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Walter Reeves, a prominent attorney of Streator, and one of the lawmakers of the nation, is now for the third time representing his district in congress. He was born near Brownsville, Pennsylvania, on the 25th of September, 1848, and is a son of Harrison and Maria (Leonard) Reeves, the former of Scotch-English descent and the latter of Welsh-German lineage. The father was a farmer by occupation and was also a native of the Keystone state.

When eight years of age he accompanied his parents on their removal to Illinois, the family locating on a farm in LaSalle county, where he was reared to manhood. He acquired his education in the public schools and private study, and in early manhood became a teacher. During that time he also read law, and at the June term of the supreme court, in 1875, he was admitted to the bar. He at once began the practice of law in Streator and soon attained prominence at the LaSalle county bar. Li 1884 he was admitted to practice in the United States supreme court, and has since been identified with much important litigation. He is the senior member of the firm of Reeves & Boys.

In politics Mr. Reeves has always been a pronounced Republican and protectionist. In 1894 he was nominated by the Republican party for representative in congress from the eleventh congressional district of Illinois, and was elected by a plurality of four thousand nine hundred and eighty-two votes. In 1896 he was re-elected by a plurality of six thousand two hundred and fifty-one votes; and on the 4th of March, 1899, took his seat for the third time in the house of representatives. Upon entering congress in 1895 he recognized the fact that he could best serve his constituents by devoting his energies to the work of internal improvements in the country. He was appointed a member of the committee on rivers and harbors, and in the river and harbor bill passed by the fifty-fourth congress he obtained from the general government for improvements in the state of Illinois between eight and nine million dollars. His position was that in the midst of exceedingly hard times the laboring people should be helped by providing work to be done in these internal improvements, and that in turn farmers and business men benefited by the influence on freight rates resulting therefrom. Thus he accomplished more for the internal improvement of the state by the general government than had been accomplished for a score of years. He has prepared and introduced a bill in congress to control the patent system of the United States, and a leading labor paper of New York said that if passed it would accomplish more for the laboring people of the United States than any other bill ever introduced. His course in congress has ever been one favoring advancement and progress; and that he has been three times elected to represent his district is unmistakable evidence of the confidence reposed in him by his fellow citizens.

Mr. Reeves was married in 1876 to Miss Metta M. Cogswell, of Connecticut, a daughter of Lucius T. Cogswell. He is a man of fine personal appearance, affable in manner and a cultured, genial gentleman worthy of the high regard in which he is uniformly held.

Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 38-39.

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