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Norman Bruce Ream
(1844-1915)

 
Norman B. Ream, in Civil War years and later as a businessman

 

Norman Bruce Ream was born in 1844 in a small log cabin in Ursina, Somerset County, PA, the son of Levi and Hila (King) Ream.

Having grown into adolescence as a farmer, at the age of 14, Norman took a class at a local "Normal Institute," devoted to educating teachers, and then pursued teaching. As a young man, he stood 6 feet, 2 inches tall. Just before the Civil War, he apparently became a store clerk in Harnedsville, near Somerset, and began a fledgling ambrotype photography business.

 

Surgeon's sketch of Norman's first wound,
in the right thigh.
National Archives

After the outbreak of the Civil War, Norman went to see his parents and advised them of his intent to enlist. "They were as patriotic as he," said Alfred Theodore Andreas' book History of Chicago, and "gave their consent and blessing." With their support secured, Norman and his cousin Ross R. Sanner enlisted at nearby Somerfield, Somerset County, and then walked a 29-mile distance from Ursina to Uniontown, PA to be formally mustered into the Army. On or about Aug. 15, 1862, they were assigned to the 85th Pennsylvania Infantry. (Many of our MMMM and Younkin also cousins served in the 85th Pennsylvania regiment -- among them John Devan, Simon Firestone, James Frederick Imel, Jerome B. Jennings, Isaac F. Minerd, James Minerd Jr., William Minerd, James Rowan, Leonard H. Rowan, John Irving White, Harrison K. Younkin, Jacob M. Younkin and John X. Younkin.)

Norman served as an orderly under Gen. Joshua Howell and twice was brevetted for bravery on the field of battle. In action at White Marsh GA, on Feb. 22, 1864, he was shot in the right thigh, with the enemy bullet lodging in the pelvic bone. He claimed that that the minie ball had hit him in the groin, entering the right side of the abdomen, with the bullet removed from the left side. After a period of recovery, he rejoined his regiment, but he later said that "the effect of the said wound is to weaken my right leg and to impede my walking."

He was with the 85th Pennsylvania at Bermuda Hundred, VA and re-enlisted on June 15, 1864. Two days later, at Weir Bottom Church, on June 17, 1864, during the Battle of the Wilderness, he was wounded behind the right knee, "the ball passing through the back part of the leg." Cousin Sanner carried him on his shoulders for the distance of a mile before arriving at a safe place. Sanner later that day was wounded in the same fight. He was transported to Fortress Monroe, VA, where he was admitted to Chesapeake Hospital for treatment.

Once the second wound healed sufficiently, he received a furlough to return home before receiving orders to rejoin the regiment. After arriving back in the army, he then requested an honorable discharge based on his disability, and following an examination, 85th Pennsylvania surgeon Dr. Samuel L. Kurtz granted the request on Aug. 31, 1864.

 

Norman's home at 1901 Prairie Avenue in Chicago, left, and the Rookery Building which he helped finance and where he maintained his office.

 

 

Book by Paul Ryscavage

Upon his return home, Norman filed an application to receive a military pension for his injuries, and it was granted. [Invalid App. #56.946 - Cert. #41.316]  He returned to his work at the Harnedsville store. In September 1866, Norman left western Pennsylvania and made a long trip to Princeton, IL. There, he went to work as a general store clerk, and seeing the potential, bought out the owner after just a few weeks.

But 10 months later, the store burned, with him "losing nearly everything," said the History of Chicago. He relocated again to Osceola, Clarke County, IA, about 100 miles southwest of Chicago, and may have encouraged his widowed father and brother Cleon to join him there, as the father sold the family farm and made the voyage in 1868. Other Somerset Countians known to have lived in or near Osceola in the 19th century were Civil War veteran Samuel Freeman Younkin and Moses Younkin of the family of Col. John C. Younkin as well as kinsman John Adam Gaumer of the family of John Gaumer. In Osceola, he worked in the grain and agricultural tool business, but when a season of poor crops in 1870 caused his debtors to default on what they owed him, he was forced to suspend his business.

The following year, in 1871, Norman pushed into the city of Chicago, where he began to make a living as a merchant in livestock and grain in partnership with a Mr. Coffman, dealing in livestock and then into commodities. Circa 1883, he is known to have sold in one day a half million bushels of wheat in Chicago, and due to the economics of the time, the move led to a price drop of three-quarters of a cent, which in essence allowed him to manipulate the market. As well, "He was one of the pioneers in the organization of the steel industry and was active in bringing together the various western steel plants which formed the Federal Steel Company," reported the Connellsville Daily Courier. "When this was absorbed by the United States Steel Corporation in 1901, Mr. Ream became a director of the corporation and has since served as a member of its finance committee, making his offices in this city and his home in Woodstock, Conn. Meantime he had acquired large real estate interests in Chicago and has since maintained an active interest in financial affairs in that city." In November 1884, Norman returned to his home region and stayed in the county seat of Somerset as the guest of A.J. Colborn.

 

Chicago landmarks which Norman helped build through his work. Above: the Armour Meats plant, where he helped founder P.D. Armour corner the market in pork in 1883. Below, the Marshall Field Museum of Natural History. Photo by Mario Scacheri, A. Lenke Studio.

 

At the age of 31, on Feb. 17, 1876, Norman married 23-year-old Caroline "Carrie" Thompson Putnam (1852-1924), daughter of Dr. John and Elizabeth Putnam. The nuptials took place in Madison, NY. They went on to produce nine children -- Marion Buckingham Stephens Vonsiatsky, Frances M. Kemmerer, Bruce P. Ream, Norman Putnam Ream, Robert Clarke Ream, Edward King Ream, Katherine Ream, Louis Marshall Ream and Henry K. Ream. Sadly, three of the children did not survive childhood. Son Bruce, born in September 1879, died at age seven month of acuge pulmonary congestion on April 27, 1880 -- daughter Katherine, born Feb. 1, 1886, succumbed at the age of just five months on July 5, 1886 -- and son Henry K. Ream, born in April 1890, was swept away by scarlet fever at the age of 27 months on July 22, 1892.

In Chicago from 1888 to 1908, the Reams made their home in a three-story brownstone, with 20 rooms, next to and north of the home of department store magnate Marshall Field. Then in about 1908, the family relocated to New York City.

 

Norman B. Ream with fellow board directors of United States Steel: Richard Lindaburg, Percival Roberts and Elbert H. Gary. Library of Congress

 

In addition to U.S. Steel, Norman served on the board of directors of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the Pullman Company, National Biscuit Co. (Nabisco) and the Equitable Life Assurance Society, among many others. At his funeral, President Lincoln's son Robert served as a pallbearer. During his business heyday, Norman frequently rode the B&O Railroad, "often along Laurel Hill Creek through Ursina and past the [Ream] cemetery," said the Somerset (PA) Daily American.

The railroad tracks are located on a hill directly across from the cemetery. Ream decided that when he passed the cemetery, he wanted to be able to see his descendants at rest, so he had all the timber cut away. He then had a retaining wall built at the river bank and a stone wall built to enclose the cemetery.

 

      

Above, some of Norman's Chicago friends and business associates who were giants of their eras -- L-R: Marshall Field, Cyrus McCormick, Philip D. Armour. Below, other friends, L-R: Robert Todd Lincoln, P.A.B. Widener, Charles Schwab. Library of Congress
      

 

Norman was very sentimental about his home village of Ursina. Circa 1888, a story published widely in the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, Wilmington (NC) Messenger, Topeka (KS) Daily Capital and Abilene (TX) Reporter, among others, Norman said to have been "born in a small log cabin, which is still standing in the village of Ursina, Pa. He occasionally visits it, and it is an object of great interest to him." Then in September 1909, he returned to Connellsville, PA for the 37th annual reunion of his former Civil War regiment and stayed for several days to tour familiar old grounds. Reporters used the opportunity to ask him about the coke and steel business. He responded by saying, "I am fighting over the battles I went through in my youth and for the present coke or steel does not bother me. I came here to attend the reunion and am enjoying it immensely." After attending services at the Baptist church [in Confluence?], said the Uniontown Morning Herald, he remarked that he wanted to pay for a new building for the church, saying "Go ahead and build the kind of church you want and when the job is done send me the bill." Added the Morning Herald, "Mr. Ream did not hold the congregation down to any particular figures, giving them the liberty of erecting a church every way suitable.... There was great rejoicing among the members and Mr. Ream was made to promise that he would come to Confluence when the structure is ready for dedication." On the same trip, he visited the town of Addison, held a reception in the store of his old friend Mr. Ross, and dined at the Rush Hotel. In 1914, Norman sent a $1,000 check to a relief fund in Ursina when properties were badly damaged in a windstorm.

 

The Reams' mansion in Thompson, CT, known as Carolyn Hall, later the home of Marianapolis College. Below: gardens and lodge on the estate's grounds.

 

He passed away following surgery for appendicitis in New York City on Feb. 9, 1915. His remains were placed into repose in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. [Find-a-Grave]

At death, newspapers estimated his worth between $50 million and $75 million and guessed that he was among the 25 richest men in the nation. Caroline received an inheritance of $40 million. In April 1916, a lengthy profile of Norman was published in the Genealogical and Biographical Record, contributed by Clarence Winthrop Bowen, Ph.D.

For another decade, Marion made her home as a widow in Thompson, CT. She succumbed at the age of 72 on Dec. 12, 1924. Interment was with her husband in the Ream family plot in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

 

~ Daughter Marion Buckingham (Ream) Stephens Vonsiatsky ~

 

Marion and Anastase aboard the President Van Buren, 1934, en route from San Francisco to Manchuria.

 

 

Count Vonsiatsky

Daughter Marion Buckingham Ream (1877-1963) was born on Jan. 9, 1877 in Chicago, the first of the Reams' nine children. She was well-educated, having graduated from Holman-Dickerman School in Chicago and in 1899 from Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia, with a degree in German and French.

Marion was twice married. Her first spouse was Redmond Davis Stephens (May 30, 1874-1931), son of R.D. and Louisa (Brier) Stephens of Marion, IA. Redmond was a lawyer whom newspapers called "a wealthy Chicago clubman." They were wed on Feb. 18, 1903, when she was 25 years of age. The couple dwelled in 1907 at 90 Astor Street and in 1913 at 1365 Astor Street. A graduate of Harvard (1896) and Northwestern University (1899), he practiced law with the firm of Scott, Bancroft, Martin & Stephens, with offices in Chicago. During World War I, he served as a captain in the U.S. Army, and afterward served on the War Department Claims Board. At some point he was a board director of the Glenwood Manual Training School.

During her first marriage, Marion was active in the community and had an entry in the 1914 edition of Women's Who's Who in America. She served on the Woman's Board of Chicago Hospital, the Home for Destitute Crippled Children in Chicago, the Convalescent Home for Destitute Crippled Children at Prince's Crossing, IL, the Auxiliary Board of children's Memorial Hospital and the Woman's Athletic Club. Also a member of numerous clubs, she belonged to the Service Club, Anti-Cruelty Society, Woman Suffrage League of Illinois, Fortnightly Club of Chicago, Woman's Athletic Club, Bryn Mawr Club of Chicago and Chicago College Club.

 

Russian Bear brochure

But the marriage was troubled, and, reported biographer John J. Stephan, “Quietly but firmly independent, Marion showed little inclination to play demure spouse, fertile mother, and perennial hostess – all expected of a woman of her economic and social station. Marion had her own ideas about how life should be lived.”

Redmond had an affair with a woman named “Priscilla,” and the Stephenses divorced in Chicago in March 1918. In his complaint, said the Hartford Courant, Redmond said that she "wanted to travel all the time; wanted to come and go, she said, as she pleased, and wanted to be free."

Deeply moved by the suffering in Europe during World War I, Marion went to Paris where she provided relief work services. There, she met 23-year-old Polish immigrant Count Anastase Andreyevitch "V.V." Vonsiatsky (June 12, 1898-1965) who was almost half her age. Born in Warsaw when it was under Russian control, Anastase served in an anti-Bolshevik army of “White” Russians, fighting in eastern Ukraine under the command of Gen. Anton Denikin. He claimed that he and others in his unit had massacred 500 prisoners at Rostov, and that he had been wounded in the abdomen by a gunshot. For the rest of his life, Anastase was devoted to the overthrow of the Soviet Union and its dictator, Josef Stalin.

 

Returning to the United States, at the age of 45, Marion was wedded to her Russian beau. The nuptials were held on Feb. 1, 1922 in the St. Nicholas Greek-Russian Cathedral in New York. Working through her family contacts, she arranged for Anastase to obtain a temporary job in the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, with the press having a field day with the controversy. Further controversy came to light when a woman in Paris came forward claiming to be the Count's legal wife, but he told news reporters that the "marriage was not legal."

 

Book about the
Count's activities

Marion and Anastase eventually made their home in Thompson and Pomfret, CT. He used Thompson as his home base for years while traveling the world enlisting support for his political cause. In Paris circa 1927-1928, he joined the Brotherhood of Russian Truth and then in 1933, in partnership with Donat Yosifovich Kunle, they formed the All Russian Fascist Organization, or “VFO” for short in Russian. To spread his propaganda, he began publishing the Fashist newspaper, and he set up a local restaurant known as the “19th Hole” as his closet headquarters.

In 1932, when a press photograph showed him playing golf with Prince Theodore Romanoff, son of Grand Duke Alexander of Russia, he was billed as "head of the American Branch of the Fund for the Liberation of Russia." In staged photographs for newspapers, Anastase wore a type of swastika, claiming it was not the German Nazi type but rather pre-Hitler in vintage and white-on-blue in color.

The U.S. government became suspicious of his activities, and certain informants claimed that Anastase knew and met with Adolf Hitler, Herman Goering and Rudolf Hess during a trip to Berlin. One source, biographer John J. Stephan, states that at least 20 investigations were opened in the 1930s and early ‘40s. Most of these came to the conclusion that he was of no significance and simply “deranged” and a “nuisance.” Stephan reports that friends and enemies alike used words such as “…erratic, outlandish, megalomaniac, and obsessed.” However, a hard-charging prosecutor, Thomas J. Dodd, who later became a U.S. senator, and seemed to relish the opportunity to gain the limelight using as his weapon the Voorhis Act, which required that certain organizations controlled by foreign powers be officially registered with the federal government. Dodd pressed the matter and compiled a persuasive case which led to Anastase’s arrest, conviction and three years and seven months in prison.

Over the years, Anastase’s story was told in other newspapers and books, among them The Russian Fascists: Tragedy and Farce in Exile, 1925-1945 (John J. Stephan, 1978); Protective Shirts (N.N. Grozin, 1939); the newspapers Russky Avangard and The Hour; Sabotage! The Secret War Against America (Albert E. Kahn and Michael Sayers, 1942); The Inside Story of Spies in America (Alan Hynd, 1943); Under Cover (Arthur Derounian, 1943); Presidential Agent (Upton Sinclair, 1944); the autobiography Rasplata (1960); The Battle Against Disloyalty (Nathaniel Weyl, 1951); The Game of the Foxes (Ladislas Farago, 1971); Father Coughlin (Sheldon Marcus, 1973); and Undercover Tales of World War II (William B. Breuer, 2000). Articles were written by such giants as Walter Winchell in Liberty Magazine (Aug. 1, 1942), among others.

 

Nemesis Thomas Dodd

Even Marion was dragged into the publicity. Imagine the irony when the Pittsburgh Press, the daily metropolitan newspaper of the home region of her father, printed a photo story headlined “Revolt Against Russia! U.S. Heiress Devotes Fortune to Husband’s Anti-Soviet Party” (May 21, 1937).

During the years of Anastase’s imprisonment, Marion remained loyal, even when the government froze her bank accounts. She lost much of her hearing in the 1930s which kept her from knowing a lot of when on around her. Even after his release from jail in February 1946, when he returned to their Connecticut home, only to take a mistress and produce a son out of wedlock in 1950, she stuck by his side. She is known to have paid him an annual allowance of $25,000, of which he was allowed to spend 40 percent on his hobby of anti-Soviet work. Some sources state that the couple divorced in 1952, but others state that the marriage stayed intact, despite all.

In the 1960s, Marion resided on her Quinnatisset Farm along Route 21 in Thompson.

Sadly, at the age of 87, she died in her winter home in Tucson, AZ on Nov. 11, 1963. An obituary in the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson called her "a patron of the arts" who "long had been active in the support of the Tucson Symphony, the Opera Guild and the Saturday Morning Musical Club. For the last seven or eight years she offered her home at 250 Cottonwood Blvd. for the piano recitals of Robert O'Connor and many other Tucson artists." A public auction of the contents of her Connecticut home was held on April 24-25, 1964, by order of the Chemical Bank of New York Trust Company.

The Count outlived his bride by only two years. He was stricken with a heart attack and died in St. Petersburg, FL on Feb. 7, 1965.

Marion's first husband, Redmond Stephens, remained single for six years and then was wedded a second time, on May 20, 1924, to Edna Davis Moore ( ? - ? ). He was named in the Des Moines (IA) Register among the "Notable Sons of Iowa." He spent the final years of his legal career in San Mateo and San Francisco, CA.

 

Above: the Count (right) plays golf in Los Angeles in January 1932 with Prince Theodore Romanoff, son of Grand Duke Alexander of Russia and a cousin of Russia's last czar. Below: the Count (right) entertaining Romanoff at the Russian Bear.

 

~ Daughter Frances Mott (Ream) Kemmerer ~

Daughter Frances Mott Ream (1877-1943) was born on Jan. 15, 1878 in Connecticut.

At the age of 29, on June 9, 1906, she was united in wedlock with John Leisenring Kemmerer ( ? -1944), son of Mahlon S. and Annie (Leisenring) Kemmerer, the father a pioneering coal operator in Wyoming and president and director of Mauch Chunk National Bank in Carbon County, PA. News of the union -- held in the Ream home in Thompson -- was published in the Chicago Inter Ocean and Chicago Tribune. The wedding was held at the Reams' summer home in Thompson, CT, and the couple began married life in Scranton, PA.

Their four children were Frances Carolyn Kemmerer, John L. Kemmerer Jr., Mahlon Sistie Kemmerer II and Marion Kemmerer. Sadness blanketed the family when eldest daughter Frances passed away on Feb. 22, 1909, with burial in Mauch Chunk.

 

Above: Kemmerer, Wyoming, early 1900s. Below: Kemmerer Coal Co. mine #2 in Wyoming, published by City Drug Store.

 

John was known as a coal operator in Virginia and Pennsylvania, and by 1935 was chairman of Kemmerer Coal Company of Kemmerer, WY. He also was chairman of the boards of Whitney & Kemmerer, the New York Kemmerer Coal Company and the First National Bank of Kemmerer, the First National Bank of Norton, VA and the Titan Hotel Manufacturing Company of Bellefonte, PA. He also was a director of the American Reinsurance Company, Newmont Mining Corporation and West Virginia Coal and Coke Corporation.

In 1913, the Kemmerers moved to a new home in Short Hills, NJ, where they remained for good. John had a magnificent private library, for which he employed as curator Janet Lewis, whose clients included Elbert Gary of U.S. Steel, Whitelaw Reid and others.

The Kemmerers owned a summer home at Hatchery in Penn Forest, where they regularly vacationed. Circa 1932, they owned a 38-foot cabin cruiser, and avoided a sinking when the cruiser strick wreckage about eight miles offshore of Manasquan.

Frances, who was considered "socially-prominent," died in their home at the age of 66 on April 27, 1943. Reported the Mauch Chunk Times-News, she was "kind and considerate, [and] won the respect and affection of all her associates." Interment was in Short Hills.

John only survived his wife by less than a year. He passed into eternity on March 3, 1944. Word of his demise was sent to his lifelong friend Sally Herpel, of Mauch Chunk, whose father had been a coachman for the Kemmerer, Leisenring and Wertz families for 62 years. Said the Times-News, " children's playground, a memorial to the Kemmerer name, now occupies the site of the family's once beautiful home and grounds."

Son John Leisenring Kemmerer Jr. (1911- ? ) was born in the summer of 1911. He graduated from Princeton University and the University of Utah. He served as a captain with the U.S. Army in Atlanta during World War II. On Sept. 29, 1939, John married Mary Elizabeth Halbach, daughter of Ernest K. and Elizabeth H. (Stafford) Halbach. They resided in Short Hills, NJ and produced three children. For some years he served as an inspector for American Re-Insurance Company, "and in that capacity passed on the safety of mines in every producing area in the United States," said the Kingsport (TN) Times-News. In August 1951, at the death of G.C. McCall, he was elected president of the First National Bank of Norton, VA, a position which his father and grandfather had held before him. In reporting on the election, the Times-News said he was "active in civic affairs and a member of the Episcopal Church, [and] has many other interests in Southwest Virginia. he is president of the New York Mining & Manufacturing Co., vice president of the Wise Coal & Coke Co., vice president of the Kemmerer Gen Coal Co. of St. Charles, a director of the Virginia Coal & Iron Co., and also a director of the National Coal Association." He also was president of Kemmerer coal Company and a director of First National Bank. The Times-News noted that "in immediate Southwest Virginia, his companies have extensive holdings of coal lands in Wise, Dickenson, Lee and Buchanan Counties, in Virginia, and also extensive holdings in Kentucky."

Son Mahlon Sistie Kemmerer II (1913- ? ) was born in February 1913. He received a bachelor's degree in geology from Princeton University in 1934, and when he enrolled at the University of Utah in September 1934, to pursue a mster's degree in mining engineering, he flew there in his red Waco monoplane. On one outing with a young lady in October 1934, his aircraft burst into flames, and he somehow force-landed the plan in Wendover, UT. He became a geologist and in 1935 was employed at Grass Valley, CA. On Sept. 12, 1936, Mahlon was united in holy wedlock with Colette " Noel" Fitch, daughter of Cecil Fitch of Eureka, UT, who owned and operated silver-lead mines in and around Tintic, UT. Their ceremony was held at St. Patrick's Church, officiated by Rev. Elliot Reardon. During World War II, he was a flyer with American Export Line.

Daughter Marion Kemmerer (1914- ? ) was born in 1914. She married Alex Earle Green ( ? - ? ). In 1943, their home was in Denver.

 

~ Son Norman Putnam Ream ~

Son Norman Putnam Ream (1881-1964) was born in May 1881.

He graduated from Michigan Military Academy in 1902 and then went on to study at Packard's Business College in New York. By 1905, he was employed Trust Company of New York. Circa 1915, he is believed to have enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving with the Squadron A Cavalry in New York City. He lived in Chicago in 1916 and in New York City in 1918-1924.

The Chicago Tribune announced in March 1916 that Norman had been engaged to Mary Green (July 9, 1881-1975), daughter of Adolphus W. Green, of Greenwich, CT and New York City, who was president of National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) which Norman's father had helped to create. The wedding was held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, with Rev. Fr. Fitzgerald, of the St. Vincent Ferrer Church, officiating. The New York Sun reported that "The bride, who walked to the temporary altar with her father, wore a costume of white satin and net made with a long court train. She wore also a veil of tulle and carried a bouquet of lilies of the valley and white orchids. Robert C. Ream was his brother's best man." The couple honeymooned in California and Japan.

Norman served in the New York Division of the National Guard and was named in 1916 news story about activity in Squadron A. In 1920, Mary served as a director of the New York Exchange for Women's Work. Circa 1940, Norman resided in Greenwich, CT and paid a visit to his aged uncle and aunt, Cleon and Isabelle Ream, in Illinois, as noted in the Bloomington (IL) Pantagraph.

Norman died in Greenwich on June 12, 1964. His remains were interred in the Ream family plot in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York. [Find-a-Grave

Mary survived for another 11 years. She succumbed on March 7, 1975.

 

~ Son Robert Clarke Ream ~

Son Robert Clarke Ream (1882-1957) was born on Aug. 31, 1882 in Chicago. He was a 1904 graduate of Princeton University.

On Oct. 24, 1907, when he was 25 years of age, he married Priscilla "Mabel" Wrightson ( ? - ? ) of England, daughter of a Presbyterian clergyman. The news of their union, held at the English country estate of her family, at Ockenden Hall, Cuckfield, Sussex, was printed in newspapers in his hometown of Chicago. Robert's sister and brother in law, Marion and Redmond Stephens, traveled to England to attend the nuptials.

The Reams produced three known sons, Robert Bruce Ream (born in December 1908) ), Henry Putnam Ream (1914) and John Wrightson Ream (1919).

Robert made his home in 1918-1924 in New York City and served as personal secretary and assistant to his father.

Heartbreak blanketed the family on March 13, 1922 when 13-year-old son Robert, a student in Pomfret School in Connecticut, died of pneumonia in a local hospital. In his memory, a stained glass window was dedicated in the Pomfred School chapel.

Among others, Robert served on the board of directors of the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway, a line which ran through the Blue Ridge Mountains to points south, and the Texas and Pacific Coal and Oil Company. He also founded an insurance firm, Ream, Wrightson & Company, was president of the American Re-Insurance Company, organized in 1917, and in 1930 he was elected to the board of the Seaboard Air Line Railway.

Circa 1920, Mabel served as a director of the New York Exchange for Women's Work, and in 1961 was pictured in the Hartford Courant as president of the national organization.

Robert is believed to have died on June 2, 1957.

Son Robert Bruce Ream (1908- ? ) was born in December 1908.

Son Henry Putnam Ream (1914- ? ) was born in 1914.

Son John Wrightson Ream (1919- ? ) was born on Sept. 26, 1919. He married Barbara Borden ( ? - ? ). Their three known children were Peter W. Ream, Robert c. Ream and Glentworth B. Ream.

~ Son Edward King Ream ~

Son Edward King Ream (1884-1946) was born on Sept. 28, 1884 in Chicago. At the age of eight, in October 1890, with help from the groom's young sister Florence, he served as a bridal attendant and scatterer of roses in the wedding of Albertina Huck and Marshall Field Jr., the only son of the great Chicago merchandising giant Marshall Field.

He graduated from Princeton University in 1905. Edward dwelled in Louisville, KY in 1909-1918, where he was a coal merchant.

On July 27, 1909, in Jeffersonville, KY, he was joined in matrimony with 30-year-old divorcee Ellen Morton "Nellie" (Speed) Armstrong (June 24, 1879-1957), with magistrate James S. Kelgwin officiating. Nellie was the daughter of coal merchant James Speed Jr., granddaughter of President Lincoln's attorney general James Speed Sr., and a registered nurse who resided in Dorchester, VA. The couple asked the circuit clerk to keep the marriage a secret, and the news did not become public until December 1909.

The Reams were the parents of Mrs. H.D. Mitchell, Mrs. George S. Wanders, Belle Quigley Kitchen and Bethel Veech Ream.

Circa 1916, the Reams lived in Johnstown, Cambria County, PA. Their home in 1924 was in Buechel, KY, and Edward was named that year in the obituary of his mother. They moved to Versailles, Woodford County, KY in about 1930 and lived at 168 High Street. In 1933, unhappy with how his brothers Norman and Robert were managing the estate of their late parents, Edward filed a legal claim against the men and the New York Trust Company, with the suit filed in Louisville, KY. A story in the Louisville Courier Journal in May 1934 noted that he assigned his inheritance to the National Iron Bank of Pottstown, PA, then the issued $650,000 worth of bonds on himself, "and afteward went into bankruptcy. Later, the trustees made the claim the assignment was invalid and brought the action to require payment to them of the estate income accruing to Ream."

Edward and Nellie moved to a new home circa 1946 -- in a hotel in Frankfort, KY -- "due to the housing shortage in Versailles," reported the Cincinnati Enquirer.

On Sept. 30, 1946, he suffered a fatal heart attack at the hotel. A funeral mass was held at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Frankfort, with burial in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Jefferson County. [Find-a-Grave]

Nell outlived her husband by 11 years. She died on Aug. 8, 1957, with burial beside her husband.

Stepdaughter Frazier Morton Armstrong (1902-1945) was born on Oct. 8, 1902 in Louisville, Jefferson County, KY. She married (?) Hill and possibly also George S. Wanless (1903-1945). She produced one son, Morton Hill. Sadly, Frazier died at the age of 43 on March 29, 1945. An obituary in the Louisville Courier Journal noted that her death took place in the Norton Infirmary. Interment was in Cave Hill Cemetery.

Daughter Belle Quigley Ream (1915-2000) was born on Feb. 8, 1915 in or near Johnstown, Cambria County, PA. When she was 22 years of age, she wed Wilbur "Edgar" Kitchen (March 27, 1914-1975) on June 12, 1937, with the ceremony taking place in Woodford, KY. His parents were John Lafayette and Mary Louretta (Horton) Kitchen. The couple produced one known daughter, Frances Ream Dishman. Edgar was employed as a state revenue agent for the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board circa 1940. Then in 1946-1950 he served as Representative of the 48th District, covering Woodford and Jessamine Counties. They also raised thoroughbred horses. Edgar died in Versailles on Dec. 10, 1975, with an obituary appearing in the Louisville Courier Journal. Belle lived for another 25 years, and passed away in Versailles, Woodford County on Oct. 14, 2000. She rests in Versailles Cemetery in Versailles, KY. [Find-a-Grave] Their daughter Frances attended Centre College and married William McGeorge Dishman Jr. ( ? - ? ), son of William M. Dishman of Danville, KY, a student at the University of Kentucky School of Law.

Son Bethel Veech Ream (1918-1968) was born in February 1918. He was a graduate of the University of Kentucky and studied at the Columbia University School of Journalism. Bethel was wedded to Nancy Sherwood Seaton ( ? - ? ), daughter of Kendall Seaton of Ashland, KY, in about 1948. Nancy was a Smith College graduate who spent about 18 months working for the Army Intelligence Service in Washington, DC before taking a new position in the office of the president of the University of Chicago. Circa 1947, reported the Woodford (KY) Sun, he visited his sister Belle while traveling from Chicago to Mexico City. Circa 1966, his home was in Chicago. Bethel died at the age of 50 in 1968.

 

~ Son Louis Marshall Ream ~

 

Book about the doomed
Ream-Davidson marriage

Son Louis Marshall Ream (1887- ? ) was born on July 7, 1887 in Chicago.

He graduated from Princeton University in 1908 and then went to work as an assistant secretary for the New York Trust Company. In 1911, he met a pretty stage actress, 23-year-old Eleanor P. Davidson ( ? - ? ), while at the Chateau des Beau Arts in Huntington, Long Island. Using the stage name "Eleanor Pendleton," she was known for performances with Elsie Janis in The Slim Princess and also appeared in The Hoyden, The Fair Co-ed and The Bachelor Belles. They married in early September 1911, but his father did not approve of the match, and threatened to dis-inherit the son. Louis left his wife after just five days and later divorced. Eleanor reputedly received a settlement of $210,000.

Reported the New York Times, Louis and his father are "said to have become reconciled ... before his death" in 1915. In 1916, Louis' home was in Worcester, NY.

Then on June 1, 1918, he wedded his second bride, Mary S. Weaver ( ? - ? ), daughter of Charles S. Weaver of Putnam Heights and Thompson, CT. The nuptials were held in the Congregational Church in Thompson, performed by Rev. William B. Chase and Rev. Theodore Manning Hodgdon. At the time, he served as an aviator in the U.S. Navy. After a honeymoon, the Reams made their home in Chevy Chase, MD at 5 West Melrose Street.

The couple produced two children -- Mary Louise Ream and Louis Marshall Ream Jr.

Later, he became a vice president for American Steel and Wire Company in Rhode Island.

He married for a third time, to Marion Mason ( ? - ? ). In 2014, Eleanor's story of her effort to receive a financial settlement, "that triggered sensational headlines and a high-stakes courtroom battle," was told in H. Thomas Howell's book Eleanor's Pursuit (Archway Publishing). Circa 1950, Louis is believed to have written a manuscript history, entitled The Ream Family.

Daughter Mary Louise Ream (1919- ? ) was born on March 16, 1919. She was wedded to J.T. Dayton ( ? - ? ). They made their home in 1994 in New York City.

Son Louis Marshall Ream Jr. (1921-1994) was born on Aug. 26, 1921 in Thompson, CT. He married Cornelia Porter ( ? - ? ) and had five offspring -- John Marshall Ream, Mark Thomas Ream, Bruce Clinton Ream, Scott Weaver Ream and Carolyn Priscilla McPheeters. During World War II, Louis served in the U.S. Army's chemical division in Hawaii. He received a chemical engineering degree at Princeton University and a master's of business administration from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He accepted employment with Atlantic Refining Company and rose to the position of executive vice president for research and development, overseeing the company's merger with Richfield to becoming ARCO. "During the early years of the merger," said the Hackettstown (NJ) Star-Gazette, "oil was discovered at Prudoe Bay, Alaska by the ARCO crew. When the company moved to California, Mr. Ream and his family purchased a ranch and this later became a vineyard, known as the Zaca Mesa Ranch and Winery. Mr. Ream was the chief executive officer and president of this business until his retirement in the late 1980s." They were members of the St. James Episcopal Church of Hackettstown, NJ, St. Philip in the Fields in Oreland, PA and St. Marks in the Valley in Los Olivas, CA. He spent his adult years in Budd Lake, Morris County, NJ. He died in Glenlora Nursing Home in Chester, NJ on Jan. 10, 1994 at the age of 73. Funeral sevices were private, with obituaries appearing in the Los Angeles Times and the Star-Gazette, noting that survivors included nine grandchildren. The family asked that any memorial donations be made to the Northern New Jersey Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.

  • Grandson John Marshall Ream was born in Philadelphia. He resided in Buellton, CA circa 1994.
  • Grandson Mark Thomas Ream was born in Philadelphia. He made his home in Buellton, CA.
  • Grandson Bruce Clinton Ream was born in Philadelphia. He dwelled in Cranston, RI. He appears to be interested in the Ream genealogy, and if so, we ask that he contact us privately.
  • Grandson Scott Weaver Ream was born in Philadelphia. He lived in Newton, NJ.
  • Granddaughter Carolyn Priscilla Ream was born in Philadelphia. He married (?) McPheeters. In 1994, her residence was in Beaufort, SC.

 

Copyright 2002, 2009, 2012, 2014-2017 Mark A. Miner

Civil War sketch of Norman Bruce Ream from the History of the Eighty-Fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry by Luther S. Dickey (New York: J.C. & W.E. Powers, 1915). Later N.B. Ream sketch from the History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties.