The Missouri Ancestry of Robert Reed (“The Brady Bunch”)

Robert Reed

The Chicago-born actor descended from a Civil War veteran in Central Missouri.

By James Pylant
Copyright © 2006—All rights reserved
Do not post or publish without written permission

Photo: © 1991 Craig Skinner/Globe Photos, Inc./ImageCollect

Actor Robert Reed was born John Robert Rietz in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, on 19 October 1932, the son of John R. Rietz and the former Helen Teaverbaugh. John R. Rietz, also an Illinois native,1 was born on 4 February 1912 and died in February 1975 in California.2 Helen Teaverbaugh was a Missourian with deep roots in that state.

Robert Reed’s five year stint on the television series, The Brady Bunch ended in 1974, the same year his maternal grandmother died in Missouri. Nettie (Madden) Teaverbaugh’s life ended on 1 June in Miller County, the same county she was born 86 years earlier on 5 July 1887. Her parents were Thomas W. Madden and the former Alice Pickering. A life-long resident of Miller County, Nettie Madden was a member of the Madden Church, in southern Richwoods Township before transferring her membership to Iberia Methodist Church.3

Thomas W. Madden was born on 8 March 1843 and died 18 December 1899. A transcription of his tombstone in Madden Cemetery states he was the husband of F. A. Madden.4

Nineteen year-old Nettie Madden married George O. Teaverbaugh, who was “under the age of twenty-one years” in Miller County on 11 November 1906. Both were from Iberia, in Miller County. William J. Teverbaugh, George’s father, gave written consent for his son’s marriage.5

George and Nettie first appear together in census records in 1910. Both are twenty-two. Farmer George O. and wife Nettie E. had two children, Darsy, age two, and William S., an eight-month-old.6 By the next decade, George and Nettie are both 32. Their children were Spurgeon (William Spurgeon), age ten; son Jean, age eight; daughter Helen, age six; and son Wayne, age three-and-a-half.7 Two of the couple’s children had died, sons Dorsey and Clarence.8

A neighbor to George and Nettie in 1910 was his father, William J. Teaverbaugh, a 65-year-old farmer born in Missouri to German parents. He and wife, Carrie, age 58, had been married 26 years, and she was the mother of ten children, nine of whom were living. The only child living at home was Georgia, 16, born in Missouri. Mrs. Teaverbaugh was an Indiana native, and Germany is given for the birthplace of both parents.9

In 1900 — six years before his marriage to Nettie Madden — George Teaverbaugh lived at his parents’ Richwoods Township household. William Teaverbaugh, 54 (born in February, 1846 in Missouri), and wife Carrie, 48 (born in December, 1851), had been married 15 years. Their children were William J., 13 (born June 1886), George O., 12 (born in October 1887), Lilian M., 10 (born in June 1889), Nellie H., nine (born in April 1891), and Georgia E., six (born in June 1893). All of the children have Missouri listed as the birthplace. Father William’s mother’s birthplace is listed as Missouri, not Germany.10

William J. Teaverbaugh was born 7 February 1846 and died on 15 July 1930. His tombstone inscription in Pleasant Hill Christian Church Cemetery, in Miller County, indicates that he was a Union Army veteran, serving in Company D, 6th Missouri Volunteers. His wife, Carrie M. (Sickendick) Teaverbaugh, was born 7 December 1851 and died 2 January 1916. They were married 17 December 1884. She is also buried in Pleasant Hill Christian Church Cemetery.11

According to tradition, William Jasper Teaverbaugh had once lived in Missouri’s Laclede County, having arrived there from Phelps County as a railroad worker. During his service in Union Army, exposure to freezing weather led to amputation of toes of both feet.12

Robert Reed studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, England. In spite of being best-known for playing the patriarch of the Brady brood, he disliked the series and found his character, Mike Brady, embarrassing. The actor frequently quarreled with the show’s creator and producer, Sherwood Schwartz, over the direction of the series. Reed’s brief marriage to Marilyn Rosenberg produced one daughter. He died in Pasadena, California, on 12 May 1992.13


  1. John Robert Rietz, death certificate no. 92-069978 (1992), Office of the State Registrar of Vital Statistics, Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California.
  2. John Rietz, no. 458-20-3350, Social Security Death Index, online <>, downloaded 22 November 2005.
  3. Nettie Madden Teaverbaugh obituary, “Out of the Past,” online <>, downloaded 22 November 2005.
  4. Madden Cemetery, online <>, downloaded 22 November 2005.
  5. George O. Teaverbaugh/Nettie Madden license, Marriage Records, Vol. E, p. 492, Miller County, Missouri.
  6. Geo. O. Teaverbaugh household, 1910 U.S. census, Miller County, Missouri, population schedule, Richwoods township, enumeration district [ED] 98, supervisor’s district [SD] 8, page 210, sheet 10B, dwelling 223, family 228; National Archives [NA] microfilm T625-935.
  7. George Teaverbaugh household, 1920 U.S. census, Miller County, Missouri, population schedule, Richwoods township, ED 88, SD 8, page 128, sheet 7, dwelling 127, family 127; NA microfilm T624-799.
  8. Nettie Madden Teaverbaugh obituary.
  9. William Teaverbaugh household, 1910 U.S. census, Miller County, Missouri, population schedule, Richwoods township, ED 98, SD 8, page 127, sheet 10B, dwelling 121, family 121; NA microfilm T624-799.
  10. William Teaverbaugh household, 1900 U.S. census, Miller County, Missouri, population schedule, Richlands township, ED 87, SD 8, page 118, sheet 10A, dwelling 188, family 191; NA microfilm T623-875.
  11. Pleasant Hill Christian Church Cemetery, online <>, downloaded 22 November 2004.
  12. Lois Roper Beard, The History of Laclede County, Missouri (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Heritage Publishing Co., 1979), biographical entry 710.
  13. Robert Reed, biography, online <>, downloaded 13 March 2006.