The T. K. Rea Family

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Tidemand Knutsen Rye
(T.K. Rea)

Helene Mathissen
(Helen Mattson)

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Parents of T.K. Rea:    Knud Olsen Rye and Astrid Tidemandsdatter Hilmen

Siblings of T.K. Rea:    O.K.    *     Randy (Smith)    Guri    Peter    H.K.    Oscar John    Gelena (Swenson)    Emma (Hoff)    Clara   


T.K. met Helen Mattson of Whitehall, Wisconsin while working as a traveling salesman and married her in 1882. Helen was born in Norway and had emigrated to Wisconsin with her parents at the age of 6. T.K. was a merchant and owned a store in Mishicot. His sister Gelena recalled one Sunday morning in the early fall of 1883 when she and her mother Astri walked home two miles from Mishicot and then one mile to church. The next morning, they heard that Mishicot had been stricken by a big fire on Sunday after they left. In early November 1883, T.K. sold his home and business to one of the families who lost their home in the fire and returned to his parent's home bringing his wife and their first child who was a week old. Gelena recalls that there were many books left after T.K. sold his store and that she read and read.

T.K.’s brother O.K. who was living in Texas encouraged T.K. to move to Texas. T.K. purchased property near Indian Gap, Texas in Hamilton County, two miles south of his brother, in 1884. This property would eventually include 762 acres. In 1885 at the age of 28, T.K moved to Texas with his wife Helen and children Alma and Clarence. They stayed with his brother O.K. while lumber was brought from Waco to build their one-room house with attic and while the field was plowed. T.K. built most of the house himself. He added to it over the years as the family grew until it had twelve rooms. Seven more children were born in this house and T.K. and Helen lived the rest of their lives on this farm.

T.K. was a farmer and rancher raising cotton, corn, grains, and maize as well as Delano sheep, Angora goats, Hereford cattle, and horses. Early life, like that of all the early settlers, was difficult with plowing , cotton picking, and sheep shearing being done by hand. Cotton and wool for market were taken by four-horse teams in wagons to railroad centers in Goldthwaite and Comanche. T.K. had a passionate love for gardens and orchards and grew many peaches, plums, grapes, and pears. T.K. was also interested in beekeeping. Hives were located all over the property and he produced enough honey to sell. T.K. eventually owned a number of other properties including a ranch called Live Oak near Energy, Texas, "320" just north of his brother O.K.’s ranch, holdings in Bosque County, and four sections in Terry County in West Texas.

T.K. loved horse racing and constructed a race track on the ranch which was the site of social gatherings and sporting events for friends, neighbors, and relatives. He also built a lawn tennis court. His home was one of the first in the county with a bath tub, lights, telephone, radio, and reportedly the first Buick car. T.K. was stockholder and officer of the Indian Gap bank and organized the rural telephone company around Indian Gap and Pottsville. He was also quite musical and played the accordian, violin, and French harp.

T.K. died in 1934 and Helen died in 1951.


T.K. and Helen had 9 children. If there is a link, click on one of the children below to see further information on that child.


Alma Dorothy Rea [1883-1927] married Robert Millwee; 2 children; died at the age of 44


Clarence Arthur Rea [1886-1960] married Elsie Lund; no children; died at the age of 74


Melvin Oscar Rea [1888-1947] married twice (Ada Sedberry and Elizabeth Harvey); no children; died at the age of 59


Clara Lillian Rea [1891-1988] married Tilden Anderson; 3 children; died at the age of 97


Elsie Galena Rea [1893-1976] married Benjamin K. Tenney; 2 children; died at the age of 82


Helmer Rea [1895-1995] died young at the age of 11 months


Elmer Norman Rea [1896-1957] married Zelda Smith; no children; died at the age of 60


Alvin Milton Rea [1899-1984] married Lena Thomas; no children; died at the age of 84


Baby Boy Rea [1902-1902] died young at the age of 1 month