The Works Progress Administration

Biography of Dr. Elgar A. Reed of El Monte California

Honored and esteemed among the citizens of El Monte from the early nineties until his death in 1924, was Dr. Elgar A. Reed, prominent physician and public benefactor.

Dr. Reed was born December 13, 1865, near Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the son of Garrett and Elizabeth (Waller) Reed, natives of Ohio. The father was a lumberman whose ancestors can be traced to the early colonial days, two of his forbearers being signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Elgar Reed was as a child very frail, but later overcame the affliction. He was educated in the public schools of the community in which his parents lived, namely: Ohio, Iowa, and Illinois.

In 1882, he came to California, where, in Los Angeles, his education was continued. In 1889, he was one of the first three graduates of the medical department of the University of Southern California. Not content with this degree, he soon returned to Cincinnati, where in 1893, he graduated from the Cincinnati Medical School. In that year he returned to California and settled in Santa Fe Springs where he practiced medicine for three years.

In 1896 he moved to El Monte and continued his profession. In 1897 he built a nice residence on the south side of Main Street between Granada and Hoyt Avenues. Here he remained for many years as one of El Monte’s leading physicians.

In the early part of 1910, he sold his practice to Dr. I Saylin and went into Old Mexico. Here he intended to acquire a tract of land and practice his profession; however, owing to the revolution, which developed in that year there, he decided to return to a more peaceful place to reside. Consequently, in December of the same year, he returned to California, and in the following year moved to Chino, where he engaged at his profession until a short time before his death, which occurred September 12,1924.

Dr. Reed was united in marriage in 1894 with Miss Mary E. Sawyer, a native of Colorado, of Scotch-Yankee ancestry, her parents being Hiram F. and Isabell Elizabeth (McCullock) Sawyer, natives of Massachusetts and Illinois. With her parents, Mrs. Reed came to California in 1887 driving overland. An interesting experience of this trip is related Mrs. Reed states that near the end of their journey they ran short of feed for the horses, and as none was available along this stretch of the trail, a serious condition confronted the company. It so happened that they had an extra supply of flour, so the resourceful women baked huge quantities of the flour into bread and fed this to the horses. In this way they were able to continue on to where feed was available.

Dr. Reed was a member of the Masonic and Odd Fellow Lodges. Also, during his time in school he was a member of Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity of the University of Southern California. In religion he was of the protestant faith, being a member of the Presbyterian Church. Politically he was a staunch Republican.

Being by his profession a very busy man, he could not participate to any great extent in civic work, however, he was much interested in the public welfare. He had a genial and happy personality and was ready with a good story for every occasion. His patients always expected a laugh (if able so to indulge) when he called, and he seldom failed them.

No children were born to Dr. and Mrs. Reed.

Source: C. D. Mayon, F. Brow, L. Stoddard, and C. Mudd; El Monte from the Pioneer Days. WPA Project No. N-5740, 1936. In record 19-187072. (California Historical Landmark No. 765: El Monte). On file at the SCCIC, CSU Fullerton.

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