Gustave Putman Reid Jr.1

M, #284, b. 14 August 1913, d. 8 December 1994
Father*Gustave Putnam Reid Sr.2 b. 21 February 1886, d. 20 February 1938
Mother*Emilie H. Unknown2 b. 1888, d. 1966
     Gustave was born in St Louis, St Louis County, Missouri, USA, on 14 August 1913.2 He was the son of Gustave Putnam Reid Sr. and Emilie H. Unknown.2
     His common name was Gus.
     Gus Reid was employed as President by Reid Bros. Express and Transfer Company at 900 Hodiamont Avenue, St Louis, Independent City, Missouri, USA.2,3


     Photo of Gus Reid. Original photo in the possession of Sue Myers (#130.)


     Gus is a prominent St. Louisian and the President and owner of Reid Brothers Trucking and Transfer Company. His father and uncle, Doug, were the founders of the company.2

     Gustave Putman Reid Jr. married Loice Beatrice Herrell, daughter of Frank Royer Herrell and Francis Anna Mae Reeder, in Union, Franklin County, Missouri, USA, on 4 November 1939.2
     Gustave Putman Reid Jr. was employed as President in 1957 at Reid Brothers Express, St Louis City, Independent City, Missouri, USA.4
     They resided at 9 Oak Bend Drive, Ladue, St Louis County, Missouri, USA, in 1957.4
     The following information was obtained from an interview with Gus in July of 1991.

The Reid family originally came from Clearwater, Mississippi. It was here that Gus Jr.'s grandfather died of yellow fever. This left his wife alone with three small children, Grace, Doug, and Gus Sr. Gus Sr. was only two when his father died. After his death, the family moved to Jersey, Illinois and stayed with a family named Putnam. (This is where Gus Jr.'s middle name came from.) The family later moved on to St. Louis, Missouri and remained there.      

Gus Sr.'s mother died at the age of 50.

During part of his school years, Gus Sr. sold newspapers to earn extra money.

Gus Sr. and Emilee met in her parent's tavern at east Grand and Broadway (St. Louis, Missouri). They lived on Cornell after their marriage. Gus Sr. had $500,000 worth of life insurance at one point.

Emilee had a brother named Butler. Butler was a Marine. He married and moved to southern California. He had a daughter named Barbara Weber. Butler was killed in an auto racing accident.

Gus Sr. borrowed $100 from Grace and used it to start the Express Trucking Co. He started with one wagon and two mules. His mother wouldn't let him go out and spend any money until he had paid back the entire $100 to Grace. Six weeks after starting the business, Gus Sr. was involved in an accident that killed both of the mules and put him in the hospital. After he was out, the party responsible for the accident bought him two new mules and he was back in business again.

Gus Sr. started the business in 1904. Doug joined the business in 1905.

In 1912, Doug wrote the following letter to Gus Sr. (Gus Jr. has the original)

     Dear Bro,
     Eight years ago today we went in business together. Our first day's receipts and our largest since was $76.80.

     Let us both try and put our hearts and shoulders to the load. "We are bound to succeed". "Nothing succeeds like success". If we did this well eight years ago with nothing, now that we have a footing we can make it twice as much in the next eight. We got a start keep the flying.
                         Sincerely your brother Doug

If Gus Sr. liked you, he would do anything for you. Gus Jr. is much like his father in this respect.

Gus Jr. was born at 5943 Minerva in St. Louis, Missouri on August 14, 1914. He graduated from University City High School in 1930. He never worked anywhere except Reid Express. He started working for the company as a driver at the age of 14. The building housing the trucks was built in 1925 on Olive Street and is still standing. It still bears the Reid Trucking sign. It was sold on June 1, 1980.

Reid Brothers was situated at 890 Hodiament. They had 250 trailers. There is an article in the August 15, 1983 edition of the Post about their flourishing company. In 1984 Reid Bros was disbanded. During the 1950's the drivers for Reid Trucking received a daily wage of $4.35 with no overtime pay. Later when it was negotiated with the union to begin paying for overtime, one black employee, Emil Keeton, refused his check for two months because he didn't think he was entitled to the extra pay. Gus Jr. had to personally assure him that it had been agreed to with the union and he truly was entitled to it before he would start accepting his checks. Emil remained with Reid trucking until his death.

In 1918, Doug bought a square mile of property in Sikeston, Missouri. This farm was always a sore spot with Gus Sr. He hated it. After Doug's death, Gus Sr. paid an attorney $350 to take the farm off of his hands. In later years, a friend in the Sikeston area told Gus Jr. that the new owner was collecting $500,000 a year from the government not to plant on the land.

The depression had a big impact on the business. They had recently built a new building for $125,000 and were experiencing financial difficulties.     

Gus Sr. died February 20, 1938. The markers in the Reid family plot are for Gus Sr.'s mother and Grace (They are merely labeled Mother and Sister).

There was a Jewish man, Jake Lackskey, that was a silent partner in the business for awhile. When Gus Sr. died, this man became a Vice President in the company. At that time, Reid Brothers was near bankruptcy. Gus Jr made a deal with one of the creditors to bail them out and then repaid him in monthly payments.      

After his father's death, Gus gave his mother a check on the 1st and 15th of each month to help her make ends meet.

Gus Jr. and Lois Herrell met in a tavern on Delmar and Union around 1936 or 37. They were married on November 4, 1939. They ran off to Mexico, Missouri to get married because they did not want Jake Lackskey, a third partner in the business, to know about it. When they were first married, they lived on the 3rd floor of a house at Enright and Goodfellow. Eventually, he and Lois took over his mother's house. Lois and her mother-in-law got along very well.

Gus Jr. was exempted from military service because of the importance of Reid Trucking to the war effort. Many companies making supplies for the war utilized Reid Trucking for transportation. It was deemed that Gus filled a more important role running the company than he could in active service. Gus was given a 6 month deferment.

Gus took his last drink on December 15, 1957. He has gone 33 years without a drink. He still keeps bottles of liquor in the house because he enjoys the smell. He quit on his own without any help from anyone or any organization. He made a decision to quit and did just that. During Gus Jr.'s drinking days he would consume a couple of fifths of whiskey a day. He would occasionally go out drinking with Jimmy Hoffa's bodyguard. Gus has limited memories of these days, much of them are a blur.

Gus Jr. and Rita were married on August 28. They will not be buried in Valhalla with the rest of the Reid family, but in Oak Grove Cemetery instead.

Gus says of his life, "If it wasn't for a marvelous, marvelous mother and the good lord, none of this would have been possible."      

Gus' second wife Rita says of him "Gus never lies". in July 1991.5

     Gustave died on 8 December 1994 in St Louis, Independent City, Missouri, USA, at age 81. The cause of death was leukemia. He died very quickly..6,7
Last Edited=20 December 2023

Family: Gustave Putman Reid Jr. and Loice Beatrice Herrell

Citations

  1. [S73] SSDI, unknown file number, Social Security Death Index, Licensed to Palladium Interactive, Inc. Copyright 1997 GenRef, Inc. Copyright 1997 InfoSphere, Inc. (n.p.: Palladium Interactive, Inc., 1997) . Hereinafter cited as Social Security Death Index.
  2. [S78] William Herrell (#128), "Bill Herrell's Genealogy Records (copy)" (New Haven, Missouri). Supplied by Mike Herrell - 1991 . Hereinafter cited as "Bill Herrell Records."
  3. [S279] City Directory - St. Louis City - 1970 (n.p.: n.pub., 1970) . Hereinafter cited as City Directory - St. Louis City - 1970.
  4. [S1536] St Louis City Directory 1957 (1136 Washington Ave, 4th Floor, St Louis, Missouri: RL Polk & Co, 1957). Library Reference Number: Genealogy 977.801 SA25P 1957 (Document Source Number: 00284-1957-00-00-01). Hereinafter cited as St Louis City Directory 1957.
  5. [S264] Interview with Gustave Putman Reid Jr. (14300 Conway Meadows Ct. St. Louis, Missouri), by Sheila Sue Altenbernd, July 1991. Unknown repository (unknown repository address).
  6. [S196] Margie Marie Sadler unknown date.
  7. [S259] Interview with Margie Seago (#443) (Ft Myers, Florida), by Sheila Altenbernd (#172), September 13, 2003 - September 14,2003. Sheila Sue Altenbernd (7461 River Bend Circle, Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, USA, at). (Document Source Number: 00443-2003-09-13-01).