Charles E. Reynolds

From: History of Henry County, by W. W. Campbell, reprinted from History of the Maumee River Basin, by Charles Elihu Slocum, Bowen & Slocum, Indianapolis and Toledo, 1905. Republished in 1982 by Stephen Kryder, McClure, Ohio, and reprinted by The Hubbard Company, Defiance, Ohio.

(Reynolds' account of his 13 months in Andersonville Prison)

CAPT. CHARLES E. REYNOLDS. Capt. Charles Edward Reynolds, well-known citizen and insurance man of Napoleon, Ohio, is a native of Great Barrington, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, where he was born on June 15, 44. His father, Elijah Reynolds, who was of English ancestry, was born at Glen Falls, New York, in 1804, while his wife, whose maiden name was Abbie S. Tyler, was also a native of the Empire state. The family lived for a while in Massachusetts. Mr. Reynolds lived in Vermont and South Carolina before his marriage and was engaged in the cotton industry, being superintendent of mills. They came to Ohio in 1854, locating first at Huron, where a few months were spent, thence to Upper Sandusky for a similar period, and in the fall of that year they came to Henry county, locating in Napoleon. Here the father engaged in merchandising and for years ran a grocery store and a drug store. At the close of the Civil war he retired from business, his death occurring in Napoleon on July 6, 1886. The mother had died in 1855.

Charles E. Reynolds was but ten years of age when brought by his parents to Napoleon. He was educated in the public schools here and was ambitious to take a college course, but these plans were interrupted by the outbreak of the Civil war. Mr. Reynolds was but seventeen years old when, in the fall of 1861, he enlisted in Company G, Sixty-eighth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, but his father prevented his going to the front. He later, January 5, 1862, enlisted in Company F, of the same regiment, and accompanied his command to Camp Chase, where they remained about one month. They then went down the Ohio river and up the Cumberland to Fort Donelson, arriving in time for the fight. The regiment was then sent to Grump’s Landing, thence to Pittsburg Landing. At the battle of Shiloh his regiment was detailed to guard the army’s supplies, while the balance of the brigade was engaged in the second day’s fighting. From Shiloh the regiment went to Lagrange. The next engagement was the battle of Little Hatchie river. The regiment then returned to Lagrange and then started for the rear of Vicksburg, then under siege by General Grant. Their attempt was a failure, however, and the regiment went into winter quarters. During the return march the command was engaged with the enemy at Millikin’s Bend, Lake Providence and Young’s Point, above Vicksburg. The regiment was in all the engagements incident to the siege of Vicksburg. The subject of this sketch was left with a detail of men at Young’s Point to care for the camp and garrison equippage of the Seventeenth Army Corps, and on his way to the regiment and while carrying dispatches to General Logan he was captured at Clinton, Mississippi, by Harvey‘s scouts. He was first taken to Jackson, Mississippi, thence to Atlanta, Georgia, and on to Richmond, where he was confined in Libby prison. He was confined there about three months when he, with others, was sent to Annapolis, and thence to Camp Chase, and in the following August was exchanged. He at once rejoined his regiment at Vicksburg, and on January 1, 1864, he, with the rest of the regiment, veteranized. They then participated in Sherman’s Meridian (Miss.) raid. during which, at Morton. Mississippi, on February 9th, Captain Reynolds was again captured by the same scouts that captured him before. He was taken to Mobile, Alabama, and two weeks later to Cahaba, the same state. From there he was taken to the notorious Andersonville prison, where he remained until the following April, when he was taken to Vicksburg and there exchanged on April 17, 1865. He had thus endured altogether seventeen months of rebel prison life. From Vicksburg he, with others, was taken to St. Louis, thence to Camp Chase, where, on June 16, 1865, he was mustered out as quartermaster sergeant. Had he been able to rejoin his regiment he would have been commissioned first lieutenant.

Upon the close of the war, Captain Reynolds returned to Napoleon and was soon afterward appointed deputy county auditor, continuing as such until 1874. During this time he also served as township clerk, and was also engaged in the real-estate and insurance business. After 1874 he devoted his entire time to the lines last mentioned and has so well managed the business that today he has the largest fire insurance business in the county, enjoying also the distinction of having been engaged in this business longer than any one else in the county. He represents the following companies: Aetna, Home of New York, New York Underwriters, Insurance Company of North America, Philadelphia Underwriters, Phoenix of Brooklyn, Franklin Fire Insurance Company of Philadelphia, Fireman’s Fund of California, National Fire Insurance Company of Hartford, and the Pennsylvania Fire Insurance Company of Philadelphia.

Captain Reynolds has taken a deep interest in public affairs, having served on the school board of Napoleon from 1871 to 1874 and from 1887 to January, 1905, being clerk of the board during all these years. He also served as city clerk one year by appointment and two years by election. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Free and Accepted Masons, being a member of Napoleon Lodge, No. 256, Haley Chapter, No. 136, and Toledo Commandery, No. 7. He was high priest of the chapter for two years, 1893-4. He is also a member of Choate Post, No. 66, Grand Army of the Republic, of which he was the second commander, serving as such for many years and longer than any one else.

On September 12, 1866, Captain Reynolds married Miss Sarah E. Parker, who was born in Muskingum county, this state, and was the daughter of James A. and Rachel (Langhley) Parker, the former a well-known attorney of Napoleon and the latter of the Langhley family so prominent in Winchester, Virginia. Mrs. Reynolds died on March 10, 1902, at the age of fifty-six years, leaving one daughter, Jeanne E. Mrs. Reynolds was a member of the Presbyterian church, her father having been the organizer of the church at Napoleon. The subject has been a member of this church for many years and for the long period of twenty-five years was superintendent of the Sabbath school, having also for many years been an officer in the church. A man of strong character and unimpeachable integrity, Captain Reynolds has long occupied an exalted place in the estimation of his fellow citizens and is eminently worthy of mention among the leading men of his community.