Reed plaque dedication Saturday in Sheridan
A plaque will be dedicated to honor Daniel Alden Reed on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Sheridan Cemetery. A reception at the Historical Society building will follow.
Saturday is far from the first time that our area has recognized Reed. The Barcelona Pier and a library at SUNY Fredonia bear Reed’s name, along with a historical marker in the yard of Reed’s childhood home on the corner of Center Road and Chapin Road in Sheridan. The marker was dedicated in 1976 as part of the town’s bicentennial celebration.
Reed was born in Sheridan on Sept. 15, 1875. He attended primary school in the one-room schoolhouse No. 3 in Sheridan and graduated from Silver Creek High School.
Later, Reed earned a law degree from Cornell University and operated a legal practice in Dunkirk. He was also a football coach, even collegiately at Cornell.
Reed was instrumental in organizing municipal chambers of commerce. He organized a fundraising drive known as the Liberty Loan Programs and assisted with food conservation during and following World War I. Reed was appointed by President Herbert Hoover as part of a commission to study post-war food needs in England and France.
In November 1918, Reed was elected to the United States Congress to represent Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties. Reed was a predecessor of current representative Nick Langworthy.
Reed served as Chairman of the Committee on Education, where he twice attempted to pass a bill to establish a Department of Education with a cabinet secretary. Eventually, his efforts became a reality in 1979, under President Jimmy Carter’s administration. Reed was also the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Reed served in the United States House of Representatives for 20 consecutive terms.
In February of 1959, Reed died at the age of 83, due to illness. He is buried at the Sheridan Cemetery.
Sue Bigler, a resident of the town of Sheridan, visited Reed’s grave and felt inspired to do more to honor his legacy. Bigler attended the funeral procession as Reed was buried when she was 6 years old.
Bigler stated she was “appalled at the neglect” of Reed’s final resting place. “This was an important national public servant, with positions of authority in congress and by presidential appointments, obviously respected by his constituents to have been re-elected so many times,” Bigler stated. She referred to Reed’s gravesite as “forgotten.”
Bigler added, “Personally, I felt this just isn’t right. … Such a man deserves to be honored and serve as an example still today.”
To honor Reed’s legacy, Bigler led the way in pursuing a plaque to honor his service to his country, similar to a military service plaque, but with a different design and colors to differentiate between his service and that of military veterans.
The Sheridan Historical Society backed Bigler’s project, which was also funded partially by donations Bigler received. The Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation also awarded a grant to assist in the process. The plaque was made by Riles and Woolley Monuments, and it will feature an upright frame for the plaque so it can stand behind Reed’s gravestone.
Bigler called the project “worth the effort.”