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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Reid, Frank Lewis

by Lindley S. Butler, 1994

16 June 1851–24 Sept. 1894

Photograph of Minister Frank Lewis Reid. Image from Lewis Reid, Methodist minister and educator, was the son of Numa F., a Methodist minister, and Ann E. Wright Reid of Wentworth. His father moved frequently on his pastoral duties, but the Reid children were reared at the family home in Wentworth and educated in the local school. Frank Reid's grandfather, James Reid, was a pioneer North Carolina Methodist minister. Frank Reid entered Trinity College and was graduated in June 1870. In 1873 Trinity granted him an A.M. degree.

At age nineteen he became principal of Kernersville High School, a position he held until December 1870, when he joined the North Carolina Conference as a minister. His first pastoral charge was the Madison Circuit in Rockingham County, and in January 1874 he was appointed to Louisburg. In Louisburg he was selected president of Louisburg Female College, a Methodist-affiliated junior college, and served until ill health and a throat infection led to his resignation in June 1878 from both the pulpit and the college.

In October 1878 he became co-owner of the Raleigh Christian Advocate, the journal of the North Carolina Conference, and by 1884 he purchased the journal and became the sole proprietor and editor. Reid was an Methodist Minister Numa Fletcher Reid (1825-1873), father of Frank Lewis Reid and James Wesley Reid. Image from journalist and established the Advocate as the leading voice of Methodism in the state. His advocacy of the enlargement of the North Carolina Conference with territory in eastern North Carolina from Virginia and in western North Carolina from Tennessee contributed to the formation of the Western North Carolina Conference. In addition to his profuse writing for the Advocate, Reid coedited with his brother a compilation of his father's sermons entitled Life, Sermons, and Speeches of Rev. Numa F. Reid Late of the North Carolina Conference (1874).

In 1881 Reid became pastor of the Edenton Street Methodist Church, and by 1888 he was named presiding elder of the Raleigh District. He was a delegate to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, at St. Louis in 1890 and the following year attended the Ecumenical Conference in Washington, D.C. While in Raleigh, he filled a number of civic positions, serving as director of the state penitentiary and secretary of the penitentiary board. He was a member of the city school committee, and Governor Elias Carr appointed him to the board of the North Carolina Railroad Company.

A lifelong Mason, Reid was twice chaplain of the state Grand Lodge. In 1888 he was named a trustee of Trinity College and remained on that board until his death. Reid was awarded the honorary D.D. degree by The University of North Carolina in 1890. In 1893 he was appointed president of Greensboro College, a Methodist female senior college, and began his tenure in May. He applied himself to his new position with his usual dedication but died the following year and was buried in Greensboro.

He married Minnie E. Cardwell (b. 1853) of Rockingham County on 3 June 1873, and they had four children: a son, W. Fuller, and three daughters, Minnie LeGrand, Lula McGee, and Annie Field. His brother, James W. Reid (1849–1902), was a U.S. congressman.


Lindley S. Butler, Wright Tavern: A Courthouse Inn and Its Proprietors (1973).

Josephus Daniels, Tar Heel Editor (1939).

Journal of the Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1894 .

Frank Lewis Reid Papers (Manuscript Department, Duke University, Library, Durham).

Samuel B. Turrentine, A Romance of Education (1946 [portrait]).

Nathan H. Wilson, "The Reids: Eminent Itinerants Through Three Generations," Trinity College Historical Papers (1912).

Additional Resources:

Norman, W. C. "[Document No. 9.] Memoir Of Rev. F. L. Reid, D. D." Journal of the North Carolina Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South- Fifty-Eighth Session, Held At Durham, N.C. Raleigh, N. C.: Edwards & Broughton, Printers And Binders. 1894. 46-48 (accessed June 10, 2013).

Reid, Numa F. (Numa Fletcher). Life, sermons and speeches of Rev. Numa F. Reid, D.D., late of the North Carolina Conference. New York, E.J. Hale & Son. 1874. (accessed June 10, 2013).

Perdue, Michael. The history of Bethlehem United Methodist Church, 1835-1988. [Wentworth, NC : M. Perdue]. 1988. 14. (accessed June 10, 2013).

Image Credits:

"Rev. F. L. Reid, D.D." Life, sermons and speeches of Rev. Numa F. Reid, D.D., late of the North Carolina Conference. New York, E.J. Hale & Son. 1874. (accessed June 10, 2013).

Sartain, John. "N.F. Reid." Life, sermons and speeches of Rev. Numa F. Reid, D.D., late of the North Carolina Conference. New York, E.J. Hale & Son. 1874. Frontispiece. (accessed June 10, 2013).