Ira Louis Reeves

1894-003-1-1-17-003A new research rabbit hole.  I’ve gone back to trying to pull together information of Henry Kendall College in Muskogee (1894-1907); and in particular the faculty.  I was looking for this picture (which I still can’t track down) because one of the people has been torn off.

IMG_3197I noticed it was from Twin Territories, the Indian MagazineTwin Territories, as we all know, was a monthly published between December 1898 and May 1904, and contained a wide range of articles, local news, biographical materials, Native American history and other topics.  As I was searching, I found in the June 1903 issue this photograph, labeled Captain Ira L. Reeves and discussed his establishment of the Henry Kendall College Cadet Corps.

Now, I’ve heard of the Cadets. We have several images in archives, some with descriptions written in my late wife’s handwriting (she was secretary in Special Collections long before I started up here).  But I’ve never heard of Reeves before.

So I start looking.  There are several ‘biographies’ of him on the internet, none of which really mention his time in Indian Territory – including the one he wrote in a letter to W. E. B. DuBois..  So I’ve been digging through other sources.  It turns out he was quite a busy gentleman.  While it is possible that there were two Ira L. Reeves married to a Carolyn in Muskogee, I. T. in the early 1900s…

So, here we go.  Information I have added in are in boldface italics.

Ira Louis Reeves was born on March 8, 1872 in Jefferson City, Missouri, United States. Son of Martin Rhodes and Rebecca (Zimmerman) Reeves.

He first joined the Missouri National Guard as a private, 1891-1892.

In December 1893, he enlisted in the U. S. Army and served as a private, corporal, and then sergeant in Company B, 4th United States Infantry, 1893-1897.

He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 17th United States Infantry, April 19, 1897.

Recommended for brevet “for bravery and unexcelled energy,” Santiago Campaign, 1898.

Ira Reeves married Carolyn Louise Smith on December 28, 1898

He was a First lieutenant in the 17th, 4th and 16th Infantry, 1899-1902.

Student Purdue University, 1902.

He retired with the rank of captain, November 11, 1902, due of wounds received in action in Philippine Insurrection.

Commandant and professor military science, Purdue University, 1902

President of the Reeves-Jordan Real Estate Company, by April 1903 (according to Muskogee newspaper).

Commandant and professor military science, Henry Kendall College, Muskogee, 1903.

Established the Muskogee Electric Traction Co. to build the first trolley’s in Muskogee, as well as the power plant and first electric light company, March 1904.

Rode in the first trolley in Muskogee, March 1905.

Ran for mayor of Muskogee and lost, April 1909. (This is reflected in the Reeves Papers, see below).

Commandant and professor military science, Miami (Ohio) Military Institute, 1910.

Commandant and professor military science, University of Vermont, 1912-1915.

Battalion quartermaster Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, 1912-1914.

Captain and adjunct, 1st Infantry, Vermont National Guard, 1914-1915.

Continuing education, University of Vermont, 1915.

Colonel 1st Infantry, Vermont National Guard, 1915-1917. Commanded 1st Infantry, Vermont National Guard on Mexico border, July-September 1916.

Captain Vermont Rifle Team, national matches, 1915.

President Norwich U., November 1, 1915-October 1918.

Doctor of Letters, Norwich U., 1916.

Doctor of Laws, Middlebury College, 1917.

Chairman Vermont Committee Public Safety, 1917.

Returned to active list United States of America, August 5, 1917, with grade of major. Lieutenant colonel, August 23, 1917. Colonel, December 1917.

Assistant and Executive officer Militia Bureau. Adjutant general and inspector general’s departments, June 1917-September 1918. Member 7th, 31st and 35th divisions in France.

Wounded November 11, 1918.

President, commanding officer American Expeditionary Force University, Beaune, France, February 9-June 15, 1919.

Member War Claims and War Credits Board, 1919.

President Ira L. Reeves and Associates, Chicago. Western manager “Crusaders,” opposed to prohibition, 1931-1933.

Chevalier Legion of Honor (France). Distinguished Service Medal and Purple Heart (United States).

Bibliography of Reeves’ publications:

Bamboo Tales.  Kansas City [Mo.]: Hudson-Kimerly [sic] Publishing Co. 1900

A manual for aspirants for commissions in the United States army. Kansas City, Mo., Hudson-Kimberly Pub. Co., 1901

Manual for the instruction and guidance of the cadets of Purdue University. [Lafayette, Ind.]: Burt-Terry-Wilson Co. Press, 1902.

The A B C of rifle, revolver and pistol shooting. Kansas City, Mo.: Franklin Hudson Pub. Co., 1913

Military education in the United States. Burlington: Free Press Print. Co., 1914.

Ol’ rum river: revelations of a prohibition administrator. Chicago: Thomas S. Rockwell Company, 1931.

Prohibition menaces America. Chicago: American Forum Pub. Co., 1932

Is all well on the Potomac? Chicago, Ill.: American Forum Pub. Co. 1936

Selected Sources:

Ira Louis Reeves Papers.  Norwich University Archives. Kreitzberg Library. Norwich University.

Letter from Ira L. Reeves to W. E. B. Du Bois []  W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

“Education in Indian Territory; Henry Kendall College” Twin Territories; the Indian Magazine. June 1903. pp.214-219.


About marccarlson20

Historical Researcher, Librarian
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