DR. OLIVER A. REA, one of the prominent medical and surgical practitioners of Indiana, has contributed his valued professional
services and i his strong personality toward the special advancement of Culver for the past twenty-eight years. A son of John
W. and Lucinda M. (Wait) Rea and a grandson of David Rea, he is of Scotch-Irish ancestry, the latter settling in Culpeper County,
Virginia, about the year 1760 and removing to Logan County, Ohio, in 1803. On the maternal side his ancestors were Puritans,
migrating from Massachusetts to New York and thence to Ohio in 1836. His maternal grandmother, whose maiden name was
Dunham, was a first cousin to John Hancock.
Dr. Oliver A. Rea received a common school education in the institutions of his native county, and after teaching several years attended the National Normal University at Lebanon, Ohio, from which he graduated in 1875 with the degree of B. S. A career of ten years as a teacher in the public schools of Ohio and Indiana followed, but in 1872 (before the conclusion of the decade) he commenced the study of medicine with Dr. Joshua R. Skidmore. Ten years before the commencement of his second professional career (in August, 1862) he had enlisted in Company H, Eighty-second Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and in the service of the Union cause participated in the following battles: Cedar Mountain, Rappahannock (seven days), Groveton (second Bull Run), Gettysburg, Wauhatchie Valley, Missionary Ridge, Resaca, New Hope Church, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Sandersville, Monteith. Swamp, Savannah, Averysboro and Bentonville; also the entire Knoxville campaign. He was captured during the first day's fight at Gettysburg, escaped from the Confederates at Staunton, West Virginia, with H. H. Blakeley, now of Lyons, Kansas, crossed the Allegheny Mountains and, after twenty-one days, arrived at Beverly, West Virginia, where he joined the Union forces and received transportation to his regiment on the Rappahannock River. In the spring of 1863 he was in hospital with pneumonia, but was soon again at the front and was honorably discharged June 20, 1865, by reason of the close of the war. During a portion of his service he acted as orderly and scout. At the conclusion of the war he returned to his Ohio home, taught for several years, and, as stated, attended normal school and afterward commenced the study of medicine.
In 1872, while yet teaching at West Mansfield, Ohio, Dr. Rea commenced his professional studies, and in 1876 attended lectures at the Cincinnati College of Medicine and Surgery. He was afterward matriculated at the medical school of the Central University of Kentucky, from which he graduated in June 1883, as valedictorian of his class, receiving first honor (a gold medal) for the highest general standing. In 1888 Dr. Rea took a regular post-graduate course at the Chicago Polio clinic and in 1892 a special course at the same institution, and in 1907 he took a special course in medicine and surgery. In August 1876, he had entered practice at Knox, Indiana, continuing there until March 1880, when he removed to Marmont (now Culver), a summer resort and brisk town on Lake Maxinkuckee. Here he has enjoyed a growing reputation as an able practitioner and a valued citizen, with a wide acquaintance and a substantial practice commensurate with his Worth.
Dr. Rea is a leading member of the Marshall County Medical Society, of which lie served as president in 1887-88 and 1897-8, and is also identified with the Indiana Medical Association. He enjoys membership in the Knights of Pythias, Knights of the Maccabees and Grand Army of the Republic, being (in the patriotic order named) surgeon of Miles H. Tibbets Post, past commander of Henry Speyer Post, No.489, and tent physician of the Knights. He is also past master of Henry II. Culver Lodge, A. F. & A. M. In 1890-93 and 1898 he served as United States pension examining surgeon; was for ten years surgeon for Culver Military Academy, with the rank of major, and is now medical examiner for a number of life insurance companies. The Doctor is not only widely known through his wide professional association in the capacity of a practitioner, but his contributions to medical literature have materially added to his reputation. In politics he is a strong Republican, and in 1896 was a candidate for the Indiana legislature. In the Doctor's official career in the town of Culver he was president of the board of education for three years. He is also president of the Culver City Water Company. Mrs. Dr. Rea is president of the W. R. C. at Culver, Indiana, and this body is in a flourishing condition.
On December 28, 1876, the Doctor wedded Miss Sylvia A. Green at Marysville, Ohio, and the following are their children: Robert II, Lucretia and William S. Robert II graduated from the Culver Military Academy in class of 1898, then graduated from the Chicago University in scientific department in 1901, and then he graduated from Rush Medical College in 1903. He was then interning at Cook County Hospital for one term and he began his practice at No. 5643 Lake Street, Chicago. He is medical nspector of the city schools. Lucretia graduated from the Culver High School in the class of 1902. She entered the musical department of DePauw University and graduated in instrumental music in 1906. She is now a teacher of music. William S. is a graduate of the common schools of Union township and a graduate of Culver Military Academy in class of 1903, and now will graduate in State University at Bloomington, Indiana. He taught one year in Culver High School. He is studying law in the university.
A Twentieth Century History of Marshall County, Indiana. Chicago: (The Lewis Publishing Company, 1908). McDonald, Daniel. pg. 492-5