Margaret Backenstoe Reed
|Margaret Backenstoe Reed|
James F. and Margaret Reed
March 31, 1814
|Died||November 25, 1861
San Jose, California
|Religion||The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|
|Spouse(s)||James F. Reed|
Margaret Keyes was born to Sarah Keyes (d. May 29, 1846), who eventually accompanied her daughter on the fated trek across the United States. She was raised as a "Virginian aristocrat... whose family was among the leading citizens of Springfield." Reed was described as small and "pretty", with brown hair that she usually wore in braids.
Reed first married Lloyd Backenstoe in Sangamon County, Illinois, and together they had daughter Virginia E. Backenstoe. Lloyd died in 1833 during a cholera epidemic before they had any other children together.
In 1834, Reed remarried James F. Reed. That marriage resulted in three children, being Martha "Patty" J. Reed, James "Jimmy" F. Reed Jr. and Thomas "Tommy" K. Reed. Virginia, James' stepdaughter, took the last name Reed upon her mother's marriage to James.
Reed suffered from chronic headaches and has been characterized as a "semi-invalid".
In 1845 Reed's husband James decided to head west to California and organized a small group which left the Springfield area in the spring of 1846. During the journey, they became trapped during a snowstorm and had to resort to cannibalism to survive.
Reed and her family recuperated in Sutter's Fort and later in Napa Valley. While in the valley, husband James became interested in reviving abandoned orchards on the grounds of the Mission San Jose. Eventually, the family settled in the valley and James began gold mining as well, making a large profit.
After her arrival in California, Reed had two more children with James, being sons Charles Cadden Reed and Willianoski Yount Reed, called "Willie". Charles was born in San Jose under the Mexican flag on February 6, 1848. Willianoski was also born in San Jose on December 12, 1850, and died at age 9 on June 12, 1860.
While living in the ranch house the Reeds acquired, Reed purchased an "elegant" piano with rosewood lines from a sea captain. The piano came to be known as "The Pioneer Piano" and was featured in the Reed parlor for decades.
Margaret Street in San Jose, California, is named for Reed. Keyes street is named after Reed's mother Sarah Keyes, Martha Street is named after Reed's daughter Martha, Reed street is named after Reed's husband James Reed, and finally, Virginia Street is named after Reed's daughter Virginia. All streets are in downtown San Jose.
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