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Doctor John Rea 1819 - 1899

New Castle Loses a Good Man But His Memory Lives On
New Castle Democrat, March 3, 1899

Click to enlarge       Dr. John Rea died last Friday evening, February 24th, at 8:15 o'clock. On Tuesday evening of the previous week he was taken ill from the results of undue exposure and exertion in the cold weather. There had been also much sickness in the family and this added much to his worry. Within two or three days after he took sick it was evident that he could not recover. His life hung by a thread for nearly a week, giving a last demonstration of the strong constitution and will power that were characteristics of the man all his life. The news of Dr. Rea's death was heard with sincere regret by all of the community. If he had an enemy nobody knew it and the one common expression was that New Castle had lost a good citizen. And the word "good" means much in this instance. It stands for morality, honesty, integrity, charity and those domestic virtues that are all too rare in this world. Any town is better for having had such a man live in it.
     To have Dr. Rea as a friend was a privilege as scores of people can testify. Many instances are told of how he remembered small favors and never forgot the giver of the favor.
     John Rea was born in Rockbridge county, Virginia, February 10, 1819, so that his death he was 80 years and 14 days of age. He was a son of David and Elizabeth Rea, who moved to Fayette county, Indiana, in 1833. John was one of eleven children. In 1843 his parents moved to Cass county where both died in 1855. John Rea spent his younger days on a farm and most of his education was self acquired. However, in 1838 he was qualified to teach school, which he did for seven years, the last being at the New Castle Academy. In 1845 he began to study medicine with Dr. Woodward and two years later began an active practice in Middletown. He remained there six months then went to Lewisville where he practiced until 1855, in which year he moved to New Castle. For forty years he had a large practice and was regarded as one of the best physicians in the county, having frequent calls for consultation. In 1855 he graduated from the Ohio Medical College at Cincinnati.
     Dr. Rea was married in 1851 to Mary Ella Remby, of Salem, Mass., who had been teaching in the Lewisvlle school. She was ten years his junior, a woman of culture who had a fine education, was a fluent writer and speaker. To them were born eleven children, only three of whom are now living (1899)-------Charles, who is located at Falmouth, Mrs. Elizabeth Gillies and Miss Frankie, both at home. George N. Rea, who died in 1885, left a widow and children.
     The doctor never lost his interest in educational matters and for more than twenty-five years he was a member of the local school board. His experience as a teacher together with his exact business methods made him a valuable official.
     Thoroughness and exactness were two of his cardinal principles and these led him to be a great student of any subject in which he was interested. His charity did not allow him to attend the poor and had he been paid for all his services to the indigent the extra amount would have easily kept a family. His life was an example of which any young man would do well to emulate.
     The funeral services were held Monday afternoon at the home on Elm Street and were in keeping with the life Dr. Rea had lived--- plain with no ostentation. There was a prayer and remarks by Rev. W. M. Jennings and the usual ceremony of the Masonic lodge, of which the Doctor was for many years a member and officer. At South Mound the only services were by the Masons, who consigned his mortal remains to the earth and his soul to the God who gave it.

2002 UEB

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