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Sat, 06.10.1854

Phillip ‘Daddy’ Reid, Businessman born

Phillip "Daddy" Reid

*Phillip 'Daddy' Reid was born on this date in 1854.  He was a Black businessman, baseball administrator, and manager.

Phillip Edward Reid was from Frankfort, Kentucky. Not much is known about his childhood other than he grew up in a slave-holding state and would have been very young at the end of the American Civil War. His first job after emancipation was working for the railroad as a  waiter in the dining car. By 1878 Reid had worked his way up to a position in the dining room on the Claredon Express, the first hotel railroad car running between St. Louis (MO) and New York City (NY). By the spring of 1880, he had left the railroad and had settled in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

His first job in the Twin Cities was working as a waiter in a Minneapolis hotel. Around 1888 he changed jobs and became a bartender and entertainer at the Eureka Saloon. In 1898 Reid opened his own business, which imported wines, liquors, and cigars. The business was located at 337 Jackson Street in St. Paul. Around 1901, Reid met entertainer Belle Davis while he was traveling in Europe; Davis had moved to London, England, where she became an international star. Also, in 1901, Reid and his lifetime friend John J. Hirschfield formed the partnership firm of Reid & Hirschfield and decided to open their saloon. It was located in downtown St. Paul at 40 East Third Street.

Civically, Reid participated in the Gopher Lodge of the Improved Benevolent and the Protective Order of Elks, Chicago Club of Minneapolis, Twin Cities Jockey Club, Detroit Club of the Gopher Lodge, Pioneer Lodge of the Masons, and Silver Star Club. Reid also served as the President of the Fourth Ward Afro-American Democratic Club.

When he formed the St. Paul Colored Gophers baseball team in 1907, he wanted a professional baseball team of high-quality ballplayers who could compete with the best Black teams in the country. From their first year in existence, the St. Paul Gophers were considered one of the top Black teams in the United States. Current research indicates that from 1907 through 1910, his St. Paul Gophers compiled an “unofficial” won-loss record of 380-89-2 (.810). In July 1910, he married Belle Davis in the United States.  Andrew “Rube” Foster and heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson as two close friends.

After baseball, Reid had more time to concentrate on his other business interests. In the fall of 1911, Phil Reid and Raleigh W. Thompson opened a new saloon at 3212 State Street in Chicago (IL). They called their new establishment the St. Paul Inn. Phillip Edward “Daddy” Reid passed away from what was termed acute gastritis in the early morning hours of October 16, 1912. Reid lay in state at the Thomas Lyles Funeral Chapel for two days before his funeral on October 21st at the Pilgrim Baptist Church. Nearly 1,000 people crowded into the church sanctuary for the service.

John J. Hirschfield presided over the service and served as his estate's chief executor. The funeral processional included a military brass band and 25 carriages. Reid was laid to rest at the Oakland Cemetery in St. Paul, MN.

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