Monday, December 31, 2012

Sarah Reeves Dickey of Leon County, Texas

Although no document has yet been found stating absolutely that Sarah Virginia Reeves was the daughter of Avery Reeves of Franklin County, Tennessee, there is ample evidence to support the belief. Several posts to this blog have listed the various records that have been found pertaining to Avery Reeves. Just as his parents are still undocumented, so are his children but it is fairly certain that William Reeves, Jonathan Reeves, Nancy Reeves who married William Claiborne Handley, Sarah Reeves who married James C. Dickey and Hance Henderson Reeves of Franklin County, Tennessee are some of those children.

In 1850 before they left for Texas, the household of James C. Dickey is recorded in Franklin County in the census of that year. Sometime after the birth of their youngest child, Claiborne in 1854, James and Sarah left Tennessee for the state of Texas which had been annexed to the United States in 1845. They're found in Leon County, Texas in the 1860 census. During the early years following Texas' annexation, it was an extremely popular destination for settlers migrating from the eastern United States and east Texas counties were filled with families from Kentucky and Tennessee.

On a recent visit to east Texas, we spent a pleasant fall afternoon locating the Pleasant Grove Cemetery where most of the members of the Dickey family are buried. It is east of the small town of Leona in Leon County on Farm Road 1119 close to the area where Leon and Madison counties join just west of the Trinity River. The area is said to have once been called the "Dickey community". It probably hasn't changed substantially since these early pioneers arrived and is still not heavily populated.

Most of the older sons of James and Sarah Dickey served in Texas Regiments of the Confederacy and returned to Leon County following the end of the Civil War.

Both James and Sarah Dickey were deceased by 1885, but many of their descendants still live in this area of east Texas where they settled back in 1855.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wilkes County's George Reeves Mystery

There has recently been much speculation on the web regarding the identity of the "George Reeves of Wilkes County, North Carolina" who is named as a legatee in the probate records of John Epps in Halifax County, Virginia. There is a conveyance dated 6 Sep 1793 (Recorded 24 Feb 1794) in Halifax County wherein Nathaniel Epps, Moses Epps, David Powell, Sr. (m. Mary Epps), John Comer (m. Amey Epps), Edy Epps, Temperance Epps, of Halifax County; Ambrose Gresham (m. Elizabeth “Bettie” Epps) of Lunenburg County; and George Reaves of Wilkes County in North Carolina, legatees of John Epps, sell to William Epps of Halifax a 40 acre tract of land on the south side of Banister River in Halifax County. These were the grandchildren of John Epps, children of his son Joshua who predeceased him, dying in 1778. One of the three remaining daughters, Patty, Millison or Dicey, named in Joshua Epps' will had apparently married George Reeves.

View of the blue ridge from Grayson County
Grayson County Overlook
It has been theorized that this George Reeves must then be George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia who is listed on several occasions in the tax and deed records of Wilkes County, North Carolina. In George Reeves deposition for ''Beavins (Blevins) vs. Newell'', 27th September, 1805, he stated that he was present in the New River area as early as 1767. George Reeves' home was located on Peach Bottom Creek just north of the New River and there is no record that he made his home at any time on any of the other properties he was granted or purchased. This New River area was for approximately 20 years claimed by both Virginia and North Carolina with the state line repeatedly moving as many as 20 miles either side of the present state line. The land that George Reeves owned in Wilkes County and ultimately sold to his son William became part of Ashe County when it was formed from Wilkes in 1799.

The following deed recently found in the Wilkes County records may help to identify the correct George Reeves or at least put to rest any lingering speculation that the Epps' legatee must be George Reeves of Grayson. This George Reeves is located much further south than the Peach Bottom tract and is in the area where Isaac Reeves had settled in the early 1780's. Isaac Reeves had previously been located in the area of Lunenburg and Mecklenburg counties of Virginia as was the Epps family.

Wilkes County, North Carolina
Deed Book B-1, p. 416
9 Dec 1794

THIS INDENTURE made this ninth day of December one thousand seven hundred and ninety four Between George Reeves of Wilkes County and State of North Carolina of the one part and William Petty Senior of the same state and county of the other part, Witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred pounds Current money to him in hand paid by the said William Petty before the Sealing and Delivery hereof the receipt whereof the said George Reeves doth hereby acknowledge and himself therewith to be fully satisfied and paid and for which Sum he hath granted Bargained sold conveyed and confirmed by these presents doth fully clearly freely and absolutely sell convey and confirm to the said William Petty his heirs and assigns for ever a tract or parcel of Land containing two hundred Acres of Land lying and being in our county of Wilkes lying on little Cub Creek BEGINNING on a pine in Thomas Rogers line adjacent to the Moravian line and running South two hundred and four poles to a maple near a branch in John Greers line thence East with said line one hundred and twenty four poles to the corner thence North twenty Degrees East seventy two poles to a pine thence North Sixty East seventy six poles to a red oak sapling in William Gilreaths line being conditional line between James Chaney and said Reeves Thence North with said Gilreaths line forty two poles to the corner Thence North seventy Eight Degrees West two hundred and sixty poles to the first Station &c - Together with all woods waters mines Minerals Hereditaments and appurtenances to the said Land Belonging or appertaining and all the whole right title and Intrust of him the said George Reeves to the said Bargained premises to have and to hold to the said William Petty his heirs and assigns for ever And the Intent and meaning of these presents are that the said William Petty his heirs and assigns may at all times forever hereafter lawfully and peaceable possess hold and enjoy the said Bargained premises with all the rights and privileges thereunto belonging free and clear of all Incumbrances and the said George Reeves doth covenant and agree well and truly to warrant and defend the same In witness whereof the said George Reeves hath hereunto set his hand and seal the day and date above written ~
James Hardgraves  }
Joshua Greer             }                          George Reeves (Seal)

(Wrote on the Back)
S. N. Carolina       }      May Term 1795 -
Wilkes County     }     The within Deed was duly
proven in open court by the oath of Joshua Greer and
ordered to be Registered.
                        C. Gordon C.C.
The 1788 and 1789 tax lists of Wilkes County record a George Reeves along with William Petty, John Greer, Joshua Greer and the adjoining property owners listed in the above deed, Hardgraves, William Gilreath and James Chaney, in Capt. Tribbles District. Also, James and John Reeves, sons of Isaac Reeves, Sr. and Alexander Holton whose daughter married James Reeves had been listed in Tribbles' district in 1787. These individuals all lived just south of Wilkesboro in an area joining the Moravian settlement along the Yadkin River.

The George Reeves of the Wilkesboro area is no longer found in Wilkes County after the recording of this deed and may have returned to Halifax County in Virginia where he appears to be the individual listed on the tax lists there in 1798. It should be noted that Asher Reaves had also returned to Halifax, Virginia after the Revolution. A George Reaves is listed repeatedly in the tax lists there until before 1830. The 1830 census records a widowed Martha Reeves around 80 years old as head of a Halifax County household. Since Patty is a nickname for Martha, this may likely be Patty Epps, granddaughter of John.

Hopefully someday descendants of Asher and George Reeves/Reaves of Halifax will participate in the Reeves DNA Project. And with the popular new autosomal DNA projects by Ancestry and Family Finder, there may be hope of one day unraveling this mystery.

UPDATE - For the latest developments in the research of George Reaves of Halifax County, Virginia and Wilkes County, North Carolina see the following posts:
The rest of the story...
Another Episode of the Epps Wife Fantasy
New Data on George Reeves of Grayson County

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Reuben A. Reeves of Todd County, Kentucky

Gravestone of William O. Reeves, son of Reuben, at the city cemetery in Palestine Texas
Reuben A. Reeves was the son of Ottway Curry Reeves and Mary Ann Mansfield, the grandson of Brewer Reeves who was one of the earliest settlers of Christian County, Kentucky. The act creating Christian County was passed in 1796 and specified "that the Justices to be named in the commission of the peace for said county" should meet at the house of Brewer Reeves and organize for business. Brewer, his wife Martha and their family had immigrated to Kentucky from Augusta County, Virginia.

In January of 1846, Ruben married Sarah Mills in Todd County and soon afterward left Kentucky for Texas which had just been admitted to the United States. Anderson County was a popular destination for the stream of immigrants flowing into Texas from various U.S. states. By 1848, Reuben had established a law practice in Palestine, the county seat of Anderson County. He and his young family are found there in the 1850 U.S. census and by 1857, Reuben had been elected a district judge in Palestine.

After the civil war began, he enlisted on the 11th of April 1863 in Terrell's Regiment of Texas Cavalry of the CSA and became captain of Company E. A year later when the term of James H. Bell, associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court expired, Ruben Reeves ran for and was elected to that office in August of 1864. The resignation of his commission from the CSA was written on the 19th of September 1864 in Tyler, Texas.

Letter by Capt. Reuben A. Reeves Resigning his Commission
Reuben Reeves served as associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court until the war's end and participated in the Constitutional Convention of 1866. He was then elected district court judge for the Ninth Judicial District but on November 30, 1867 when Texas came under federal military control, he was among the officials removed from office as "impediments to Reconstruction". When Governor Richard Coke was elected, Reuben Reeves was reappointed associate justice of the Supreme Court of Texas on January 30, 1874 and served until April 18, 1876 when he returned to Palestine to practice law. At one time his son William also held the office of district judge in Anderson County.

President Grover Cleveland appointed Reuben Reeves to the Supreme Court of New Mexico Territory in the 1880's, and he served in that office until 1889. He died in Dallas at the home of his daughter on January 30, 1908, and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

Read more about Reuben A. Reeves at The TSHA Handbook of Texas Online

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - B. Robert Reeves

Gravestone of B. Robert Reeves

June 16, 1869
Dec. 24, 1905

The grave of B. Robert Reeves is located in the Oakwood City Cemetery in Leon County, Texas along with that of his son Hobson D. Reeves.

B. Robert Reeves married Pearl Bradley on 17 Dec 1893 in Limestone County, Texas. In the 1880 census of Limestone County, Robert was recorded living in the home of his parents W. J. (William J.) and Mary E. Reeves. This family was located in Tallapoosa, Alabama in the 1850 census prior to their appearance in Limestone County, Texas in the 1860 census. William J. and Mary E. Reeves both give Georgia as their places of birth, but at present, there is no further information regarding this Reeves' family's lineage.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

More Curious Things

In a previous post from February of 2012, I reprinted the biography of John Reeves who was born in Mason County, Kentucky in 1802 and died in Brown County, Ohio. There were several curious statements in his biography published in a history of Brown County in 1884. That biography names an Isaac and Margaret Reeves as the parents of John's father, James Reeves which introduced the possibility that James Reeves might have been the son of Isaac Reeves and his wife Margery of Wilkes County, North Carolina.

Marriage Bond - Sarah Reeves to William Holton
1798 Marriage Bond for
Sarah Reeves and William Holton
James Reeves was listed in the 1790 census of Wilkes County, North Carolina with 1 male over 16, 1 male under 16 and 3 females which would indicate that had married around 1780 in North Carolina. Sarah Holton's father is believed to have been Alexander Holton and there was an Alex Holton recorded in the 1790 census of Wilkes County but in no subsequent census there.

It had previously been believed that the James Reeves who settled in Wayne County, Tennessee was the son of Isaac Reeves of Wilkes County because a few years after James arrived there, Isaac's son Peter migrated to Wayne County. But based upon the data from the 1790 census, it is unlikely that the James Reeves of Wayne County, with wife Rachel was the son of Isaac and Margery Reeves. James Reeves of Wayne County would have been born after 1776 according to the 1820 census and far too young to have been the father of the 1790 Wilkes County household. That Wayne County census lists James Reeves' household as 1 male ‹10, 1 male 26-44, 2 females ‹10, 1 female 10-15 and 1 female 26-44. In the 1830 census Rachel's age is given as 40-49 or born 1781 to 1790 indicating she could not have been the mother of the children listed in the 1790 census when she would have been approximately 9 years old. Rachel's household in the 1830 census of 1 male ‹5, 2 males 5-9, 1 male 10-15, 1 female 10-14, 1 female 15-19, 1 female 40-49 and 2 slaves is far more consistent with the household of the younger James Reeves of the 1820 census.

No marriage record has been found for James Reeves and Sarah Holton, but recently in the Kentucky County Marriage records at Family Search, I found a 1798 Madison County marriage bond for Sarah Reeves and William Holton with James Reeves as bondsman. When I initially found the document, my first thought was that it pertained to the marriage of James Reeves and Sarah Holton, but then realized that James Reeves was bondsman, not the groom. In comparing the signature of the James Reeves from this marriage bond to that of James of Wilkes County on the marriage bond of his sister, Bettie, to John Wilson in 1784 for which he was bondsman, the signatures are very similar. The signature from the Wilkes County document is not as clear as that of the Kentucky document because the pen or quill was making large ink smudges which makes a comparison of the name "Reeves" more difficult, but the given name "James" is very much like the Madison County signature. There were several unidentified daughters listed in Isaac Reeves, Sr.'s household in the 1790 census of Wilkes County. Could this Sarah Reeves who married William Holton be James' sister? And William Holton possibly be the brother of Sarah Holton?

Another curious bit of information found regarding this family pertains to Lazarus Reeve, son of Isaac B. Reeve, who left Wilkes County around 1815 and by 1820 had settled in Morgan County, Illinois. In every census from 1850 to 1880, Lazarus Reeve gives his place of birth as Kentucky, yet his father is recorded in the 1800 census of Wilkes County, North Carolina. One undocumented reference to Lazarus Reeve online gave his place of birth as Madison County, Kentucky. This raises a question as to whether Isaac B. Reeve may have moved to Kentucky in the late 1790's when his brother James did but returned to Wilkes County before 1800 and did not permanently leave there until after 1815 when he migrated to Morgan County, Illinois.

These bits of information provide more questions than answers to the mystery of the origins of James Reeves of Mason County, Kentucky. As we continue to search the extant records of Wilkes County, North Carolina in addition to Kentucky and Illinois, hopefully we will eventually find answers.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Funny - The Kiss Resonator

The Chillicothe Daily Constitution
Chillicothe, Missouri

Wednesday, July 28, 1915


Stoyestown, Pa., July 28. -- A kiss resonator -- that’s the invention of Joshua Conkling Reeves.

Joshua is the father of three perfectly kissable daughters. Men called on them sometimes. Joshua felt his parental responsibility, so he invented the resonator.

“It ketches and increases sound,” Joshua explained. “When there is any kissin’ going’ on in the parlor the sound floats thru this machine and I hear it all, but much louder. Jist commin kissin’ on the cheek or neck sounds like a B. & O. train going over Turkey Foot crossin’ and long huggin’ kisses are like the wind blowin’ in November. Good night kissin’ sounds like cannon shots.

“What I need now is a machine that will tell me what to do about it.”

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Wayfarer - William Reeves of Ashe County

William, the son of George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia, and most of his children left Ashe County, North Carolina shortly after 1820. Based upon estimates of his age from census, he would have been around 55 years old at the time. He was a justice of the Ashe County court and appears to have been prominent in the community, but for whatever reason, he left North Carolina and ventured to the new state of Indiana. By 1822, William was listed on the Lawrence County, Indiana poll tax list. Once William left North Carolina and began to migrate westward, he seems never to have stopped moving.

1829 Land Warrant in Greene County, Indiana to William Reves
1829 Indiana Land Grant
to William Reves
In the years preceding William's departure from the New River area of Virginia & North Carolina, his father had died in 1811 as well as his brother George Reeves, Jr. George Reeves, Jr. was killed by his brother-in-law William Tolliver, husband of sister Susanna Reeves. The trial was held in Wilkes County and there are various theories but the actual cause of the incident still remains unknown. Beginning around 1813, there was another court case, Landreth vs. Reves, which continued over a lengthy period with documents in the court records as late as 1822 in regard to it. There are numerous documents in the Ashe County Civil Action Court files regarding this case although there is no clear explanation of the events that precipitated the court case. From various documents, John Landreth states that he had been accused of perjury by William Reves although there is no exact explanation of the nature of the accusation. It would appear from these documents that the entire extended Reeves' family, even William's wife Anne Terrell Reeves, became involved in a fracas which resulted in the issuance of a summons. Oddly, members of both the Tolliver and Landreth families also migrated to the same area of Indiana in the 1820's.

William Reves' bond in Landreth case
1816 Bond by William Reves and
Allen Burton for John and Ann Reves
Whether the unpleasantness of the death of his father, the murder of his brother or the Landreth court case played a role in William Reeves' decision to leave Ashe County is unknown, but following these events, the family began the first of their migrations. They settled in the area of Greene & Lawrence Counties where they remained until sometime before 1840 when they are found in the census of Carroll County, Arkansas.

From: History of Greene County, Indiana, pub. 1870 by J. Ward, Worthington, Indiana - As taken from the official records, and compiled from authentic recollections by pioneer settlers. Chapter XV - Beech Creek Township: Among other pioneers whose name deserves a place in the history of the township, may be mentioned...William and Noah Reeves...Pg 47 - William Reeves and his boys first settled the farm now owned by Edward Walker.

Between Indiana and Arkansas, the Reeves' family must have spent some time in Missouri probably in the area of Washington County. William's son Albert married there in 1837. Lenoir (Noah) Reeves was also living in Missouri briefly for several of his children were born there before he ventured briefly to Arkansas, Iowa and Nebraska then eventually to Oregon, dying there in 1888. Both Albert and Timothy settled in the area of Iron and Butler Counties in Missouri.

Missouri Ann Reeves, daughter of Timothy Reeves
Missouri Reeves Emmons
daughter of Timothy Reeves
By the Census of 1840 for Carroll County, Arkansas, William along with his sons John, Terrel and Gaston Reeves are listed. The 1840 tax list for Carroll County lists Lenoir, William, Terrel and John Reeves. They, along with Gaston, are also listed in the 1841 tax lists for Carroll County. Located near the headwaters of the Buffalo River in Van Buren Township in Carroll County there is a Reeves' Creek which is said to have been named for this Reeves' family.

The 1841 tax list appears to be the last historical record of William Reeves. Several family trees list a date of death of 1854 in Missouri but no documentation can be found in support of that theory. It is likely that William, and his wife Anne as well, died in Carroll County between 1840 and 1850 when most of his sons are found in the census of Independence County, Arkansas.

Descendants of William Reeves' brothers Jesse and John have participated in the Reeves DNA Project and been placed in Group 6. A descendant of George Reeves, Jr.'s son Enoch, also a participant in the Reeves DNA Project, has been placed in Group 14 with a descendant of George Reeves whose paternity is currently unknown but may be the son of Jesse. Whether these are NPEs (non paternity events) is unknown and more extensive research is needed to resolve this mystery. Hopefully at some future time, descendants of William Reeves will participate in DNA studies, either Y Chromosome DNA or the new autosomal DNA projects that are now available and help to clarify this lineage.

Other posts in this blog pertaining to the family of George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia:

George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia
Who really are the descendants of Henry Reeves?
Col. Timothy Reeves, CSA
The Reeves' Gang
Episode 2 - More of the Reeves Gang
Pewter John Reeves Stamper

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reeves DNA Group 8 Update

My goodness, a lot of time has passed since I published these two posts:

Reeves DNA Group 8 Part 1

Reeves DNA Group 8 Part 2

Since then, two more Reeves men have completed the YDNA test and have been added to the Reeves DNA Project in Group 8.This is the Reeves line documented in James Rives Childs' book Reliques of the Rives

Also since those posts, three Group 8 research collaborators (Carolyn, Sharland, and Gerald) have completed the FtDNA Family Finder test. I (Carolyn) have completed the ancestryDNA autosomal test as well. All of us have identified  Reeves cousins through these tests, and a few mysteries have been solved. Our findings include:

  • Two of us have DNA matches with a descendant of Elizabeth Reeves David. We suspected she was of our line, and now we’re certain even though we still don’t know which Reeves was her father.
  • One match to a descendant of Drewry Reeves, born 1803 in South Carolina and died after 1880 in Wayne County, Tennessee. We know that his parents were John and Mary Reeves, both born in South Carolina, but we do not know how John connects to our line. Before the test, we could only speculate that this family was of our line; now we have evidence that they are.
  • One match to a descendant of Drury Reeves, born about 1781, son of Jordan Reeves. Although we have an excellent paper trail for Drury, we don't have any of his descendants in the Reeves YDNA project. But now we have DNA confirmation that he is of our line.
  • Several more matches to descendants of Jordan Reeves Jr – mostly mine since I descend from him.
  • One match to a descendant of Harmon Bishop, brother of our ancestress, Hannah Bishop Rives, wife of Thomas Rives.
And many more. . .

Since all three of us descend from George Reeves and Mary Jordan, we are now collaborating in an effort to identify Mary Jordan’s mother through a combination of DNA matches and old-fashioned sleuthing.

So dear readers, I highly recommend autosomal testing. It will add a new dimension and direction to your research and help confirm work that you have already done. And, if you can’t find a male relative with the Reeves surname to do the YDNA test, you can still find Reeves cousins and confirm your line.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

George Reeves of Warren County, Kentucky

We have profiled numerous George Reeves on this blog, but not my ancestor George who migrated from Wake County, North Carolina to Madison County, Kentucky and finally to Warren County. George was the son of William Reeves whose father of the same name was one of the earliest settlers in the area of present day Durham County, North Carolina. In 1746, as William Reeves, planter of Johnston County, North Carolina, he received a grant from Henry McCulloch for 400 acres on the south side of the Neuse River and east of Ellerbe Creek.

Marriage Bond - George Reves to Elizabeth Wilkerson
Madison County Marriage Bond
for George Reves and Elizabeth Wilkerson
Whether George was acquainted with Betsy Wilkerson prior to migrating to Kentucky is not known, but deed records of Granville County show that in 1786 Betsy's father Wyatt Wilkerson purchased a tract of land on the north side of the Neuse River at the mouth of Knap of Reeds Creek. Knap of Reeds Creek would have flowed into the Neuse almost directly across the river from William Reeves' land where Ellerbe Creek joins the Neuse River on the south side. An acquaintance and possible romance with Betsy may have even been the motivation for George, along with his younger brother Jeremiah, to leave North Carolina around 1800 when numerous Granville County residents including Wyatt Wilkerson were migrating to Fort Boonesborough in Madison County, Kentucky. In Madison County on the 5th of January 1802, George Reves married Elizabeth Wilkerson.

Most of George and Betsy's ten known children were born in Madison County. Their children were Walter Alvis Reeves, Susan Reeves Heard, Curtis F. Reeves, Jesse Britt Reeves, Peter M. Reeves, Mary "Polly" Reeves Turner, William Harrison Reeves, Nancy Reeves May Alderson, Sidney Preston Reeves and George H. Reeves.

George's father William remained in Wake County for several years after George and Jeremiah relocated to Kentucky. It is unknown exactly when he left North Carolina but his last appearance as a Justice in the minutes of the Wake County Court was in May of 1803. Sometime in the next few years, William Reeves, Sr., along with his son William, Jr. and his young family, also left North Carolina for Madison County buying a tract of land on Otter & Muddy Creeks where he was recorded in the 1810 census. When William Reeves died in 1821, George was an administrator of the estate.

Grave of Polly Reeves Turner
Gravestone of daughter
Mary M. Reeves Turner
Several years before William Reeves' death, George and his family had joined Wyatt Wilkerson and other members of Betsy's family in migrating further westward to Warren County, Kentucky. In Warren County, they appear to have settled around Richardsville on a ridge high above the Barren River, a little north of Bowling Green. George Reves will written in 1826 was probated in Warren County in July of 1827. His name in the 1826 will was written as "Reves" as all of the family had historically spelled their name, but over the next generation most of his descendants began to use the more common variation

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Reeves' Migration to the Louisiana Purchase

The French had ceded the vast Louisiana territory that lay west of the Misssissippi River to Spain before it became the property of France again and was purchased by the United States in 1803. The French had made few settlements in Louisiana, primarily establishing trading posts from which trappers and hunters explored the wilderness. Spanish authorities, however, encouraged migration. They offered land grants to all who could prove they had cleared and improved the land with the intention of making permanent settlement.

This migration was accelerated by the arrival of Daniel Boone in Missouri in 1795. He established a claim in St. Charles county and within a few years signed an agreement with the Spanish authorities to bring one hundred families from Kentucky and Virginia to Upper Louisiana.

John Reeves, Revolutionary War soldier, who was subject of a previous post left South Carolina within a few years of his 1796 marriage to Rachel Barnes and was present in the area south of the Missouri River that became Madison County, Missouri by around 1801. On 26 Dec 1833, he gave a statement in regard to the land claim of Benjamin Pettit, Jr. where he was recorded as saying that he was well acquainted with Benjamin Pettit, Jr. the original claimant; that he (Benjamin Pettit, Jr.) came to this country, then the province of Upper Louisiana, in the year 1802 or 1803. John Reeves is also documented as making a statement that in 1804 on account of the Osage Indians, the inhabitants were driven together for a common defense, and that they raised a common crop in that year.

In the course of recent research of the Reeves of Patrick County, Virginia, I found that after the removal of all that family from Virginia around 1820, two of the presumed sons of George Reeves of Patrick County, had migrated to Missouri after leaving Virginia. Thomas Reeves and his brother Josiah were present in Franklin County, Missouri shortly after leaving Virginia.

The State Historical Society of Missouri gives the following information regarding the Harrison-Reeves Bloomery in Crawford County: Thicketty Creek, in the northeastern part of the county close to the Washington County line, three miles south of Bourbon. It is the second earliest record of the mining and smelting of iron ore in Missouri. It was probably erected in 1819 or 1820 by William Harrison, one of the earliest settlers of Crawford County, and Josiah Reeves, with Thomas Reeves as forgeman. Early bloomeries in Missouri usually consisted of a forge which resembled a smith's forge and a furnace. This crude furnace, known as Harrison's Furnace, Harrison's Forge, Harrison's Bloomery, or Harrison's Iron Works, continued in operation for several years.

Around the same time the Reeves of Patrick County settled in Franklin and Crawford Counties, two of the sons of Samuel Reeves of Rowan County left North Carolina and by 1830 were recorded in the census of St. Francois County, Missouri. Bennet Abner Reeves and his brother William were then listed in the 1840 census of Cape Girardeau, County. The Bureau of Land Management issued land warrant #2707 for 40 acres in Cape Girardeau County on 20 Jan 1827 to Bennet A. Reeves as well as another warrant #5740 for 40 acres in the same county on 1 Aug 1838.

In Crawford County by 1840, Josiah Reeves and his descendants were joined by Jesse Jefferson Reeves of Buncombe County, North Carolina, who was probably a son of James Reeves. Jesse J. Reeves' sisters, Mary and Sarah, who had married into the Eaton family, also migrated to the area of Missouri south of the Missouri River.

Reeves' families were not only settling in the Missouri River area of the Louisiana Purchase, others like Jordan Reeves were migrating across the Mississippi River into Arkansas. Jordan had settled in Independence County, Arkansas by 1825 and numerous other Reeves' families followed within a very few years.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Reeves of Patrick County, Virginia

In the course of writing a previous post regarding the George Reeves who died in Wilson County, Tennessee in 1816, it became apparent that this was the same George Reeves who is found in the early records of Patrick County, Virginia from around the time of its inception in 1791.

1820 Missouri Land Patent to Thomas Reeves & William Harrison
George Reeves' Wilson County will names only his youngest son Jeremiah and daughter Susannah, making no mention of the older children. Research of Patrick County, Virginia marriage records establish most of George's daughters from the records of his consent to their marriages; however, his sons were apparently all of age and no consent was required. From the tax and deed records of Patrick County, it appears that in addition to Jeremiah, George's children included sons Thomas, Josiah, John and Charles. Daughters Ann who married James Turner, Lucy who married William Witt, and Jane who married James Williams are documented by George Reeves' consents in the Patrick County marriage records. Another daughter Polly was apparently old enough not to require consent to her 1808 marriage to Nicholas Thomas but after his death is found in Wilson County, Tennessee with other family members and as "Polly Thomas" married John F. McDaniel there in 1816.

By the time the 1820 census was taken in Patrick County, all of these Reeves individuals had left the area and are no longer found in any of the records. John Reeves and his wife Hannah Pedigo who had married in 1807 left for Campbell County, Tennessee shortly after 1811 and begin to appear in the census there in 1830. Charles Reeves' last appearance in the Patrick County records was in October, 1816 when he married Elizabeth Lackey and on the 2nd of November 1816, Josiah (sometimes listed as Joseph) & Constandestion Reeves executed a deed to John Mize for the property which had been conveyed to Josiah by his father. The last record in Patrick County of any member of this family is a deed executed by Thomas Reeves on 10 November 1819 (DB5:244).

Harrison Cemetery in Crawford County, Missouri where William Harrison who migrated to Missouri with the Reeves and his descendants are buried.
The youngest son, Charles, apparently settled in White County, Tennessee soon after leaving Virginia. It was there that his wife Elizabeth died in 1821. He is found there in other records throughout the 1830's and may be the Charles Reeves recorded in the 1840 census of Warren County, Tennessee.

I very recently happened upon records in Franklin and Crawford Counties of Missouri for a Thomas and Josiah Reeves who appear to be the individuals who migrated from Patrick County, Virginia. Thomas Reeves and William Harrison, described as of Washington County, Missouri, received a land patent for 80 acres in Crawford County on the 20th of May in 1824. Thomas and Josiah Reeves are both recorded in Franklin County, Missouri in the 1830 census. Thomas must have died between 1830 and 1840 for he is not recorded in any other census. Josiah lived in Crawford County and is recorded there in the 1840 and 1850 census, dying sometime after 1860 when he was recorded in that census in the home of a son, R. B. Reeves, in Texas County, Missouri.

(Photo of Harrison Cemetery marker by P. L. Greenlee for FindaGrave.)

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Surprising Connection

Some time ago, I discovered a John Reeves, Revolutionary soldier of Columbia, Georgia that I was previously unfamiliar with and added a post here with what information was available. Shortly after writing that post, I noticed the grave of Nannie Hazel Reeve in the cemetery at Boerne, Texas and wrote another post about this mysterious Reeve family who came to Texas around 1880.

Gravestone of Randolph Reeve in Rusty Creek Cemetery, Johnson City, Blanco County, TexasIn the course of doing some research to learn more about the family of Nannie Hazel Reeve, I found that her grandfather Randolph Reeve had come to Texas by 1880 where he died in 1891 in Blanco County. Prior to the family's arrival in Texas, they were living in Grant Parish, Louisiana at the time of the 1870 census and in the 1860 census were recorded in Rapides Parish.

Randolph Reeve married Clementine Ewell in Amite County, Mississippi on the 17th of May, 1846 and they were living there in the 1850 census. Their three children - John R., Mary Elizabeth and William Thomas Reeve were born in Amite County.

Also living in Amite County from around 1830 was a John Reeve, born 1789 in Georgia. John appeared to be a likely candidate for the father of Randolph Reeve so I began to search the probate records of Amite County. Probate documents show that John Reeve died on the 20th of February 1867 and there are numerous petitions and filings in regard to his very large estate. A last will and testament is eluded to numerous times but doesn't appear to be extant in the records. Amite County only has two will books that do not appear to be complete.

John Reeve's third wife Elizabeth Dunn appears to have died before 1860 and the probate documents state that John Reeve had no family. The only legatees named are the heirs of his deceased sisters and those of a half-brother and half-sister. As I began to read the documents, I immediately recognized the names as being the heirs of John Reeves who died in Columbia County, Georgia in 1833 - Susannah Baggett, Sarah Englett (Inglett), Rebecca Hardin and Thomas Reeve. Thomas was named as a half-brother and a half-sister, Polly Hardin was also named.

The Amite County MS census of 1830 lists John Reeve's household as including 2 males under 5 years old, 1 male 5-9 and one female under 5. Did all of these children die before 1867? The missing will might have contained explanations regarding his children but the probate books do not. A Thomas Reeve, born 1822, and found in Amite in 1850 was very likely his son but he can't be found in records after 1850 so he may have been deceased before 1867, possibly dying in the Civil War. But Randolph was not deceased in 1867.

It is currently not possible to define it, but there must be some connection between John and Randolph Reeve even though he is mentioned nowhere in the probate records. In 1850, John Reeve's next neighbor was William Ewell, Randolph's wife Clementine's brother. William Ewell was also an executor of John Reeve's will. Could it be that Randolph was John's son and a disagreement caused their relationship to be severed and Randolph was excepted from receiving any legacies from the estate? Unless the will of John Reeve is eventually found, the questions of Randolph's parentage may never be resolved.

UPDATE: In the course of further research of this family, it seems more probable that Randolph was the child of Spencer Reeves who was also living in Columbia County, Georgia at the time of Randolph's birth and had several sons who are as yet unidentified. The 1820 census of Columbia County, Georgia lists Spencer Reeves' household with 4 males ‹10, 1 male ›45, 1 female 10-15, 1 female 16-25 and 1 female 26-44. There are also several instances of the use of the name Randolph among Spencer's descendants. Spencer was likely a brother to John Reeves, but there is currently nothing to support that theory other than proximity.

(Gravestone photo by Wendy Johnson for FindaGrave.)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Orange County's Rev. Thomas Reeves

The Reeves family of Orange County, North Carolina is something of a mystery. They are surrounded by other Reeves' lineages in the neighboring counties of Wake, Granville, Guilford and Chatham but the DNA of a descendant of Willis Reeves who was in some way related to Thomas, does not match any of these other Reeves' lines.

Letter from Thomas Reeves to cousin Mary Lynch in Orange CountyThomas Reeves was the son of Revolutionary soldier John Reeves and Mary Lynch. John Reeves died on March 12th, 1834 according to documents in his pension file. His health was so frail at the time of his pension application that the court officials taking his statement went to his home because he was unable to attend court. Sadly, John's statement includes no biographical information and relates only to details of his military service.

The documents regarding his pension refer to Thomas Reeves as his son and only surviving heir but there is a large amount of circumstantial evidence that Willis Reeves was a member of this family. Whatever the family relationship, Thomas, John and Willis Reeves appear to be of the same family. An 1845 letter from Thomas to his cousin Mary Lynch tells of a trip up the Platt River with cousin John C. Reeves (John Claiborne Reeves, son of Willis).

Thomas Reeves married Martha Davis, daughter of Jonathan Davis, on the 24th of January 1810 in Wake County. According to a biography of his son, Columbus Palestine Reeves, Thomas and Martha were the parents of eleven children but no documentation has yet been located to name all of the children.

Thomas was both a minister and the owner of a large plantation. In the 1840 census of Orange County, he is listed with 18 slaves. Sometime around 1845, Thomas Reeves moved to Ray County, Missouri. Biographical information for Ishmael Reeves born circa 1830 in North Carolina who was a slave in Ray County, Missouri by 1845 indicates that he may have belonged to Thomas Reeves. The Ray County, Missouri Slave Schedule of 1850 lists Thomas as owning 20 slaves.

Obituary published in the Raleigh Register, Raleigh, North Carolina on Friday, 2 Oct. 1846:
DIED - In Missouri, on the 24th of August last, Mrs. Martha Reeves, a native of Wake County, and wife of Elder Thomas Reeves. Also, on the next day, their daughter, Ephrata, aged about 17 years.
On the 1st of January 1850, he married Mrs. Winifred Phillips. Thomas Reeves died in 1855 in Ray County, Missouri. His estate was contested by the widow, Winifred, who remarried to Jacob Darneal on 20 Jun 1855. Winifred Darneal filed suit against the estate for payment of certain specific legacies bequeathed by Thomas Reeves. The suit was eventually argued and determined in the Supreme Court of the State of Missouri.

(1845 letter from Thomas Reeves in Crab Orchard, Missouri to Mary Lynch in Orange County, North Carolina from the Lynch Family Papers in the Historical Collections of UNC.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Clue in the Search for Jordan’s Wife

Nine months ago, I wrote this post about the wives (or lack thereof) of Jordan Reeves. Two autosomal DNA tests and hundreds of matches later, I finally have a clue. It’s just a clue, but a clue is much more than I had before the DNA tests.

Previously, I had noted that everywhere I found Jordan Reeves, I found Jacob Chamblee – on deeds, tax lists, jury lists, census records – he seemed to be Jordan’s BFF over a period of 20 years. Despite my persistence, I never found Jacob’s parents or figured out who his siblings were, if any. He and Jordan parted ways in Pendleton, South Carolina about 1795 and the trail went cold. Until now.

Today I found an ancestryDNA match to a descendant of Joshua Burriss and Sarah Chamblee. Sarah and Jacob are both mentioned in passing in this summary of the Chamblee family of North Carolina. In 1800 Joshua Burriss and Sarah Chamblee Burriss are found living two dwellings away from, you guessed it -- Jacob Chamblee in Pendleton, South Carolina. Jordan, of course, had recently departed for Nashville.

This match does not mean that I descend from Sarah, only that I just might have an ancestor in common with her. The quest for Mrs. Jordan Reeves will continue, re-invigorated with this find, and focused on the Chamblee family for now.

Edited to add: I have found a total of 8 Chamblee DNA matches thus far that further support a Chamblee for Jordan's wife.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Col. Timothy Reeves, CSA

Letter to Gen. MarmadukeCol. Timothy Reeves (he signed his name as Reves), was the youngest son of William Reeves (Reves) and Anne Terrill of Ashe County, North Carolina. William's father was George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia, a soldier of the Revolution.

The internet has numerous sites with various references to Col. Timothy Reeves, commander of the 15th Missouri Cavalry of the confederacy. He is referred to as both a devil and a saintly hero depending on each individual's point of reference - he was a baptist minister and a ruthless military commander. The determining factors seem to be based upon Civil War sympathies.

He was present and had preached at the gathering held on 25 December 1863 at Pulliam's Farm in Ripley County that is recalled as "The Wilson Massacre". Union forces under Major James F. Wilson made a surprise attack during a Christmas dinner gathering killing 35 confederate soldiers along with 60 civilians including women and children, families of the confederate soldiers and neighbors. Col. Timothy Reeves is said to have commanded the Confederate forces who began immediate reprisals against the union forces which culminated in the execution of Major Wilson.

Col. Timothy ReevesAfter 150 years the validity of this story and whether the massacre did indeed take place is still hotly debated on countless websites. The complete truth of the incident will probably never be known, but there is much evidence to support the belief that the event did take place. There are even references to it carved on some confederate tombstones in the Ripley County area.

His brother, William, also a baptist minister as well as his adjutant in the 15th Missouri Cavalry, may have died during the war for there is no historical record of him afterward.

In May of 1865 Confederate General M. Jeff Thompson surrendered 10,000 men at Jacksonport, Arkansas. Out of those 10,000 men, only one was not paroled - Confederate Colonel, Timothy Reeves, Commander of the 15th Missouri Cavalry, CSA. Thompson wrote that:
"In a few days we finished all the paroles, except that of Timothy C. Reeves, whom Col. Davis would not agree to parole, considering him outlawed for the shooting of Major Williams (Major Wilson, this was a misprint) and five men on the Price Raid; but I must state for Col. Reeves, that he was as good a man and soldier as any in the command, and his shooting of that party was entirely justifiable.."
From all accounts Timothy Reeves lived the remainder of his life in peace, preferring to be known only as a minister. When he died on March 10, 1885 three wives and most of his children had predeceased him.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Funny - Election Results

Col. William Pulaski “W.P.” Walton became sole owner of the weekly Democratic paper of Stanford, Kentucky, the Interior Journal, in 1881. A railroad contractor from Virginia, he was known for his staunchly Democratic beliefs, as his editorials proved, so there is little surprise that the Journal was quick to endorse local and national Democratic candidates. Colonel Walton began a tradition of “courageous opinion” and seemingly inexhaustible Walton family editorial copy. His editorial regarding the election of November 1894 is certainly no exception.

Semi-Weekly Interior Journal
Stanford Ky., November 13, 1894


One of the many bad results of last Tuesday’s awful slump is the election of Alphabet Guffy to the appellate bench from the 1st Kentucky district over Hon. W. L Reeves, a fine lawyer and a man of brains. Guffy is a blatherskite, a turncoat and an ignoramus. He has been a member of every political party and his flop into the republican party is of recent date. That party thought there was no show for its candidate in that stronghold of democracy against such a man as Reeves, and Guffy was nominated as a joke, but the vote shows that it is the unexpected that happens. Guffy’s majority is 668 and the result is as inexplicable as it is deplorable. The commonest lawyer at any bar knows as much law as he and it is a crying shame that such a man is elevated to pass upon the liberty and property of the people of Kentucky from its highest court. Fortunately the old man is three score and ten and as that is the allotted span of life we have the hope that death may claim him before he has brought the court into disgrace and contempt.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Mysterious Reeve Family in Texas

On a recent visit to the Boerne City Cemetery just north of San Antonio in Kendall County, Texas, I happened upon the grave of Nannie Hazel Reeve. She died at just 28 years old. There doesn't seem to be a Texas Death Record for Nannie so the cause of her death is unknown.

Nannie Hazel
Born Jan. 18, 1888
Died July 9, 1916

A search of the 1900 census records, found that Nannie was the daughter of William Thomas and Martha Reeve who were living in neighboring Comal County at that time. William Thomas Reeve was born in Mississippi in 1850, the son of Randolph Reeve and Clementine Ewell. According to the inscription on Randolph Reeve's gravestone, he was born on 2 Dec 1819 in Wilkes County, Georgia. The family was listed in the 1850 census of Amite, Mississippi:

Randolph Reeve moved from Mississippi into Louisiana where he is found in Rapides Parish in 1860 and Grant in 1870. From there he migrated into Texas and is recorded in Comal County in the 1880 census. He died in Blanco County, Texas on 26 Jul 1891.

I've currently been unable to find a documented link to Randolph's parents but he may prove to be the son of a John Reeve, born 1789 in Georgia. From around 1820 John Reeve is recorded in Amite, Mississippi. He married Elizabeth Andrews there on May 20, 1823. Elizabeth was probably a second wife for, based upon census records, it appears that John had two small children, Randolph born 1820 and Thomas born in 1822, prior to his marriage to Elizabeth. To further link John Reeve to Randolph, in the 1850 census William Ewell, brother of Clementine, is his next neighbor.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Peter Reves of Halifax County, Virginia

Peter Reves, born in 1768, was the brother of my 3rd great grandfather, George Reves. Both were sons of William Reeves (originally Reves) of Wake County, North Carolina. The entire family originally spelled their name with one "e" but over time like so many of the various other Reeves' name variations, it became Reeves. The 1858 Death Register of Halifax County gives Peter's age as 90 years old and the 1850 Census of Halifax County confirms that he was born in North Carolina.

Halifax County, Virginia
On 22 Feb 1793, he married Ann "Nancy" Tucker in Lunenberg County, Virginia. Within a few years, Peter had moved from North Carolina to Halifax County, Virginia which is evidenced by his appearance on the 1800 Halifax tax lists. Their four children were all born and married in Halifax County. Their children were William T. Reves, Anna Dennis Reves, Elizabeth Tucker Reves and Peter May Reves.

In addition to farming, Peter was involved in public service for most of his life beginning when he was appointed constable in Capt. Willis Jones' District of Wake County, recorded in the County Court Minutes of September 1792. By September of 1822 when his father's estate was being administered in Madison County, Kentucky, probate documents executed by his brother Charles in Halifax County were certified by Peter as a justice of the Halifax County Court.

Littleton Tazewell, Governor of Virginia, appointed Peter sheriff of Halifax County in December of 1835. There is a bond for $30,000 dollars recorded in Deed Book 42, Page 628 signed by Peter Reves along with 16 other Halifax residents for the faithful fulfillment of his duties as sheriff of Halifax County dated 26 Jan 1836.

It's unknown exactly when Ann Tucker Reves died, but Peter married a second time to Lucy Haliburton on 16 Jun 1834 in Person County, North Carolina. Lucy was many years his junior and apparently a young widow.

In the later years of Peter's life, he was Chairman of the Halifax County Court. The Revolutionary War pension file of Thomas Neal contains the statement of his wife, Elizabeth Brown Neal, regarding her husband's war service which was taken by Peter Reves as Chairman of the County Court on April 1st in 1851. Being in his mid 80's, his signature is somewhat unsteady but is clearly "Peter Reves".

1857 Dower Survey of Peter Reves' Land
Plat of Lucy Reeves' Dower
Estate of Peter Reves
The Halifax County, Virginia death register of 1858 lists the death of Peter "Reaves" on 28 March 1858 at age 90 years. On that record, his father's name is given as William Reeves, no mother is listed and his wife is named as Lucy. The date from the Halifax death record may be delayed by one year and the deaths recorded are from the previous year for the dower portion of Peter Reves' land was surveyed for his widow Lucy in 1857 and recorded in the deed books of Halifax County. Those 1857 documents regarding Lucy Reves' dower also list him as Peter Reves, dec'd. (Halifax VA DB 59 p.299)

Although many remained in Halifax, descendants of Peter Reves and Nancy Tucker Reves migrated to Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Colorado and numerous other points west.

Other posts related to the family of Peter Reves
The Reves Family of Halifax County, Virginia
Uncle Tommy Reeves of Malden, Missouri

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

An Arkansas Reeves' Mystery Solved

When I originally came across the biography of a William Reeves of Montgomery County, Arkansas in Goodspeed's Biographical & Historical Memoirs of Western Arkansas, published in 1891, I had no idea which Reeves' family this particular William Reeves descended from. I saved the biography among all the copious Reeves' data I collect thinking that at some point his ancestry might be identified. And surprisingly, I recently found William in the probate records of the estate of William Reeves, Jr. who died in Smith County, Tennessee circa 1855. His mother died before 1842 when William Reeves, Jr. married again to Jemima Downing in neighboring Allen County, Kentucky.

Reeves-Melson House, built c1882William C. Reeves of Montgomery County, Arkansas was not the small child indicated by the Goodspeed biography for the 1850 census records his presence in his father's household at age 12. His father died sometime before February 1855 when his estate was being probated in the Smith County, Tennessee Court. The subject of this sketch is recorded in those court minutes as having sold his portion of his father's estate to his father's sister, Elizabeth and her husband Horace Oliver and his cousin Rhoda Reeves and her husband Richard C. Sanders. This estate was not finally settled until sometime circa 1870.

The grandfather of William C. Reeves was another William Reeves whose 1837 will was probated in Smith County in January of 1839. He had given a statement for his brother Daniel Reeves in support of Daniel's Revolutionary War pension application. The statements in that pension application record the father of William and Daniel Reeves as John Reeves of South Carolina. According to William's statement they lived in an area he described as above Camden (probably Lancaster County).

From Goodspeed's biography, William was a resident of Montgomery County in Arkansas's Quachita Mountains by 1859. On 14 Feb 1863, he enlisted as a corporal in Company A, Arkansas 1st Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army which operated in Missouri, Indian Territory and Arkansas. He was promoted to Full Sergeant prior to being discharged.

In 1868 he was appointed sheriff of Montgomery County. After his term as sheriff, he homesteaded eighty acres of land adjacent a small branch of the Mazarn Creek. The Reeves-Melson house which he had built around 1882 is still standing and is a historic site. There is also a Reeves' Creek in this area which is presumably named for him.

William C. Reeves died on April 15th, 1920 in Womble, Montgomery County, Arkansas.

The following is the biography as published by Goodspeed but descendants should beware for numerous inaccuracies are found in the biography when compared to the historical records of this family ~
William REEVES The entire life of this gentlemen has been one unmarked by any unusual occurrence outside of the chosen channels to which he has so diligently applied himself, and although he was born in Smith County, Tenn., in 1839, he has been a resident of Montgomery County, Ark., since 1859, and has identified himself with every interest of his adopted county and State. His parents, Dr. William and Ruth (Campbell) Reeves, were born in North Carolina, but afterwards became residents of Smith County, Tenn., the father dying when William was a small boy, and his mother when he was nine years old. He was the youngest of two sons and one daughter born to them: John (deceased), and Mary J. (wife of Thomas Green), being the other two members of the family. William was reared by an uncle, Moses Reeves, of Smith County, until he was ten years of age, when he began doing for himself, working on a wood boat on the Cumberland River for several years, afterwards turning his attention to farming. He was married in 1850, to Miss Emily Jones, and the same year came to Montgomery County, and lived on the south fork of the Caddo River, where he has a fine farm of 368 acres. For about seven years he was engaged in merchandising at Black Springs, but has since devoted his attention to farming, a calling for which he is naturally adapted. In February, 1863, he became a member of Company A, First Arkansas Infantry, and operated in Missouri, Indian Territory and Arkansas. He organized Company I, of the second Kansas troops, but afterwards took part in the engagement at Jenkins' Ferry, besides several others. In 1868 he received the appointment of sheriff of Montgomery County, a position he has satisfied for four years. He is a demitted member of Crystal Ridge Lodge, of the A.F. & A.M., and for some time has been an earnest member of the Christian Church.

Photo of Reeves-Melson house from Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Once again it's Saturday morning and today's newsletter from Alabama Pioneers is too good not to share so I have included portions of that post below.
Saturday 14, July 2012
Have you ever made a mistake?

I never make mistakes. (LOL) The truth is I make many each day and wish I didn't but I guess as long as I'm alive, I will make mistakes. That's part of being human.

Mistakes are made in genealogy as well so we can never completely trust the research someone else has done. But that's what makes it so fascinating. Each person has the opportunity to add their own data and knowledge to a family line...

Genealogy is a lot like science. The definition of science is the “methodical study of material world.” Knowledge of our world progresses as scientific facts are tested and proved. In the process, some long-held beliefs about our world are discarded and new ideas advanced as scientists study our world. But without some of their wild theories, science would never move forward.

With the debut of DNA in genealogy, many previously accepted family trees have been found to be inaccurate and this has created some hard feelings in the genealogy world. This is because years of work, time and research were suddenly thrown out. It's similar to what learned scientists must have felt when Columbus discovered the earth was not flat, but round. But where would America be if he had not challenged this accepted belief and ventured across the Atlantic?

It may be silly to compare genealogy research to scientific study but the concept is the same. I often receive comments from people who say, they spent 20 or 30 years researching a family line and something on the website is not correct. When someone informs me of this, I offer to add their information to the disputed biography, GEDCOM or disputed article. Some people follow through and provide me the information while others do not.

...Obviously, there will be disputes about material provided. Some will probably never be solved. In my own family, there is a dispute between two family lines in regard to a middle name of a gr-grandfather.. Both lines have argued that they knew the man and claim that they were correct. To this day one line follows one direction while another follows another. Until new information is found, neither line will agree as to the correct name but at least they continue to research and try to prove their theory. This is how we move forward.

The above article is by Donna Causey of Alabama Pioneers who has graciously consented to have her newsletter reprinted here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Busting Myths about William Steel Reeves

Page from James Robertson bible
William Steel Reeves was born in Pendleton District, South Carolina on 9 March 1794, the son of George Reeves Jr and Mary Polly Steele (surname unproven). His birthdate is recorded in the James Robertson bible.

William Steel Reeves married Nancy Totty in Hickman County Tennessee in 1816. He moved to Crawford County, Arkansas before 1836 and stayed for several years before moving to Grayson County, Texas before 1850.

William Steel Reeves died on 7 June 1872 and is buried in the Georgetown Cemetery in Pottsboro, Grayson County, Texas.

It is in a book called "The History of Grayson County, Texas" where at least two myths about William seem to have gotten their start.

In this book, William's descendant Geraldine Coe wrote the section on the history of the William Steel Reeves family which begins thusly:

My great great grandfather was born March 9, 1794 in Pendleton District South Carolina. His ancestors came from Ireland to S.C. in 1792. He was orphaned at age 3 and his uncle raised him in Nashville, Tennessee.  

In this short excerpt, two myths appear:

Myth #1 -  the family "came from Ireland to S. C. in 1792." They did not. See William Steel Reeves' lineage in the ancestry tree: Reliques of the Rives -- Group 8 DNA.

Myth #2 -- "he was orphaned at age 3 and his uncle raised him in Nashville, Tennessee." This is not true either. His mother died when he was very young, but his father George Reeves Jr remarried quickly to Mary O'Barr while still living in Pendleton, South Carolina." The family later moved to middle Tennessee where William is found in the 1820 census of Hickman County.

Sadly this book is found in libraries all over the country and continues to serve to perpetuate these myths. It never seems to work to put too much faith in genealogy books as so many rely on family lore and unfounded conjecture rather than research and documentary evidence. You must still verify, verify, and verify again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Another Soldier of the Revolution

In the course of researching Reeves' families who were early residents in Georgia, I recently came across a new John Reeves. Or at least he was new to me because I had previously never encountered him. He was also a soldier of the Revolution as another John Reeves profiled here in the past but there is currently no information regarding in which state's armies or militia he served.

John Reeves was a resident of Georgia by at least 1795 for on 17 November 1795 in Columbia County he married an apparent widow, Mrs. Sarah McNeil Glover. Sarah was the daughter of Daniel McNeil and was named as Sarah Reeves in his 1804 will in Columbia County. John was probably living in Georgia as early as 1780 for his daughter Susanna Reeves Baggett whose age is given as circa 1778 to 1780 lists Georgia as her place of birth in the 1850 census.

There is currently no information as to the identify of John's first wife and probable mother of daughter Susannah. I have also been unable to find references to John's parents or other family. The only other Reeves living in Columbia County in the 1820 Georgia census is a Spencer Reeves of approximately the same age who may have been a brother but that guess is based solely on proximity.

Sarah Reeves died sometime before 1813 for on the 11th of January 1813, John Reeves married again. His third wife, Allethea MacGruder Drane and her deceased husband Walter Drane were both from Maryland. Allethea was born in Frederick County, Maryland about 1757 and Walter Drane, another former Revolutionary War soldier, was from Prince George's County, Maryland. They had also been residents of Columbia County, Georgia since shortly after the Revolution. Walter Drane had served in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1800 and 1802. He died in Baldwin County in 1807.

Based upon John Reeves' Revolultionary War service, he was allowed a draw in the 1827 Land Lottery of Lee County, Georgia.

An abstract found on the internet of the 1833 will of John Reeves, probated in Columbia County, Georgia on 25 November 1833, gives the following information -
REEVES, John s/Sept 16 1833 p/Nov 25 1833. Heirs, beloved wife Allethea. Daughters, Susan Baggett, Sarah Inglett and Rebecca Harden. Sons, John and Thomas. Son in law James Harden. granddaughter, Nancy Harden. Grandson Thomas Harden. Exrs Thomas Reeves and James Harden. Witness: William Motherwell, William Drane and Stephen Drane.

Hopefully at some future time, we will be able to learn more about this John Reeves of Columbia County, Georgia and his origins.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Thisbe's Letter

The following letter was written by Thisbe Jones Reeves of Hillsborough, North Carolina to her niece Julia Jones. Julia was the daughter of Thisbe's brother Horace Jones of Massachusetts who was visiting another brother, Doctor Calvin Jones in Wake Forest.

Thisbe Jones had married David Higbie around 1805 in Massachusetts but he soon moved the family to New York where he abandoned them. Dr. Calvin Jones described him as a wastral who had squandered everything, abandoned his wife and daughter, leaving for distant parts. In Wake County, North Carolina in 1813, Thisbe obtained a divorce and later married Rev. Willis Reeves of Orange County.

It is a bittersweet letter, Thisbe is noticeably thrilled to be able to have her niece visiting in North Carolina and once again be able to see someone from her home in Massachusetts but she is also somewhat downhearted. From her description, life in Orange County was much more backward than what she had found at Wake Forest in Wake County while residing there with her brother. In spite of Thisbe's melancholy comments it is still a delightful letter and a very personal vignette of Thisbe Jones Higbie Reeves.

To Miss Julia Jones- August 1830

My dear Julia,
you are at last so near me as the forest and yet I cannot see you. I am more impatient than ever to see you. You have not been absent from my thoughts, half an hour since bro- informed me of your arrival. I feel as tho in seeing you, I shall again see my departed parents- my brothers and sisters, and my own dear, dear, native place. I shall also see, not in imagination, but in reality my Julia, the child of my brother in whose house I have spent many happy hours and some of the happiest in carrying in my arms and playing with his Julia.

Shall I indeed once more behold, one of my far distant relations. I now live far from all. Seldom indeed am I blest with their sight. Bro- Calvin is the only one within reach and inconveniences prevent seeing him half as often as I wish.

He came by on his way to the mines but only staid one night- we could not prevail upon him to stay longer. He was not well when he started, I should be glad to hear from him. I was myself but barely able to crawl about. He gave me some medicine which has --- me. When sister writes to him I wish she would tell him.

Your letter arrived a few days after he was here. I was pleased with your coverage- If any one has resolution they can do much - I have --- the time when I could do so, too and have and could again, --- my heart as light and hopes ever highting. But I am now weighted down with many sorrows and forbodings. Thus I have no bright hopes no fair prospect in view, I bless and praise God I have the christian life which extends beyond the limits of mortal --- . By faith I see the promised land where the wicked ? from troubling and the weary are at rest. Yes, there is a land where we shall live forever. Who would not content for ? desire this happy county. Christ the lamb of God has, conjoined death and the graves. then where -- death is thy sting and to grave thy victory.---

If you are not preparing to start when you receive this- do write me and tell me as near as possible when you will come. A week ago, I fixed two rooms for you, sister and the children. Tho I cannot lodge you elegantly- I hope I can comfortable and I do not think you will either (pg torn)

When I do my best the only good so (pg torn) of any size up stairs M- occupies ?(pg. torn) have no right whatever to enter it and ? always keep it locked. I was mortified to put bro. and M- both in the little room- when so warm. I thought I would tell him the cause but had no opportunity nor time. I did not see him half long enough- had I been well I might have managed better. I could have put Mont. with Calvin but did not think of it but I have now turned topsy turvy an unfinished room which is quite pleasant- have moved out many things and would have moved more had I a place to put them, however, I think you will not dislike it. I have even been down on my knees to scour up the old seasoned stairs- make haste and come before it gets dirty. Tell sister to bring her children, there is plenty of room. You are pleased with Carolina. So was I when I lived in Wake- but it is very different in this county. You will here see back-ward style. I give this warning that you shall not be disappointed and hope after all you may enjoy yourself awhile very well the novelty will be something, and I think you will for my sake make yourself contented. I think if I could have you with me a prison would be a palace, at best for a time. This hermitage might so fiting be named a prison for I have no means to get away. I wish you had been here to the ?. I want much to go to a methodist one this fall and if you are here and are desirous to go Mr. R. I think will fix us off .

My love to sister and children- yours ever T.J.R.

(This letter is included here by permission of Pamela G. Boan descendant.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hannah Smith's Husband - William Rives

Countless family trees list the wife of William Reeves who died in Wilkes County, Georgia in 1816 as Hannah Smith, most of them using the Reeves Review II as a source. In an effort to prove or disprove this connection, I found the marriage license of Hannah Smith to William RIVES in Mecklenburg County recorded on 14 Dec 1820 which I mentioned as Myth #7 in a previous post about the numerous myths circulating in Reeves' genealogy especially in regard to the Reeves' family of Granville County, North Carolina. Since this marriage took place four years after the 1816 death of William Reeves, it is obviously incorrect. This data was apparently submitted to the Reeves Review by someone who did not properly research the individuals involved.

A search of the deed records of Mecklenburg County produced a quit claim deed by the heirs of Daniel Smith of that county assigning their rights to any legacies from his estate to their mother Elizabeth (Deed Book 24, page 133). Additionally that 1822 Quit Claim Deed named William "Reaves" as the husband of Hannah Reaves, daughter of Daniel Smith. From that quit claim deed, the parents of Hannah Smith were confirmed as Daniel Smith and Elizabeth Darnall, but even though William Rives appeared many more times over the course of the next 25 years in the deed records of Mecklenburg County, there was no clue to his origins.

William's name was recorded as Rives, Reaves and at times Reeves over those 25 years but since he was the only William with any variation of the Reeves name in Mecklenburg County during those years, it can be assumed that all of these references refer to the husband of Hannah Smith. It appears that Hannah died before the 20th of July 1824 for on that date, William Rives married Jane Cunningham in Mecklenburg County. He apparently continued to have a relationship with the Smith family for he was the witness in further documents filed by the heirs of Daniel Reeves regarding his estate in 1835.

There were no deeds in the Mecklenburg records listing William Rives as either a grantor or grantee after 1847 which created the impression that he was deceased before 1850. Estate Settlement Book 6 on page 358-359 lists the inventory of the estate of William Rives decd and a continuation on Page 451 of that book makes a reference to the estate of William & Mary Rives deceased, formerly residents of the state of North Carolina. There was nothing to indicate the nature of the connection, just their names.

Because the surname "Rives" had been the most consistently used in the Mecklenburg records for William's transactions, I began to research other Rives' families of North Carolina in hopes of finding a missing child, William. For once, I found the answer to the mystery in the first place I looked - the estate file of William McGuffey Rives of Warren County, North Carolina. In his 39 page estate file there were documents from the executors of the Mecklenburg, North Carolina estate of William Rives, deceased, regarding distributions from the estates of William McGuffey Rives and his deceased wife, Mary Catherine Turner Rives. William, the son of Mary C. Turner and William McGuffey Rives was previously believed to have died in South Carolina circa 1845, but then that's not too far off since Mecklenburg County is on the border between North and South Carolina.

It's a shame that all genealogical mysteries can't be solved this quickly and painlessly.