William Heathcote Delancy Rees (known as “Will”) was a very prominent early resident of the Brookside neighborhood of St. Louis Park. He was born in 1874 in Geneva, New York, and named after an Episcopal Bishop of New York. Some wags called curly-haired Will “Alphabet Rees.” The family was active in the community – Etta served as Secretary of the South Side Civic Club in 1926.
Will’s father had a farm in present-day Eden Prairie in 1856. Will and wife Etta lived at 45th and Blaisdell in Minneapolis, reportedly moving because son Bill was “running around with the wrong element.” Will worked at the Post Office downtown. It is unclear when they came to St. Louis Park. The family estimates that it was about 1913. The City says that their house at 4156 Alabama was built in 1920. There was a smaller house on the property (possibly older than the big house) where Will’s mother lived. That house was torn down when she died in 1926, and another small house was built on the property shortly afterwards. Will died in 1948, and Etta lived there until at least 1953.
Will and Etta had three children:
William Washburn Rees was born in 1904 in Minneapolis.
Harriet Elizabeth Rees Setnan was born in 1911. Her daughter is Martha Setnan Robinson
Charlotte Adele Rees Hazen was born in 1913. Her sons are Kent and Jeff Hazen.
SAM REES, JR.
A cousin of WHD Rees also lived in St. Louis Park. Samuel B. Rees, Jr. was a cousin of WHD – their fathers were brothers, and served in the Civil War together with a third brother. (Their father, James Rees, served in the Revolutionary War.) Sam most likely built his house at 5611 Vermont in 1916. Although WHD and family are listed at that address in 1915, Sam is in the directories until at least 1942. The house backs out to Minnehaha Creek, and pictures show its elaborate Victorian furnishings. Sam served as Treasurer of the South Side Civic Club in 1922. A directory listing shows him to work at the Barnett Record Co. Sam and his wife had a daughter, Marian Belle, who was born in 1908.