early education in the public schools of Orleans, Indiana, finishing in the high school, and he gained his higher education in the intervals of his work as a teacher. He put in nine years in the school districts of Orange County, and in the meantime attended the Central Normal College at Danville, Indiana, from which he graduated A. B. in 1891. The following two years he was superintendent of schools at Palestine, Illinois, for 2½ years was teacher in the Southern Indiana Normal College, and then returned to his native town where he followed the hardware business for 1½ years. Resuming his work as an educator, he was for three years superintendent of schools at Greenville, Kentucky, superintendent at Murray, Kentucky, one year, and was also connected with the schools of Henry, Tennessee, a year, and Buffalo, Kentucky, a year. For two years he was superintendent at Benton, Illinois, and followed the contracting and building business in that town for three years. Mr. Reed came to Kansas in August, 1908, was superintendent of the schools at Quenemo two years, and in the insurance business at Haviland one year. He then became a teacher in Lebo for a year, for four years was the commercial teacher at Moline, Kansas, and in the fall of 1916 accepted his present post as superintendent of schools at Grenola. Mr. Reed had a staff of seven teachers, and the enrollment in the public schools is 185 scholars.
He is an active member of the Southeast Kansas Teachers Association, is a republican voter, a member of the Presbyterian Church and is affiliated with the lodge of Odd Fellows at Moline.
In 1885, at Orleans, Indiana, he married Miss Laura Frances Rankin, daughter of Thomas and Mary (Fisher) Rankin, both of whom are now deceased. Her father was a farmer in Orange County, Indiana. Mr. and Mrs. Reed became the parents of five children: Clyde, who died in infancy; Charles R., who was a printer by trade and died at Quenemo, Kansas, in 1910; Mary, wife of Orley Long, a painter and decorator at Moline, Kansas; Ruth Rankin, who teaches the primary department of the city schools at Grenola; and Bessie, who died in infancy.