J. H. REEL, Miller, Mound City, is one of the enterprising business men who have come from Indiana and have thrown their fortunes in with that of Mound City, where their influence in the development of business has been felt. He was born January 31, 1838, in Reelsville, Putnam Co., Ind. His father, John Reel, born in 1793, was a native of Botetourt County, Va. He was also a miller by occupation. In early life he had lived in Ohio, and from there he went to Reelsville, Ind., which place was named in his honor, as he was one of the first settlers and a very prominent man, representing his county in the Legislature for two terms, and serving as Magistrate till his death, which occurred July 2, 1858. He was also a soldier in the war of 1812. The mother of our subject was Sarah Beason, born in 1794, in North Carolina. She died in September, 1859, in Reelsville, Ind. She was the mother of eight children, of whom six are now living — Daniel M., who runs the old water mill in Reelsville, which was built by his father; John A., a farmer in Iowa; Martha Wilson, Jane Hendricks, Elizabeth Athey and Joseph H., our subject, who received a common school education in the subscription schools in and around Reelsville. He learned his trade with his father. In 1868, he worked for the Sioux City & Pacific Railroad Company, in Harrison County, Iowa, in the machine shop, till 1871, when he went to Brazil, Ind., where, for the first two years, he was engineer in charge of the La Fayette Iron Company, and then helped to construct the Brazil water-works, of which he was, after its completion, made chief engineer. In April, 1878, he came to Mound City, where he put in mill machinery in one of the Government buildings. He operated the mill till 1880, when it was totally destroyed by fire. Shortly afterward, he put in new machinery in another Government building, which had formerly been used as a machine shop, and continues to do business in that till the present time. The citizens of Mound City have honored the enterprise and integrity of our subject by twice electing him to the City Council. He is also a member of the United Workmen, Brazil Lodge, No. 65. In political affairs, he is independent. He was married, August 26, 1858, in Reelsville, Ind., to Mary McElroy, who was born September 3, 1836, in Ohio. She is a daughter of William and Martha (Charlott) McElroy, natives of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Reel is the mother of two children — Dow L., born July 9, 1859, and Addie M., born April 12, 1862. The latter and her mother are religiously connected with the Presbyterian Church.
Extracted 02 Nov 2014 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V - Biographical Sketches, pages 276-277.