WALTER LEWIS REES
Walter L. Rees, the present county coroner and public administrator of Sierra County, is half owner of the great Lewis ranch at Loyalton, of which his brother Jesse also owns half. He has lived in this section of the country for many years, is widely known and is uniformly respected. Born in Dayton, Nevada, on the 13th of November, 1861, he is a son of Cyrus W. and Mary A. (Lewis) Rees. The winter of 1861-62 was an unusually severe one and the mother, who was visiting in Dayton, was detained there by the severity of the weather until after the birth of her son Walter L. Cyrus W. Rees was born in Indiana, and was educated at Kalamazoo, Michigan. He studied theology, became a regularly ordained minister of the Baptist Church and was the pioneer preacher at Loyalton, California, where he organized the Baptist Church, also organizing all of the Baptist Churches in northern California which were in existence in his day. He and his wife were married at Healdsburg during the Civil War and were among the first settlers in Loyalton. This town took its name from the fact that, while many of the towns of California were marked by considerable secession sentiment during the Civil War, this place was loyal to the core, hence the name which it has since borne. Eventually Rev. Rees sold his place in Loyalton to his father-in-law, Hiram Lewis, and moved to Eugene, Oregon, where he organized a Baptist Church. After serving as its pastor for four or five years, he was called to the pastorate of the Baptist Church at The Dalles, Oregon, where he preached for six or seven years, and while there he lost his wife, who died at the comparatively early age of thirty-eight years. Following that pastorate, Rev. Rees was called to the church at Portland, where he remained two or three years, and then took charge of the Baptist Church at Rossland, Washington, where he continued his ministry to the time of his death, which occurred suddenly while he was occupying the pulpit. He was seventy years of age at the time. To Rev. and Mrs. Rees were born eight children, as follows: Walter L., of this review; Edward, a locomotive engineer, who was accidentally killed at The Dalles, was married and left two children; W. E., who was formerly engaged in the sawmill business, is now retired and lives at Oroville, California; Minnie, the wife of William E. Langdon, who is in the employ of the Clover Valley Lumber Company; Etta is the wife of William Bybee, a former employee of the Southern Pacific Railroad; Sadie G., the wife of Gay Bybee, is the owner of the Kozy Korner Confectionery at Loyalton; Jesse, who is half owner of the Lewis ranch, married Miss Alice Wing and to them were born two children, one of whom is living, Dr. Rees, of Portola; and Dr. F. G., who is a dentist in Sacramento County. Jesse Rees is a very capable man, well qualified in every respect for the important work he is doing. He possesses marked inventive talent and can make or devise almost anything needed on the ranch. He has recently built a hay loader, which loads the hay on the wagon from the hay cocks in the field. It is a very ingenious and useful contrivance. His wife, Mrs. Alice Rees, is the owner of undertaking establishments at Loyalton, Portola and Las Vegas, was formerly coroner and public administrator of Sierra County, and is now a candidate for the same offices in Plumas County. She is a very capable woman and has been successful in business. Both the Rees and Lewis families are of Welsh origin. The first church built at Loyalton by the Rev. Rees as a Baptist house of worship was destroyed by fire. The second edifice contains memorial windows, commemorating Rev. Rees and his wife, both of whom were close to the hearts of the people of this community in its pioneer days. This is now known as the Community Church and is still doing effective work. Loyalton has always been known for the high type of its citizenship and its moral standards, and there is no question but that the fine work and the splendid example set by Rev. Rees had much to do with planting the seeds of righteousness which have in later years borne abundant fruit.
Walter L. Rees has long been identified with the management of the Lewis ranch as half owner and is very highly regarded as a man of good judgment and honorable principles. He has very capably discharged his duties as coroner and public administrator. About fifteen years ago he was united in marriage to Mrs. Edith (Horton) Lewis, who was born at Virginia City, Nevada, and was the widow of W. S. Lewis. Mr. and Mrs. Rees have an adopted daughter, Hazel, who resides in Sacramento, where she is a trained nurse in the County and City Hospital. Mr. Rees is a strong Republican in his political views and during all the years of his residence in this valley has consistently stood for those things which have been calculated to promote the welfare of the community along either material or civic lines. He is one of the best known men here and no resident of this section is held in higher regard than is he.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: Wooldridge, J.W.Major History of Sacramento Valley California, Vol. 3 Pages 167-168. Pioneer Historical Publishing Co. Chicago 1931.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.