Saturday, October 15, 2011

Reeves' Mysteries - the Reaves of Southeastern North Carolina

There are far more Reeves' family lineages of unknown origin than those whose immigrant ancestor has been established. The Reeves DNA Project has identified many families who share a common ancestor, even though that ancestor is currently unknown. That is not the case for the Reaves families of Duplin, Wayne, Brunswick and Columbus counties of southeastern North Carolina, no records have been found of them before their arrival in this area around 1750 or to positively confirm their relationship to each other.

The first record of several of these Reaves families is in the now extinct North Carolina county of Dobbs where the deed indexes record both William Reaves and Thomas Reaves owning property in 1757. Sadly, only the deed indexes remain of the Dobbs County records. Other Reaves listed in those indexes over the span of the next 20 years include Jane (or James?), Joseph, Drury, Timothy and Reuben.

Dobbs County was formed from the eastern portion of Johnston County in 1758 and in 1791, Wayne County from the western portion of Dobbs. The records of early Johnston and other counties formed from Johnston - Wayne, Greene and Lenoir Counties, were placed at the courthouse in Lenoir County. In 1878, a courthouse fire in Kinston destroyed almost all of these records except the original grantee index. The loss of these records is undoubtably the reason this family's origins remain an enigma.

There is a deed dated April of 1757 and recorded in the index of Book 5 (Page 638) from Andrew Bass to William Reaves. The 1790 Wayne County will of William Reaves contains a reference to land he purchased from Andrew Bass which confirms his identity as the same William Reaves recorded in this Dobbs County index. Sons of William Reaves named in that 1790 will are found in Wayne County as well as Duplin where a Hardy Reaves who appears to be related was recorded in the census of 1790 and 1800.

The families of Brunswick and Columbus counties descend from brothers Joel and Solomon Reaves whose parents are believed to be William Reaves and Prudence Harralson. Prudence Harralson was the daughter of Paul Harralson II, a resident of Edgecombe County circa 1730-50, who was associated in deeds with William Reeves, Jr. the son of William Reeves who died in Granville County in 1751. Whether that has any significance in establishing their ancestry is unknown.

There are currently no participants from these families in the Reeves DNA Project. Hopefully someday that will change providing clues to their origins and possibly help solve this Reeves' mystery.

(Photo by Mark Stanley for Findagrave.)

1 comment:

  1. I am a Reeves from Southeastern NC. I have only done family research through but some of the names mentioned in this article are familiar to me. I have also done a DNA test through I can send my results if that would help.