Glimpse Of SBC’s Past: Edward Reid

The son of William and Maria (Cox) Reid, Edward Winfield Reid was born in Madison County, Illinois on December 16, 1852. Though his father was a farmer, young Edward acquired a fine education, earning his bachelor of arts and later his master’s degree from Shurtleff College in Southern Illinois in 1875. In 1878 he received his M.D. degree from St. Louis Medical College. For several years he prospered from his growing medical practice.
On November 18, 1876 Reid married Miss Mary Jane Rennick, who was born March 1, 1851 in St. Francis County , Missouri, the daughter of George W. and Priscilla (Barry) Rennick. She was also a graduate Shurtleff College of Illinois, having received her A. B. degree in 1876, The Reids had two daughters, Gertrude, born in St. Louis on January 13, 1878, and Eunice Reid, born in Illinois on October 29, 1880.
To find relief from chronic asthma, Edward Reid went westward, to California, in 1882. After investigating a number of places in which to dwell, he bought twenty acres on Hellman Avenue in Alta Loma. There was little development in the area, which was described at that time as a wilderness.
Possessed of enterprise and courage, Dr. Reid undertook major improvements to the property he owned, breaking new ground in that area and setting precedents. He cleared and planted much of his acreage with citrus, and subsequently bought and planted another twenty acres. When he located in Alta Loma, the Southern Pacific Railroad was the only transportation line available and the nearest station was at Ontario. He initiated the development along Hellman Avenue, which in later years became the major arterial in the Alta Loma district. In 1883 he built a small house on his property, where he and his family lived for eleven years. In 1894, he erected a grander home, which was both more commodious and attractive. He lived in this domicile for many years.
Reid was a key driver in the establishment of Alta Loma, and proved indefatigable in his efforts to secure and ensure reliable water rights accrued to local landowners.
Initially, he was a tried and true Democrat. A sound money man, in 1896, the same year William McKinley defeated William Jennings Bryan, he crossed the partisan divide to become a Republican. It was thus as a Republican that he was nominated and elected to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, representing the Second District, in 1902. He served from January 5, 1903 until his untimely death on September 2, 1912. He was chairman of the board from January 3, 1905 until January 3, 1911. He was credited with filling that office capably and efficiently.
A well- qualified and successful practitioner of medicine in Illinois, Reid appeared to have abandoned the profession once he relocated to California. His achievements in the private sector were primarily fundamental development of the citrus fruit growing potential in one of San Bernardino County’s prominent horticultural districts. Indeed, he was himself responsible in large measure for transforming Alta Loma into a prodigious agricultural community.
Beyond being an early grower of citrus, he explored the potential of exporting locally grown fruit nationally. He succeeded in organizing the first local packing house in the area, locating it next to a railway spur.
Having come to California primarily for the sake of his health, once in the Golden State he recovered remarkably and his vigor and freedom from the affliction of asthma allowed him to live usefully and enjoy his work and home In Alta Loma for nearly thirty years. His achievements, based upon ambition wisdom and good judgment, were of tremendous benefit to the community.
His daughter Gertrude was educated in several public and private schools and graduated with an A.B. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1902. She subsequently taught in the high schools of Whittier and Ontario.
Eunice was educated at the same schools as her sister, spent two years at Pomona College and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. She taught for two years in Santa Monica. On June 19, 1906, she was married to R.C. Owens. Mr. Owens was a native of New York State and a graduate of Pomona College and from Hastings Law School in San Francisco in 1902. He went on to become a prominent member of the bar in San Francisco.
Dr. Reid was a prominent member of a number of local lodges and of the Elks Lodge of Pomona. The Reids were active in the Baptist Church and in numerous civic and philanthropic undertakings.
His death in 1911 was a resounding blow to the community of Alta Loma and San Bernardino County.
Upon her father’s death, Gertrude returned to Alta Loma to assume the responsibilities of looking after the family’s property and she demonstrated acute business ability and efficiency in handling the forty-acre estate.

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