Monday, March 19, 2018

Thomas Reeves of Woodford County, Kentucky

The family of Henry Reeves who settled in Old Rappahannock County, Virginia by 1666 when he was granted 600 acres on Tignor's Creek has been the subject of much interest and speculation. Thankfully the early records of Essex County, Virginia are extant for the most part. Some of the earliest record books are fragmented, but there is still a wealth of information there regarding this family.

North Central Kentucky in 1827
As Henry Reeves' descendants, beginning with his grandchildren, began to leave Essex County for other parts of Virginia and beyond, much less is known of the family. His grandson George left a Spotsylvania County will in 1754 naming as legatees the children of his brother Thomas Reeves, Sr. in addition to his siblings and other family members. That will has been an extremely beneficial document insofar as identifying many members of the family of Henry Reeves, Jr.

After leaving Spotsylvania, the sons of Thomas Reeves, Sr. were recorded in Augusta and Rockingham counties in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Another son, unlisted in George Reeves' will, is Brewer who is named as a brother to Thomas, Jr. in Augusta County court documents. Other than in the will of George Reeves, there is no mention of Thomas, Sr.'s son George and it may be that he and Brewer are the same individual. This George was previously believed to be George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia but DNA has proven that to be incorrect.

John Reeves remained in Augusta County but his brothers Brewer and Thomas, Jr. migrated to Kentucky. Their brother Henry died in Spotsylvania County in 1760 and his estate was recorded at the same time as that of their father Thomas Reeves, Sr. Brewer Reeves is documented as one of the earliest residents of Christian County, Kentucky where he was one of the first justices of the court. Until recently there was very little record of Thomas Reeves, Jr. once he disappeared from the records of Augusta and Rockingham counties but a posting to an online forum provided a clue to Thomas, Jr.'s presence in Woodford County, Kentucky.

1792 Survey for Thomas Reeves in Woodford County
It wasn't until the Woodford County records were discovered that the children of Thomas Reeves, Jr. were identified. His wife Sarah was named in numerous Spotsylvania County deeds and court records of Augusta County, but their children were a mystery. The appraisal of the Estate of Thomas Reeves is recorded in February 1799 in Woodford County Will Book B on pages 83-86. On the 4th of June in 1803, the heirs of Thomas Reeves executed a deed to James Reeves of Henry County, Kentucky for all lands belonging to Thomas Reeves in the state of Virginia and all lots in the town of Versailles in Woodford County which were taken off the land of Thomas Reeves when the town was being laid off. This deed was for compensation to James for his services in transacting and closing the business relative to the estate of Thomas Reeves decd.

Reeves Heirs to James Reeves
Those heirs of Thomas Reeves named in addition to James, were his widow Sarah, David Willson who had married daughter Milley, Elizabeth Reeves, John Samonie who married Delilah Reeves, George Cotter husband of Mary Reeves, Joseph Reeves and son Thomas Reeves.

Over the following ten years there are numerous deeds by these heirs disposing of the property they had inherited from Thomas and by around 1810 most of the family members, Joseph, Thomas and their brother-in-law David Wilson, were recorded in neighboring Gallatin County.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Surveyor's Book

Most of the time a surveyor's book is about land, but today in the course of doing research for a Reeves' family who migrated to Woodford County, Kentucky, I happened upon some wonderful early American doodles. The book is dated around 1850 and the surveyor's name appears to be Herman Bowman. Just thought I'd share his artwork.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Latest Update on The Reeves Project

The following is the most current information from Martin regarding The Reeves Project's status and projected return.

As previously advised, we had reluctantly taken the decision to temporarily suspend The Reeves Project wiki with effect from 13 December 2017. At last we are able to report that we've made some positive progress since the last update.

Our enquires of the preferred hosting provider mentioned in the previous update eventually revealed that the level of control we need over the environment in which TRP runs wasn't available with their budget priced hosting plans. When they indicated a plan costing over USD70 per month, we politely said "no thank you". We already had a second choice of hosting provider in mind and were able to very quickly establish a new web presence for TRP with them. This new version of TRP still needs a lot of technical work done before it will be ready for general usage.

To use a real world analogy, TRP is moving home. We've rented new accommodation in the city (hosting provider) we're moving to. But its three weeks until the school term finishes and we need to continue to pay the rent on our current home as well. And then there are the various utility companies to deal with. We've told the postal service when to start re-directing our letters but who knows how well that will work in the first few days. The phone is on at our new home, but when we call our friends they are confused because our new number appears on their handset, not the name they've stored against our old number. And our friends can't look up our new telephone number as the phone company has yet to update their public database.

I suspect most of us have been in this situation at some time in our lives. And its exactly where TRP is at the moment. But for TRP an even better analogy might be relocating to another region or country. Before we moved TRP "spoke" version 6.7 of the underlying TikiWiki software. In our new city, we have to speak version 15.5 to be understood.

To continue with the new home utilities example, yesterday (21 Feb 2018) the postal service made their first collection of mail from our new address and immediately started delivering those messages to you. We send all our mail with the name "admin[at]TheReevesProject[dot]org" but as yet the public indexes of who lives where haven't yet been updated to reflect TRP's new home. So when your e-mail provider looks up TRP in the directory (DNS), they find a mis-match between our new street address (IP address) and the registered address for TRP. This is one of the many things we're working to get fixed.

Now if you happen to have an alert (known as a watch) set on one of the pages we've already updated for TW15.5, the email notification you received may have been flagged as potential spam. It wasn't; we'll get our new home in order as quickly as we can. If you did receive one of those notifications yesterday, you'll now have sufficient information to log-on to the new TRP. Please don't, the house is still a mess and we're not yet ready for visitors. We'll announce a house warming party, when everybody is welcome, as soon as we can.

And before that house warming party, we'll need a few invited friends to come round and help out ... we'll post more about that in a few days at

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Update on The Reeves Project

The latest word from the administrators of The Reeves Project:
As previously advised, we reluctantly made the decision to temporarily suspend The Reeves Project wiki with effect from 13 December 2017. We were able to make little significant progress prior to the New Year, but things are now moving forward. However, it is likely to still take us a few more weeks to get TRP back online.

Barry is focused on establishing a new platform to host TRP, which will probably be with a new hosting provider while Jonathan and Martin are working to understand the issues resulting from the upgrade of the wiki software underpinning TRP. There have been various changes in the software and some of these are causing issues for us. We will work to identify and address the major issues which will probably take a week or two.

Once these issues have been resolved, we'll then take a tentative step to bring a version of TRP back to the web for further review and testing by a slightly wider audience. When we're ready for that next step we'll post an update asking for helpers at and the various other channels we've been using to keep folks informed.
I'm looking forward to the project being back online because I've found quite a few new Reeves' items of interest to share.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

New Data on George Reeves of Grayson County

Blue Ridge Vista in Grayson County
After searching for a decade for the source of a very old 1999 post on the Reeves forum regarding the statements by a Mrs. Helen Trent Hobbs in regard to the origins of George Reeves who settled in Grayson County, Virginia in 1767 I have finally found the answer. An Ancestry post to the page of a distant Reeves' cousin contained a portion of the statement with a clue as to the name of the book and its author. The statements were from a letter written by 86 year old George W. Reeves of Ashe County, son of John Reeves, which were included in a 1951 volume published by LeRoy Reeves, a descendant of Edward Reeves of Bladen County, North Carolina.

The book is entitled Ancestral Sketches - Ancestry of William P. and Peter M. Reeves and contains a wealth of information regarding early Reeves families in North Carolina. It is a great shame that LeRoy Reeves did not have access to the historical records currently available and the added blessing of Y-DNA results. He has done an excellent job in researching these families and attempting to find possible familial relationships. The passage quoted from George W. Reeves' letter contained the following:
In December, 1897* (sic) George W. Reeves of Jefferson, Ashe County, North Carolina, then almost 86 years of age, wrote: "My grandfather's name was George Reeves whose birthplace I am unable to give, but was principally raised in eastern North Carolina. He was born about the year 1704 or 1705 (sic) and came from Neuse River, N.C., to New River, Grayson County, Virginia, about the year 1725 (sic) bringing his wife with him. They had born to them seven daughters and four sons, the youngest of which was John Reeves who was my father. When my grandfather came to Virginia no others of the Reeves family came with him, but my recollection is that he left others of the Reeves family in eastern N. C. whose names I am unable to give. But well remember my father had two cousins, William Reeves and Jeremiah Reeves, who visited my father since my recollection. I also remember that my grandfather's family frequently visited their relatives in eastern N. C, and I am sure that my grandfather left brothers and sisters in that part of the state...My grandmother's maiden name was Jane Burton."
Finding the source of these statements by George W. Reeves has been a complete thrill and further confirms the family connection between William Reeves of Wake County, North Carolina and George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia that was discovered when descendants of both participated in the Reeves Y-DNA Project. It also should put to rest any lingering belief in the debunked theory (see posts in this blog) that the wife of George Reeves of Grayson County was a daughter of Joshua Epps of Halifax County, Virginia since George W. Reeves was obviously knowledgeable of the fact that his grandmother was Jane Burton.

I also found the remembered visit by his father's cousins, William and Jeremiah, of particular interest since two of the younger sons of William Reeves, Jr. of Wake County, North Carolina, by those names had migrated to Madison County, Kentucky with their father which would have been in relative close proximity. Any trip they would have made back to their previous home in Wake County would have taken them through the New River area of Virginia.

LeRoy Reeves speculated in his book on possible connections between George, William and Edward Reeves of Bladen based upon their arrival in the eastern portion of North Carolina at about the same time. He collected a tremendous amount of census and land records for the early Reeves of North Carolina but by not being privy to Y-DNA the majority of his proposed connections have been proven to be unfounded and to have been primarily based solely on proximity. The Reeves Y-DNA Project has no record that any descendants of Edward Reeves of Bladen County have ever participated so we aren't able to confirm any family connections. For the sake of adding more authenticity to Reeves genealogy, we'll have to hope that eventually some of those Bladen County NC Reeves' male descendants decide to participate in the DNA project.

In the meantime, I'll just continue to bask in the joy of finding the published information from George W. Reeves' letter.

* Note that the date the letter was written appears to be in error since George W. Reeves died in October of 1896 according to the inscription on his gravestone pictured at Find A Grave. George W. Reeves was born in April of 1812 and he would have been almost 86 in December of 1895, not 1897 which appears to have been a transcription error.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Reeves in Early Virginia's Northern Neck

At The Reeves Project, we continue to chip away at the various Reeves' mysteries in an attempt to identify the many lineages and at times even have the benefit of Y-DNA testing to prove their connections. But when the earliest Reeves immigrants to the American colonies are concerned, it's just never easy. This week I've been searching early records of Virginia's northern neck in an attempt to find clues to several families in Lancaster and Westmoreland counties.

John Reeves' 1731 Will
John Reeves left a 1731 will in Lancaster County naming sons William, Eaton, James and daughter Elizabeth, wife of Richard Flint. This appears to be the same family whose children were referred to as "God children" and left bequests in the 1703 will of William Brightman of Lancaster County. William Brightman named his God daughter Elizabeth Reeves, the daughter of John Reeves as the primary beneficiary who was to receive the balance of his estate after other legacies were paid. He also named as his Godsons, William and John Reeves, sons of John Reeves, legatees and left his riding horse to John Reeves, Sr. as well as a cow named Cherry to Elizabeth Reeves, wife of John Reeves.

Elizabeth, wife of John Reeves, is identified in Lancaster County probate documents as the widow of William Clarke and named as Elizabeth Reeves in September of 1688 when she returned the inventory of his estate to the Lancaster court. This family connection is further confirmed by the 1718 will of Arthur Clarke which names William Reeves as his brother and John Reeves as his father-in-law, a term also used for step-father. Elizabeth Clarke Reeves was deceased sometime between the writing of her son Arthur Clarke's will in 1718 and 1731 when John Reeves wrote his will naming his wife as Phoebe. Phoebe was apparently Mrs. Phoebe Harris based upon legacies to grandchildren named in her 1732 will which was probated in 1733.

1737 Map of Virginia's Northern Neck
In this area of Virginia which includes Lancaster, Northumberland and Richmond counties there were also several other Reeves individuals present before 1700. A Robert Reeves and his future wife Frances Whilliard were both indentured servants to Peter Presley, Jr. before earning their freedom, marrying and Robert himself becoming a landowner. There were also several Thomas Reeves recorded in the area, one of whom may have been the father of George and John Reeve of Prince William County, who would therefore be the patriarch of the family identified as Group 10 of the Reeves DNA Project. Also, one of these Thomas Reeves was the father of George Reaves later of Prince William and Halifax counties who lived for a few years in Wilkes County, North Carolina.

As difficult as it is to locate the origin of these early arrivals to the colonies, it is just as difficult to track their descendants to the present day. Regardless of how many Reeves' families we have identified over the last seven years of research for The Reeves Project, other than John Reeves' daughter Elizabeth who married Richard Flint, we still have no clues as to what became of John's sons or if any of their descendants are still among us.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Temporary Disruption - The Reeves Project

A message from the administrator of The Reeves Project:
Reluctantly, we have made the decision to temporarily suspend The Reeves Project wiki with effect from 18h45GMT on 13 December 2017. We will advise via this blog as well as several other relevant sites, our progress to restore the service, but it's likely to take a few weeks, not days.

Two weeks ago (28 November) we had what we at first thought was a simple technical issue. But further investigation revealed that Barry's administrative access to the server hosting TRP had been hijacked. Having regained control, Barry removed a couple of static web pages which the intruders had added to the web server (not to the wiki). As far as we can tell the wiki and its contents were not compromised.

Then on Saturday 9 December, the layout of our web pages suddenly changed. The site had been hijacked for a second time and again Barry had been locked out. The intruders had again added a couple of static web pages, which would not be seen by the TRP user community. After a little searching, Jonathan found a web page detailing how to hijack any TikiWiki (TW) based service running on or below a specific version of the TW software. Sadly our wiki was running on an affected version.

The server hosting TRP has given us very good service over a very long period of time, but now really needs a major refresh. Since we have no way to prevent repeated hijacking events which may have more serious impact to our wiki content and/or visitors to our web pages, we have reluctantly decided the only safe option is to temporarily suspend The Reeves Project wiki.

Over the coming days and weeks, we look to move TRP to a more secure server and upgrade the whole of the supporting infrastructure, including the TikiWiki software. Right now we don't know how long this activity might take, particularly as the Christmas holiday season is rapidly approaching and everybody's free time is in short supply. We'll aim to report progress on a regular basis, every two or three weeks. So please do check back here regularly.
Hopefully for those of us who use The Reeves Project to archive documented research and as a source of information, this upgrade and TRP's interruption of service will be of short duration.