Edward S. Rea. One of the largest milling concerns in Southern Kansas is the Rea-Patterson Milling Company of Coffeyville. The plant was established at Coffeyville in 1894, and at that time the daily capacity of the mill was 400 barrels. Since then, by gradual additions and improvements, the daily capacity is now 1,800 barrels of uour and 600 barrels of meal, while the elevator capacity is 700,000 bushels, this being one of the largest mills in the state. In fact the product from the Rea-Patterson Milling Company has a very wide distribution, particularly over the South and Southwest, and the company sends flour to Cuba and the Eastern states. The original capital of the company was $50,000, and it is now $300,000. The plant is conveniently situated with respect to the tracks of the Missouri Pacific, Missouri, Kansas and Texas and Santa Fe railroads.
The officers of the Rea-Patterson Milling Company are: H. W. Read, of Coffeyville, president; Edward S. Rea, treasurer and manager; and F. H. Patterson of Fredonia, secretary.
Edward S. Rea was born at Marshall, Missouri, August 16, 1872. His father, P. H. Rea, a veteran business man and miller still living at Marshall, was the founder of the Rea-Patterson Milling Company at Coffeyville, and is still its largest stockholder. P. H. Rea was born in Carroll County, Missouri, May 3, 1840. Reared in Missouri, and of Southern antecedents, he sided with the South in its struggle during the ’60s, and was in the Confederate army with Gen. Joe Shelby under Gen. Sterling Price. His home district was closely divided between Northerners and Southerners, and naturally there was much factional local strife, and on account of the unpleasantness Mr. Rea went out to Montana after the war and for a time conducted an express stage line between Helena and Virginia City, and also had a a store as one of the first business enterprises of the present thriving city of Helena. He also became a factor in local politics, and as a democrat served as the first treasurer of Lewis and Clark counties, Montana. Returning to Missouri in 1870, P. H. Rea settled at Marshall in Saline County, and soon built up a large grocery, agricultural implement and grain business and still conducts an implement and automobile store there, incorporated as the P. H. Rea Implement Company. He is very active in the Christian Church and is teacher of a Bible Class. P. H. Rea was married at St. Louis to Mattie Samuel. She was born near Liberty, Clay County, Missouri, in 1849, and died at Marshall in 1894. Her children were: Florence, who died at the age of two years; Edward S.; Virginia, wife of Philip Ott, who is engaged in the implement and garage business with the P. H. Rea Implement Co. at Marshall; William G., manager of the Rea-Page Milling Company at Marshall of which his father is president; Mattie, wife of Frank A. Baker, who is connected with the Ridenour-Baker Company of Kansas City, Missouri; Catherine, wife of Frank Bigger, first vice president of the Robert Keith Furniture Company of Kansas City.
Edward S. Rea, was educated in the public schools of Marshall, in the Manual Training School of St. Louis, where he graduated in 1890, and on the completion of his education at once entered the milling business with the Rea-Page Milling Company of Marshall. For a quarter of a century he has given all his time and energy to this industry, and during the first four years learned milling in all its details at his home city. On July 27, 1894, he came to Coffeyville, and was bookkeeper until May, 1896, and since then has been manager and treasurer of the Rea-Patterson Milling Company. He is also president of the McAlester-Edward Coal Company at Pittsburg, Oklahoma, and president of the Rea-Read Mill and Elevator Company at Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In politics Mr. Rea is independent, and is active in the Presbyterian Church. On April 15, 1896, at Sweet Springs, Missouri, he married Miss Margaret Owens. Her mother, Mrs. Sarah Owens was born at Sweet Springs and is still living there at the age of seventy-seven. Mr. and Mrs. Rea have one daughter, Nellie Elizabeth, who was born February 5, 1900, is a member of the Coffeyville High School Class of 1917, and her parents plan her continued education.