William Rea Obituary
From the DeGraff Journal
Friday March 29, 1901
Page 1, column 3
Numbered with the Silent Majority.
The mortal frame of William Rea crumbles to dust, but the noble life of an honest unselfish soul will live on and on in the hearts of men as an eternal model of a Christian man. Happy the man who thus can die! For there is a joy in having fought a battle against the world and in having won a victory. William, the fifth child of Jonathan and Nancy Rea was born in Bloomfield township, Logan county, December 31, 1842. After a life of 58 years, 2 months and 22 days, his soul took its flight at mid-day, March 23, 1901, leaving a wife, two sons and four daughters, an aged father, a brother, three sisters and a half sister, all of whom feel keenly the loss of a kind counselor.
Mr. Rea was a man deeply imbued with love of country and devotion to duty, and considering his numerous afflictions and many long years of suffering, his patience and resignition was little short of marvelous. Having served in the Civil War as private in Company E, 45th Ohio volunteers, from August 8, 1862 to June 9, 1865 his war experiences of the severest kind. His wounds, from gunshots, his confiment in six different prisons, his suffering from camp fever and chronic diarrhea, scurvey and starvation so emaciated him that on his return home the last day of December 1864 on a furlough, his parents and sisters could scarcely discern a single mark by which they could recognize their own son and brother. While home on this furlough as a prisoner of war his legs from the knees down were very much swollen and very painful.
He received an honorable discharge and the Government according to their regulations remunerated him for his services, but his impaired health led to long suffering from spinal disease, heart disease, rheumatism, disease of the stomach, and varicose veins, and finally creeping paralysis.
His marriage with Miss Margaret R. Moore occurred September 12, 1866, since which time they have lived in DeGraff and vicinity and have reared their six children to manhood and womanhood: the youngest a daughter is just finishing the course of study of the DeGraff High School.
Mr. Rea united with the Muchinippi Christian church in 1866 and in 1872 or '73 transferred his membership to the DeGraff M. E. Church. For fifteen years he served as Steward in the church, was township trustee for several years and after moving from the farm to town was chosen a Councilman. He was Commander of Joseph Sailor Post for some years. In all of his public service, he was never demonstrative but his judgement could always be relied upon. Mr. Rea never talked much of his army life or of his afflictions and never seemed impatient however much he suffered. For the past three years Mr Rea has been quite helpless but his mind was active and served him well to the very last. He bade his family and friends good bye, and said he would soon be with his mother who entered the spirit world twenty-two years ago. "He that endureth to the end shall be saved."
The funeral was in charge of Joseph Sailor Post and was held at the M. E. Church Tuesday afternoon Rev. Gascoigne being assisted by Rev. Bigley of Bellefontaine and Rev. Shultz of Delaware. A dirge was played and the singing was by a quartet. The decorations at the church were palms and the floral offerings were appropriate and beautiful, the different members of the family being fittingly remembered. Interment was made in Greenwood cemetery. Relatives in attendence from a distance were Mrs. A. J. Smith, Dayton, Mrs. D. W. Carl, Ohio City, Mrs. Samantha Loffer, Covington, Kentucky, H.C. Moore and family, Mrs. Rathmell, Messrs. Black and sisters, Mrs. John McFarland, Mrs. H. A. Foreman, and Miss Edith Black all relatives from Bellfontaine.
There were also several friends of the family present from the last named place: among them J. V. Stevenson and Maj. Swisher.