The Reed family settled in Buncombe County, N.C., before 1789. Notable Reed family members include Joseph Reed (1827-1884), a captain in the Confederate States of America Army during the Civil War, who married Catherine Harrison Miller Reed. Joseph's son, Marcus Lafayette Reed (1851-1938), also known as Mark L. Reed and M. L. Reed, was a member of the North Carolina State Legislature, and was chair of the Board of County Commissioners for Buncombe County. His son, Mark L. Reed (1902-1944), was a prominent businessman and aviator in Asheville, N.C. His son, Mark L. Reed (1935- ), was a professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1963-2000, and a prominent William Wordsworth scholar.
The Reed family's history can be traced back to 16th century Britain. The first Reed to reside in the United States was George Reed (1612-1671) who emigrated to Virginia in 1637. William Reed (b. 1738) was the first Reed to settle in what is now Buncombe County, N.C., before 1789. His great-grandson, Joseph Reed (1827-1884), was a captain in the Confederate States of America Army during the Civil War, and was one of the largest landowners in North Carolina. On 1848, Joseph married Catherine Harrison Miller Reed, a descendant of the Harrison family of Virginia, which produced two United States Presidents: William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison. Joseph and Catherine's children include Samuel Harrison Reed (1851-1905), Marcus Lafayette Reed (1853-1938), Thomas Jefferson Reed (1860-1903), and Harriet Katherine Reed Whitaker (1869-1967).
Marcus Lafayette Reed (1853-1938) was a representative for Buncombe County in the North Carolina State Legislature from 1901 to 1904, and was chair of the Board of County Commissioners for Buncombe County, N.C., from 1900 to 1908. He married Fannie Stevens Reed in 1872. After Fannie died in 1881, Marcus married Bethany Barbara Sales Reed in 1882. His children included Ella Osmonia Reed Latham Mathews (1873-1959), Hesta Lena Reed Kitchin (1879-1918), Jessie Reed Burnett (1885-1951), Joseph Lucius Reed (1893-?) and Mark L. Reed (1902-1944).
Mark L. Reed (1902-1944) was a prominent Asheville businessman, serving as president of Reed and Abee, Inc., a contracting firm, and as vice president of White Transportation Company. He was also manager of the Asheville-Hendersonville airport, and was himself an accomplished aviator, serving as wing commander of the Civil Air Patrol in North Carolina. He married Edith Alicia Murphy Reed in 1925, and had one son, Mark L. Reed (1935- ), before his death in 1944 from injuries suffered in a plane crash.
Mark L. Reed (1935- ) was educated at Yale University, where he received his B.A. in 1957, and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1962. He was a professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1963 to 2000, and was a prominent William Wordsworth scholar. He married Martha Balch Sibley Reed in 1958.
The Southern Historical Collection
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Collection Number: 05179
Collection Title: Reed Family of Buncombe County, N.C., Papers, 1816-1996