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David S. Reagan


Posted By: Deborah Gilbert (email)
Date: 9/9/2016 at 17:28:27

Maxwell Book: 1883-1983

David S. Reagan was born in Lafayette County, Pennsylvania, in 1837. In 1854 he came to Jasper County, Iowa, and settled on a farm near Peoria not far from Maxwell.

In 1861 he enlisted in Iowa Co. 'B' 17th Infantry and served four years. During his enlistment, he was taken prisoner and served six months at Andersonville prison. He and two other men had been trusted to gather firewood for the camp and one morning did not stop to do their daily work, but fled to a Union encampment nearby. He was discharged in 1865 from Camp Chase, Ohio.

He returned to Iowa and married Martha Neal in 1868. Martha was born in Hardin County, Ohio in 1850 and came at age five years-old wit her family to Jasper County, Iowa.

David and Martha Neal Reagan were parents to six children. A daughter, Nancy died. Sons James, Martin and Weldon and two daughters Gennettie and Victoria survived. Around 1886, they moved from the area around Maxwell into town.

Martha was a Methodist, attended all revival meetings, entered into civic activities and was a midwife when needed. She was an artistic homemaker, gardener and baker of pastries.

David was a naturalist, a man of humility, with an abiding faith in God and his creations. Years ago, a neighbor of the Reagan's told us, "Reagan could fell a tree, saw it in cord lengths faster than anyone in the area, and that he sharpened his axe and saw nightly, ready for his next day's work." He made contracts with the townspeople to sell them the amount of firewood they would need to heat their homes or businesses. According to their instructions, he would deliver and stack it.

In the late 1890's, they moved to their home place at the foot of Schuyler Hill west of Maxwell. They had timberland, grazing and tillable land so they could have milk cows and other stock. They had a brick smoke house to cure hams, bacon and a large cave.

Their son James came from the Spanish-American War physically and mentally broken. Son Weldon remained with them and they cared for James as long as they could. He died in Clarinda, a deep sadness for the family.

David began to fail in health. He died in 1914 peacefully, just as he had lived. His funeral was in the Methodist Church, burial in Maxwell Cemetery conducted by G.A.R.

A few years later Martha suffered what they termed apoplexy and for five years steadfast son Weldon, with the help of his sisters, the grandchildren, and friends, cared for her until her death in 1926. Her funeral was in the Methodist Church with burial in the Maxwell Cemetery on the plot with her loved ones.


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