Pulaski County

Biography - Samuel Rees

SAMUEL H. REES, druggist at Belknap, is a representative young business man of Johnson County. He is a native of this State, coming of its sturdy pioneer stock, and was born in Jackson County March 11, 1861. He is a son of Dr. Alonzo P. Rees, the well-known physician, who is now a resident of Grand Chain, Pulaski County.

Dr. Rees was born in Missouri, where his father, James L. Rees, carried on the occupation of a farmer. Desiring a change of location, the grandfather of our subject loaded his household effects into a wagon and journeyed with his family Eastward until he arrived on the present site of Carbondale, Jackson County, where he purchased a tract of unimproved land. He constructed a primitive log cabin for a dwelling and then turned his attention to clearing his land, which he developed into a fairly good farm, only to sell it and buy another fourteen miles distant. The latter place he transformed into a valuable farm with line improvements, and made it his home until he passed from the scenes of earth. His wife is still living on the old place, which is yet in the family, she being seventy-two years old.

The father of our subject was quite young when he was brought to Illinois, and he grew to man's estate on the old homestead in Jackson County. Me was a studious, thoughtful lad and learned all that could be taught him in the schools of the day, which, however, were not of a very high order. He remained at home with his parents, working hard on the farm, until he was twenty-four years old, when he started out for himself. He first worked in a sawmill by the day, and at the age of twenty-five had sufficient means to justify his marriage with the lady of his choice. Miss Jane Crews, a native of Illinois. After taking that important step in life, the Doctor rented a farm in Williamson County and devoted himself to agricultural pursuits. He soon bought a farm in Jackson County which was improved. He continued to till the soil for seven years, but he was ambitious to enter some profession and naturally turned his attention to the study of medicine, which he began while farming. He devoted himself; heart, and soul to the acquirement of the fundamental principles of the profession that he intended to pursue and was enabled to establish himself in practice. He subsequently further fitted himself for his vocation by taking a thorough course at the Nashville Medical College, at Nashville, Tenn., whence he was graduated with honor.

After his graduation, the Doctor removed to Pulaski County and was engaged in practice there for a time. From there he came to Belknap and was one of the leading physicians in this section for a number of years. He finally returned to Pulaski County and has been located at Grand Chain since. He has control of a large and lucrative practice and has an extensive acquaintance in surrounding counties and is regarded as a sensible, intelligent and well-equipped physician, whose high standing is due to personal merit and a laudable ambition to make a name and a place for himself in the world. He and his estimable wife have been happy in their marriage, which has been blessed to them by the birth of seven children, as follows: Samuel H.; John D., a bookkeeper at Terrill, Tenn.; Mary D., wife of S. D. Peeler, a farmer at Belknap; Martha P., wife of T. E. Williamson, of Grand Chain, a traveling salesman; Georgie Ann, wife of David Copeland, a farmer of Grand Chain; and Nellie and Fred, at home with their parents.

Samuel H. Rees, of this biographical review, passed his boyhood on a farm and early became familiar with its labors. He attended the common schools until he was fourteen years old, and his further education has been acquired outside of schools. He assisted his father in the management of his farm until he attained his majority and then began to work for himself. He first found employment in a sawmill and afterward obtained a more congenial situation in a drug store, where he applied himself diligently to acquiring a complete knowledge of drugs and of business methods. He stayed in that drug store at Belknap two years and then resumed work in the sawmill, in which he was engaged two years. At the end of that time he again became interested in the drug business and for four or five years was in his father's drug store. When his father sold out he went to Vienna and was engaged in the same business, and later at St. Louis and Murfreesboro, and thus gained an extensive and valuable experience as a druggist. In July, 1887, he came to Belknap and bought a small drug store, with stock and fixtures, for $300, and from that small beginning he has built up a good business and has a well-appointed drug store for the size of the town, carrying a full line of all such drugs as are in usual demand in this section and making it a point to sell none but the purest obtainable.

The marriage of Mr. Rees to Miss Ella Hartman was solemnized in 1885. Mrs. Rees is a native of Johnson County, but her father and mother are now living at Chester, in Randolph County. Mr. and Mrs. Rees' attractive home is brightened by the presence of three children born to them, Walter A., Guy H. and Blanche.

Our subject is a man of much value in the community, as he is thoroughly alive to public interests, and while a member of the Village Board of Trustees and of the local School Board exerted his influence for its material advancement and to secure the best possible educational advantages for the children of Belknap. He and his wife are devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics, he stands with the Democrats.

Extracted 17 Apr 2016 from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 152-154.


The modern pharmacist is a man of many callings, for he is expected to bear upon his shoulders the burden and responsibilities of others, and not only must he understand his own profession thoroughly, but he must be able to rectify and detect the occasional blunders of the medical fraternity, to give kindly advice to those unwilling or unable to call in a physician, and to at all times place his establishment and time at the disposal of the general public. The course of training is long and arduous and the fitting up of a modern store expensive, and no other line of human endeavor demands such prolonged hours of service, so that the pharmacist of today, in order to be successful, must be a man whose love of his chosen vocation is placed above all other things. One who has proven worthy of the trust and confidence placed in him, and a man who has been prominent in public life, is Samuel H. Rees, owner of the only pharmacy at Belknap, a man than whom there is no more highly esteemed nor popular citizen in the community. He was born on a farm in Jackson county, Illinois, March 11, 1861, and is a son of the late Dr. Alonzo P. and Jane (Krews) Rees.

James L. Rees, the grandfather of Samuel H. Rees, was a native of Virginia, of German descent, who migrated to Tennessee and thence to Jackson county, Illinois, where he became one of the earliest settlers. Dr. Alonzo P. Rees was born and reared in Tennessee, and as a young man took up the study of medicine, which he practiced for many years in Jackson, Johnson and Pulaski counties. He was one of the earliest practitioners of this section, and at the time of his death, in 1887, when he was fifty-eight years of age, no man was better known or more sincerely liked in this part of the state. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Jane Krews, was born and reared in Jackson county, and died in 1895, at the age of fifty-six years. They had a family of seven children, as follows: Samuel H.; John D., who is engaged in the clothing and general merchandise business at Owensboro, Kentucky; H. F., who is a United States rural free delivery carrier; Mary D., the wife of Samuel D. Peeler, one of the leading agriculturists of Cache township; Martha P., wife of T. E. Williamson, of Claremore, Oklahoma; Anna, the wife of J. D. Copeland, of Blythesville, Arkansas; and Nellie, the wife of W. P. Weeks, of Joppa, Illinois. Samuel H. Rees spent his boyhood on the home farm and attended the district schools until he was fifteen years of age, at which time he came to Belknap and secured employment as a clerk in the drug store, also attending school in the winter and doing sawmill work until he was twenty years of age. In 1881 he took a position in a drug store at Vienna, where he remained until 1884, and then went to Murphysboro, where he followed the same line until the summer of 1886. At this time he came to Belknap and purchased the business which he has continued to conduct for the past quarter of a century, his popularity being so great with the people of his community that no rival establishment has offered competition. Until 1910 he was the owner of a farm near Belknap, but in that year disposed of it, and he also has engaged in life insurance work, but the major part of his attention has been given to his pharmacy. He has a full and up-to-date line of drugs, proprietary medicines, and other articles usually found in a first-class drug establishment, and his business extends all over Belknap and the surrounding country. He is the owner of his own residence and the building in which his business is carried on. A stanch Republican, Mr. Rees has, up to a year or so ago, taken an active interest in the success of his party, in the ranks of which he has ever been a willing and faithful worker. Enjoying to the fullest degree the friendship and confidence of the men high up in the councils of the party, he has always sought rather to assist his friends than himself, although at various times he has been mayor, alderman and school director of Belknap, and has shown marked executive ability. He started in life without a dollar, his business in Belknap having been opened on borrowed capital, with no other security than his personal word, but he was soon able to repay the loan and to build up a profitable business. He has been, however, a man of many charities, and in giving assistance to his friends has often embarrassed himself in a financial way. A faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church, Mr. Rees has been liberal in supporting its movements, and, being a modest, unassuming and unostentations man, the extent of his charities will probably never be known. Fraternally he is popular with the members of the Masons, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Odd Fellows and the Tribe of Ben Hur, to all of which he belongs. During President Cleveland's first administration Mr. Rees was appointed postmaster at Belknap, and again, on August 1, 1902, he received the appointment to that position, serving therein until April 15, 1911.

In 1885 Mr. Rees was married to Miss Ella Hartman, of Chester, Illinois, daughter of Tobias and Mary A. Hartman, the former of whom is now deceased, while the latter resides in Washington, D. C., and six children have been born to this union, namely: Walter A., a Methodist minister at Gillette, Arkansas, who is married and has a son, William; Guy H., a barber by trade, and now an attendant at the hospital at Kankakee; Mrs. Blanche Carter, who has one child, Glen; Theodore, a carpenter by trade, who resides at Gillette, Arkansas; and Edith and Helen, who reside at home with their parents.

Extracted from A History of Southern Illinois, 1912, Volume 2, page 736-737

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