Parker McCobb Reed bears a name representing well known families on the lower Kennebec River, dating back to
its earliest settlement. Parker was derived from the John Parkers who were pioneers at the mouth of the river,
and whose names are now found in Parkers Island, Parkers Head, and Parkers Flats. McCobb is identified with those
of that name who, as early residents of Georgetown, assisted in the conquest of Quebec and achieved high military
rank in the struggles of the American Revolution, and in our second war with Great Britain.
Mr. Reed's paternal grandfather was Col. Andrew Reed, the pioneer of Boothbay; his father was also Andrew Reed,
who commanded a regiment in the War of 1812, and he was brother of Hon. William M. Reed, who was a resident of
Bath. Mr. Reed was born in Georgetown, now Phipsburg, April 6, 1813, at the Reed farm, when his father, with his
regiment, was fortifying the heights at Coxs Head, near Fort Popham. His mother, Beatrice McCobb Reed, was daughter
of Brig. Gen. Samuel McCobb, and granddaughter of Maj. Samuel Denny, who was prominent in Church and State at Old
Georgetown early in the eighteenth century, and whose ancestry is traced back to 1400, in England, where the Denny
home of that period still stands well preserved, and was occupied by a Samuel Denny in 1880.
Mr. Reed's education was acquired in the district schools of his native town and at the High Street Academy, in
Bath, under the instruction of Jonas Burnham. He began his business career as clerk to his brother, Thomas M. Reed,
at Phipsburg Centre. When eighteen years of age he became clerk in the wholesale and retail bookstore of Pendleton
& Hill, 94 Broadway, New York City, opposite Trinity Church. This store was the fashionable literary emporium
of New York City at that day. Mr. Reed afterwards was clerk to Samuel Byron Halliday, who subsequently entered
the ministry and was assistant pastor to Henry Ward Beecher at Plymouth Church. After a trip to Havana, in 1833,
Mr. Reed returned to Phipsburg and engaged in school teaching, and later took the management of his father's large
farm, being the last of a numerous family to remain at the homestead. Inheriting a taste for military life, he
was appointed sergeant major of the Bath regiment of militia for the Aroostook War, and later was made captain
of a company.
The uncongenial work of farm life led to his removal to Massachusetts, where he studied medicine under Dr. Winslow
Lewis, Jr., in Boston, and afterwards attended lectures at the Medical College in Buffalo, N. Y., where the eminent
Austin Flint and Frank H. Hamilton were professors. He practiced his profession, in Illinois and Wisconsin, until
1866, when he was induced, by the tender of a lucrative position, to enter journalism, for which he was, in a measure,
prepared, as for many years he had continuously contributed articles for the Boston Traveller and other newspapers,
East and West. In 1866 he became directly connected with the Wisconsin, and later the Sentinel, the leading newspapers
of Milwaukee, and the Post and Inter-Ocean of Chicago. He was closely identified, in the establishment of the latter
paper, with Mr. William Penn Nixon, its corner stone; J. Y. Gammon, its founder; E. W. Halford, later private secretary
to President Harrison, and F. W. Palmer, afterwards government printer at Washington. As a newspaper man, Mr. Reed
achieved distinction in the Northwest, attaining much influence and made many warm, personal friends, both in business
and political life. He wrote and published, in 1882, the "Bench and Bar of Wisconsin," a large quarto
volume, which was accepted as a work of much value.
In the fall of 1882 he returned to Maine, and became a resident of Bath. Interesting himself particularly in historical
matters, he became a member of the Sagadahoc Historical Society and was its president for three years. In 1888
he was elected a member of the Maine Historical Society. In 1889 he prepared and began the publication of the "
History of the Lower Kennebec," in a series of numbers, and at the same time was at work on " The History
of Bath and Environs." He was induced to undertake this latter work by the solicitations of public spirited
citizens who commendably desired that the annals of Bath should be put on permanent record, by one of the few surviving
citizens who had a personal knowledge of the men and events of past years. Endowed from his childhood with a love
of historical research, he has added honesty of purpose, perseverance, and great power of endurance in collecting
and condensing the enormous amount of facts necessary in producing a history of a large and important district.
In April, 1846, Mr. Reed married Miss Harriet S. Elliot of Phipsburg. Their children are: Emma Beatrice and Albert
Alfred Reed, the former living in Bath and the latter a journalist in Boston.
History of Bath and Environs,
Sagadahoc County, Maine.
BY: Parker McCobb Reed
Lakeside Press, Printers
Portland, Maine, 1894
Sagadahoc County, ME
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