J. R. REED, of the firm of Wood & Reed, Gainesville, Missouri, has for the past twelve years been one of the most enterprising and successful business men of the county. He owes his nativity to Bradley County, Tennessee, where he was born January 21, 1861, the eldest child born to Alvin and Emeline (Wood) Reed, native Tennesseans, the former of whom was engaged in tilling the soil, and was killed near the close of the war, during which struggle he served in the Confederate Army. He was a son of John H. Reed, one of the early pioneers of Tennessee, and his marriage resulted in the birth of two children: John R., whose name heads this sketch, and Mattie E., wife of J. M. Herd, of Theodosia, Missouri, who is the manager of the branch house of Wood & Reed at that place. The mother, Emeline (Wood) Reed, was a daughter of Jesse Wood, mention of whom is made in the sketch of J. E. Wood, and is now the wife of Thomas Wattenberger, of Gainesville, by whom she is the mother of one child, Olie.
John R. Reed, the subject of this sketch, attended the schools of his native county, and was a lad of ten years when the family left Tennessee and settled in Kansas. After the removal of the family to Ozark County, Missouri, he engaged in tilling the soil, but also attended the schools of this county, and when still quite young began clerking in a store, continuing until he formed his present partnership in 1881 with his uncle, J. E. Wood. They carry a stock of goods valued at about $6,000 in Gainesville, and have two branch stores, the stock at Isabella being valued at about $4,000, and that at Theodosia at about $5,000 or $6,000. Messrs. Wood & Reed are the most extensive merchants in this part of the State, are wide awake, pushing, enterprising and, above all, honest, and their annual sales amount to from 30,000 to $40,000. In connection with their business they handle hardware and farming implements of all kinds. Although their business was commenced about twelve years ago in a small way and has several times had some serious backsets, yet on the whole they have been remarkably successful. Their stock at Isabella was consumed by fire in 1884, with a loss of $2,000 or $3,000, and they also lost a mill and lumber yard at Gainesville in the same way, amounting to several thousand dollars.
Mr. Reed has always been a stanch Republican, was elected to the office of county treasurer in 1884, and for four years was postmaster of Gainesville under President Harrison. He is a member of Robert Burns Lodge No. 496, A. F. & A. M., of Gainesville, Missouri, and was master of this lodge during 1892 and 1893. He and his uncle, Mr. Wood, own a fine farm of 400 acres south of Gainesville on Lick Creek, a large portion of which is under cultivation, and they also own other valuable lands and property in the county. The flouring mill of which they are the owners at Theodosia has four double sets of rollers, and has a capacity of fifty barrels per day, being in operation day and night. The product of this mill is of the most excellent kind, has a large local patronage, and is very popular with housewives and bakers. They have a saw mill located on Lick Creek two miles north of Gainesville, where they manufacture pine and oak lumber for the market. Mr. Reed is president of the Bank of Gainesville, of Gainesville, Missouri, and one of the principal stockholders of the institution.
He was married to Alaska Elliott, daughter of Jarrett Conkin, of this county, and to them two children have been given: Flo, who is four years old, and Ros, six months old. Mr. Reed and his wife are members of the Christian Church, in which he is an elder. He is one of the shrewdest and most practical business men of the county, and the success which he has achieved in a business way is but the natural sequence of the upright business methods he has always pursued. He and his wife move in the highest social circles, and are highly honored by all.