Norman Bruce Ream

We get quite a few inquiries about Norman Bruce Ream.    So here are our notes.

Born: November 5, 1844 in Somerset County PA.     Died: February 9, 1915   Obituary   Find-a-grave      Wife: Caroline Thompson PUTNAM (NJ family)   Find-a-grave

NORMAN BRUCE REAM (1844 - 1915). Prominent Capitalist whose courage and tenacity were invincible. Forced to resign from the Civil War (First Lieutenant) because of numerous wounds in 1864, he eventually suffered a series of business losses until 1871. In Chicago he succeeded in the livestock and grain commission business and was a successful speculator from the start. After being a major power in those speculative markets he retired in 1888 from the Board of Trade, became interested in railroad organization. He moved to New York City in 1895 and became a member of the New York Stock Exchange. He enjoyed the confidence of J. P. Morgan and worked in close cooperation with him in organizing the railroad and steel industries. He served on the executive committee of several railroads and carried through a successful financial reorganization of the Baltimore & Ohio. In 1898 he organized the National Biscuit Company and served as its director and the Federal Steel Company, one of the companies that later became a part of the United States Steel Corporation. By 1904 he was rated as one of the leading capitalists of the country. He was genial and pleasant socially, always approachable. The key to his character and one of the chief causes of his success was his absolute confidence in the rightness of his judgments.

Chicago: a major grain trader... one of the richest executives in Ill. around 1880 to 1910... Norman was a director of U.S. Steel.      Also Erie Railroad, Board of Directors.    See:

The Prairie Avenue neighborhood is where the really rich folks of Chicago lived in the 1870-1920 period. Norman Ream had a mansion at 1901 South Prairie from about 1875 to 1895, when he moved to New York City, and later to Thompson, Connecticut. The Chicago house, which was in the same block as the mansions of Marshall Field, George Pullman, and other super-wealthy Chicagoans who were his close friends, is gone, but Norman is remembered through photos, plaques, books, etc. On a Prairie Avenue plaque, Norman Ream is described as one of the 25 wealthiest Americans in the 1890s.

New York City:    After Chicago, he then moved to NYC, 903 Park Avenue, took his sons with him... some became insurance execs, fairly wealthy, living in NYC...

Thompson, Connecticut:    Source: Norwich Bulletin: July 22, 1901
THOMPSON -- Norman B. Ream, who is erecting a mansion in Thompson, is a director and member of the finance committee of the billion-dollar steel company. Mr. Ream, it is stated, is to dispose of his present home in Chicago and to reside permanently in Thompson. The mansion home, now in course of erection there, is a model one. It will cost $500,000. Mr. Ream is delighted with Thompson, and is expending a large amount of money there.

Ancestors:    We believe that Norman was a descendent of Andrew Ream [son of Eberhardt]. We believe this because a historical web page (Confluence PA) says Norman preserved a graveyard of ancestor Andrew's in 1911.   Ream Cemetery, Ursina, Somerset County, Pennsylvania.         The earliest known burial was in 1787 on land settled by Andrew Ream along the Laurel Hill Creek in Ursina. Along with some of the early settlers in the area, a few Revolutionary War veterans are buried here. Some stones are engraved in German and some were carved by Andrew Ream. A cement wall was erected around the cemetery in 1911 by Norman Bruce Ream to preserve the grave site of his ancestors.

   -   (1) Johann Eberhardt Riehm (1687-1779)   Find-a-grave
   -   (2) Capt. Andrew Ream   b. Jul 1737   d. 11 May 1813   m. Susanna Fiesser.   Captain of Lancaster County militi 1780 to 1783. He is buried in the Ream Cemetery at Ursina. Grave Stone   Find-a-grave
   -   (3) John B. Ream   b. 1759~1761   d. 11 Nov 1839   m. Anna Rosina Weitzel 1785 (Anna's father: Frederick Weitzel)   Find-a-grave
   -   (4) Samual W. Ream   b. 1788 d. Aug. 28, 1874,   m. Mary Rhiems (1795 - Nov. 28, 1874)   Find-a-grave
   -   (5) Levi Ream   b. 1816   d. July 1902   m. Hily King   Farmer in Somerset Co. until his death. (Hily's father: Jacob King)   Find-a-grave
   -   (6) Norman Bruce Ream (1844-1915)   Find-a-grave

Descendents, six or seven children: Sons: Norman Putman Ream, Robert Clark Ream b.1882, Louis Marshall Ream b.1887, Edmond King Ream. Daughters: Marion Ream (Mrs. Redmond D. Stephens, and later m. and later Anastasy Vonsyatsky) and Francis Matt Ream (Mrs. John L. Kemmerer)
  Norman Putman Ream, m Miss Mary Green, daughter of A. W. Green of Greenwich, Conn. A.W. Green was President of the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco)
Robert Clark REAM, b. 31 Aug 1882 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois,   d. 2 Jun 1957.     m. Priscilla Mabel Wrightson 1902, b. 26 Jun 1883, Beckenham, Norfolk, England, d. 1968    Great Grandson: Bruce C. Ream, b. April 14 1950    Bruce helped on this webpage
Marion REAM, Around 1927 while traveling in Europe, Marion met a guy—20 years her younger—named "Count" Anatase vonSiatsky. He claimed to be a Russian count who had been displaced by the Russian Revolution of 1917. (It was later revealed that he was actually a Polish commoner.) Von Siatsky was heavily involved for many years with the efforts of other displaced Russians to counter-attack against the Communists and restore the Czar. After meeting Marion Ream, von Siatsky allegedly divorced his wife and moved to Thompson, Connecticut to marry Marion Ream. The marriage did take place, and henceforth von Siatsky operated from Thompson—with (most importantly), Marion’s money. He has been described as her “boy toy,” allowing him to spend millions of dollars on his fanciful anti-Communist schemes. His shenanigans, which continued right up to World War II, included a plan to blow up a Soviet oil pipeline. He was also an ardent supporter of Adolf Hitler. The U.S. Government was keeping an eye on Marian and the count, as you can imagine. If you have any interest in learning more about Marion and Anatase, google to “vonSiatsky” “the russian fascists” and “ream”

More photo and information sources:
       Levi Ream and son Norman Bruce Ream
       Thompson CT Historical Society 2002 Newsletter - 1905 photo
       Book on   Norman B. Ream: Forgotten Master of Markets by Paul Ryscavage
       Book on   Eleanor's Pursuit: The Marital Misadventure of 1911 That Triggered Sensational Headlines and a High-Stakes Courtroom Battle by H. Thomas Howell. See Chapter 4. Juicy stuff.

More information on Thompson, Connecticut:
Nice postcard of Norman B. Ream's Mansion, Thompson, Connecticut. Postmarked Sept., 1913?, at Killingly, Conn. Thompson is near Putnam, Mechanicsville, Wilsonville and Quaddick, Conn.

In 1931, the Ream Estate became part of Marianapolis College Patricia McGannon Library
The Main House burned down March 5, 1964. And rebuilt. (Source Bruce C. Ream, March 2003, Great Grandson of Norman)

Quinnatisset Golf Club, Quinnatisset Country Club History

Not directly related to Norman Bruce Ream, Confusion about Andrew Ream, the "Drummer Boy".

Comments from Dave Ream, October 2002:
Andrew Ream, the "drummer boy" was a grandson of Eberhardt, and a son of Abraham Ream (b. 1718 Phila.) "the Tavern Keeper." He was born in 1760 (His DAR record says b.1960, not 1763) in Reamstown, and never really left Reamstown except for his service in the Revolutionary War. His trade was coppersmith. Andrew married Barbara Schwartzwaller, a Reamstown local, and they had ten (10) children. He died March 13, 1845--a long life of 82 years.


As you know, there was a lot of "name duplication" among those early Reams, especially "Abraham" and "Elizabeth." So, this Andrew should not be confused with Capt. Andrew Ream, a son of Eberhardt, who was around 40 years old at the time of the Revolution. Like other drummer boys, our Andrew was just a teenager during the war, and had the rank of private.

The Battle of Monmouth was fought on a hot day in June 1778 in Monmouth County, New Jersey, near the village of Freehold. I do not know just which unit Andrew was serving with, although he may have had some connection with Major General Arthur Saint Clair of Pennsylvania. That battle is most famous for the exploits of one "Molly Pitcher" (real name: Mary Hays McCauly). Her job was to bring pitchers of cold water to the American soldiers on the firing line (perhaps including Andrew Ream). Then, she took over her husband's artillery gun after he was wounded/killed, and kept firing it at the Brits. Or so goes the legend.

I read somewhere that the skin on the drum is that of a wolf. Otherwise, I know very little about the drum itself, or how it ended up in Pittsburgh (Carnegie Museum of Natural History) except that a descendant of General Saint Clair gave it to the museum.

Andrew's Drum (1778): (the 'Drummer Boy')