Harry Reynolds


HARRY REYNOLDS, proprietor of the Reynolds Hotel at Kittanning, was born Oct. 6, 1854, the son of Absalom Reynolds, and grandson of David Reynolds. A somewhat lengthy account of David Reynolds and his father, George Reynolds, appears elsewhere in this work.

David Reynolds was one of the early settiers of Kittanning, and a pioneer hotel man, being the first in the place to provide public accommodation for strangers; he applied for his license at the first court held in Kittanning. His house, known as the "Kittanning Inn," was visited by many men of importance in the State. Judge George Ross stayed there when court was in session. Mr. Reynolds not only became wealthy, owning large tracts of land outside the city, but was also prominent in public life. There are few men whose names are held in higher esteem than his, and he earned the right to be numbered among the leading men of his time and locality. Energetic and public-spirited, he served with dignified capability in many of the local offices, and gave distinction to the Whig party, of which he was an ardent supporter. He was one of the first county commissioners, and for some years was postmaster of Kittanning, during its earlier history. His first wife was Mary Woodward, second daughter of a distinguished pioneer, Absalom Woodward, and the second, Jane Ross, daughter of Judge George Ross.

Absalom Reynolds was born at Kittanning in 1818, and was a son of his father's first marriage. He inherited the hotel property, and for many years was the proprietor of the "Reynolds Hotel." In political faith he was a Republican, filling several important offices, among them that of county treasurer. He was assistant postmaster under his father. Like his father he was a man of high standing and wide influence, and associated with important affairs. He married Margaret Heiner Mechling, daughter of Sheriff John Mechling and his wife Ann Eliza (Heiner), whose father was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. Mrs. Reynolds was born in 1825 and died in 1908. Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds became the parents of the following children: Anna, who died when nineteen years of age; Edwin, who died when six years old; Harry; and Jessie, the wife of Tyson Hileman.

Harry Reynolds was reared in Kittanning, receiving his early education in the grammar and high schools of the city, and later attended the Edgwood Boarding School, at New Brighton, Pa., and finally the college preparatory school at Princeton, N. J., which later was removed to Merchantville, near Camden. He has taken up the business of his father and grandfather, and for over thirty-one years has owned and operated the hotel that bears the family name. His grandfather's old clock (wall sweep) still used in the hotel is a historic timepiece, for by it the sittings of the court were timed in the early days when the hotel was known as the "Kittanning Inn," the janitor or court crier coming over from the courthouse -- then directly opposite the "Inn," which stood on the site now occupied by the "Reynolds Hotel" --to get the time to ring his hell for the opening of court. The clock even occupies the same location. Mr. Reynolds also owns a desk on one drawer of which is written and signed: "This desk was the first piece of furniture made in Kittanning, and was made in the year 1804, by Isaac Townsend." Mr. Reynolds is a member of the B. P.O. Elks, belonging to Lodge No. 203, Kittanning.

In 1876 Harry Reynolds married Sarah A. Reynolds, daughter of William Reynolds, who married a Welty. They have one child, Margaret, now the wife of Philip S. Merrill, president of the George B. Merrill, Jr., Lumber Company, of Jackson, Miss., and son of George B. Merrill, of Williamsport, Pa., founder of that company. Mr. and Mrs. Philip S. Merrill have three children living: George B., Jr., Harry Reynolds and Philip S., Jr.

Source: Pages 605, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed October 2001 by Laurel Black Morris for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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