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 • Oak Hill Memorial Park
 • San Jose
 • Santa Clara County
 • California
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James Frazier Reed
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Birth: Nov. 18, 1800, Ireland
Death: Jun. 24, 1874
San Jose
Santa Clara County
California, USA

Donner Party Leader, Pioneer, Businessman. Reed was born in Northern Ireland, but he claimed to be of noble Polish extraction with Reednoski being the original name. Reed and his mother emigrated to the U.S. after his fatherís death. He joined a local volunteer militia company led by Jacob M. Early and served with Abraham Lincoln during the Black Hawk War (1831). After the war, he returned to Springfield, Illinois, where he prospered as a merchant and furniture maker. He also speculated in railroad contacts and real estate. Reed served as the U.S. pension agent for Springfield. His wife, Margret, suffered from ill health so it was Reed who conceived the idea of going west and organized the "Reed and Donner emigrant party" that left Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois on April 14, 1846. He intended to meet his brother-in-law Robert Cadden Keyes who had left for Oregon in 1845, but instead went to California. Reed's wealth was reflected in his wagons. Along the Humboldt, on October 5, 1846, Reed became involved in a dispute between two teamsters and in the ensuing fight stabbed John Snyder in self-defense. He was banished from the train and went ahead to Sutterís Fort for supplies, but snow blocked the pass when he and William McCutchen tried to return to the wagon train at the beginning of November. Reedís attempts to organize another relief party met with temporary failure for most American settlers had enlisted to fight in the Mexican War. Reed participated in the war, and on January 2, 1847, was involved in the Battle of Santa Clara, the last northern battle of the Mexican War. In February Reed led the Second Relief to the camps. He met his wife, step-daughter Virginia and Jimmy coming out of the mountains with the First Relief but after learning that Patty and Tommy were still at the lake, he hurried over the mountains. While recuperating in the Napa Valley, Reed served as sheriff of Sonoma before settling in San Jose. Although he arrived almost destitute, Reed did well in real estate and mining ventures. Reed preserved numerous documents dealing with the Donner Party including the Miller-Reed Diary, a diary of the Second Relief, letters and a memoir. Reed street in downtown San Jose is named after him. 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Margret Wilson Keyes Reed (1814 - 1861)*
 
 Children:
  Martha Jane Reed Lewis (1838 - 1923)*
  James Frazier Reed (1841 - 1901)*
  Thomas Keyes Reed (1843 - 1915)*
  Charles Cadden Reed (1848 - 1927)*
  Willianoski Yount Reed (1850 - 1860)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Oak Hill Memorial Park
San Jose
Santa Clara County
California, USA
 
Created by: Debbie
Record added: May 12, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 10950802
James Frazier Reed
Added by: Debbie
 
James Frazier Reed
Added by: Stephen Newton
 
James Frazier Reed
Added by: Debbie
 
 
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- Rose
 Added: Aug. 4, 2013
He brought you through the Sierra Nevada and now you are home with him resting in peace. Linda Parker Roller cousin to Charles Fayette McGlashan auther of "History of the Donner Party"
- Linda Roller
 Added: Apr. 22, 2013

- D. Geiger
 Added: Sep. 1, 2012
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