Lewis Reed was born in Darnestown, Maryland on November 25, 1887 and was the founder of Reed Brothers Dodge. He attended school in Montgomery County and later went to work for the fore-runner of the IBM Corporation at about the time it was founded in 1913. In October 1915, he founded Reed Brothers Dodge. In 1920, he married the former Ethelene Thomas of Frederick County and moved to Gaithersburg. In 1926, Lewis and Ethelene Reed built a craftsman-style home in Gaithersburg, at what is today 301 North Frederick Avenue. Lewis Reed’s family residence is listed on the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties as the Lewis Reed Residence. He had one daughter, Mary Jane, who was born on September 24, 1922. She later married Ernest Lee Gartner in 1948.
Before becoming interested in automobiles, Lewis Reed was one of the original employees of the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, a Georgetown-based manufacturing firm that eventually became International Business Machines, Inc. He received his automotive training at the Pierce-Arrow factory in Buffalo, New York, the Dodge Hamtramck and Hudson Motor Car factories in Detroit, Michigan and the Washington Auto College. Pierce-Arrow was once one of the most recognized and respected names in the automobile industry. For 38 years, the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company in Buffalo, New York, produced some of the finest automobiles made.
When World War I broke out, Lewis Reed along with many other patriotic men joined the war effort. He did his bit in World War I by working at the Navy Yard in Washington DC as a torpedo tester.
Prior to World War I, Lewis Reed’s love of automobiles led him to becoming a chauffeur. Chauffeurs were not only trained to be proficient with their driving skills, but they also had to keep the luxury automobiles in tip top shape which is where his mechanic training would have come into play. Many of the first chauffeurs came from a mechanic’s background — a vital skill in the early days of motoring.
Lewis Reed was a member of the Gaithersburg Grace Methodist Church where he served as a member and Chairman of the Board of Stewards, a lay leader and President of the Men’s Bible Class.
He was also a charter member and Past President of the Gaithersburg – Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department and a member of the advisory board of the Rockville branch of the First National Bank of Maryland.
Lewis Reed belonged to the Masonic Lodge of Rockville, the Pentalph Chapter of the Eastern Star and the Rockville Rotary Club. He was a Rotarian for 34 years and also had served as President of that group.
With photography for a hobby, one that began even before automobiles were around Montgomery County, he had amassed a large library of photographs of buildings, farm carts drawn by oxen, and other historic spots in Montgomery County. Lewis Reed expanded his hobby to include movies, and made them not only of his family, but on his trips to various parts of the world. He also enjoyed pheasant hunting in South Dakota and camping and fishing at Popes Head Creek in Maryland.
Lewis Reed’s daughter, Mary Jane Gartner, recently donated her father’s photograph collection of 280 glass plate negatives to the Montgomery County Historical Society. Glass plate negatives were in common use between the 1880s and the late 1920s.
Photo above on left: Lewis Reed (left) as Chauffeur with unidentified family circa 1915.
Photo above on right: Lewis Reed fixing the motor near Darnestown circa 1915. The two ladies with parasols are sitting in an early automobile with a rumble seat. Rumble seat passengers were essentially seated out in the elements and received little or no protection from the regular passenger compartment top.
Edgar Reed was born in Darnestown, Maryland on October 17, 1890. Edgar, a life-long resident of Montgomery County was a partner with his brother, Lewis Reed, in the firm Reed Brothers Dodge. He was a veteran of World War I and an active citizen of Rockville. He served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in World War I from February 1918 to August 1919. Previous to his enlistment he had been employed by R.W. Vinson, Rockville druggist for eight years. In 1919, Edgar joined Lewis Reed in the business and the name changed to Reed Brothers Dodge. Edgar was in the automobile business with his brother, Lewis, for 35 years.
Edgar Reed married Rachel White in June 1920 just a few weeks prior to his brother’s wedding. They had no children. As a prominent businessman active in local commercial, civic, and religious institutions, Edgar was a respected community leader. For many years, he served on the Town Council and was Chairman of Stewards at the Rockville Methodist Church. He was a charter member and Past President of the Rockville Rotary Club and was a director of the Farmers Banking & Trust Company in Rockville until the time of his death
Edgar Reed, who was the executive of Reed Brothers, handled all of the technicalities of the business and was generally in charge of the new car and truck sales. Edgar Reed passed away on October 24, 1951 after a prolonged illness.
In the early days, motorcycles were a staple of transportation, and both Lewis and Edgar Reed rode Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Motorcyclists in the 1920s were more likely to wear a tie and sporty little cap than the leather of today.
Photo below: with Lewis Reed taking the photograph (from left: Lewis Reed’s empty motorcycle, Edgar Reed, unknown person, Bernard Hanshew) in front of Greenawalt Drug Store on Market Street in Frederick, Maryland circa 1915.