Theophilus Reed seems to have been born in either New York or Pennsylvania. He came to Falmouth, Stafford County, Virginia in 1806 and from then until 1822 was engaged in the milling business with Robert Dunbar (c.1745-1831). In 1837, he was Assistant Flour Inspector in Falmouth. He also worked at various times for William C. Beale and for the firm of Brooke & Ficklen, another Falmouth milling concern. Theophilus married Elizabeth Hanna in New York. They left Stafford and moved to Kentucky and then on to Cincinnati, Ohio.