Select Reynolds Miscellany

Here are some Reynolds stories and accounts over the years:

Reynolds Origins

Reynolds emerged as a family name in Somerset where Sir Richard Reynell was seated at Pitney and was given custody of the castles of Exeter and Launceston by Richard I when he went to the Holy Land in 1191. Many of the junior branches of the family had joined Strongbow at that time in his invasion of Ireland. 

In England the main line was forfeited.  But Sir Richard's son recovered the lands and became the Earl of Devon.

The MacRaighnaill Clan

After gaining the lordship of Muintir Eolias, the MacRaighnaill clan made Lough Rynn their main seat and built a stone castle by the shores of the lake.  Like other clans in their area, they devoted much of their time to simply holding onto their land and their cattle.  The Annals of the Four Masters makes several references to the exploits of the MacRaghnaills, recording many excursions and battles between them and their neighbors. When the fighting was close to home and Lough Rynn proved unsafe, the MacRaghnaills would seek refuge at the nearby monastery at Mohill. 

By the 1500's, the clan way of life - with its feuding, Brehon laws, and bardic tradition - came under threat from the English government.  The English destroyed the Mohill monastery in 1540 and sent a large army against the local clans in 1590.  Thirty years later, Leitrim was one of the first counties to be handed over to English settlers (the lands around Lough Rynn and the town of Mohill being given to the Crofton family). Later, when the Penal Laws were introduced, Irish Catholics like the MacRaighnaills were barred from owning land, had no inheritance rights, and were forbidden to hold arms or to vote.

Gloria Reynolds in Portugal

Thomas Reynolds, a Kentish seaman and merchant, arrived in Portugal in 1820, lured by the wine business. He set up in the northern town of Porto with his two sons, Thomas and Robert.  For several years they supplied their London commercial store with a diversity of Iberian products.   In 1838 they entered the cork industry and set up a number of cork factories in Portugal and Spain.

The elder son did not remain in Portugal, however.  Stirred with the spirit of entrepreneurship, Thomas and his family set sail for New Zealand with a huge herd of merino sheep.  They never returned to Portugal.

His brother Robert remained in Estremoz to take care of the family business.  This soon expanded with the purchase of new land and the production of quality wine.  Meanwhile the Alentejo was to become the birthplace of future Reynolds in Portugal.  Robert's first son Robert Rafael and grandson Carlos were born there.  Carlos's first child was a daughter whom he named Gloria, to honor his mother and all his ancestors who had lived in the Alentejo.  Gloria's son Julian produces a quality wine that carries his mother's name, Gloria Reynolds.  

Early Reynolds in America


Christopher and Elizabeth
Isle of Wight co.
Thomas and Mary
Isle of Wight co.
New England

Robert and Mary
Boston, Mass
William and Alice
Duxbury, Mass and Cape Porpoise, Maine
John and Sarah
Watertown, Mass and Stamford, Conn
Katherine (and Edward Starbuck)
Dover, NH and Nantucket
James and Deborah
North Kingstown, Rhode Island

Milt Reynolds - Kicking Bird

It was at Medicine Lodge in 1867 that Milt Reynolds came near losing his life at the hands of Black Kettle, the most bloodthirsty of all the Plains Indians.  He became offended at Reynolds and was at the point of tomahawking him when old Kicking Bird, another Cheyenne chief, interfered and saved Reynolds' life. 

Kicking Bird and Reynolds became great friends after that, the old chief calling Reynolds "the Paper Chief," a name by which he was known to many of the Indians.  After the death of old Kicking Bird, Reynolds adopted his name in all of his newspaper correspondence.  The name "Kicking Bird" became as well known to the reading people of the West as was the original of the name among the Indians of the Plains during the days of Indian warfare.

R.J. Reynolds' Homestead

Hardin Reynolds, a poor young farmer who had been twice burned by price gougers, had vowed that he would never again be at the mercy of tobacco buyers.  He convinced his father Abraham that, rather than sell raw leaf to the manufacturers, they should make and sell their own sweet twist of chewing tobacco at more of a profit.  Later, Hardin's two sons, Abram and RJ, would follow in his entrepreneurial footsteps.

The Reynolds' homestead in Patrick county, more formally called the Rock Spring plantation, was built in 1843 by Hardin on land inherited from his father, an early settler in the area.  It was in this two-story brick plantation house that Hardin's wife Nancy gave birth to their sixteen children, including the second-born Richard Joshua (RJ).  The house and grounds have recently been restored to their 19th century state.

In the kitchen hangs a picture of Kitty Reynolds, the slave who according to tradition had saved Hardin's life by distracting a raging bull that was attacking him.  Another Hardin slave, Jacob Reynolds, fought and died in the Civil War.

John Reynell in Australia

John Reynell was born in 1809 from a Devon farming family and departed for Australia in 1838.  He is thought to have established the first commercial vineyard and winery in South Australia by planting vine cuttings that he had bought at the Cape of Good Hope.  The first vintage was produced in 1842 and he built the Old Cave cellar (which still survives today) in 1845. 

His company Hardy Reynella Winery remained family owned until 1992. 

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