Biography of Newton B. Reed

Newton B. Reed, a distinguished lawyer, has practiced law in Woonsocket, Sanborn County, for over two decades. As the first county judge, he played a prominent role in the county’s establishment, originally part of Miner County. Born in Illinois, Reed received his education at the Illinois State Normal University and the Illinois Wesleyan University. In 1882, he moved to South Dakota and settled in Woonsocket, where he has since built a successful legal career. Known for his Republican Party affiliation and civic involvement, Reed has made significant contributions to the development of Sanborn County, including his instrumental role in the creation of a beautiful artesian lake.

NEWTON B. REED has been actively engaged in the practice of law in the attractive city of Woonsocket, Sanborn County, for more than a score of years and is one of the honored citizens of this section of the state. He was the distinction of being the first county judge, and he was one of the most conspicuous figures in the organization of the county, which was originally a portion of Miner County.

Judge Reed and his twin brother, Norman H. Reed, now of Santa Barbara, California, were born at Buffalo Grove (now Polo), Illinois, November 2, 1848. His parents were Franklin S. and Fanny (Hicks) Reed, both of whom are buried at the Reed cemetery near Polo. Four children were born to these parents. The eldest, Charles I. Reed, a member of Company D, Ninety-second Illinois Infantry, was killed at the battle of Chickamauga, and his sister, Phebe A. Day, resides in Rome, Illinois. The subject secured his early education in the common schools of his native county and later entered the Illinois State Normal University, at Normal, where he graduated as a member of the class of 1872. Shortly afterward, he entered the law department of the Illinois Wesleyan University, at Bloomington, Illinois, where he completed the prescribed course and graduated in 1875, being admitted to the bar of the state in June of that year. He forthwith engaged in the practice of his profession in Bloomington, a city noted for the ability of its bar, and where he laid the foundations of his legal education. Judge Reed there continued to practice until July 1882 when he came to what is now Sanborn County, South Dakota, locating in Woonsocket, where he has ever since maintained his home and been engaged in the work of his chosen profession, being known as one of the representative members of the bar of the state. Sanborn County was organized in 1883, and he was elected the first county judge. The first judicial records of the county are in his handwriting. The county was a part of Miner County at the time of Judge Reed’s location here, and in January 1883, a mass meeting was called to take steps for the erection of the new county, the assembly being held in the town of Letcher. Judge Reed introduced at this meeting the resolution to name the county Sanborn, in honor of George W. Sanborn, who was at that time the local superintendent of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, one of the first to enter the state. He was also sent by the mass meeting as a delegate to the territorial legislature, then in session, to promote the interests of the new county and to secure its creation, his labors being so well directed as to secure the desired organization. In politics, Judge Reed is a stalwart advocate of the principles of the Republican Party, and he has been an active worker in its cause. His public spirit and his interest in the city, county, and state of his adoption have been of the insistent order and have been manifested in diverse and helpful ways. He was one of the most influential promoters of the plan through which was accomplished the construction of the beautiful artesian lake, which is now one of the distinctive attractions of the county and state. In recognition of his efforts in this connection, the citizens of Woonsocket, through Major J. T. Kean, presented the Judge with a beautiful gold-headed cane.

On the 28th of June 1877, Judge Reed was united in marriage to Miss Mary Alice Stroud, of Belvidere, Illinois. She is the daughter of Samuel and Rachel (Merrill) Stroud and a native of the state mentioned. Of this union, four children have been born, namely: Charles S., who is editor and publisher of the Woonsocket Herald, one of the most influential papers in this section of the state; Amy Clare, Clara Louise, and Marion, who remain at the parental home. The family is prominent in the best social life of the community.


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

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