Samuel White Reed was born on June 29, 1840, in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, the son of Lemuel (1807-1875) and Marjorie (White (1814-1875).
His parents were married sometime before 1836 by which time they were living in Ontario, Canada. Between 1848 and 1852 the family left Canada and settled in Kent County, Michigan, and by 1860 Samuel was a farmer living with his family in Grattan, Kent County.
Samuel stood 6’0” with brown eyes and hair and a light complexion and was 20 years old and possibly still living in Grattan when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. While in the army he was constantly plagued by lung disease. On October 23, 1861, Captain Fred Shriver, of Company B, wrote that Reed “has been troubled with the lung fever about one year previous to his enlistment & has not done any duty since the Bull Run fight” of July 21, 1861, and in fact he was discharged for consumption on November 12, 1861, at Fort Lyon, Virginia.
Samuel returned to western Michigan where he was married to Michigan native Coralin L. Jones (1837-1914) on January 12, 1864, at Grand Rapids or Grattan; and they had at least five children: Lemuel Frank (b. 1864), William Sherman (b. 1868), Marjorie Emily (b. 1870), Gertrude Alzina (b. 1872) and Samuel White Jr. (b. 1878).
On March 15, 1865, he was drafted for one year and enlisted in Company F, Fifteenth Michigan infantry at Grand Rapids, crediting Grattan. (The very same day that Alexander Morton, also formerly of Company D, Third Michigan, and who had lived in Ionia County, enlisted in Company G, Fifteenth infantry.) He joined the Regiment on March 21, reportedly at Alexandria, Virginia, although the regiment was in fact in North Carolina, having just participated in the battle of Bentonville.
The Fifteenth participated in the occupation of Goldsboro and Raleigh, North Carolina and the surrender of Johnston’s army. It subsequently marched to Washington April 29-May19 and participated in the Grand Review on May 24, 1865, after which it was moved to Louisville, Kentucky June 1-6, and then on to Little Rock, Arkansas on June 28 where it remained on duty until August 13. Samuel was honorably discharged with the regiment on August 13 at Little Rock.
Following his discharge Samuel returned to Michigan and settled in Grand Rapids. He was working as a carpenter and living with his wife and children in the Fourth Ward in 1870. By 1880 he was working as a well digger and living with his wife and children on Grandville Avenue in Grand Rapids. He was still living in the city in 1888, but by 1890 had moved to Wyoming, Kent County.
He was a Protestant. In 1891 he applied for and received pension no, 826,678, drawing $12.00 per month in 1907 and raised to $19.00 by 1912.
He was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 4947) on April 3, 1907, was dropped on March 4, 1908, and reentered the Home on April 23, 1908.
Samuel died at the Home of “acute softening of the brain” at 2:50 p.m. on February 9, 1913, and was buried on February 11 in the Home cemetery: section 6 row 7 grave no. 5.
His wife was living at 243 Lyon Street in Grand Rapids at the time of his death. On February 12, 1913, she applied for and received a pension (no. 756289).