Elkins residents were helpful to historian

I wanted to send a letter of thanks to the people of Elkins, in particular David Baker for all his help in tracking down a long lost Reed family member.

I do a lot of family history and came across this name by accident one day. Not knowing who he was I put it aside and was actually doing his father’s (GG, uncle to me) history when I realized who this new name belonged to. Once I realized he was the son of the guy I was researching I got to work.

I did find a little about him online but decided to join the Elkins West Virginia Facebook page in hopes of getting more info if it were available. Someone found his grave listing and it was forwarded to me, another looked up his obituary from 1963 at the library and then we found a local family who knew Joe Birt Reed. They had lived with him as youngsters. From Floyd County, Ky. to Elkins.

The father who came to Elkins with Joe is in his 70s now, and his daughter contacted me and said she knew where Joe was buried in the Elkins Memorial Gardens Cemetery. One thing lead to another and two months or so ago we tracked down the burial records, or I should say David did. He (David) contacted the owner (a Mr. Phares) of the cemetery and they looked for that record. Once they found him onsite I ordered a stone to be placed on Joe’s unmarked grave. That was a couple months ago and today, Monday, July 21, they placed it on his grave site.

There were others along the way that helped as well and I never got their names down. So I wanted to say thanks to them as well for all the help! I have never been to West Virginia and never knew this cousin of mine. All I knew is he was in a cemetery lost to the family.

As a Reed, I have been fortunate to find many lost family members and place a marker on them. This will be one of my last I will do as these aren’t the cheapest things in the world. But I felt he was so far from his home in Floyd County, Ky., he needed marked. This kind of help from people I don’t know at least a 10-hour drive away gives some hope people are still good, and you mountain people still hold family close, even if it’s a stranger!

Thank you Elkins folk for everything!

Rick Reed

Columbus, Ind.