Biography of Thomas Reid
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

THOMAS REID is secretary and treasurer of the Blumenstock & Reid Company, which conducts a substantial meat packing industry in Cleveland, and is known as one of the progressive and resourceful men in the business circles of the Forest City.

Mr. Reid was born near Portadown, County Armagh, Ireland, on the 16th of November, 1862, and is a son of the late William and Margaret J. (Hardy) Reid, both natives of County Armagh, Ireland. William Reid was reared and educated in Ireland, and was a young man when, in 1852, he immigrated to the United States, the sailing vessel on which he took passage having required ten weeks to complete the voyage across the Atlantic. He continued his residence at Philadelphia until 1857, when he returned to Ireland for a visit. However, he never came again to the United States, but after his marriage engaged in farm enterprise in the Emerald Isle, where both he and his wife passed the remainder of their lives, he having died in 1907 and his widow having passed away in 1909. Of their family of three sons and one daughter the subject of this sketch is now the only survivor.

The early activities of Thomas Reid were in connection with the operations of his father's farm, and in the meanwhile he profited by the advantages of the schools of the locality. He accompanied his two brothers. William J. and James H., both older than himself, to the United States, the three landing in Philadelphia and thence making their way to Chicano, where William J. and Thomas became associated with the meat packing industry and James H. engaged in the grocery business, he having continued his residence in Chicago until his death. William J. Reid was eventually sent to the City of London, England, as representative of Swift & Company, the great Chicago packers, and after spending seven years in London he returned to the United States, the dosing period of his life having been passed at Ishneming, Michigan.

In his native town Thomas Reid served a four years' apprenticeship in a grocery establishment, this having been in his boyhood and having represented his initial business experience. In Chicago he entered the employ of the Anglo American Packing Company, the business of which was at that time conducted under the firm name of Fowler Brothers. After two years of service as cashier for this concern he utilized his savings wisely by advancing his education. He completed a one year course in Wilberham Academy, Massachusetts, and upon his return to Chicago was made timekeeper for the same company by which he was previously employed. In this connection he had time supervision of 4,000 employes. Later he was for some time associated with his brother James in the grocery business, and thereafter he was for a period engaged in the meat market business. His next advancement was to the position of assistant superintendent of the Town of Lake, a stockyards district of Chicago, and still later he was made superintendent of the money order department of the postoffice of this town, his bond given when he assumed this office having been signed by Gustavus F. Swift, who was then the head of the great packing concern of Swift & Company and through whose influence he had obtained the position in the postoffice. Mr. Swift enlisted the support of other wealthy men of the district in signing Mr. Reid's bond, and postal authorities at the time declared that this bond had the signatures of a greater number of millionaires than had any other similar document filed with the postoffice department of the Government.

After eighteen months' service in the postoffice Mr. Reid resigned his position to accept the post of manager of the Swift & Company distributing station or house at Grand Rapids, Michigan. Nine months later the company transferred him to Cleveland, Ohio, and assigned him the responsibility of opening and managing a distributing house on West Twenty fifth Street, at the junction of the same with the Nickel Plate Railroad A year later Mr. Reid resigned this position to engage independently in business. He formed a partnership with J. B. Olivet, under the firm name of Olivet & Reid, and they engaged in the boiled ham and provision trade in Cleveland. Two years later Mr. Reid and George Blumenstock entered into a partnership alliance, and the new firm of Blumenstock & Reid engaged in the manufacturing of sausage and boiled ham, with headquarters at 3505 West Twenty fifth Street, which was then known as Pearl Road. With the growth of the business it was found expedient to incorporate the same in the year 1892, and from that time to the present Mr. Blumenstock has continued the president and Mr. Reid the secretary and treasurer of the Blumenstock & Reid Company, the close friendship of the two principals having continued as unruffled as has their vital and progressive business alliance. This concern has developed one of the important industrial and commercial enterprises lending to the prestige of Cleveland, and the record has been one of consecutive progress. In 1894 the company purchased land and erected their excellent plant at 3261 West Sixty fifth Street, this now large and modern institution covering one and one half acres of ground and giving employment to 125 men. The concern has the best of modern facilities for the slaughter and handling of all live stock, and the packing business includes the handling of beef, pork, mutton and veal of the best commercial grades. The principals in this industrial enterprise are men of sterling character and marked civic progressiveness, and both hold high place in connection with the business activities of Cleveland. Mr. Reid is a director of the Rockport Greenhouse Company, a stockholder in the Union Stock Yards Company of Cleveland, and is a stockholder also in the Brooklyn Ice Company, the Growers Basket Company, and the Clark-Backer Company (manufacturers of overalls). He has other financial investments of importance, and is essentially one of the substantial business men of the city.

Mr. Reid is a past master of the Brooklyn Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and is affiliated also with a local chapter of Royal Arch Masons, and Council of Royal and Select Masters. He and his family hold membership in the Archwood Avenue Congregational Church.

Mr. Reid wedded Miss Susan J. Smith, who was born in Canada, a daughter of Joseph Smith, who was a carpenter and contractor. Of the children of Mr. and Mrs. Reid the eldest is Dr. James H., who is engaged in the practice of dentistry in Cleveland, at the corner of Broadview Avenue and West Twenty fifth Street, the maiden name of his wife having been May Behrand. Ethel A., the second child, is the wife of Alois Knapp, of Cleveland, and they have one son, Edward Allen. Martha Louise is the wife of Frederick Cunningham, of Cleveland. William C. was graduated from Western Reserve University in 1921, with the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery, and in 1922 he was pursuing special postgraduate studies, preparatory to entering the great and celebrated hospital of the Mayo Brothers at Rochester, Minnesota. Margaret A., who remains at the parental home, was graduated from the Lincoln High School as a member of the class of 1920.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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