Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920
Biography of Mary Reed, 1843-1929
By Katelyn Bosch (email@example.com): Public History graduate student, West Virginia University
Keywords: West Virginia Equal Suffrage Movement; Fairmont, WV; Woman's Relief Corps, Early Suffrage Movement
Mary V. Reed was born to John and Martha Moore in March 1843 in Fairfax, Virginia. Her father was a laborer and her mother worked in the home. Mary was employed as a seamstress before she was married. In 1864, she married Benjamin Franklin Reed in Marion County. Benjamin Reed was a successful liveryman and horse trader his whole life. Before marrying Mary, he fought for the Union during the Civil War in the Forty-Seventh Illinois Infantry from 1862-1864. Although she was from Virginia and lived in a border state, Mary was also a loyal unionist during the war. Benjamin and Mary had five children together: John R., Charles E., Thomas F., William F., and Lillian (Miller).
Mary was part of the original West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association. She was an active member of the Fairmont branch. Mary was also involved with the Woman's Relief Corps. She served as the official delegate for the West Virginia Branch from at least 1889-1898. The Woman's Relief Corps was formed as auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic in 1883 to assist in the rehabilitation of soldiers, promote patriotism, and preserve the memory of the Grand Army of the Republic.
After Benjamin died in 1912, Mary moved in with her daughter and son-in-law, Maurice and Lillian Miller and worked as a housekeeper although she was still listed as the head of the house in the 1920's census. When Mary died in 1929 she was buried next to her husband in Woodlawn Cemetery in Fairmont.
Butcher, Bernard L. Genealogical and Personal History of the Upper Monongahela Valley, West Virginia. Baltimore, Clearfield, 1912, 493.
Harper, Ida Husted. History of Woman Suffrage, Volume 6. Salem, New Hampshire: Ayer Company, Publishers, 1922, 683. [LINK]
Journal of the Women's Relief Corps, vol. 7-14, Washington, D.C.: National Tribune Co., 1889-1898.
"Mary Reed." Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current.
West Virginia, Marriages Index, 1785-197, accessed with Ancestry.com.
1860; Census Place: Martinsburg, Berkeley, Virginia; Roll: M653_1335; Page: 709
1880; Census Place: Fairmont, Marion, West Virginia; Roll: 1407; Page: 401A
1920; Census Place: Fairmont Ward 5, Marion, West Virginia