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Reeves, Thomas C.

Born: 1813-12-15 Rowan County, North Carolina

Died: 1896-XX-XX Kansas

Flourished: Pekin, Illinois

Thomas C. Reeves was a farmer, county sheriff, hotelkeeper, merchant, businessman, and town government official. In 1815, Reeves moved with his parents to Tennessee, where his father established a large farm near Murfreesboro. Thomas received his early education in the local Tennessee schools. Not wishing to raise his family in a slave state, Thomas' father moved his family to Illinois, arriving in Springfield in December 1829. In March 1830, the family settled in Tazewell County, where Thomas' father created a farm on Mackinaw Creek. Thomas worked on the family farm until the death of his mother in 1831, when he moved to Springfield, where he learned the carpentry and the millwright trades. Thomas returned to Tazewell County in 1835. In February 1841, he married Mary Jane Doolittle, with whom he would have four children. In 1850, Reeves was living with his wife and children in Pekin and was employed as a carpenter. Assessors valued his real estate holdings at $3,000. Renowned for his carpentry, Reeves helped build many of the first houses in Pekin. In addition to his carpentry business, Reeves operated the Tremont House Hotel, from 1852 to 1858. In 1860, he owned real property valued at $4,000 and a personal estate of $500. In the 1860s, Reeves established and operated a dry goods store, grocery, boot and shoe store, tailor shop, and pharmacy. He also became a fixture on the Pekin and Tazewell County political scene. Reeves initially supported the Whig Party, voting for every Whig candidate for president from 1836 until the demise of the party. Reeves was sheriff of Tazewell County from 1854 to 1856 and again from 1858 to 1860. He served as Pekin city assessor in 1857 and 1864, and as the alderman for the Fourth Ward in 1859. In 1864, Pekin voters elected him mayor, an office he held until 1865. He became one of the first adherents of the Republican Party in Tazewell County, and he supported Abraham Lincoln in the presidential elections of 1860 and 1864.

Atlas Map of Tazewell County Illinois(Davenport, IA: Andreas, Lyter, 1873), 43; History of Tazewell County Illinois (Chicago: Chas. C. Chapman, 1879), 615, 616, 617, 713; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Tazewell County, 17 February 1841, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Pekin, Tazewell County, IL, 109; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Pekin, Tazewell County, IL, 73; Gravestone, Rosean Cemetery, Emporia, KS.