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Hon. Arlington George Reynolds
THE distinguished gentleman whose name appears above, is one of the native sons of the Western Reserve. There have been many men in this section of Ohio who have risen to positions of prominence, but few who have gained the distinction that has Judge Reynolds. Judge Reynolds was born in the village of Mentor in Lake County, Ohio, on a farm November 24, 1849. His parents were George W. and Honor S. (Nowlen) Reynolds. His father was born in the village of Broome, Schoharie County, in the State of New York, in 1825. The family is of English descent.
The great-grandfather of George Reynolds, the father of the subject, was a soldier in the American Revolution and was one of those gallant figures at the battle of Bunker Hill. He continued his service through the entire Revolutionary War. George Reynolds' parents were Gurdon and Hatty (Tyler) Reynolds. When George W. was a small child, his parents came to Ohio and located in the village of Mentor, where he grew to maturity. He received his education in the district schools of this section.
Honor S. Nowlen, who became his wife and the mother of the subject of this sketch, was born in Mentor, Ohio, in February, 1824, being just nine months older than her husband. Her parents also came for Schoharie County, New York, coming to Lake County, Ohio, in the year 1813, making the trip overland in an ox-drawn wagon. She was married to George W. Reynolds in August, 1848, in the town of Painesville, but their homes were near Mentor, and they continued to make their residence on the husband's farm near Mentor.
In 1849, George W. Reynolds, with sixteen other very prominent young men of Lake County, Ohio, left Painesville for the gold fields of California, being one of the original caravans of "Forty-Niners." Leaving Painesville they went south to the ohio River where they built a flat boat and floated down the Ohio River to the junction of the Mississippi River and then up the Mississippi River to St. Joseph, Missouri, where they, with others, formed one of the large caravans that, braving the dangers of those early days on the western plains, more particularly the war-like Indians and the dangers of the desert, made the overland trip to the land of gold. Mr. Reynolds' success in California, where he remained for two years, was not phenomenal, but he was well repaid for the trip. Leaving California, he embarked in a sailing vessel at San Francisco, going thence to Panama on the Pacific side of the Isthmus of Panama, crossing the Isthmus at the place now occupied by the famous Panama Canal. He then took another boat to New York and came overland from New York back to his home town in Mentor. It is remarkable that of this band of men who left Painesville, George W. Reynolds survived them all.
In 1862, George W. Reynolds enlisted as a private in Company D, 105th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He, however, regardless of the fact that he was fully as patriotic as any one, owing to the state of his physical condition, which was not good, being greatly impaired through his California experience, was soon transferred to the hospital corps, and later to what was called the Invalid Corps, remaining in service in that branch of the army until the close of the war. During the later part of the service he was an orderly, attached to the staff of his commanding officer. At the cessation of hostilities he returned to Ohio where he again took up the management of his estate. In about the year 1875, he moved to St. John, Michigan, but the state of his health not being at all good, the change did not agree with him and he passed away in Michigan at the age of eighty-four. Mrs. Reynolds lived in the old homestead in Mentor until her death, which occurred February 28, 1913, at the ripe old age of eighty-nine.
Hon. Arlington George Reynolds spent his boyhood on his father's farm in Mentor. He received his primary education in the public schools and prepared for college at the Collegiate Institute in Willoughby, Ohio. He then entered Oberlin College, where he continued his studies. Leaving Oberlin at the age of twenty-six, and returning to his home, he decided to take up the study of law, so he entered the law office of Judge G. W. Tuttle at Painesville, where he studied for admission to the practice of law. In 1882, he took the bar examination and was admitted to the practice of his profession. In September of that year leaving Painesville, he went to Des Moines, Iowa, where, for a period of about two years, he was connected in a clerical capacity the Reynolds Brothers Wholesale Implement Company of that city, the members of the above firm being close relatives of Judge Reynolds. Leaving Des Moines he returned to Painesville in 1884 and at once began the practice of law in which he was very successful. In 1889 he formed a partnership with Judge Perry Bosworth, one of the leading attorneys of Northern Ohio. This partnership, however, was terminated by the death of Judge Bosworth in 1890. In 1891 Judge Reynolds, who had early affiliated himself with the Republican party, and who at all times had been very active in political work, was nominated by his party for the office of Judge of the Probate Court and was elected to that office in the fall of that year. At the expiration of his first term he was re-elected, serving the two full terms or until 1897. In 1896 he was nominated by his party and elected to the office of Mayor of the city of Painesville, serving in a dual capacity until his term of office as Judge of the Probate Court expired. He was re-elected to the office of Mayor in 1898.
At the convention of the Republican party of Lake and Geauga Counties, for the purpose of nominating a joint representative to the Legislature from those two counties, on the seventh day of June, 1897, Judge Reynolds received the nomination by acclamation and was elected by a very large majority, in the election the following November. It will be seen that during the early part of his term was a representative he was still the Mayor of his home city and a rather close question came up because of that fact while he was serving in the Legislature in the early part of 1898, when a United States Senator was to be elected, the election of Senator Hanna occurring at that same time, and the question of his eligibility to vote for such officer was raised because of that fact. It was decided, however, that he could vote. During that contest, which was one of the bitterest in Ohio politics, Judge Reynolds was chosen chairman of what was known as the "Steering" committee, having in charge the election of Senators, as far as the House was concerned, and as chairman of the said committee he appointed a committee of ten and the men comprising this committee afterward became prominently identified with State and national politics. The judge also served on a number of other committees in the house. In 1899, Judge Reynolds was re-nominated and re-elected as representative from Lake and Geauga Counties, and at the convening of the legislature in 1900, he was elected speaker of the House of Representatives. The records of the House of Representatives for that year will easily disclose the fact that there was no mistake made in the selection of Judge Reynolds as the presiding officer. In 1897, upon the expiration of his term as Judge of the Probate Court, Judge Reynolds formed a law partnership with Mr. C. W. Osborne, another one of Painesville's prominent attorneys, which partnership continued until the death of Mr. Osborne several years later. In 1905, Judge Reynolds formed a partnership with Hon. George W. Alvord, under the firm name of Reynolds & Alvord. That partnership continued until 1909, when Judge Reynolds was appointed by Governor Harris to the office of Judge of the Common Pleas Court to fill and unexpired term. In 1910, Judge Reynolds received the nomination of his party for that office to succeed himself, and was elected in the latter part of that year. He is still occupying the bench of the Common Pleas Court for Lake, Ashtabula, and Geauga.
From 1898 until he went on the Common Pleas bench, Judge Reynolds was one of the Trustees of Lake Erie College of Painesville. Upon his assuming the office he now holds, however, the pressure of his duties in that capacity were so great that it was impossible for him further to act on the Board of Trustees, so he resigned.
Judge Reynold has been, for many years, a member and a consistent attendant of the Methodist Episcopal Church, being, at the present time, the present time, the president of the Board of Trustees of that organization. He is very active in the various branches of church work, and for about ten years was superintendent of the Sunday school. He has held various other offices in the Church at different times, among which was treasurer of the church and president of the local Epworth League.
Through his ancestry on the side of both his father and his mother, Judge Reynolds is eligible to membership in the Sons of the American Revolution, and in the early nineties, after being solicited by various members to affiliate himself with that organization, he finally did so, and shortly thereafter was elected Vice President of the Ohio Division, serving for two terms. He, also, has served as Vice President of the Western Reserve Society, Sons of the American Revolution.
There were only two children in Judge Reynolds immediate family, his sister, Mrs Elsie J. Rapp, now making her home in Los Angeles, California. However, they still own the old homestead, the place where their mother and father started life together, situated near Little Mountain, in Mentor, the immediate vicinity of which is rapidly being taken up by the wealthier people of Cleveland, because of the view and the beauty of the surroundings.
In October, 1882, Judge Reynolds was united in marriage to Miss Helen E. Whitney, of Mentor. Mrs. Reynolds; genealogical record runs back into the seventeenth century so far as her American ancestry is concerned, when the original member of the family of Whitney came from England and settled in New England. The various branches of his descendants have scattered over the American Continent however. Many of the descendants have become famous in various ways, among whom might be mentioned the inventor of the Whitney Cotton Gin, and also W. C. Whitney who was a member of President Cleveland's cabinet. Mrs. Reynolds' grandfather came from Vermont to Ohio in the early part of the nineteenth century and settled in the Western Reserve near Mentor, where her father was born. Her mother was a native of Vermont.
Mrs. Reynolds is prominent socially and is very active in club work, being a member of one of the most exclusive literary clubs of Painesville, The Monday Club. She has been for many years a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, her grandfather, Rev. Samuel F. Whitney, having been a preacher in that congregation.
Judge and Mrs. Reynolds have had only one child, Luella W., who is the wife of Charles J. Kienzel, of Columbus, Ohio, who has recently completed his studies as a draftsman and mechanical engineer, and who is at present engaged in the practice of his profession.
There are many men who, under our peculiar form of Government, have been elected to offices of various natures who have not proven worthy of the confidence and trust reposed in them by the electorate, but the American people are quick to see and appreciate the qualities that go to make a man a desirable public officer, and they are just as quick to see the reverse side. When such a man is "weighed in the balance and found wanting," his days as a public officer are numbered. On the other hand, when a many proves his capabilities, usually he is rewarded by his constituency. That Judge Reynolds has proven his capabilities, is evidenced by the fact that he has never been a candidate for any office within the gift of the people, that he has not been elected to that office by a handsome majority. "Actions speak louder than words" but by both actions and words have the voters of Lake County, in which Judge Reynolds for so many years has been one of the leading figures, demonstrated their confidence in, and affection for him.
Barbara's Bordered Backgrounds