Monday, October 24, 2011


A Jonathan Reeves is listed on the 1790 Wake County census as head of a household that consists of 2-5-4-0-0-11 (2 males over 16, 5 males under 16, 4 females and 11 head of cattle). The 1793 Wake County tax list shows him with 200 acres and 2 white poles. He was living in an area close to the family of William Reeves in the neighborhood of the Fish Dam on the Neuse River, but is not a member of that family since neither he nor his heirs are mentioned in the probate records for William Reeves recorded in Madison County, Kentucky in 1821.

He is undoubtably the son of Malachi Reeves for he had been listed as a tithe of Malachi's in the 1769 Granville County NC Tax records. After his marriage to Nancy Hooker in Granville County in 1769, he was listed as a taxpayer in the Tabbs Creek area along with his father in 1771, then in the 1780's he is found on the tax lists of the Beaverdam Creek District of southern Granville County just a few miles north of the Fishdam area of Wake County.

Jonathan Reeves died sometime in late 1797 or early 1798 for an estate sale and settlement of the estate is recorded in the Wake County probate records, Will Book 4 at Page 114, in March of 1798. There are no guardian records in the Wake County probate records for underage children of Jonathan Reeves after his death which would indicate that his children were all over the age of fourteen. His widow and children appear to have left Wake County shortly after his death because there is no hint of them in the 1800 census.

The three daughters and six sons of Jonathan Reeves appear to have simply vanished, leaving Wake County and blending into the countless unidentified Reeves of the southern United States in the early 19th century. The marriage records of Wake County through the 1790's provide few clues, but when Ruth Reeves married John Sanders there on 15 Sep 1795, Avery Reeves was bondsman for the marriage. Neither Ruth nor Avery are members of the other Reeves or Reavis families located in Wake County at that time.

Grave of William Reeves, born 1795After a short stay in York County, South Carolina around 1810 where other members of the Reeves' family of Granville County had migrated, Avery Reeves is found in Franklin County, Tennessee in the 1820 and 1830 census. John Sanders who married Ruth Reeves, probable sister of Avery, had also migrated to Franklin County and is only a few households from Avery Reeves in the 1830 census. Avery apparently died between 1830 and 1840 for there is no mention of him in any records after that time.

The census records above list Avery with several sons although no documentation has currently been found to positively identify them. Hance Henderson Reeves who is found in Franklin County census starting in 1840 is very likely his son as is William Reeves who is shown in census as being born in North Carolina in 1795. A descendant of Hance Henderson Reeves has been placed in DNA Group 3 of the Reeves DNA Project which identifies him as being of the same lineage as the Reeves of Granville County, North Carolina.

If Avery and Ruth Reeves are in fact children of Jonathan's, that still leaves two daughters and five sons who have yet to be identified. When you happen upon a mysterious Reeves whose origins you just can't find, don't forget to explore the records of this family, they might just be one of the missing children of Jonathan and Nancy Hooker Reeves.

(Photo of William Reeves' gravestone by Terri for Findagrave.)


  1. You've got a real puzzle with this one. Good luck.
    Theresa (tangled trees)

  2. Are you the "Beverly" from TRP? My Jonathan Reeves is of more recent vintage (1824-1894). I have his F. & GF as Frederick's but am not at all sure of that. Any ideas on how to untangle this? I just can't navigate TRP......Leslie

    1. Leslie,

      Yes, I'm Beverly from TRP. Frederick Reeves who died in Walton County, Georgia has a son of Jonathan born 2 Jul 1824 per Frederick's family bible who I assume is your Jonathan. This Frederick Reeves' parents according to that family bible were John Reeves and his wife Sarah (no maiden name listed). Y-DNA seems to support the family connection between your Jonathan, son of Frederick and the above Hance Henderson Reeves of this post who was probably the son of Jonathan Reeves, son of Malachi along with countless other Granville County NC Reeves' descendants.

      Keep giving TRP a chance, there really is a wealth of information there, it just takes a while to learn to find what you're looking for. Many times, I use the state links on the home page and search by geographic area. I also look at the people pages. Don't give up on it.