Biography of James D. Reeves

JAMES D. REEVES, a native of Minnesota, made a significant impact on South Dakota’s public affairs. As a newspaperman and former state auditor, Reeves earned public confidence and esteem. Beginning his career as a printer, he founded several newspapers, including the Groton Mirror and the Groton Independent. With unwavering dedication to Republican principles, Reeves served as mayor, school board member, and state auditor. He proved to be a skilled administrator during his tenure and was recognized as a progressive thinker in the newspaper industry. Reeves was also an active member of various fraternal organizations.

JAMES D. REEVES, of Groton, Brown County, is a man who has wielded no little influence in the public and civic affairs of South Dakota, having been prominently identified with the newspaper business and having served the commonwealth for four years in the responsible office of state auditor. He is a citizen who commands public confidence and esteem, and his life record is such as to well entitle him to representation in this work.

Mr. Reeves is a native of the state of Minnesota, having been born in the village of Pleasant Grove, Olmsted County, on the 1st of March, 1858, and being a son of Rev. Michael D. and Martha Reeves, the former of whom is a clergyman of the Baptist church, while he was also for a number of years successfully engaged in farming in Minnesota. The early educational advantages of the subject of this sketch were such as were afforded in the public schools of his native state, while as a youth, he served an apprenticeship to the trade of printer, at Spring Valley, Minnesota, where he devoted his attention to this preliminary discipline from 1874 to 1878, becoming a skilled workman and not failing to duly profit by the experience to be gained in a newspaper office—an experience which has been pertinently designated as equivalent to a liberal education. On the 9th of September, 1881, Mr. Reeves established in Groton, South Dakota, its first newspaper, to which he gave the name of the Groton Mirror. In the following year, he here founded the Brown County (Columbia) Sentinel, while in 1884 he established the Groton Independent, of which he is still editor and publisher. This paper being practically the successor of the Groton Mirror, the Groton News, the Groton Eagle, the Groton Advocate, and the Groton Gazette, so that the application of the law of the survival of the fittest may be a subject of incidental reference in connection. Mr. Reeves is recognized as a thoroughly trained newspaper man and as one of progressive ideas, and these facts predicate success, which has not been denied him. In politics, he has been known as an uncompromising advocate of the principles and policies of the Republican Party, and his services in the connection have been unstinted and effective during the years of his residence in South Dakota. He served for two years as a member of the Groton school board and for an equal period as mayor of the town, his administration as chief executive of the municipal government being such as to gain to him unequivocal commendation. In 1899, he was elected auditor of the state, remaining in tenure of this office until 1903 and proving a most discriminating and efficient incumbent. Mr. Reeves has been a member of the Masonic fraternity since 1879, having been initiated and raised in the lodge at Hastings, Minnesota, and he is also identified with the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Modern Woodmen of America.

In Glencoe, Minnesota, on the 20th of June, 1883, Mr. Reeves was united in marriage to Miss Bertha Snyder, and her death occurred on the 28th of December, 1894. Of the children of this union, we record that Gertrude V. was born August 13, 1884; Jay E., May 25, 1886; and Jackson D., October 21, 1888; while twin sons, born November 25, 1894, died in infancy. The other three children remain at the paternal home.

On the 18th of April, 1899, Mr. Reeves consummated a second marriage, being then united to Miss Mona B. Taubman, of Aberdeen, South Dakota, no children having been born to them.


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

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