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Reid's Yellow Dent Corn
Supporting Documentation


Obituary of James L. Reid

 26 Dec 1844 to 1 Jun 1910




Originator of Reid's Yellow Dent Corn Passes Away at East Lynn.

Danville, Ill., June 1. - (Special) - James L. Reid, originator of Reid's yellow dent corn, which has gained wide notority and favor, died at his home near East Lynn at 12:30 o'clock this morning, aged 65. He leaves a wife and two children, a son and daughter.

The funeral services will be held tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the home and the body will be taken to Delavan, the former home, where the interment will be made Friday.

Published June 2, 1910 in The Daily Pantagraph; Bloomington, Illinois.


Well Known as Originator of Reid's Yellow Dent Corn. - Funeral Saturday.

The funeral of the late Mr. James L. Reid, a former resident of Delavan, whose death at his home in East Lynn on June 1 was briefly noted in our issue of last week, was held from the Baptist church in this city at ten o'clock Saturday morning. The funeral sermon was preached by the pastor, Rev. Mahoney, from the text, "Be ye therefore also ready." The singing was by a quartette composed of Misses Birdie Dunseth and Eileen Beatty and Messrs. Leo Stumbaugh and M. F. Quigley. The pall bearers were Messrs. W. C. Hackney, Elmer Giles, Ralph Allen, W. R. Baldwin, N. O. Caswell and J. S. Hemstreet. Interment was in Prairie Rest.

Mr. Reid was a son of Robert and Anne Reid and was born in Ohio, December 26, 1844. His death occurred at 12:30 o'clock on the morning of June 1, 1910, following an immediate illness of five days. He had been in failing health for several years. He had returned home but a fortnight before from Florida where he had spent the winter. He was one of a family of four children, the only surviving member of which is now the one sister, Miss Mary O. Reid of Delavan. In his infancy he came with his parents to Tazewell county, where he grew to manhood and where most of his life was lived. From 1864, when he made a profession of faith, until his death he was a member of the Baptist church, holding membership in the Baptist church of Hoopeston at the time of his death. He was united in marriage in 1870 to Marietta Jenks. Three children were born to them, namely - Walter R., Olive G. and Robert Bruce. The first named died in 1889. In 1880, the family removed from Delavan to Kansas, where they lived until 1888 when they returned and resumed their residence on the Reid homestead northeast of this city. In 1902, they removed to East Lynn, which has since been their home.

A benefactor of his race has been described as one who makes two blades of grass grow where but one grew before. Mr. Reid was such a benefactor. His life work was the development of corn growing, and his monument will be the variety of corn which he originated, known as Reid's Yellow Dent throughout the corn growing world. This corn is the joint work of his father and himself, but to him belongs the credit of exploiting it and bringing it into prominence and general use as one of the standard and best known varieties. The motives that controlled him were not those of money-making but more in harmony with the ethics that control the scientific and medical world - the giving freely of the fruits of his investigation and toil for the general good. This was testified to by the faculty of the University of Illinois who sent as their representative to the funeral Prof. Smith of the college of agriculture, who brought with him and presented to the family a written tribute to the life and work of the deceased. In his later years, Mr. Reid officiated frequently as a judge at corn shows and expositions in all parts of the country. He was recognized as an authority, and his work was known and held in high esteem over a wide area and especially at the Illinois college of agriculture.

Persons from out of town who attended the funeral were Mrs. Reid, Miss Olive Reid and Mr. and Mrs. R. B. Reid, of East Lynn; Mr. George Jenks, of Tremont; Mr. A. B. Sperry and Mr. and Mrs. Lyman Sperry and daughter, of Allentown; Mrs. Louisa Barrett, of Hoopeston, and Prof. Smith, of the University of Illinois. Mr. Chas. Sniffen, of Pekin, and Mr. Roy Sniffen, of Peoria, nephews, came Friday, under a misapprehension originating in erronous statements in the city newspapers that the funeral was to be held that day, and were unable to stay over until Saturday.

Published June 8, 1910 in The Delavan Times-Press; Delavan, Illinois.

Source: Find-A-Grave


Origin of Reid’s Yellow Dent

James L. Reid

In 1846, when my father, Robert Reid, moved from Ohio to Delevan Prairie, he brought, with other goods, his seed corn. This corn was known in Brown County, Ohio, as the Gordon Hopkins corn. It was not a yellow corn, but reddish or flesh colored, which gave to the shelled corn the appearance of being highly mixed.

It was quite late in the spring of 1846 when my father arrived in Delevan. Uncle Daniel Reid, who had settled here some years previous, had the ground prepared for corn and the field was at once planted. The crop was good but imperfectly ripened. The best of it was selected for next year's seed, but being immature the stand of corn for the crop of 1847 was very poor and had to be replanted. This was done by putting in the missing hills with a hoe and using for that purpose a small corn that was grown in the neighborhood at the time, known as the Little Yellow corn. I am unable to give anything of the history of this variety; but what I call Reid's Yellow Dent has been bred from the result of that cross, by selection, to what it is to-day—an almost pure yellow corn of medium size and medium early in maturing. The ears carry their size fairly well, have a solid deep kernel that grows very compact on the cob, and will shell about 86 per cent of grain after it is thoroughly dry

It has always been my plan to select my seed at husking time, as then a better selection of ears can be made than could be done previously. In caring for the seed during the winter I find that the important thing is to have the seed dry in the fall, then keep it dry during the winter, and there will be no cause for complaint of a poor stand of corn at planting time.

Source: The Art of Seed Selection and Breeding. USDA Yearbook of Agriculture. pp. 231-232 (1907)



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