Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Misty Origins of Sidney James Reeves

There are various theories regarding James Reeves with wife Elizabeth Wells who appeared in Buncombe County, North Carolina by around 1810 and are recorded there in the 1820 census.

Grave of Malachi Reeves, Jr., grandson of James ReevesHe has been purported to be the son of Samuel Reeves of Rowan County, North Carolina. However, research of that Reeves’ family indicates that Samuel’s son James appears to be at least 10 to 15 years younger. He married Deborah Winright in Rowan County in 1800 and in the 1810 census all of their 4 children are listed as having been born after 1800 which would be consistent with their marriage date of 1800. In 1810 when James Reeves, the son of Samuel of Rowan County, is listed in the census there, Sidney James Reeves is already recorded in the deed records of Buncombe County.

Another theory seems to be an amalgamation of Isaac Reeves of Wilkes County, North Carolina or Isaac Reeves the son of William Reeves who died in Granville in 1751 and Samuel Reeves of Rowan. This composite is listed in various websites as “Isaac Samuel Reeves”. There is no evidence to support that there was such a person. There are even copies of the Rowan County will of Samuel Reeves online which have had the name “Isaac” added. This is unsubstantiated by any historical record. In neither the deed nor probate records of Rowan County, is Samuel Reeves referred to as Isaac Samuel Reeves.

A thorough search of the tax, deed and probate records of Rowan County produced no record of an Isaac Reeves in that county. Isaac, the son of William Reeves of Granville, is recorded living in Caswell County from around 1771 when he signed the petition to divide Orange County to a certain line in Granville County and a certain line in Guilford County. This is apparently the same person named as Isaac Reeves of Randolph County, North Carolina in a deed dated 3 Oct 1781 and recorded in Caswell County Deed Book A, at Page 31. That deed conveyed a 150 acre tract of land to Martha Wisdom of Caswell County which appears to be the same 150 acres Isaac Reeves purchased from Peter Bankston on 1 Jan 1779. The Isaac Reeves theory seems to be based upon incorrect information on Page 19 of the Reeves Review II.

Oddly, no one seems to have considered the most reasonable choice of family origin - the Reeves family who were living in Guilford County at the time of Sidney James Reeves’ marriage to Elizabeth Wells. James Reeves named a grandson James as a legatee in his 1781 Guilford County will. A 1788 Rockingham County deed by the heirs of Malachi Reeves to Nathaniel Tatum names James, Thomas and Jesse Reeves as those heirs. Undoubtably this son of Malachi Reeves is the same Sidney James Reeves who married Elizabeth Wells on 11 Jan 1785 in Guilford County, North Carolina.

The fact that James Reeves and Elizabeth Wells were married in Guilford County as well as naming one son Malachi lends further credence to the belief that he was of the family of Malachi Reeves of Guilford County.

A descendant of James Reeves' son Jesse Jefferson Reeves is a participant in the Reeves DNA Project and has been placed in DNA Group 3 confirming that James Reeves was descended from the family of William Reeves who died in Granville County in 1751.

Newly discovered information on the origins of Samuel Reeves of Rowan County, North Carolina are discussed in the following later posts: The Maryland Connection and an Update on Samuel Reeves of Rowan County.

(Photo by James Archer for Find A Grave.)

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