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Charles McCormick Reeve


Born in Dansville, New York, son of Civil War General Isaac Reeve.  Graduate of Yale University in 1870, president of Yale Glee Club. About 1870 he participated in a scientific expedition to study fossils in the hills of Nebraska. The fossils were presented to the Peabody Museum at Yale. Admitted to the bar in 1872. Married Christine Lawrence in 1873. They had two children that died young. He practiced law for two years.

Moved to Minneapolis in 1872. He purchased a 250 acre farm on the south shore of Lake Harriet. He owned and sailed the first sailboat in Minneapolis in 1874. He won the first sailing regatta on the lake when he had the only boat. As the city developed his property became quite valuable. He donated some of his land for a parkway around the lake. In 1887 the Park Board granted him a concession to rent boats and sell refreshments on the west shore of the lake. In 1889 the Park Board bought out his concession. Periodic sale of land for development made him wealthy.

He was in the banking business 1872 to 1883. He managed a manufacturing plant and mill in Minneapolis 1883 to 1895.

McC. Reeve joined the National Guard. At the outbreak of the Spanish American War he was colonel with the 13th Minnesota Regiment. He served under General Arthur MacArthur. Reeve led the ground attack that captured Manila on August 13, 1898. His regiment suffered casualties greater than all other units combined. Reeve was shot through the hat but not injured. He was awarded a medal for gallantry and advanced to the rank of brigadier general. He was the first military chief of police on the city of Manila.

He returned to Minneapolis a hero and lived the life of a hero. He was consulted for his opinion when war threatened again. In August 1939 he was quoted, "The Poles aren't going to give up Danzig, and the Germans won't risk a war to get it." At age 95 there were tongue in cheek suggestions that he go back to the Philippines to help MacArthur clear out the Japanese.

McC. Reeve wintered in Winter Park, Florida. He died just short of his hundredth birthday at his summer home at Minnetonka Beach, Minnesota. His estate had an estimated value in excess of $100,000 including an extensive collection of antiques, miniatures and weapons. The weapons collection was donated to the Minnesota Historical Society. Much of his collection was donated to Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Other parts were given to relatives.

He served as first president of Apollo Club. He was a member of the Odd Fellows and the Masons. He had been the oldest living graduate of Yale and believed to be the oldest living veteran of the Spanish American War.

The McC. Reeve coin collection was consigned for auction to Thomas Lindsey Elder for two sales November 5, 1937, and May 12, 1939.

bio: TCBDA; WWWA-4; local newspaper files

Source credit: Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies


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