Monday, December 5, 2011

William Reeves of Madison County, Kentucky

The internet abounds with various inaccurate allegations regarding my Reeves ancestor, William Reeves of Madison County, Kentucky. His parents, his wife and even his residence have been misrepresented in multiple websites. This mass of misinformation has been the motivating factor in my desire to seek out all the available historical documents regarding his life and create an accurate depiction of who he was, where he lived prior to his migration to Kentucky and from which Reeves family he was descended.

The LDS Family Resource Centers offer a wonderful service for genealogical researchers by providing microfilmed copies of the original records from a particular county which can be ordered and “rented” for a small fee. I found it was possible to stay at home in Texas and search all the records of Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina counties to find the truth of William Reeves.

Crossing Ellerbe's Creek onto the land formerly owned by William ReevesHe has been alleged to have originated in Halifax County VA, Granville County NC and even Warren County NC – all of which are incorrect. The documents filed in Madison County, Kentucky settling his estate in 1821 name his daughters Sarah Geer and Mary Allen along with son John of Wake County, North Carolina. Two sons, Peter and Charles are recorded as being residents of Halifax County, Virginia at that time but Peter who lived until the 1850 census gives North Carolina as his birthplace. Youngest son, Jeremiah of Madison County, Kentucky, also gave North Carolina as his birthplace in the 1850 census which serves to disprove the theory of Halifax, Virginia origins. The colonial tax records of Halifax also have no record of this Reeves’ family. Wake County NC has countless deeds and court records which document his presence there from the county’s inception in 1771. He was, at various times, tax collector, tax assessor and justice of the Wake County Court over a 30 year period until his migration to Kentucky. He is recognized by the DAR as a Revolutionary War Patriot based upon his civil service as a tax assessor in Wake County during the revolution.

The Reeves Review listed William Reeves, the son of James Reeves of Guilford County as the William Reeves who died in Madison County, Kentucky. However, 3 descendants of William Reeves’ son George are placed in DNA Group 6 of the Reeves DNA Project matching descendants of George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia, while descendants of James Reeves and his father William Reeves of Granville, North Carolina have been identified with DNA Group 3 proving that a close genetic connection between the two families is impossible. A Johnston County deed of 1763 wherein William Reeves conveyed 400 acres on the Neuse River to William Reeves, Jr. establishes the identify of his father but his mother is still unknown.

William Reeves of Wake County, North Carolina and later of Madison County, Kentucky always wrote his name as REVES, as did all of his sons. George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia and his sons whose decendants DNA matches the descendants of William Reeves also wrote their name REVES. This was not the case with the Granville Reeves family who spelled their name REEVES.

The erroneous references to the wife of this William Reeves as Fortune Rhodes or Millicent are based upon the incorrect assertions of the Reeves Review that he was the son of James Reeves. The only documentation of William Reeves' wife is a Wake County Court Order of December 1791 regarding the removal of Penny Weaver's children from their apprenticeship to John Alston, and ordering that a summons issue for William Reeves and Any his Wife as witnesses for the orphans.

The internet may continue to be rife with the false allegations of the Reeves Review and the other copious sites repeating misinformation, but I have, thanks to the deeds and court records of Wake County compiled a relatively complete profile of my ancestor William Reeves of Madison County, Kentucky:
He lived most of his life before migrating to Kentucky on 400 acres on the south side of the Neuse River and east of Ellerbe’s Creek that his father, William Reeves, Sr. had been granted by Henry McCullough in 1746.

As the county in which that land was designated changed over the next 60 years - he lived in Orange, Johnston and finally Wake County when it was formed in 1771. The pilings of the I-85 bridge on the western side of Falls of the Neuse Lake stand on this property which is currently in Durham County.

He was prominent in the community, serving as a justice of the Wake County Court for approximately 20 years.

We still know little of his wife Anne (Any) except that she was not Fortune Rhodes or Millicent.

His children and the heirs of deceased children are all named in the Madison County, Kentucky deed by his heirs to the youngest son Jeremiah in 1822.




Website - William Reeves from Wake County, North Carolina to Madison County, Kentucky

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