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Civil War Flags.jpg Rev. Alfred Alphaeus REGER, was born November 11, 1822, Upshur County, Virginia [now West Virginia], the son of Abram REGER (1795-1833) and Leah ANN (BRAKE) REGER (1795-1835). Abram was served as a Lieutenant with his uncle's Captain John BOZARTH's Company of the Virginia militia during the War of 1812, and was honorably discharged from service in 1815. Both Abram and Leah were interred at Heavner's Cemetery, located at Buckhannon, West Virginia. Alfred Alphaeus was the eighth of ten children which included Rev. John West REGER, D.D. (1815-1893) who served as a Private with the 7th Virginia Federal Infantry and was the founder of the Wesleyan University, Buckhannon, West Virginia; Major Albert Gallatin REGER (1818-1893) who served under Gen. Stonewall JACKSON during the Civil War; Rebecca Ann (REGER) SEAY (ca. 1832-1816) who nursed wounded Civil War soldiers and took care of the family while her husband Thomas Edward SEAY (1882-?) was fighting on the front lines.

The REGERS were descended from settlers who came to the Virginia frontier during the latter years of the American Revolution and the period of unrest that followed the War. Jacob REGER was the patriarch of the family in western Virginia, coming from Germany probably with his wife Barbara (CRITES) REGER and their older children. It is believed that they arrived at some port in Virginia around the year 1765 although some family historians think they arrived in the Colonies much earlier. Family legend is that shortly after their landing the REGER children complained that they were hungry. Barbara purchased a loaf of bread at a nearby bakery. Upon tasting the bread, the children spit it out and threw the rest of their portions away. Upon tasting the bread, Jacob and Barbara threw the bread away, too. They had never tasted cornbread before and thought it wasn't edible.

The REGERS first settled in the Sheandoah Valley and later settled at Big Run near the village of Burnersville, which is located in present-day Barbour County, West Virginia.

John REGER, the fourth son of Jacob and Barbara (CRITES) REGER, was born in Hardy County, Virginia on January 15, 1769. He grew to be a tall man, standing six feet two inches in his moccasins, and was a muscular man. He was known for his enormous physical strength and was a Veteran of the Revolutionary War. John married Elizabeth "Little Bettie" WEST, born in 1768, the daughter of Edmund WEST, Sr. of WEST'S Fort. The wedding ceremony took place the year after Edmund was killed by Indians, December 5, 1787. Wishing to fulfill "Little Bettie's" desire wear a "store-bought" gown for the ceremony, John walked from the Buckhannon settlement to Winchester and back with a rifle slung across his shoulder. The couple settled near Burnersville [present-day Barbour County, West Virginia] where they resided for the remainder of their lives.

John REGER excelled as a bear hunter. Once, after killing a yearling bear early in the morning and after taking out the entrails, he slung the carcass over his shoulder and carried it with him during the entire day's hunt.

According to his granddaughter Rebecca Ann (REGER) SEAY's obituary, John built the first Methodist Epicopal Church in West Virginia, located at Peck's run.

Elizabeth "Little Bettie" (WEST) REGER died on September 1, 1844. John REGER died on May 14, 1849, and was interred in the cemetery located on his homestead beside his wife. He left four children: Jacob, Abram, Barbara, and Elizabeth.

Gravestone of John and Elizabeth REGER, REGER
REGER Family Cemetery, Barbour County, West Virginia

Abram REGER, the son of John and Elizabeth (WEST) REGER, was born in present-day Harrison County, West Virginia, on September 13, 1795. Abram was a commissioned Lieutenant in Captain John BOZARTH's Company of the Virginia Troops during the War of 1812. Abram married January 6, 1813 to Leah Ann BRAKE who was born March 5, 1785, Buckhannon [present-day Upshur County, west Virginia], the daughter of Lt. Jacob BRAKE (1747-1831) and Mary (SLAUGHTER) BRAKE (?-1830). Lt. Jacob BRAKE was an Indian captive and later served in the Revolutionary War.

Lt. Jacob BRAKE was captured by the Indians on the Wappatomaka River when he was eleven-years-old along with his brother Abram. The boys' mother was killed there by Indians in 1758, at which time some family historians believe was when Jacob and Abram were captured. The boys' mother and two of their siblings were killed the day before the Battle of the Trough. Jacob and Abram were held in captivity for ten years and ten months. Jacob was adopted into an Indian family who had lost a son during a massacre at Romney, Virginia. Throughout the brothers' captivity, the tribe resided in northwestern Ohio, southeastern Michigan, and northeastern Indian. After the treaty of 1763, a fur trader found the boys with a tribe camping on White Woman's Creek. The trader promised to notify the boys' father but he failed to keep this promise. Sometime after peace had been restored with the Pontiac People in 1765, another trader saw the boys and informed their father of their location. The trader helped John BRAKE, Jr. find the boys with a band of hunters who were preparing to leave the following day on their great annual fall hunt. Without much difficulty, John, Jr. arranged for the release of his sons. Not much is known about Jacob's time with the Indians, however throughout his life, he cursed in the Indian tongue. In 1770, Jacob served as a Lieutenant in Captain George JACKSON's Company of Spies, also known as Rangers. Mary died in 1830; Jacob died in 1831, both interred at Heavner Cemetery, Buckhannon, West Virginia. Leah Ann was the first-born of Jacob and Mary (SLAUGHTER) BRAKE's five children.

Leah Ann (BRAKE) REGER died on March 8, 1835, at Buckhannon in present-day Upshur County, West Virginia. She was interred at Heavner Cemetery, her gravestone pictured at right.

Abram and Leah Ann (BRAKE) REGER were the parents of ten children:

1) Jacob Brake REGER married Phoebe COOL; went to Illinois, then Nebraska

Civil War Flags.jpg 2) Rev. John West REGER, D.D., born 05 Feb 1815; died 06 Jul 1893; married 1841 Rebecca Ann BROWN (1822-1893)
John enlisted as a Chaplain on January 4, 1862 and was commissioned to Company S of the 7th West Virginia Infantry. He was commissioned on February 27, 1864 with the Hospital Chaplains Regiment of the U.S. Volunteers, and promoted to Full Chaplain, serving at Grafton, West Virginia. Rev. REGER was mustered out of service on August 14, 1865.

3) Cecilia REGER, born 1816; married 1837 George SIMON; moved to Linn County, Missouri, residing there in 1870

Civil War Flags.jpg 4) Maj. Albert Gallatin REGER, born 15 Dec 1818; died 20 Nov 1893, Philipi WV; married 1844 Mary Rebecca SEAY (1825-1904)
Albert enlisted as a Captain and was commissioned into Company K of the 31st Virginia Infantry, also known as the "Barbour Grays" of the Confederate States Army. He was promoted to Full Major and saw hard service under the commands of Generals Thomas J. "Stonewall" JACKSON and LONGSTREET. Albert was a lawyer of great ability and renown, and served in the State Senate for eight years. At right, Senator REGER, 1852 Virginia General Assembly. Albert and Rebecca were interred at Pleasant Dale Cemetery, Shelbyville, Upshur County, West Virginia.

5) Elizabeth REGER, born 20 Nov 1820; married 1839 George T. PICKENS; moved to Hancock Co. IL then to Kansas; 13 children

6) Rev. Alfred Alpheus REGER, born 11 Nov 1822, died 22 Jun 1902; married 06 Jun 1843 Frances LUDINGTON

7) Abram REGER, born 1825; died 1855 on ship at Cincinnati OH; married 1844 Elizabeth McCOY (1825-1904)

8) Rebecca Ann REGER, born ca. 1832; died 29 Mar 1916, Chelsea NJ; married 1836 Thomas Edward SEAY (1822-?)

9) Leah REGER, born 28 Feb 1835; died 06 Aug 1918; married 1851 OH Stephen POST (1830-1917); both interred Bryant IL

10) West REGER, died young

Abram married second to Permalia ROHRBAUGH who was born April 22, 1811. Abram and Permalia were the parents of Virginia A. "Jennie" (REGER) HALL, born January 5, 1858, Lewis County, West Virginia; and died November 6, 1890, Reno County, Kansas, with interment at Fairview Cemetery, Elmer, Reno County, Kansas. Jennie was the wife of Abraham HALL (1843-1918). Abram and Permelia's other children were Perry, Eliza who married Jacob CRISLIP, Barbara who married James TETER, Marietta, Marcellus, and Dallas REGER.

Abram and Permalia moved to Carthage, Illinois in April of 1855, residing there for about 20 years. After Permalia's death, Abram returned West Virginia where he died August 24, 1883 and was interred at Heavner Cemetery.


Rev. Alfred Alphaeus REGER, the son of Abram and Leah Ann (BRAKE) REGER, was born November 11, 1822, present-day Upshur County, West Virginia. He was favored in his birth, inheriting many noble traits of character from his ancestors. His mother was especially made a blessing to him; he frequently referred to her, both publicly and in social circles, and as long as he lived observed each recurring anniversary of her death. Many years ago when writing to a friend he said: "My mother's death was the immediate cause of my giving my heart to Jesus, which I did June 5, 1835." Though his early literary advantages were limited, such was his desire of knowledge, and his natural intellectual ability and untiring effort as a student, that he compared very favorable with the ministers of his period.

On November 25, 1840 at a quarterly meeting held in Weston, Virginia, Alfred was licensed as an orthodox minister. In 1841 he was received on trial in the Pittsburg conference. He was ordained Deacon by Bishop Joshua SOULE on July 16, 1843, and ordained an Elder by Bishop HAMLIN in Elisabethtown on July 16, 1845. After this he labored in his native state for 24 years. He was twice appointed Presiding Elder, first in the Charleston District, and later on the Parkersburg District.

The family moved to Illinois, living near Carthage, in 1869 where he filled several appointments and organized the Carthage Methodist Church. Unfortunately his voice, which was impaired, failed entirely and he was placed on the retired list, but until the close of life he was intensely alive to every interest connected to the church until the close of his life. He was never so happy as when working for the Master. His last words: "I now go to be with my Blessed Saviour."

Rev. REGER served the Union Army during the Civil War.

Rev. REGER married on June 6, 1843 to Frances A. LUDINGTON who was born in Michigan on October 2, 1824. Frances, a true and noble woman, one in every way adapted to the high calling of minister's wife, who, wherever their united lot was cast left an enviable record, and constantly encouraged her husband onward and upward in his ministerial and intellectual achievements.

Rev. Alfred Alphaeus REGER died on June 22, 1902, at Secor, Woodford County, Illinois. Frances died July 9, 1902, Secor, Illinois. They were interred at Rose Hill Cemetery, Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa.

Rev. Alfred Alphaeus and Frances A. (LUDINGTON) REGER were the parents of four children:

1) Jennie F. REGER
    married 28 Jan 1872 James C. BUTLER of Secor, Illinois

2) Horace Ludington REGER
    born 5 Nov 1858, Wheeling, Marshall Co. WV; died 6 Jun 1923, Mount Ayr IA
    married in Laramie WY Tilda McKAY
    Horace and Tilda interred at Rose Hill Cemetery, Mount Ayr, Ringgold Co. IA
    2 daughters: Beulah (REGER) WEIGEL and Katie (REGER) HANGER

3) William Albert REGER
    born 18 Feb 1852, Wheeling, Marshall Co. WV; died 27 Oct 1901, Eureka Springs AR
    William was Mount Ayr, Iowa's postmaster and owned a music store.
    married 25 Dec 1870, Leon IA to Mary Olive ELLIS, born 19 Feb 1848, IA; died 1 Jun 1926
    William and Mary interred at Rose Hill Cemetery, Mount Ayr, Ringgold Co. IA
    Their daughter Mary Virginia (REGER) KIRKHAM, born 07 Dec 1893; died May 1983, College Springs IA

4) Harry James REGER
    born 4 Apr 1863, Morgantown, WV; died 16 Dec 1926, Mount Ayr, Ringgold Co. IA
    Harry was publisher of The Benton County Star, Norway IA
    married 23 Jun 1886 Orpha WILLEY, born 1863, Agency City IA, daughter of Andrew & Sarah (WARREN) WILLEY

SOURCE: CUTRIGHT, William Bernard. The History of Upshur County West Virginia From Its Earliest Exploratin and Settlement to the Present Time p. 548. McClain Printing. West Virginia. 1907
McWHORTER, Lucullus Virgil. Chapter 24 The Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia from 1768 to 1795 Pp. 171-80, 310-13. Republican Publishing Co. Hamilton, Ohio. 1915
American Civil War Soldiers Database,

Transcriptions and compilation by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2009

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