Frazier Reams

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Frazier Reams
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 9th district
In office
January 3, 1951 – January 3, 1955
Preceded by Thomas Henry Burke
Succeeded by Thomas W. L. Ashley
Personal details
Born Henry Frazier Reams
(1897-01-15)January 15, 1897
Franklin, Tennessee
Died September 15, 1971(1971-09-15) (aged 74)
Oakland, California
Resting place Woodlawn Cemetery (Toledo, Ohio)
Political party Independent
Alma mater
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1918-1919
Rank lieutenant
Battles/wars World War I

Henry Frazier Reams Sr., generally known as Frazier Reams, (15 January 1897 – 15 September 1971) was an American politician of the United States Democratic Party from Toledo, Ohio. Reams served as a U.S. Congressman from Ohio from 1951 to 1955.

Life and career

Reams was born in Franklin, Tennessee in 1897. His father was a Methodist minister. Reams served in the United States Army (1918–1919), with the 58th Field Artillery, during World War I, from 1918-1919. He was discharged at the rank of lieutenant. After the war, Reams finished his degree at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, earning a bachelor's degree in 1919. In 1922, he received a law degree from Vanderbilt University.

In 1920, Reams was licensed to practice law in Tennessee. In 1922, he moved to Toledo, Ohio, where his brother Glenn was a medical resident at the Toledo Hospital. Reams was admitted to the bar and practiced law with the firm Tracy, Chapman & Welles. He practiced as a lawyer while participating in Democratic politics, serving as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1928, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, 1948, and 1956.

From 1933 to 1937, Reams served as prosecutor of Lucas County, Ohio. During this time, Reams led a campaign to clean up Toledo and rid the city of the many gangsters and bootleggers that resided and did business there. Reams was most well known for leading the prosecution of Thomas "Yonnie" Licavoli, who controlled bootlegging and illegal gambling operations in Detroit, Michigan and Toledo. Licavoli was sentenced to life in prison and served a 37-year sentence at Ohio Penitentiary starting in 1935. Gov. Martin L. Davey appointed Reams to investigate easy prison conditions and Reams's investigation of the luxuries that Licavoli was benefitting from at the Ohio Penitentiary resulted in the dismissal of the warden.

In 1935, Reams got into a public dispute with Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Roy R. Stuart. A grand jury convened by County Prosecutor Reams had issued indictments of two brothers of Toledo Mayor Addison Q. Thacher, a Republican, on charges related to welfare payments and bank closings. Judge Stuart ordered the dismissal of the grand jury and Reams filed an "affidavit of prejudice," which prevented Stuart from hearing any criminal matter until the accusation of prejudice could be heard.

In 1936, Reams sought the Democratic nomination for the office of Ohio Attorney General, but he lost to Herbert S. Duffy.

In 1937, Reams formed the law firm Reams, Bretherton & Neipp. His partners were Thomas a. Bretherton and Morton Neipp, both of whom had worked for him in the prosecutor's office. From 1939 to 1945 he served on the Toledo Port Commission. From 1942 to 1944, he was collector of internal revenue.

In 1944, Reams sought the Democratic nomination for Governor of Ohio, but he placed fourth in the contest that was won by Frank Lausche. Once Lausche won the governorship, he appointed Reams to the office of state director of public welfare, where Reams served from 1945 to 1946.

In 1950, Reams was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as an independent, beginning his service in the 82nd Congress. He served in the House From 1951 to 1955, representing the ninth congressional district of Ohio, being re-elected in 1952. However, in 1954, Reams was unsuccessful in his bid for a third term in Congress, losing his seat to a fellow Democrat, Thomas Ludlow Ashley.

In 1951, Reams served as a delegate to the Council of Europe. In 1953 and 1954, he was a delegate to the Interparliamentary Union Conference.

From 1937 to 1960, Reams served on the board of the Community Broadcasting Co. (the operator of WTOL and WCWA radio and WTOL TV), which he had founded in 1928. In 1955, Reams was one of the founding directors of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. From 1948 to 1957, he was a trustee of Bowling Green State University. From 1965 until his death, he was chairman of the board of Reams Broadcasting Corp.

After his retirement, Reams moved to San Mateo, California. He died in Oakland, California in 1971 and was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery (Toledo, Ohio).

Reams' son, Frazier Reams Jr., was the Democratic nominee for Ohio governor in 1966.

See also


United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas H. Burke
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 9th congressional district

January 3, 1951-January 3, 1955
Succeeded by
Thomas W. L. Ashley