Honored and respected in every class of society, Truman Reeves has for some time been a leader in thought and action in the public life of California, and his name is inscribed high on the roll of its foremost citizens, his honorable career adding lustre to the history of the state. Faithfulness to duty and strict adherence to a fixed purpose in life will do more to advance a man's interests than wealth or adventitious circumstances. The successful men of the day are they who have planned their own advancement and have accomplished it in spite of many obstacles and with a certainty that could have been attained only through their own efforts. This class of men has a worthy representative in Truman Reeves, who began life amid unfavoring circumstances upon an Ohio farm.
Mr. Reeves was born at Chardon, Ohio, August 17, 1840, a son of William C. Reeves, whose birth occurred in Bridgewater, Somersetshire, England. He was a tanner by trade and came to America in 1825. He married Miss Clara Northway of Cardiff, New York, who was of Scotch descent, her ancestors having come to the new world prior to the war of the Revolution, while her father was a soldier of the war of 1812. William C. Reeves died in 1872, but the mother is still living on the old homestead at Orwell, Ohio, at the age of ninety years. In the family were the following named: Calvin; George Phippen; Charles, deceased; Truman; Edwin; Maria Jane; Callings, deceased; Edward; Andrew Isaiah, deceased; and Emery Alvaris.
Mr. Reeves attended the district schools in the winter months and in the summer seasons worked upon his father's farm. He afterward enjoyed the advantages of some school training in Orwell Academy in Ohio. In 1858 he was apprenticed to learn the watch-maker's trade with the firm of King & Brothers of Warren, Ohio, and remained in their employ until the time of the Civil war in 1861, when, prompted by a spirit of patriotism, he enlisted as a private and by promotion in recognition of meritorous service attained the rank of lieutenant. He was acting brigade commissary sergeant with General Kirkpatrick's brigade in 1863. In January, 1864, he re-enlisted for three years. During his service he was wounded three times, the last time at the battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, during General Grant's advance on Richmond, and thereby lost his left arm, this ending his service in the field.
After his return home Mr. Reeves was appointed postmaster at Orwell, Ashtabula county, Ohio, and occupied that position until 1868. In the fall of that year he was elected recorder of Ashtabula county and served in the latter capacity for six years in a most commendable manner.
In 1875 Mr. Reeves came to California, settling first at San Bernardino. There he began work at his trade, and it is said that he is the only successful one-handed watchmaker in the world. By the use of ingenious appliances which he has invented to take the place of his left hand he has been enabled to do all kinds of watch work that is usually done only by the most skilled workmen. Mr. Reeves set out and planted one of the first orchards in southern California at Redlands, containing orange, apricot and peach trees. Ten acres were devoted to these fruits, and by his labors he demonstrated the possibilities of that section of the state as a fruit-producing district.
In 1867 Mr. Reeves was united in marriage to Miss Marion E. McConkey, of Oberlin, Ohio, a daughter of Addison and Mary McConkey, of Cuyahoga county, Ohio, early settlers of that locality. They have two children, Clarence H. and Clara B. The latter resides with her parents in Sacramento and the former entered the ministry in 1891 at the age of twenty-one years. He went to China as a missionary and after six years died in that country of smallpox in 1897.
Mr. Reeves is fraternally connected with the Odd Fellows and the Grand Army of the Republic. He gives his political allegiance to the Republican party, and has been honored with positions of distinctive preferment in this state. From 1882 until 1886 he represented San Bernardino county in the legislature, and in the spring of 1890 was appointed by the United States government to assist in taking the recorded indebtedness of the sixth congressional district of California. In the fall of the same year he was elected treasurer of San Bernardino county, holding the office by re-election for eight years and during the last four years also serving as tax collector. In 1898 he was elected state treasurer by a majority of 23,400 votes on the Republican ticket. In 1902 he was re-elected to the office by a plurality of 47,884. His is a sturdy American character and a stalwart patriotism. He has the strongest attachments for our free institutions and is ever willing to make personal sacrifices for their preservation.
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