Biography of Benjamin Rees
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Benjanin Rees. For a half century the Rees family had been known in Mitchell County, Kansas. While largely agricultural, it had been otherwise connected but had always been numbered with the stable, reliable, progressive and law-abiding class. The leading representative at present, Benjamin Rees, a substantial farmer residing at Asherville, was born on the site of this village in 1869. He is a son of John and Nancy Bees, the former of whom is an honored retired resident of Barnard, Lincoln County, Kansas, and the latter of whom died there in 1906.
John Rees was born in Wales and from there in early manhood came to the United States and made his way to Missouri. This was in the early days of the Civil war, and very soon after arriving he enlisted as a private in a Missouri regiment and passed four years as a soldier. He participated in many of the great battles of the war, in one of which he was seriously wounded in the hip. He was honorably discharged and then turned his attention to agricultural pursuits. Very soon afterward he returned to Georgia, but his mission was of an entirely different character from his first one in that state as a soldier, this visit being undertaken for the purpose of marrying one of the fair daughters of Georgia. This was one of the unwritten romances of the war and is an interesting bit of family history. During the campaign in Georgia, Mr. Rees, a tired and weary soldier, paused at a door-step and courteously asked for a drink of water. The request was so quickly, cheerfully and kindly granted that an interest was aroused in Mr. Rees concerning the amiable young woman and seemingly the interest was mutual. Mr. Rees conflded to his soldier comrades that one day he would return to Georgia and if persuasion would be effective, he would make that girl his wife. He did return and in 1866 Miss Nancy Goodwin became his bride and accompanied him to a home he had prepared in Mitchell County, Kansas, a farm of 160 acres on the present site of Asherville. This marriage proved a happy one and they were blessed with a large family of children, all born in Kansas and the following survive: Banjamin, DeWitt, Charles, Thomas, Emma, Ida, Hattie and John.
Not only was John Rees a gallant soldier but he was during many active years a prominent and influential man in this section of the state. He acquired 240 acres more, becoming one of the large land-owners in the county, and was one of the founders of Asherville, was the first merchant in the village and operated an elevator and dealt in grain, in addition to handling stock extenaively. He was one of the early physicians and surgeons of the county, practicing for many years and was influential in public affairs also and served as a member of the State Legislature in 1872 and 1873.
Benjamin Rees attended the public schools and gave his father assistance on the home farm until his marriage. He is a practical farmer, progressive and prosperous, and owned eighty acres of fine land, on which he had substantial improvements and on which he lived for twenty-two years.
In 1893 Mr. Rees was united in marriage with Miss Olive Hull, who died in 1912. She was a daughter of Thomas and Malissa Hull, old residents of this section. Mr. and Mrs. Rees had four children: Daisey, Alma, Ferrill and Phyllis, all but one surviving. Mr. Rees and family belong to the Baptist Church at Asherville. He had never been very active in politics but is not lacking in public spirit and his neighbors all know that he is willing to co-operate when movements for the general welfare are brought to his notice.