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Reynolds Families

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Alternate Spellings - None found in Mercer and Rock Island Counties but there are 32 variations given in the 1790 Census. Many of the variations appear to be French.

Links - Drury (including sketch of Drury's Landing showing Dr. Eli Reynolds office), Reed, Isaiah Willits, James Willits,Orphan Willits Families, Leech , Smith

Contacts - Nancy Reynolds Weitemeyer is a descendant of James Reynolds of Rock Island County and has a Web Site up on her family. It includes a photo of the Reynolds Cemetery in Drury Township. There is also a Rootsweb site with an index of burials in Drury Township including several Reynolds names.

Wayne Reynolds writes: "I have extensive information on the Reynolds family prior to and after William G., James, Charles, Eli. Also a great deal on the Drury's and others in the area. I have enjoyed many hours reflecting and walking the Reynolds-Drury and New Boston Cemeteries. My Reynolds line extends down from Milton Reynolds, Wm. G's son, and follows him to Iowa and the line into Missouri. Would be happy to share.

Laureen Reynolds is descended from Addison and Amy Willits Reynolds. She sent an obituary for Eli Reynolds, son of Addison, that we have added at the end of the page.

This is another page that may be a long time in the building as this was a large and complex family. Any and all help would be appreciated. Email Web Master Nadine on the About Us Page. We will make the same caveat here as on the Drury page - that one cannot mention the Reynolds without mentioning Rock Island County, and one cannot mention the Reynolds without mentioning the Drurys. The Drury/Reynolds connection was so close that there was a man named Drury Reynolds, and another named Reynolds Drury!

In the 1790 census there were 483 heads of families with some variation of the name "Reynolds." They were found in every one of the colonies with the largest concentration in New York. Nancy Reynolds Weitemeyer has William and Nancy Ann Griffith Reynolds as the progenitors of some of the Mercer and Rock Island County Reynolds families. She also gives us two of the Drury/Reynolds connections.

From our own research we take up the Reynolds family in Clear Creek Township in Fairfield County, Ohio. William, William G., Stewart, and John Reynolds are listed on the 1806 Tax List there as are William, Edward, Isaiah, and Samuel Drury. According to Nancy's research William G. Reynolds was married to Sarah Drury and Priscilla Reynolds was married to Isaiah Drury. William G. and Priscilla Reynolds were children of William Reynolds and Sarah and Isaiah Drury were children of William A. and Rachel Willits Drury.

We next find William G. Reynolds taking up land in Centre Township, Wayne County, Indiana on 1/20/1816. The land was the SE1/4 of Section 30 in Centre Township. There is a deed listed in 1820 (Book B, Wayne County) signed by Isaiah and Priscilla Drury, and William G. and Sarah Reynolds, and witnessed by William Drury and Rachel Willits Drury concerning land (S1/T15/R12E) deeded to Jacob Croll (the Crolls/Crulls of Wayne County were related to the Beard family who came to Mercer County.) The deed was recorded in 1821, the year William Reynolds is thought to have died, so perhaps it was his land and William G. and Priscilla were heirs. Neither of these parcels is listed on BLM land records, as the dates are too early, but interested parties could probably obtain information by request from the BLM. We were able to get the 1814 land records of Jill and Nadine's ancestor John Woodward, who lived not far from William G. Reynolds. The records are not geneologically significant, giving only the method of payment.

In the 1840 census in Rock Island County, just north of Eliza Township, Mercer County, we find James, Larkin, and Drury Reynolds. Drury Reynolds was in Mercer County by April 1835 when the first election was held. He is listed as a single male, age 30-40, in the Rock Island census. We do not find a marriage for Drury Reynolds in either Rock Island or Mercer County but there is Esther Love Reynolds, wife of Drury, 1830-1909, in the Drury-Reynolds Cemetery in Rock Island. In the interests of preserving our sanity we have followed Drury Reynolds and family on the Drury page.

The History of Mercer County 1882 names several Reynolds who came at an early date. It mentions that Eli Reynolds, a physician, settled at the west end of the county at an early date. It then tells us that the first election when the county was formed, in April 1835, was held at Eli's house in the town of New Boston. Eli Reynolds is listed on the poll book documenting the first election, along with John and Robert Reynolds. The first petit jury included Eli, John P., and Drury Reynolds. The first business transacted at the first term of the court was the granting of a license to Eli Reynolds to vend groceries in New Boston, for which privilege he paid the treasury 87 1/2 cents.

In the 1840 Census in the town of New Boston: Mary Reynolds, female 50-60, 1 fem 20-30, 2 10-15, 1 -5; 2 males 20-30, 1 15-20, 1 10-15, 1 5-10. Occupation farming. We are not sure of the identity of any of these. One clue may come from Indiana marriage records. Charles Reynolds married Polly DeMoss on 9/15/1819 in Wayne County, Indiana. We know James Reynolds married Rachel DeMoss on 11/7/1824 in Hendricks County, Indiana. We might speculate that Charles and James were brothers and that Polly and Rachel were sisters (trust us, as common as the name Reynolds is, that is a lot of speculation!). We might further speculate that Mary (nickname Polly) was then the widow of Charles, and that she came to the New Boston area with James and Rachel Reynolds. The two males 20-30 in Mary's household may be the John P. and Robert Reynolds listed in the poll book. John P. Reynolds married Esther Elliott on 7/28/1836 in Mercer County and the young female under five might be theirs. We do not find a marriage for Robert Reynolds in Indiana, nor in Mercer or Rock Island Counties, which fits with the two older males, and one older female living with Mary. There is a marriage listed in Mercer County on 11/7/1841 for a John H. Reynolds and Parie Lakey. This John H. Reynolds probably also came from Mary's household.

The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Rock Island County, Vol II (1914) mentions settlers around 1837: James, William, Drury, and Ithamar Reynolds (as well as Reynolds Drury!). William Drury was no doubt William G. Reynolds from Indiana (above) as both William G. and Sarah Reynolds are buried in the Drury-Reynolds Cemetery in Rock Island County (Wm. G., d. 26 Jan 1865; Sarah, wife of Wm. G., d. 1 Nov 1864). We do not find Ithamar Reynolds in the 1840 census but he married Mary Ann Reed on 11/9/1848 in Mercer County (we will be putting up a Reed page).

Because a number of Reynolds (Eli, James, Larkin, John) purchased land in the same area in northern Eliza Township in Mercer County, and because they came about the same time, we speculate they were brothers, or at least cousins. The land purchases were as follows:
Eli Reynolds: NW/4 Sec 4 T15NR5W, 175.53 acres @ $1.25/acre 2/12/1836 James Reynolds W/2NE/4 Sec 4 T15NR5W, 87.27 acres @ $1.25/acre 4/11/1837
John R. Reynolds W/2NE/4 Sec 7 T15NR5W, 40 acres @ $1.25/acre 4/22/1836
Larkin Reynolds E/2SE/4 Sec 2 T15NR5W; E2NW/4 Sec 8 T15NR5W; SWSE Sec 5 T15NR5W; SESW Sec 8 T15NR5W; W/2NE Sec 8 T15NR5W; SESW Sec 5 T15NR5W; SWSE Sec 8 T15NR5W, for a total of 360 acres @ $1.25/acre, purchased between 5/30/1836 and 5/5/1837.
(See Eliza Township plat map for locations.)

Eli Reynolds Family

Although we know from the Mercer County History that Eli Reynolds had a house and a license to vend groceries in New Boston in 1835, and purchased land in Eliza Township in 1836, he did not remain long in the county. A history of Muscatine County, Iowa, states he probably arrived there in 1835 and that he built a mill in 1837. We do know that he was gone from Mercer County by the 1840 census (He would have been about 46 years old so does not fit with the 1840 census record given above). We will follow him further than some others who moved out of the county, as he eventually had an office in Drury Township in Rock Island County, and no doubt served as physician to some of the folks in Eliza Township. He also trained some Mercer County doctors. We also want to provide some detail of his life as a pioneer physician to complement our Medicine page.

There is reason to believe that Eli Reynolds married Jane Chinn in Marian County, Indiana, on 1/2/1823. Your Web Master has enjoyed the kind services of one Mary Ellen Chinn at her local LDS Library. Mary Ellen is researching the Chinn family and has been of much help in our research on Eli Reynolds. She shared with us copies out of a book Pioneer Papers by J. P. Walton, (Muscatine: 1899). "When we came here in the spring of 1838, we found but one leading physician, Dr. Eli Reynolds. He resided at Geneva, three miles up the river from Bloomington, now Muscatine. He was rather tall and slim, a native of Indiana, and likely came to Iowa, then "Black Hawk purchase" in 1835; he could read and write, and had studied medicine with some pioneer doctor in Indiana; he liked to drink whiskey, although he rarely if ever got very drunk. He always had a good horse, his practice required it; he was kind hearted and reliable, although he rarely accumulated enough to meet his obligations, but he liked to have a spree, as he was pleased to call his frequent hilarities. He could be found at all the horse races or other sporting places. He represented the county in the early legislature of our state and got an act passed to move the county seat of this county from Bloomington to Geneva, but the bill was vetoed by Governor Dodge. Dr. Reynolds lived in a double round log cabin that stood on the bank of the river near the sulpher spring south of the Hare school house; his family consisted of wife and one son, Loring, one of the smartest and most worthless boys or young men that we had ever seen. I don't know what ever became of him. Dr. Reynolds lost his wife and married a widow with a little girl; they raised the girl and gave her the advantage of a good education. She is now one of the prominent ladies of our city. The doctor lived to an old age, having practiced medicine for fifty-six years, which was not common among the physicians of the times."

In another sketch in the same book, attributed to a Mr. S. W. Stewart, a pioneer settler, "Our Pioneer Doctors - In our rambling talk we will use the word doctor, it is not so elegant but it is easier written than physician and more familiar to the ordinary denizen of earth. Our early doctors were a mixed multitude, they were all alike at some points - very different in others - some were good as the word goes, others would not be cannonized as saints. All were open hearted and worked as honestly for those from whom they expected no reward as for those from whom the fee was certain. If we are right, our first doctor was Eli Reynolds. He built or had an interest in a saw mill, built at Geneva three or four miles above Muscatine on the river. It was the first mill in the county, when built it was in the Jurisdiction of Michigan, then in Wisconsin and last in Iowa, and did not change its location; it was built in Dubuque county and did most of its work in Muscatine county." (J. P. Walton corrected the early history as follows: "The jurisdiction of Michigan was established in 1834 by the organization of Des Moines county. It extended from the mouth of Rock river to the mouth of the Des Moines river. In 1836 Wisconsin territory was established in place of Michigan with another county, Dubuque, added. On October 25, 1836, the first legislature met at Belmont. Dr. Eli Reynolds was one of its members. Dr. Reynold's mill was built in 1837.") Continuing Stewart's narrative: "Dr. Reynolds with four or five others, was elected to the legislature of Wisconsin from Dubuque county. They first met at Madison, Wis., and adjourned to Burlington. At that session of the legislature they divided the forty mile strip, or the Blackhawk purchase, into counties as far as it went. The strip was not wide enough to give Cedar and Washington and some other counties their full size. Reynolds was free hearted and free handed, he made money and spent more than he made; he dearly loved his toddy, being very sociable and had a dislike to drinking alone; he loved a horse race, never failing to be on hand; he was a faithful student in the class that studied the history of the pasteboard kings and queens; he was a faithful friend, a good citizen in his day, he had the reputation of being a good doctor, he served the poor as cheerfully as the rich."

It is unfortunate that the name of Eli's first wife is not mentioned. Although we can assume from the narrative that she passed away in Muscatine County, a tombstone is not now found for her. None is found in Mercer County either. That his wife was Jane Chinn is probable, as in the 1850 census in Muscatine County, Iowa, Dr. Reynolds is living just a few doors from Jane's father: Thomas Chinn, 87, farmer, born Virginia. Eli's family is given as: Eli Reynolds, 56, Physician, born Pa; L. Etta, 38, born Ohio; Loren, 26, Ind; Eli, 2, Ia; Milton, 2, Ia; Nicholas Cunningham, 7, Ia; Ann Cunningham, 3, Ia. Eli Reynolds and L. Etta Cunningham were married September 23, 1847 in Muscatine, Iowa. Ann Cunningham is no doubt the lady mentioned in the history above as a prominent citizen of Muscatine.

The Muscatine history mentions only the son, Loring, and Eli's wife as constituting his family when he first came. The 1850 census establishes that he had a son Eli and a son Milton by his second marriage.

John P. Reynolds and more on Dr. Eli Reynolds

John P. Reynolds was probably closely related to Eli as he lived with Eli for awhile (as mentioned above he might have been Eli's nephew). The History of Mercer County 1882 mentions that J. P. Reynolds arrived in Eliza Township in the spring of 1834 along with Silas Drury and father and cousin Charles Drury. "Mr. Drury's father, Charles Drury, and J. P. Reynolds did not remain long in Illinois, but took passage on board a steamboat at New Boston on their way back to Indiana by way of Cincinnati. Reynolds returning the same season lived with Dr. Reynolds until the following spring of 1835, when he was married to Miss Hettie Elliott, formerly from Morgan county, Indiana. [We suspect "spring of 1835" is an error as John Reynolds purchased land in Eliza Township not far from Eli's land in the spring of 1836: W2/NE7 T15NR5W on 4/22/1836. The marriage of Esther Elliott to John P. Reynolds on 7/28/1836 is recorded in Mercer County.] This was the first marriage in the township [Eliza], which event is distinctly remembered from the circumstances that followed. Reynolds died in just four weeks after the wedding day, and was buried in Eliza cemetery. Charles Drury, returning in the fall of 1835, was married to Miss Nancy Prentice, who died eleven months after. He then moved to Rock Island county and studied medicine with Dr. Reynolds, after which he married Mrs. Eliza McGreer, moved back and practiced medicine throughout the township, living upon what is known as the E. W. Mardock farm [NE Sec 3T15NR5W- see Eliza plat map]. He quit the practice of medicine in 1851 and moved to Oregon." This statement bears examination, as Eli Reynolds seems to have been in Iowa at that time. The History of Rock Island County mentions only James, William, and Drury Reynolds as arriving shortly after 1837. Without a date, it mentions, "The first physician in the county was kind Doctor Reynolds, whose generous sympathy and hearty good will are remembered by the older generation. His well-known figure was a welcome presence in many a sick chamber, and he never hesitated to journey forth in rain or snow, day or night, over the then almost impassable roads to succor those who were in need of his ministrations. His type of physician is gone. Perhaps the modern physician is a great improvement upon the old kind, but there are many who reposed a trust in the country doctor no twentieth century practitioner can command, for his word was absolute law, and in his hands reposed literally the keys to life or death." Charles and Eliza Brandenberg McGreer Drury are in Eliza Township in Mercer County in the 1850 census, indicating Charles studied in Rock Island County with Eli Reynolds before that date. A sketch of Drury's Landing in Rock Island County in 1845 (se Drury page) shows Dr. Reynold's office and apothecary. Putting all the various stories together seems to indicate that Dr. Reynolds may have practiced both in Muscatine County and Rock Island County - a feat that would not have been difficult, given the ferrys that operated in that time period.

Dr. Eli Reynolds is buried in the Drury Reynolds Cemetery in Rock Island County: Eli Reynolds (Dr.) (Veteran of 1812) GAR, age 84 yrs, died 15 April 1871. Also in that cemetery is another Eli Reynolds, born 1841, died 1924. This Eli married Martha Ann Johnson on 1 January 1866 in Muscatine, Iowa, after serving in the 9th Iowa Cavalry during the Civil War. Martha is buried with him (1840-1906). (See the James Reynolds family below for the probable parents of this Eli.) Whether young Eli was named for Dr. Eli, we do not know.

James Reynolds

James Reynolds purchased the W2NE Sec 4 T15NR5W, in Eliza Township, directly adjoining land of Eli Reynolds, on 4/11/1837. This is directly across the county line from Drury Township in Rock Island County where James Reynolds is found in the 1840 census: James Reynolds, male 30-40, male 10-15, male 5-10, male under 5; female 30-40, female 20-30, female 10-15, female 5-10, female under 5. From the 1850 Rock Island census: James Reynolds, 50, farmer, born Pennsylvania; Rosa, 44, born Oh; Emily, 18, In; William 16, Il; James, 14, Il; Sarah A., 10, Il; Eli, 9, Il; Joseph P., 2, Il; Eunace, 1, Il. Eli is probably the Eli Reynolds mentioned in the John P. & Eli Reynolds sketch above. James Reynolds married Rachel DeMoss on 11/7/1824 in Hendricks County, Indiana, and the census errs in her name. They are the ancestors of Nancy Reynolds Weitemeyer whose Web Site is linked at the top of the page. James Reynolds is buried in the Drury-Reynolds Cemetery, d. 26 Jun 1886, and Rachel is also buried there, d. 5 May 1864. James has a GAR marker as does Eli, indicating service in the Union Army during the Civil War. Hattie Reynolds, a granddaughter of James, through his son William, married Ulysses Grant Leech in Mercer County in 1887.

Larkin Reynolds

Larkin Reynolds purchased several parcels of land in the northern part of Eliza Township in 1836 and 1837. Larkin Reynolds is found in the 1840 census in Drury Township in Rock Island County, just across the county line from Eliza Township: Larkin Reynolds, age 50-60, 1 male 5-10; 1 female 40-50. Larkin Reynolds married Polly Underwood on 9/13/1840 in Rock Island County, probably a second marriage for Larkin, unless the child in the household belongs to Polly. We do not find an earlier marriage for Larkin in Indiana but he may have married in Ohio.************More to come.

Addison Reynolds

Addison Reynolds married Amy Willits, daughter of James and Amy Allison Willits on 9/5/1833 in Wayne County, Indiana. We do not know if Addison and Amy stopped in Mercer County, but they are found in Muscatine County, Iowa, across the River, in the 1850 census: Addison Reynolds, 39, farmer, born Ohio; Amy, 43, born Pa; Elisa J., 13, born Ia; Viola, 9, born Ia; Eli, 7, born Ia; Addison, 2, born Ia. In the 1852 Iowa census they are living in Sweetland Township, Muscatine County, next door to Eli Reynolds (family above) and to Perry Reynolds. The three may have been brothers. Addison in particular may have been a brother of Eli since he named a son Eli. Laureen Reynolds is researching this family - email at the top of the page. She tells us that Addison had a second wife Elizabeth and both are buried in the Kisor Eisele Cemetery in Muscatine, Iowa. She furnished the obituary for Eli Reynolds, son of Addison, at the bottom of the page (note a slight error in his age in the obituary (obituaries were usually furnished in handwriting and errors were not uncommon if the typesetter could not read the writing). Laureen tells us Eli was born January 22, 1844 in Portsmouth, Ohio and died April 8, 1912 in Gladwin, Iowa. His wife was Nancy Elmira Lane, daughter of Moses Lane and Mary Brewer.

More Reynolds Families to come

Obituary of Eli Reynolds (son of Addison Reynolds)

The Wapello Tribune, Wapello, Iowa
Thursday, April 11, 1912.
Eli Reynolds died Monday morning at 5 o'clock at his home near Gladwin after an illness of several weeks with a complication of diseases. He was born on a farm west of Muscatine about 61 years ago. the past 45 years of his life was spent in Union Township. His wife preceded him in death 13 months ago. He is survived by one son, Theodore Reynolds with whom he made his home at the time of his death. He is also survived by one sister, Mrs. Guss Isenheart and one brother, Adam Reynolds of Wichita, Kansas.