Monday, June 4, 2018

Essex County's Henry Reeves Family

Back in November of 2011 in the early days of this blog, I wrote a post titled Who really are the descendants of Henry Reeves? In that post, I addressed the issue of misinformation regarding the lineage of George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia who had been believed to be descended from Henry Reeves. A George Reeves, son of Thomas Reeves (Sr.) of Spotsylvania County who was a grandson of Henry Reeves, was named as a legatee in the will of Thomas' brother George Reeves who died in 1754 and the internet was full of the theory that George Reeves who settled in Grayson County's New River area in 1767 was that individual. Y-DNA tests of individuals in the Reeves DNA Project established that participants who were documented as descending from Henry Reeves were found in DNA Group 9 of the project while three descendants of George Reeves of Grayson County were in DNA Group 6 (now Group 6A) matching descendants of William Reeves of North Carolina's Neuse Basin.

With the recent addition of images of scanned historical documents to Family Search's online catalog, it is now possible to do indepth research without traveling to a courthouse in Virginia. Over the last six months I have spent an afternoon each week at my local Family History Center browsing the deed, will, court and tax records of Essex County in an attempt to find all of the extant information regarding Henry Reeves heirs. Amazingly, there is an abundance of early records for Essex County that are available.

The family of Henry Reeves becomes more and more complete as the records are searched with numerous tidbits of information found to solve what have previously been mysteries. The surname and family of Sarah, the wife of Thomas Reeves, Jr. of Spotsylvania County can be found on an Essex Deed. Sarah was found to be Sarah Attwood, daughter of Ann Reeves and Francis Attwood, who was a cousin to Thomas. The 1766 deed states that the land being sold was devised to Sarah by her mother Ann Reeves Attwood who inherited it from her deceased brother John Reeves.

Essex County Court Minutes of 1708 provided proof that Elizabeth Reeves, the daughter of Henry Reeves, Sr. was the wife of Thomas Sthreshly. Although Sthreshly descendants had believed that to be the case, most Reeves' researchers had never included that marriage in their family records. A court record from April of 1708 concerns a case where Thomas Sthreshly and his wife Elizabeth had brought suit against the administrators of the estate of James Reeves seeking to have the court order a division of the estate with the legatees. The court minutes clearly state that the petitioner Elizabeth was a sister of the said James Reeves deceased.

1729 Essex County Courthouse
Currently most of the male descendants with the Reeves' surname have been found, with a few exceptions. Henry, the son of Henry Reeves III, son of Henry Reeves, Jr., and his wife Jochebed has never been located after he reached maturity. Two of the other male children of Henry and Jochebed died as infants, which simply means that they did not live to adulthood, but their son Henry, born after 1727, apparently left Essex County as a young adult and has not been located elsewhere. Jackson Reeves, born circa 1690, was named in the 1717 will of Joseph Reeves, Sr. but there is no further record of him in Essex County. Likewise, George Reeves son of Thomas Reeves, Sr., apparently left the area and has not been identified. This is the same George who had previously been believed to be the George Reeves of Grayson County, but DNA has now established that is not possible.

There is still much research to be done in Essex County, particularly as it pertains to the daughters of Henry Reeves, Sr. Their spouses have all been identified but not their children. I'll be heading back to the Family History Center later this week to see what else I can find. In the meantime, The Reeves Project has created this listing of the descendants of Henry Reeves, Sr. of Essex County which links to each individual's page in the wiki.

(Photo from the website of Essex County Museum & Historical Society at Tappahannock)

Other posts in this blog about the Henry Reeves family of Essex County
Thomas Reeves of Woodford County, Kentucky
Who really are the descendants of Henry Reeves?

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Reeves Project (TRP) Wiki is back online!

As previously announced The Reeves Project (TRP) Wiki came back online on 27 March and its content is available to browse via

In the month since The Reeves Project (TRP) came back on line, we've been progressively reaching out to our community members. We initially sent a generic e-mail via our Google Group on 27 March (to which about half of our members have opted to subscribe to). We've subsequently sent a personal e-mail to over 260 of our existing community members. (My apologies to the handful of you that received two personal e-mails; I initially started by contacting those who had most recently used TRP before we suspended the service, but quickly realised that was more complex than simply working alphabetically through the list of community members). A handful of those personal e-mail messages have bounced straight back where the e-mail address or domain we have for you is no longer in use. If you've changed your e-mail address since you first registered with The Reeves Project, you'll need to contact us. We've also had a couple of minor ISP's block our out-bound e-mail but we've resent those messages via our Gmail account to step round that issue.

The response rate to our e-mail has been somewhat disappointing. If you've been putting off replying, today would be a good day to do so. If you've misplaced the e-mail "The Reeves Project - Invitation to Rejoin" and would like another copy, please contact TRP127(at)TheReevesProject(dot)org

If you've already requested and received details of your new User Name / Membership ID but are having issues logging back into to TRP, please do let us know. Some users seem to have been able to regain access without much pain, but we suspect others are having issues. In particular, we suspect that in some circumstances the password reset function may not be sending the e-mail you need. Please let us know your problem(s) and we'll work with you to get it sorted.

We are also aware that some new users have experienced issues working through the enrolment process with us. We apologise for that. We had finessed the new user registration process over the previous seven years that TRP had been in existence before our service suspension in December 2017. The upgrade to the wiki software underpinning TRP that we've recently undertaken necessitated a change to how we handled new user registrations. We're sorry that the rough edges have been too visible during the past month. If you need help completing your enrolment, please contact Martin via TRP123(at)TheReevesProject(dot)org explaining your issue(s) and we'll work with you to get your enrolment completed.

We think we've identified the major issues that have been encountered with new user enrolment over the past month and made changes on 26 April to both the Join Us form and the process which will hopefully make life easier for future new users.

We will continue to post updates at

Thank you

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.

Newly discovered identity of Sarah, the wife of Thomas Reeves, Jr.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Surveyor's Book

Most of the time a surveyor's book is just 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.

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.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Another Episode of the Epps Wife Fantasy

Over the course of the last few years several sources have been promoting a cockamamie theory that the wife of George Reeves (Reves) of Grayson County, Virginia was not from the Burton family, but instead a daughter of Joshua Epps of Halifax County, Virginia. Without proper research, the fact that there is a 1793 deed involving the heirs of John Epps, father of Joshua, and in that deed a George Reaves of Wilkes County, North Carolina is named among the legatees, the wife of George Reeves of Grayson County is now purported to be this Epps granddaughter. Out of this one lone deed an entire alternate theory of George Reeves of Grayson County's family has been disseminated across the internet.

A post to this blog in May of 2014 concerning this family details the research of several Reeves family researchers and lists all of the known facts concerning George Reaves who married Martha "Patty" Epps. Since Family Search has been adding more documents to their online offerings which include Virginia data, new information has recently come to light so it seemed a good time to share them and add to the accurate information regarding George and Martha Epps Reaves.

It was previously known that in October of 1778 George Reaves purchased a 100 acre tract on Court House Branch in Halifax County, Virginia from Luke Williams, but a recently found deed from October of 1779 finds the same 100 acres being sold back to Luke Williams by George Reaves and Martha, his wife. This transaction coincides with the issuance in 1780 of Warrant No. 638 for 200 acres on Little Cub Creek in Wilkes County, North Carolina.

It is noteworthy that the survey below of this 200 acres on Little Cub Creek shows that Moses Epps, son of Joshua Epps and brother of Martha Epps Reeves was listed as a chain carrier.

Hopefully at some point this premise will no longer be promoted as a viable family connection to the Reeves family of Grayson, Virginia and Ashe, North Carolina.

Other posts in this blog on the Epps wife theory:
The rest of the story...( of the Epps wife theory)
Wilkes County's George Reeves Mystery