Search billions of records on

1912 History of Jasper County, Iowa
by General Weaver. Page 633-635


One of Jasper county's substantial and representative citizens is Spencer H. Rees, who is essentially a self-made man, and as such ranks with the most enterprising and progressive of his contemporaries. He has, from early life, steadily pursued the honorable course which in due time brought social recognition and the high position he has long occupied in the industrial life of Newton. By a life consistent in motive and action and because of his many fine personal qualities he has earned the sincere personal regard of all who know him, and in his home, which is the center of a large social circle, there is always in evidence a spirit of generosity.

Mr. Rees was born of a sterling old Buckeye family, on August 4, 1847, in Hancock county, Ohio, being the son of Thomas and Mary A. (Prouty) Rees, the father a native of Pennsylvania and the mother of Ohio. In 1840 Thomas Rees came to Ohio, where he followed his trade of stone cutter for about eight years, during which time he met and married Mary A. Prouty. Shortly after the birth of his son, Spencer H., of this review, he emigrated to Iowa, reaching Jasper county in the fall of 1848, settling in Palo Alto township, and there he entered wild prairie land from the government, on which he built a one-roomed log cabin and began life in pioneer style, setting resolutely to work to carve out a new home in a new country. Here he became well established in due course of time, developing an excellent farm on which he remained until his death, March 10, 1865. For three months during his first winter here the only neighbors seen were Indians, but they were friendly. Wolves, deer and turkey were plentiful. Thomas Rees became a man of much influence in his community, being a man of fine personal characteristics and pronounced public spirit. The first election held in the township was in his barn. At the time of his death he was one of the county's largest land owners, having seven hundred and forty acres in Palo Alto township. After his death his widow married Isaac G. Badger, a native of England. She lived with him until her death, on November 22, 1881.

To Thomas Rees and his first wife nine children were born, one of whom died in infancy; Lewis died at the age of ten, and Anson B., well known all over the county, died April 6, 1910; those living are Spencer H, of this review ; Henriette married Harry McVey [McVeigh] and they live in Rathburn [Rathbun], Iowa; Rowland L. lives on a farm in Palo Alto township; Franklin P. is engaged in the mercantile business at Wann, Oklahoma; Estella M. married Dr. D. N. Johnson, of Chickasha, Oklahoma; Effie C. married G. W. Byington, a real estate dealer in Little Rock, Arkansas. After Mr. Rees's death, Mrs. Rees married Isaac Badger and two children were born to them, H. J. Badger, who is now residing in Chinook, Montana, and Mary Belle, who married S. A. Guessford, a farmer of Buena Vista township, this county.

On October 24, 1877, Spencer H. Rees was married to Margaret E. Holmes, daughter of Ranson P. and Mary A. (Duncan) Holmes, the father being a native of Kentucky and the mother of Indiana, Mr. Holmes having been a farmer and stock raiser. His death occurred on February 26, 1893, and that of his wife on October 27, 1891. Their family consisted of six children, of whom five are living, John W. Holmes having died in 1905; those living are: Charles W, of Texas; Alnora is the wife of Dr. J. W. Hannah, of Tonkawa, Oklahoma; Ida married George W. Maund and lives in Jennings, Louisiana; Verna married A. L. Lewellen, who is living in Rosendale, Missouri.

After the death of their father. Spencer H. Rees and his elder brother assumed control of the farm and managed the same until the estate was settled upon the re-marriage of the mother, at which time the subject began working for himself, following farming until 1904, with more than ordinary success, when he was elected secretary of the Mutual Fire and Lightning Insurance Association of Jasper county, which position he has held ever since, discharging the duties of the same in a manner that has reflected much credit upon himself and to the entire satisfaction of all concerned. He has served both as trustee and clerk of Palo Alto township for two terms and has been assessor of that township three terms. He has acted as trustee of roads and upon coming to Newton he resigned as clerk of the school board. He is the owner of an excellent farm in Palo Alto township, upon which is the site of the cabin his father built when he came to this county. He also holds considerable property interests in Newton, having been very successful as a business man in whatever he has directed his attention to. During the year 1887 he was traveling mail weigher for the United States government on route No. 27036. In 1889 he was nominated for county auditor by the Union Labor party and endorsed by the Democrats, being defeated by a small margin only. In 1895 Mr. Rees was nominated for county treasurer by the Populists and in the three- cornered fight which followed he polled his share of the votes. Both these nominations came to Mr. Rees unsought.

Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Rees, two of whom died in infancy; those living are, Morris H., born April 27, 1880; he received a high education and is professor of biology in the college at Tarkio, Missouri; Edith Glen, born January 8, 1884, is unmarried; Floy Naoma, born October 17, 1887, is unmarried and at home.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Rees are members of the United Presbyterian church. While living in Palo Alto township he was a trustee of the church.

In March, 1905, Mrs. Rees was stricken with rheumatism from which she has been a constant but patient sufferer, having been almost helpless during the past five years, but here [sic] severe affliction has not changed her genial and kindly disposition. Mr. Rees is one of the honored "boys in blue," having proved his patriotism and loyalty to his country by enlisting in Company B, Forty-eighth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, on May 24, 1864. After serving faithfully for five months he was honorably discharged October 21, 1864.


Back to Rees Family

Layout and HTML coding © 1999-2003 MJH