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Scots and Scots Descendant in America
Part V - Biographies
John Reid


THE great and increasing popularity of the ancient Scottish game of golf owed its inception in the United States to the enthusiasm of Mr. John Reid, who with a few of his loyal Scottish friends began to play in the field near his home in Yonkers, nearly thirty years ago. From this beginning grew the famous St. Andrew’s Golf Club, Westchester Co., N. Y., of which he was one of the founders and for many years President, and the present beautiful grounds of the club, the first of thousands now throughout the country, were secured and developed largely through his personal efforts. In honour of his services, a fine portrait of Mr. Reid, in full golf attire, adorns the dining room in the clubhouse.

Mr. Reid also bore the honoured distinction of being one of the greatest exponents of Scottish song in America. He not only collected one of the largest and best selections of Scottish music, but he also compiled a valuable and interesting volume of the popular and classic songs of the "land o’ cakes." Possessing a splendid voice, and rare power of interpretation and feeling, his rendering of the songs and ballads of his native land was unsurpassed. For many years no St. Andrew’s celebration nor Burns’ Anniversary in New York was considered complete without songs from Mr. Reid.

John Reid was born October 14, 1840, in historic Dunfermline, Scotland, the mother of many notable American Scots, the son of Andrew Reid and Helen Arnot. He received a good common school education before coming to America, in 1866. A few months after his arrival he secured employment with the J. L. Mott Iron Works, where he advanced rapidly. The success of this great industry was largely due to his energy and personality during a continuous, faithful service of more than fifty years. For thirty-nine years he was General Manager. He was also a trustee of the J. L. Mott Co., and the Trenton Fire Clay and Porcelain Company.

Mr. Reid was a member of the Engineers’ Club, the Society of British Schools and Universities, and the Burns Society of New York, of which he was several times President. He became a member of the St. Andrew’s Society of the State of New York, November 30, 1872; served as manager, 1887-1895; as second Vice-President, 1895-1897; as first Vice-President, 1897-1898; and as President, 1898-1899. He became a member of the Standing Committee in 1899, and continued a member of that body until his death. He died, after a lingering illness, at his late residence in Yonkers, N. Y., October 7, 1916.

At the 160th Annual Banquet of the St. Andrew’s Society, November 29, 1916, the following resolutions were passed unanimously:

Whereas, Mr. John Reid, former President of St. Andrew’s Society of the State of New York and long identified with the progress of this ancient organization, died upon the seventh day of October, 1916,

Now Therefore at this Annual Meeting it is unanimously RESOLVED, that the members here assembled deplore the loss of a wise and able counsellor, who, throughout an association of forty-four years, filled with honour every high office in the gift of the members and contributed to the progress and renown of the Society.

A man of integrity, fairness and sound commercial sense, he brought to the councils of the Society opinions as frank as they were fearless, and an extended knowledge and insight of Scottish character of value in solving the problems peculiar to the administration of charitable relief. He was a keen student of the literature and an enthusiastic exponent of the traditions of his native land, and, possessing a remarkable voice, his interpretations of the songs of Scotland have seldom, if ever, been equalled. His fine scorn of affectation endeared him to all seekers after the true and he had the rare faculty of making and retaining friends in all walks of life. He was a loyal friend, a loving husband and a generous father, and the memory of his kindly presence will long dwell with those who had the privilege of his esteem and affection.

It is further Revolved that this resolution be spread at large upon the minutes of this meeting and a copy thereof, suitably engrossed, signed by the President and the Secretary and sealed with the great seal of the Society, be forwarded to his bereaved family.

Mr. Reid married, October 28, 1873, Elizabeth E. Mudge, daughter of Daniel C. Mudge and Ellen Carr, of Volcano, Va. This union was blessed with three sons and two daughters: Andrew, born December 23, 1874 (died October 27, 1876) ; Ellen M., born December 30, 1876; John, Jr., born October 30, 1878; Jean A., born July 22, 1882; and Archie M., born August 13, 1884.


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