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Jeremiah Reeves, industrialist, was born in Dorsetshire, England in 1845, where he learned the boilermaking trade before he came to the United States at 22. He worked in the mills in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and in 1872, organized the Reeves Boiler Works at Niles, Ohio. Ten years later, he and a brother George built the Reeves Sheet and Bar Mills at New Philadelphia, Ohio.
In 1884, Reeves purchased the Dover Rolling Mills and renamed them The Reeves Iron Company. By 1896, the company had grown to 850 employees, and had become one of the largest employers in the area. In 1900, he founded Reeves manufacturing Company at Dover and began the manufacture of black and galvanized sheet steel, corrugated steel, stove pipe, metal ceilings and metal building material. He was president of the company from the time of its organization until his death in 1920.
During World War I, he placed the mills in service to the government. To supply coal for the mills, he acquired extensive coal lands and operated them under the title of Reeves Coal Company, later consolidated with Reeves Manufacturing Company.
Reeves also owned 64 miles of traction lines (streetcars) which served four Ohio communities. He was also president of Reeves Banking and Trust Company in Dover, Ohio, and a local philanthropist.
Mrs. Reeves, the former Jane Rees, was born in South Wales in 1847 and was an active member of the Dover Moravian Church. Her grandchildren recall her as a woman "devoted to her family" and a person "who was happiest when she had a large number of children and grandchildren at the dinner table."
Jeremiah E. Reeves died July 11, 1920 in Palm Springs, Florida. Jane Rees Reeves died six years later. Their Dover home, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is now the J.E. Reeves Victorian Home and Museum.
The plaque in the vestibule of Reeves Library reads: "Reeves Library is dedicated to the memory of Jeremiah E. Reeves (1845-1920), pioneer steel manufacturer, and his wife, Jane Rees Reeves (1847-1926), a devoted and outstanding member of the Moravian Church of Dover, Ohio, through the thoughtful generosity of their grandchildren, Margaret Jane, Helen F. and Samuel J. Reeves."
Reeves Library was completed in 1967. Its basic German Colonial-style architecture was similar to the early Moravian buildings on Church Street, using a modified mansard roof and dormer windows. The 110 tons of stone used for the exterior were taken from the local South Mountain, and the slate for the roof was from Buckingham quarry in Virginia. Originally the three-floor building had a capacity of 200,00 volumes. The addition of two "bookend" wings, completed in 1992, expanded the library's capacity to 400,000 volumes.