Remembering Edgar Reed’s Service This Veterans Day
Veterans Day is a time to recognize the veterans in our lives — to honor their service for our country and show them that we appreciate their sacrifices made in our behalf. World War I began on July 28, 1914 and later ended on November 11, 1918. In commemoration of Veterans Day, this very special post is in honor of the contributions Sergeant Edgar Reed made for our country during World War I.
Edgar was a partner with his brother Lewis Reed, in Reed Brothers Dodge. I never got to know my great uncle Edgar like the rest of the Reed family, because he passed away the year after I was born. My mother told me she took me to the hospital right after I was born to meet Edgar, but of course, I have no recollection of that. I do, however, feel like I know him through all of the family stories and photographs I have spent archiving over the last 10+ years.
On September 28, 1917 a draft for World War I began and the first 40 men reported for duty at the Montgomery County Court House in Rockville, Maryland. In the photograph below, cars are parked around the court house during the speech-making in the court room to drafted men. Montgomery County’s first recruits left Rockville by train for Camp Meade, Maryland on this same day. They each received a package of smoking tobacco and a rousing send-off from two thousand people after speeches at the courthouse, dinner at the Montgomery House Hotel, and a parade to the depot. About 160 Rockville men served in the eighteen-month war. One of those men was Rockville resident, Edgar Reed.
Edgar Reed (1890–1951) was born in Darnestown, Maryland on October 17, 1890. On February 26, 1918 at the age of 27 years old, Edgar was enlisted into the U.S. Army as a Private. At this time, he lived on Montgomery Avenue in Rockville. He had been employed by R.W. Vinson, Rockville druggist for eight years.
On April 27, 1918, Edgar was promoted to the rank of Private First Class, and on February 14, 1919, he was promoted to Sergeant. According to “Maryland Military Men, 1917-1918”, Edgar served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from February 1918 to August 1919. He had been posted to GENERAL HOSPITAL NO. 16, NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT and GENERAL HOSPITAL NO. 11, CAPE MAY, NEW JERSEY.
The spirit of patriotic service which swept the country prompted many persons to offer their properties to the War Department for hospital purposes. These offers included buildings of every conceivable kind, such as department stores, private establishments, hospitals, and properties in large cities. It was found that many of these could be obtained and converted into hospitals much more expeditiously than barrack hospitals could be constructed, and at less cost.
The Surgeon General recommended that the War Department authorize the leasing of the Hotel Cape May in New Jersey for use as a general hospital on December 18, 1917. The Hotel Cape May was located on the Ocean Drive, at the eastern end of the city, and within 100 feet of the beach of the Atlantic Ocean. Opened first as GENERAL HOSPITAL NO. 16, the designation was changed to GENERAL HOSPITAL NO. 11, March 14, 1918. The enlisted personnel were quartered in tents which were located to the rear of the building.
At eleven o’clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, World War I fighting came to an end when an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations went into effect. On August 4, 1919, Edgar was transferred to the Demobilization Center at Camp Lee, Virginia and was honorably discharged on August 6, 1919.
Pictured below is Edgar Reed’s World War I draft card, signed and dated June 5, 1917.
Below is Edgar Reed and friends returning home on the train after the war ended wearing the World War I “Victory Medal” on their lapels.
Edgar was fortunate enough to survive World War I and to settle back in Rockville and enjoy a successful life and career in the automobile business. After returning from the war in 1919, Edgar joined his brother in the business and the name changed to Reed Brothers Dodge. Edgar was in the automobile business with his brother, Lewis, for 35 years until his death in 1951.
So while we honor all who served this Veterans Day, on this day, I salute you Edgar Reed, and thank you for your service to our country.
U.S. Army Office of Medical History
Maryland Military Men, 1917-1918
And Jeanne…Thank you as well for your service. You have accomplished so much.♥️🤍💙
Bonnie!! Oh my gosh, it’s so nice to see you here! Your stopping by and leaving such a nice comment put a big smile on my face. I hope your upcoming holiday season is a very safe one full of peace, joy, and good health.
Thanks again for stopping by!
Enjoyed the history. I grew up in Rockville (born in 1944). My father was Jack Mcelfish and my mother was Miriam Cramer. Our first home was an apartment above the Milo Theater. I literally grew up on the Courthouse lawn and on East Montgomery Avenue. We moved for a short time to single family houses in Derwood, Blandford Apartments and finally to Wheaton Woods. I started hanging around the Rockville Volunteer Fire Dept on Perry St when I was about 8 years old. Long story short, I always wanted to be a firefighter and after being in the Air Force, came back to Montgomery County, hired by the Hillandale and Burtonsville Fire Dept and was a active volunteer firefighter and officer in the Rockville Volunteer Fire Dept. I then went on to be the Fire Chief in Wallingford, CT, Richmond, VA , and Gwinnett County and Sandy Springs, GA. I remember the Reed Brothers Dealership and it was always a class dealership.
Hello Mr Mcelfish,
Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to share your fascinating background. I’m so glad you enjoyed the history, and the post evoked such fond memories for you of that time in your life. You’ve had such a remarkable life and career. I sincerely thank you for your service to our great nation, and in the many communities you’ve served.
Sincerely and wishing you good health,