John Palmer Reese

Captain, Co. E

81st Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Biography from "History of Alexandria, Union and Pulaski Counties, Illinois," edited by William Henry perrin, originally published 1883, reprint 1987, 1990 by Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois, p. B 141.

Photo and biography submitted by Ralph Reese Miller, Jr.

Additional note from Ralph Reese Miller, Jr.:

Captain Reese served in the Battles of Champion Hill, Jackson, Raymond, and the Siege of Vicksburg before being captured at Brice Crossroads (Guntown).

 J. P. REESE, farmer, and fruit-grower, P.O. Cobdon, was born in Wilson County, Tenn., April 7, 1834 to William and Martha (Taylor) Reese. William and Martha Reese were both natives of Tennessee. William was born in 1796, and was the first white man and the first man born in the State of Tennessee. He died February 28, 1883. Martha was born 1803 and died in 1845 in Williamson County, Illinois. They both came to Illinois in 1839 and settled in Williamson County. William resided in this county until he was so old that he was almost helpless. He then came to live with J. P. Reese until he died. He was the cousin of President Polk, and as his parents of his early life, were wealthy, William was raised as a typical Southern gentleman. He spoke little of his early life but we know that before leaving Tennessee he was a Clerk of the Court and after he settled in Marion, Illinois, he was the Justice of the peace and Notary Public until he was too old to attend to business. For four years, his office was in the same room as Col. Bob Ingersoll. He was twice married. his first wife bore him two sons and one daughter, and his second wife, the mother of the subject had four sons and four daughters, all of whom are living at this time except one daughter. William was a man of strongly Southern principles, but was opposed to slavery. One of his oldest sons was in the Southern army, and was killed at Perryville. Four sons were in the Northern army and all came out but one. J. P. Reese received four flesh wounds. He was Captain of Company E, Eighty-first Illinois Volunteer Infantry after his first three months of service. He enlisted August 11, 1862, mustered out August 5, 1865. Except for three and one-half months, when he was a prisoner of war, he stayed with his company during his entire service. J. P. Reese was captured at Guntown, Mississippi, June 11, 1864 and was one of the officers put under fire from the Union troops at Charleston, S. C. After his exchange, September 25, 1864, he returned to his company. J. P. Reese never attended school but for nine months. He has had a family of his own and he did a great deal of reading and studying. His occupation has been that of farming which he started himself. After his mother's death, he worked on farms from place to place. On January 12, 1855, J. P. Reese married, in Union County, Miss A. T. O'Daniell, daughter of John and Betsie (Penrod) O'Daniell. Mr. O'Daniell, A. T.'s father, was born in Tennessee. His wife Betsie was born in Union County in 1816. She was probably the oldest person living in the County. Mr. and Mrs. John P. Reese have had nine children - Andrew Jackson, Willis A., Martha E., John O'Daniell "Zeb", Louisa Lincoln, Penrod, Pauline Josephine, Ann, and Belle. Willis A. is a lawyer by profession, but now at this time, is farming at home. When first married, he settled on his farm which contains 200 acres, one half in cultivation. Zeb is a telegraph operator. John Reese was engaged in general farming, but his fruit-raising received most of his attention and he was successful. He hauled the first load of wheat to Cobden, having to cut and blaze out a road. He was a charter member of Cobden Lodge, A. F. and A.M., and is a Republican in politics.

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