Louisa America Walker was born March 18, 1842, in Jefferson County, Iowa, the daughter of farmer Samuel Walker and his wife, Sarah Allen. On April 27, 1862, she married teacher Enos Reed (b. 1836), son of James Reed and Asenath McWilliams (who later remarried and became Asenath Long). Just three months after their marriage, Enos Reed enlisted as a private in the 34th Iowa Infantry. With his regiment, he participated in the Vicksburg Campaign and the captures of Fort Morgan and Fort Blakely, and was promoted to commissary sergeant on November 12, 1864. Louisa remained on their farm in Black Oak Point, Iowa, but made extended visits to her family and parents-in-law in Belinda, Iowa.
The Reeds' first child, Olive ("Ollie") was born January 19, 1863. After the war, the family settled in Liberty, Kansas, where Enos worked as Superintendant of Public Instruction, 1867-1870. Sometime before 1880, they moved to Palmyra, Kansas, where they lived permanently. The Reeds had a total of ten children: Olive (b. 1863), Alice (b.1868), Almeda (b. 1870), Walker (b. 1873), Anna (b. ca. 1874), Herbert (b. 1875), Ida (b. 1876), Lenora (b. 1878), Alma (b. 1879), and David (b. 1880). Olive and three other daughters worked as teachers, while the sons became farmers.