Thaddeus Reade remains a key figure in the history of Taylor University. He was born in New York in 1846 and, at the age of 15, started as a circuit rider in northwestern Ohio. He graduated with highest honors from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1869. Reade met his wife Ella (Dodge) at the university, and in 1870 he was hired as principle of The Fairfield Union Academy, along with his wife who worked there as a teacher.
Reade’s presidency at Taylor University began in 1891 while the school was still located in Fort Wayne, Ind. Under his initiative, the school moved to Upland in 1893. Reade played a vital role in maintaining the financial stability of the school during those crucial years by personally funding all operations of the University. Reade was known as a loving, yet firm, man with a wonderful sense of humor.
In 1896, Reade published the book Samuel Morris (Prince Kaboo), a detailed biography of Sammy Morris' incredible tale. Funds raised from the book not only provided Taylor the means necessary to remain open, but also aided several hundred international students in gaining an education at Taylor the following years.
Reade said, "In writing this [biography of Morris] my only desire is that the people may know what wonders our God can do when He finds a willing, obedient, confiding subject through whom and in whom to work." Reade's book has since been republished several times with the most recent in 1979.
Thaddeus Reade died July 25, 1902, at his sister’s home located where Swallow Robin Hall stands today. His grave is located on Taylor's campus on the east side of the Vayhinger Loop across from Helena Memorial Hall.