Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Very Young Mother

Early and mid-nineteenth century Wayne County, Tennessee was awash in my paternal ancestors and also in a number of Reeves, with several different Reeves lines being represented. I first became intrigued with a C J Reeves whose property in Wayne County bounded the property of two sets of my paternal great-great-grandparents. Knowing my maternal Reeves heritage, I had to wonder if C J Reeves was a maternal relative who had somehow crossed paths with my father’s family. That turned out not to be the case (at least not so far), but Calvin’s origins are still a mystery.

On 7 Oct 1878, Calvin J Reaves was appointed administrator of the estate of his father Osburn Reaves in Wayne County. The earliest known record of Osburn Reaves and his wife Esther Osteen is their marriage record in 1812 in Williamson County, Tennessee . In 1820 they were still in Williamson County, but made their way to Wayne County Tennessee by 1830 where they remained. (Note the use of both Reeves and Reaves for the surname spelling of this family. Eventually the "Reaves" spelling prevailed.)

Census records consistently identify Osburn’s birth date as 1791 and birth location as South Carolina. Also from census records, his wife Esther was born about 1792 in North Carolina.

Why then do so many online trees claim that Osburn Reaves is the son of John Reeves (b 1785) and Phoebe Osborne (b 1785), both of whom lived out their lives in Grayson County, Virginia? Even more amazing is Phoebe’s age at the presumed birth – six years old! As far as I can tell, the only “evidence” for this leap is Osburn’s given name. John and Phoebe had a much younger son (b 1809) named Osborne.

Thus far, no one has come up with credible parents for Osburn Reeves, but more progress might be made if people would question the veracity of information copied from the family trees of others.

The picture is of some of Calvin Reeves children, from the Wayne County TNgenweb website, submitted by Scott Adams.

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