Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Stephen W. Reiss  

Pen Name: None

Genre: History

Born: 1944 in San Luis Obispo, California

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Reiss has lived in Peoria and nearby Dunlap since 1966 when he began what became a 40-year career with Caterpillar. He have written six family history books dealing with the Reiss Family Farm in St. Clair County and his relatives who lived there. According to the Illinois Sesquicentennial Farm Registry, that is the oldest lineally owned farm in St. Clair County, having been established by Reiss’ great great grandfather in 1834.

Biographical and Professional Information

Reiss earned his BS in Electrical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana and his MBA from Bradley University in Peoria. He was employed 40 years by Caterpillar in Peoria including five years in South Korea and Hong Kong.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

It Takes a Matriarch: 780 Family Letters from 1852 to 1888 Including Civil War, Farming in Illinois, Life in St. Louis, Life in Sacramento, Life in ... in Davenport, and the Lost Family Fortune
ISBN: 1438959877

AuthorHouse. 2009

It Takes A Matriarch is the second of four books about the extended Reiss and Basler families who settled on a small farm in St. Clair County, Illinois in 1834 and 1839, respectively. It includes 780 letters saved by first generation Margaret Basler Reiss Ebert from 1852 to 1888. Some letters were phonetic English but most had to be translated from “old” German. Authors were Margaret’s siblings, their spouses, her children, their spouses, her grandchildren, and two friends. They mention serving in the Civil War, personal challenges, life in St. Louis and Sacramento and Davenport, and the lost family fortune. One author was friends with John Wilkes Booth who shot President Lincoln. Quilter, Granger, Grandma, Matriarch was the first of these four books. It is the daily diary of third generation Katie Reiss covering 1949 through 1953. It was published first to give the reader a feel for life on the Reiss Family Farm in the German heritage of southern Illinois. Katie and husband George Reiss doubled the original Reiss/Basler farm to its current 360 acres. Relatives gather for a reunion in June 2009 to celebrate 175 years of the ongoing existence of the Reiss Family Farm. The Reiss Dairy will be the third book. It is a history of the Reiss Dairy in Sikeston, Missouri which was founded in 1935 by third generation John Reiss. It is famous for milk bottles featuring poems created by Sikeston citizens to promote Reiss Dairy products. The best of these bottles sell on eBay for over $200. Family, Farming, and Freedom will be the fourth book. It is 55 years of professional and personal writings by fourth generation Irv Reiss from 1949 to 2004. His favorite subjects were family fun and travel, restoring strip mined coal lands to productive farming, and promoting individual freedoms and responsibilities. He was my dad.

Granger, Quilter, Grandma, Matriarch: Life on the Reiss Family Farm 1944 - 1948 St. Clair County, Illinois
ISBN: 1468559036

AuthorHouse. 2012

Quilter, Granger, Grandma, Matriarch: Life on the Reiss Family Farm 1949-1953 St. Clair County, Illinois
ISBN: 1438927568

AuthorHouse. 2008

Reiss Family Books Quilter, Granger, Grandma, Matriarch is the first of four books about the extended Reiss and Basler families who settled on a small farm in St. Clair County, Illinois in 1834 and 1839, respectively. This first book is the daily diary of third generation Katie Reiss covering 1949 through 1953. It is published first to give the reader a feel for life on the Reiss Family Farm in the German heritage of southern Illinois. Katie and husband George Reiss doubled the original Reiss/Basler farm to its current 360 acres. Relatives gather in June 2009 to celebrate 175 years of the Reiss Family Farm. The second book will be called It Takes A Matriarch and include 763 letters saved by first generation Margaret Basler Reiss Ebert from 1852 to 1888. Some letters were phonetic English but most had to be translated from "old" German. Authors were Margaret's siblings, their spouses, her children, their spouses, her grandchildren, and two friends. They mention serving in the Civil War, a friendship with John Wilkes Booth, life in St. Louis and Sacramento and Davenport, and the lost family fortune. The third book will be called The Reiss Dairy. It is a history of the Reiss Dairy in Sikeston, Missouri which was founded in 1935 by third generation John Reiss. They are famous for milk bottles featuring poems created by Sikeston citizens to promote Reiss Dairy products. The best bottles sell on eBay for over $200. The fourth book will be Family, Farming, and Freedom. It is 55 years of professional and personal writings by fourth generation Irv Reiss from 1949 to 2004. His favorite subjects were family fun and travel, restoring strip mined coal lands to productive farms, promoting individual freedoms and responsibilities. He was my dad.

Reiss Dairy: Famous for milk bottles with poems
ISBN: 1438986203

AuthorHouse. 2009

Reiss Dairy is the third book in this series. It is a history of the Reiss Dairy in Sikeston, Missouri which was founded in 1935 by third generation John Reiss and his son-in-law, Lonnie Standley. The dairy is famous for milk bottles featuring poems created by Sikeston citizens to promote Reiss Dairy products. The best of these bottles now sell on eBay for over $200. It Takes A Matriarch was the second of four books about the extended Reiss and Basler families who settled on a small farm in St. Clair County, Illinois in 1834 and 1839, respectively. It includes 780 letters saved by first generation Margaret Basler Reiss Ebert from 1852 to 1888. Some letters were phonetic English but most had to be translated from "old" German. Authors were Margaret's siblings, their spouses, her children, their spouses, her grandchildren, and two friends. They mention serving in the Civil War, personal challenges, life in St. Louis and Sacramento and Davenport, and the lost family fortune. One author was friends with John Wilkes Booth who shot President Lincoln. Quilter, Granger, Grandma, Matriarch was the first of these four books. It is the daily diary of third generation Katie Reiss covering 1949 through 1953. It was published first to give the reader a feel for life on the Reiss Family Farm in the German heritage of southern Illinois. Katie and husband George Reiss doubled the original Reiss/Basler farm to its current 360 acres. Relatives gather for a reunion in June 2009 to celebrate 175 years of the ongoing existence of the Reiss Family Farm. Family, Farming, and Freedom will be the fourth book. It is 55 years of professional and personal writings by fourth generation Irv Reiss from 1949 to 2004. His favorite subjects were family fun and travel, restoring strip mined coal lands to productive farming, and promoting individual freedoms and responsibilities. He was my dad.

Family, Farming and Freedom: Fifty-Five Years of Writings by Irv Reiss
ISBN: 1449088732

AuthorHouse. 2010

"Professional papers and personal articles, primarily in the Sullivan (Indiana) Daily times."

From Burma With Love: Fifteen months of daily letters between Irwin and Mary Reiss during World War II
ISBN: 1449066542

AuthorHouse. 2011

Irv and Mary Reiss (aka Dad and Mom) wrote this book as two letters per day for fifteen months from late 1943 through March 1945. Friends and relatives added more letters to bring the total to nearly 1,000. Virtually all of their letters ended with "I love you very very much" and "I miss you very very much." It's easy to empathize with their frustrations and anxieties about being separated and worried, especially with the birth and nurturing of their first child Stephen (aka "me) in June 1944. This book title of From Burma With Love is an understatment. Irv Reiss served in the US Army from Jun 27, 1941 until September 17, 1945 for a total of 4 years, 2 months, and 20 days. Foreign service in India and Burma (Myanmar) was 1 year, 1 month, and 23 days. The foreign service in Burma was very intense and is the heart of this book -- hence thename, From Burma With Love. Irv was a labor officer along the Ledo Road from August 28, 1944 until December 11, 1944. His job was to hire and feed and pay several thousand native laborers (and a few elephants) to help build that road from Ledo, India to Mongyu, Burma. Read his letter of October 7, 1944