History

REID FAMILY HISTORY

In 1868, Dr. Thomas Neely Reid was born in Sharon Township of Mecklenburg County, the son of Eliza Alexander and Hugh Kirkpatrick Reid. He attended Davidson College and was a member of the first class of the North Carolina Medical College of Charlotte. He also studied at the University of Virginia Medical School and received his degree from the University of the City of New York in January, 1891.

In 1889, as part of his medical education, he came to Matthews to study under Dr. James Sylvanus Bell. Dr. Bell fell ill and died in 1890 at the age of 31. Ellen Reid, no relation to Dr. Thomas Reid, was born in 1867, the daughter of Soloman Reid, a prominent political figure, and Mary Grier Reid. She married Dr. James Bell on 1886 and his untimely death in 1890 left her a young widow. Dr. Reid continued to practice in Matthews and later married Dr. Bell's widow Ellen on December 13, 1893. Reid was a rather common name in Mecklenburg County at the time. However, the Reid family from Sharon Township was no relation to the Reid family from Matthews.

Ellen Bell Reid had two daughters from her first marriage to Dr. Bell when she married Dr. Reid in 1893, Mary, who later married James Adderton of Lexington, and Jessie, who lived to 19 years of age. In addition to raising Mary and Jessie, two more daughters were born and raised in the house, Lida Ellen Reid (1894 - 1958) and Nancy Alexander Reid (1898 - 1986). Lida was a graduate of Flora MacDonald College and a talented musician, winning the North Carolina Woman's Club award for Musical Composition. She married Nash Spencer Cochran, who was the first cashier at the Bank of Matthews. Ellen Reid died in 1917, so the Cochran's lived at the Reid House, where Lida kept house for her father Dr. Reid and gave music lessons. For more than forty years she was the organist at the Matthews Presbyterian Church.

Nancy Alexander Reid was born January 9, 1898 and lived in the house until her death January 25, 1986. She was also educated at Flora MacDonald College, Salem College, William & Mary College, and UNC Chapel Hill. She was a teacher in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System, retiring after a twenty-eight year career. The house was lovingly cared for by Nancy until her death in 1986.

For over fifty years, Dr. Reid practiced medicine from the Queen Anne house and the Matthews Drug Company, located at the corner of Trade and John Streets. As a physician, he covered a wide area than encompassed parts of Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus Counties and parts of South Carolina, originally with a horse and buggy. As reported by Louise Matthews "when the automobile made its advent, he was one of the first in the county to purchase an International Harvester - Runabout. Older residents of the town recall when the sound of his auto was heard children and chickens scattered and disgruntled farmers had to dismount from their wagons to hold the bridles of their frightened horses". Dr. Reid's death in 1946 signified the end of an era when doctors were more than physicians; they also had the role of trusted friends and counselors. Louise Matthews also remembers "Possibly the busiest time of his long career occurred during World War I when the extremely cold weather and disastrous flu epidemic caused widespread suffering. Often he would come home at daybreak after ministering to patients all night, exhausted and with his moustache frozen. Many entire families were stricken. In such cases he built up the fires, fed and watered the stock and even cut wood before leaving. With only skimpy hospital facilities available in nearby Charlotte, his services were demanded at the old Camp Greene where many of the thousands of recruits in training for oversees duty fell victim to the dreaded influenza".

Ed. Note: Remembrances from Louise Matthews, undated typescript, "A Charming Reminder of a Gracious Era: Matthews Loves the Victorian Home of the Old Doctor".


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