Biography of John Reich

John Reich, born February 16, 1863, in Russia, is a prominent figure in Scotland, Bon Homme County, South Dakota. He is a successful merchant and postmaster, as well as one of the town’s pioneers. Reich’s family emigrated to the United States in 1873, settling in Bon Homme County. Following his father’s death in 1879, Reich began his independent career at seventeen. He apprenticed as a tinner and later opened his own shop, eventually partnering with his brothers Jacob and Christian in a hardware business. Appointed postmaster in 1902, Reich is a respected Republican and active community member. He married Otillie Nieland in 1886, and they have three children: Robert W., Helen, and Delia.

John Reich
John Reich

John Reich.—One of the best-known and most honored citizens of the village of Scotland, Bon Homme County, is he whose name initiates this paragraph. He is not only one of the leading merchants of the town and postmaster at this point, but he also may claim the distinction of being one of its pioneers and founders, since he is in point of residence one of the oldest of its citizens, having located in the place when its pretensions to the dignity of a village were notable principally by their absence. Mr. Reich is a native of Russia, where he was born on the 16th of February, 1863, so that it may be seen that he is still a young man, though he has the distinction of being a pioneer of his home town. He is a son of Simon and Dorothy (Knoepfle) Reich, of whose eight children five are still living, namely: Jacob, who is associated with our subject in the hardware business; Elizabeth, who is the wife of Adam Schaffer, of Yankton County; Catherine, who is the wife of Adam Kayser, of Hudson County; John, who is the immediate subject of this review; and Christian, who is likewise associated with the subject in the hardware business in Scotland.

In 1873, when the subject was a lad of ten years, his parents emigrated to the United States and located in Bon Homme County, Dakota, this being prior to the division of the territory and the organization of the two states. He took up a homestead claim of one hundred and sixty acres and a timber claim of equal area, and here he continued to reside until his death, which occurred in 1879. His widow subsequently became the wife of Christopher Wieland, and they still reside in this county. Our subject received his educational training in the public schools and remained at the parental home until he had attained the age of seventeen years, when he began to carve out his independent career and depend on his own resources. He came to the village of Scotland, where he worked at odd jobs for about six months, at the expiration of which he entered upon an apprenticeship at the tinner’s trade, becoming a skilled workman and devoting sixteen years to work at the bench. After having been employed as a journeyman for six years, he opened a small shop of his own and continued business as a tinner for about ten years. At the expiration of this period, he became associated with his brother Jacob in opening a hardware store in the village, and they have succeeded in building up an excellent trade, having a well-equipped store and being numbered among the representative business men of the town. Their brother Christian has also become a member of the firm.

In February 1902, the subject was appointed postmaster of Scotland, taking charge of the office on the 28th of the following month, and he has made an efficient and popular official, having the uniform confidence and esteem of the community and being known as one of the progressive and public-spirited citizens of the town. In politics, he is a stalwart Republican, and he served several terms as a member of the village council. He and his wife are consistent and valued members of the German Lutheran Church.

On the 18th of April, 1886, Mr. Reich was united in marriage to Miss Otillie Nieland, of Yankton, this state, she having been born in Guttenberg, Iowa, and of their four children, three are living: Robert W., Helen, and Delia.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top