Eliza Collins Reddick
Unlike her husband, William Reddick, who was an Irish immigrant, Eliza Collins Reddick came from a family long-settled in the United States. Her parents, John Collins and Eliza Binley Collins, were both born in Virginia and married there on July 25, 1798. To this union were born eight children, of whom Eliza Jane Collins was the sixth.
Before her birth, the Collins family had made a move to Brownsville, Pennsylvania. It was there that Eliza Jane was born on August 31, 1810. In November of 1828, William Reddick began serving an indentureship in a glass factory in Brownsville. It is assumed that William and Eliza met during this time as they were married in Brownsville after William completed his indentureship on February 1, 1831. The exact date of their wedding is unknown.
After working in various glass-making facilities in the East and saving $1000, William and Eliza purchased farmland in LaSalle County in Illinois and moved there in 1835. With William’s election to the post of LaSalle County Sheriff, their next move was to Ottawa, the county seat. Ottawa was to be their home for the rest of their lives.
That Eliza was a partner in all of William’s accomplishments, there can be little doubt. Upon her death on July 5, 1883, after a heart-related illness of several years, her obituary in the July 7th edition of the Ottawa Free Trader stated,
“She was in many respects a rare woman. In all Mr. Reddick’s business and political enterprises she took, naturally, a deep interest; but more than that she assisted as few women can with hand and head and to her aid and counsel is due much of her husband’s great success both in business and political life. She made no great “stir;” the newspapers had little to say of her coming and going, but through all her life she lived an earnest Christian woman, whose influence was always for good – one of those women of whom it may be said that the world is better because she lived in it; and whose death will be mourned as that of a benefactor gone forever.”
Her funeral held in the beautiful building that was home to the Reddicks for nearly thirty years, was said to have been one of the largest ever seen in Ottawa, “testifying the great regard in which the deceased was held by all classes of our people. The casket was literally buried in flowers, and the house and grounds were filled with friends, more than a thousand being present.” (Ottawa Free Trader, July 14, 1883)
Click here for a genealogy report of the descendants of John Collins.
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Click here for an account of William Reddick’s life.
Click here for an account of Elizabeth Funk Reddick’s life.