Members of the Reid families were attorneys in Andalusia

Published 12:01 am Saturday, July 11, 2015

Several members of various Reid families have rendered valuable service to Covington County, Ala.

While limited information is readily available to this writer, he felt this family should be featured in today’s column.

Most notable is one gentleman, Robert Silas Reid Sr., who was born in 1891 in Brenham, Texas.

When he was still young, his family moved to the Andalusia area of Covington County.

The exact year of the move is not known, but Robert did attend the Andalusia elementary schools, Andalusia High School and then entered college.

In the spring of 1916 Robert S. Reid enlisted into the United States Army.

He was assigned to Company H, 2nd Alabama Infantry, and his first assignment was for serving along the Mexican Border through 1916 and 1917.

In May 1917 he was transferred to the officers’ training camp at Fort McPhearson, Ga.

He completed that training in August of that year and was commissioned as a first lieutenant.

Lt. Reid was next assigned to the 326th Infantry at Camp Gordon, Ga.

He sailed to France with his outfit and served there for 15 months during which he was engaged in the Saint Milhiel and Meuse-Argonne major offensives.

Gen. John G. Pershing and other high ranking officers presented him with a special citation for his bravery in action.

He was discharged on June, 1919, and was able to return home to his family. He was then able to begin preparations for a career in the legal field.

He attended the University of Alabama from which he earned his law degree in 1921.

During his college years, Robert was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and was elected president of his senior class.

As a student in college Robert S. Reid was married on March 4, 1918, in Andalusia to Ruth O’Neal, daughter of Cyrus Alfred O’Neal and Ella (Law).

Ruth was also born in 1891 and attended the University of Alabama as well where she earned her degree.

Upon their graduating, they returned to Andalusia and he began his practice of legal work.

At one time they resided on Crescent Street and later at 306 Sanford Road in 1957.

The Reid couple’s first child was born while they were still in college.

They reared the following four children: Robert Silas Jr., b. ca 1919; Alfred O’Neal “Pete,” b. ca 1913, m. Freida White; Ella Olivia, b. ca 1925; and Ruth Diana, b. ca 1931, m. ? Sinquefield. Freida White had come to Andalusia to teach music and later served as organist for the First United Methodist Church.

Robert S. Reid Sr. had a remarkable career during his reasonably short life, since he died at 57 years of age.

He served Covington County as solicitor and judge for the 22nd Judicial Circuit.

In 1926 he was elected to the office of solicitor of the 29th Judicial Circuit, but he was then transferred by operation of the statute to solicitor of the 22nd Judicial Circuit when Covington County was change from the 12th to the 22nd. In August of 1926, he was elected to serve another four-year term. In 1935 he was elected to serve two terms as Circuit Judge from 1935 to 1952. Judge Bowan W. Simmons succeeded him in 1952.

As a prosecuting attorney, Judge Reid was quite successful.

He prosecuted the very first white man in the county to receive the death penalty.

During his last term in judicial court, he received convictions in every case with no acquittals or mistrials.

He was also quite effective as a community leader.

He served as vice-chairman of the board of stewards of the First Methodist Church, adjutant of the Andalusia Post of the American Legion and active member and a President of the Andalusia Kiwanis Club.

Unfortunately Judge Reid began to experience health problems during his adult years that were believed to stem from certain conditions he faced while providing military service.

Eventually he became unable to conduct his legal practice, which led to financial challenges.

As a testament to his fine character and reputation in his profession, his fellow-lawyers contributed funds to help pay off the mortgage on his family’s home.

Friends have reported that he was regarded as a gentleman of high esteem and well-liked by the young and older for his kindness and professionalism.

He and his wife were buried in the historic Magnolia Cemetery in Andalusia.

Other Reid families who have not been related to the above have also resided in Andalusia. One of those was the Edward F. Reid family. Edward was married to Gladys (Mathews), daughter of Charles and Pearl Mathews, who resided in the well-known Mathews House at 119 Sixth Avenue.

Ed and Gladys settled in Andalusia circa 1935.

He had graduated from the University of Alabama Law School in 1929, and she attended Tulane University where she was a cheerleader for the 1929 Tulane Rose Bowl Team.

They were married in 1930 and went to the Alabama Rose Bowl game on their honeymoon.

He established a new law practice in Andalusia, and Gladys was a homemaker who enjoyed painting, especially wedding portraits.

Ed Reid developed colon cancer in the early 1940s, and he became a forerunner in cancer detection education in Alabama and across the country. For his participation he was presented awards by the American Cancer Society and American Medical Association.

Ed and Gladys reared three children: Robert “Bob,” m. Joan Wishum, daughter of Levi and Lois Wishum, former owners of Covington Casket Company; Lucy Deil, d. of cancer; and Gatra, m. Billy Mallard, a retired theology professor from Emory University. Gatra is a retired counseling therapist.

Still other Reid men mentioned in local historical records include the following: C.E. Reid served as a state senator (special) in 1907 and 1909; G.J. Reid was a railroad agent for the River Falls Depot; and Daniel S. Reid lived in Opp during the early 1900s and worked as a loom fixer for the Opp Micolas Cotton Mill.

A Reid family file at the Andalusia Public Library contains a brief Reid history written in 1942-1944 by Rev. James McCoy Glenn, retired Methodist minister of Midway, Ala.

Although no relationship to the above Reids is known, it may prove helpful to researchers to know that he identifies a General Andrew Reid, originally from Scotland, but later from Ireland, who married Magdalene McDowell circa 1720 in North Ireland.

They had a son named Alexander Reid born around 1700 who married Margaret McCoy circa 1720 in North Ireland.

Alexander had a son name Samuel Reid who was born in 1728 in North Ireland. Alexander Reid and his family along with his brothers, George, Robert and Samuel Reid, all reached Philadelphia, Penn., circa 1745, to settle in their new land.

Many years later during 1853-1855, but early for Covington County, an Archibald Reid acquired several tracts of land in the Pigeon Creek and Red Level Townships.

No other information was found on him by this writer.

Sources for this writing include the following: two family stories published in The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama–one written by Bob Reid on the Edward F. Reid family and another by Curtis Thomasson from an article published in the Andalusia Star-News on Aug. 3, 1978, on Robert S. Reid; and Covington County, Alabama, People compiled and edited by Scott R. Smith.

Anyone finding an error in the above or having additional information on the Reids of this county is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalsuia 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: