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James Willis Gleed, general attorney for the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company of St. Louis, was born at Morrisville, Vermont, March 8, 1859. His father, Thomas Gleed, now deceased, was a native of England, who came to America during the ’30s, settling at first in Canada, but later he removed to northern Vermont, where he resided to the time of his death in 1861, when he was but thirty-five years of age. In early manhood he had wedded Cornelia Fisk, a native of the Green Mountain state and a representative of an old New England family that was established in Massachusetts in 1634, its founder in the new world being William Fisk. Among his descendants were those who participated in the Revolutionary war and aided in establishing the new republic. James Willis Gleed was the younger of a family of two children, his brother being Charles Sumner Gleed, now deceased.
James W. Gleed attended the public schools of Lawrence, Kansas, and afterward was graduated from the State University of Kansas, with the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1879, while in 1882 he won the Master of Arts degree from the same university. He pursued his law course in Columbia University of New York and the LL. B. degree was conferred upon him in 1884. The same institution conferred upon him the honorary degree of LL. D. in 1902. Prior to his graduation from the law college, however, he was an instructor in Latin and Greek in the State University of Kansas from 1879 until 1883. He was graduated from the Columbia Law School in 1884 and in the same year was admitted to practice at the Kansas bar. He then took up the active work of the profession, which he followed in Topeka, Kansas, from 1884 until 1906. In 1905 he became general attorney for the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company at Kansas City, where he remained until 1918, when he removed to St. Louis and has since continued to fill the position here. He made an excellent reputation in the educational field and has won prominence and success as a lawyer, gaining wide knowledge of corporation law and filling a most responsible position at the present time as general attorney for the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company.
At Topeka, Kansas, August 25, 1886, Mr. Gleed was married to Miss Grace Greer, a native of that state and a daughter of James E. and Julia (Gilmore) Greer, the former now deceased. Judge Greer was a member of the first state constitutional convention and was a most prominent and honored pioneer settler. Mr. and Mrs. Gleed have become parents of three children: Mary, now the wife of John P. Coe, of New York City; Dorothy, the wife of Pendelton A. Miller, of Topeka, Kansas; and Jeanette.
Mr. Gleed has served as regent of the State University of Kansas and is now a trustee of Washburn College of Topeka. His political endorsement is given to the republican party and at all times he has kept in touch with the trend of political thought and activity, yet has never been an aspirant for public office. He belongs to the American Bar Association and is today accounted one of the eminent lawyers of St. Louis, a position which he has attained through individual efforts and ability, his name now standing high on the list of distinguished members of the Missouri bar.