Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reeves in the Secret Peace Society

From The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, VOl. XVII, Spring > 1958, No. 1, page 82. Edited by Ted Worley.

  • In the mountain counties of North Arkansas in the fall of 1861 secret organizations were formed for self-protection and apparently to resist Confederate authority. Total membership in the organizations was estimated at 1700 and was concentrated in Searcy, Marion, Carroll, Izard, Fulton, and Van Buren Counties. In these counties, and perhaps in several others, the local units of the Arkansas Peace Society were quickly suppressed by extra-legal citizens' committees acting with the county militia units and with justice of the peace courts. Many of the arrested members were forced into Confederate service either by local citizens' committees or by the state military board at Little Rock. Some were tried for treason in Confederate circuit court and acquitted. Many of those forced into Confederate service deserted and joined the Federal army.
  • Only a part of the records relating to the Peace Society survived, but they are sufficient to show the scope and the nature of the organization. Surviving documents contain the names of 240 members and suspected members. Of these 181 were located in the United States census manuscript schedules, 1860. An analysis of that record revealed that of the 181, 115 were born in Tennessee, 13 in North Carolina, and 11 in Arkansas. The leadership of the movement was also predominantly Southern-born. Six preachers among the leaders seemed to have been especially influential. The brotherhood was indigenous, composed of mountaineers who had no intention of going to war on either side and who wanted to be left alone. There could of course be no neutrality, and the members were forced to take sides.

Brothers, Peter, Asa, and Rev Joshua Reeves were among members of the Secret Peace Society in Searcy County, AR.

Rounded up by the Searcy County militia in November 1861, eighty-seven members of the Secret Peace Society were marched in chains to Little Rock where, given a choice of serving in the Confederate Army or hanging, most chose to serve. Among those on the forced march was Joshua Reeves. Like most, he served in the 18th Arkansas Infantry. According to his Confederate civil war records, he was captured on July 9, 1863 at Port Hudson LA and released three days later. The file contains no further entries. It is perhaps fitting, if not prophetic, that Joshua named a daughter born in 1859 “Union.”

Peter, Asa, and Joshua Reeves, with their father Peter Reeves Sr and other family members, migrated to Searcy County Arkansas from Wayne County Tennessee. They arrived in Arkansas in time to appear in the 1840 federal census in Searcy County. By 1860, all three brothers were living in Tomahawk Township, in Searcy County.

Peter died in 1865, but Joshua and Asa survived the war by many years.

Read more about the Peace Society here:

Enclyclopedia of Arkansas

Couchgenweb Part I
Couchgenweb Part II

Arkansas civil war sequicentennial

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Reeves of Christian County, Kentucky: Part 3

There was still another Reeves line in early Christian County Kentucky: Miles Reeves is first seen in records there in the 1810 Federal Census with two males under 10, two males 16-25, one male over 45 (Miles Reaves), two females under 10, one female 10-15, and one female over 45 (his wife Ann). He has not been found in any 1790 or 1800 census anywhere. His origins are unknown.

The Reeves found in the 1800 Christian Co Kentucky census, James, John, Martha, William, and William Jr. (see Part 2 of the Christian County Kentucky Reeves post), do not have any apparent ties to Miles nor do James Reeves of the 1810 census and James and Thomas of the 1830 census.

Miles’s birth date and birth location are not known; however, based on the 1810 census age, he was likely born by 1765. His children, according to census records were born in both North and South Carolina, with the youngest born in Kentucky in 1812.

The first record we have on Miles Reves is when in Lancaster County, South Carolina, on 8 March 1788, he received a wolf bounty. So far, no records have been found between this time and his appearance in Kentucky more than twenty years later.

Records of Miles’s eldest son Joseph suggest the family was in Christian County by 1809 when Joseph first appears in a tax list.

Miles died in 1821. His will establishes the names of his children: Joseph Reaves, Sally Griffey, John Reaves, Elizabeth Thweatt, Miles Reaves, Ruth Reaves, Robert Reaves, Milberry Reaves, and William Reaves.

After Miles’s widow Anne died between 1841 and 1843, Miles’s estate was inventoried and settled. The estate settlement document establishes that John Reaves had died, leaving as orphans Mahala, Clinton, and a third child who was not named. The same document also states that Miles Jr is deceased, leaving orphans William R Reeves and Chapman Reeves. Chapman Reeves is often attributed to a different father in online trees, but he was actually Miles Jr's son.

Some of Miles Reeves's descendants believe that he was a son of Jordan Reeves Sr, who is of the Reeves Group 8 DNA line. DNA analysis has shown that this is not the case; one of Miles’s descendants has tested with DNA that closely matches Hatchers and Burtons and which does not match any other Reeves who have participated in the Reeves DNA project.

A relationship to Jordan Reeves was presumed on minimal information.
  • Miles’s 1844 estate sale included a slave named Jordan, but Jordan was born ten years after Miles died.
  • Several sons of Miles Reeves came to Independence County Arkansas (one in 1837 and two about 1844/1845) as did Jordan Reeves Jr who was in Independence County by 1825. There is a large time gap between Jordan Jr’s arrival and the arrivals of Miles’s sons. They lived in different parts of the county, and no records have turned up linking Jordan Jr to any of Miles’s sons. Proximity is no indicator of a relationship in this case.
  • One mysterious item that contributed to the Miles-Jordan myth is a crumbling 1905 appointment notebook belonging to Dr. Marshall Calloway Reves of Searcy County Arkansas, a great-grandson of Miles Reeves. The notebook claims that Miles’s father was Jordan Reeves who had two sons: Miles and Joel; no other of Jordan's numerous sons, including Jordan Jr, were named. No documentary evidence has ever been found linking Miles to Jordan Reeves Jr or Jordan Reeves Sr, nor is it known how accurate the transcription of the notebook is. No other "Jordan Reeves" have ever been identified.

Many descendents of Miles Reeves used the spelling Reves while others stayed with Reeves. Miles's surname is variously spelled Reeves, Reaves, Rives, and Reves depending on the document.

The Hatcher/Burton DNA results indicate that research into these surnames might be fruitful.

Many thanks to Margaret Harlow who provided a great deal of research on Miles Reeves.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Reeves of Christian County, Kentucky: Part 2

County of Christian, Kentucky Historical and Biographical edited by William Henry Perrin and published in 1884 also names James Reeves as one of the earliest settlers to Christian County. James is recorded in Christian County in the 1800 Second Census of Kentucky in addition to John Reeves, Martha Reeves (widow of Brewer), William Reeves and William Reeves, Jr.

There is no documentation that connects James to the other Reeves in the Christian County census of 1800 other than the fact that both James Reeves and a John Reeves were recorded in the 1790 census of Greenville, South Carolina. Whether this is the same John Reeves is unknown, but it is documented that James Reeves resided in South Carolina before moving to Kentucky. James had married Nancy Goodwin, daughter of Jesse Goodwin of Pendleton District, before 1800 in South Carolina. Jesse Goodwin also migrated to the area of Christian and Trigg counties of Kentucky at the same time. When Jesse Goodwin wrote his will in 1841, Nancy Goodwin Reeves was deceased but he named all of the children of James and Nancy Reeves. Those children were Susan, Jesse Goodwin, William, Samuel, Urias, Elizabeth, Leah, Lettie, Nancy and Bethel (Chester).

James Reeves was half Cherokee according to family Dawes depositions taken in 1896. The fact that there was native american ancestry recorded in both the families of James and William Reeves might suggest a possible connection but certainly nothing definite.

Before 1820, James and his family had moved to Gallatin/Saline counties in Illinois but didn't stay there long and by around 1830 most of the family had moved on to Obion, Tennessee. Hiram, James and Samuel Reeves, sons of Frederick Reeves of York, South Carolina and formerly of Granville, North Carolina, were also living in Obion by this time so once again there is the challenge of keeping the two lineages separate when researching the Reeves in that county. Reportedly by around 1850, James Reeves migrated further west to Fort Smith, Arkansas where he appears to have died but the location and date of his death are unknown.

The 1800 census lists both William Reeves and William Reeves, Jr. in Christian County. It's unknown whether the term "Jr." indicates that individual was the son of the other, or as was common at that time, the Jr. was just used to differentiate between an older and a younger person of the same name. There are currently no clues as to the identity of the elder William Reeves but the individual listed as William Reeves, Jr. appears to be William Reeves who, with wife Susan Hunter, lived in Christian County briefly around the turn of the 19th century.

Grave of Jane Reeves Wilson in Hempstead County, ArkansasThe little that is known of William Reeves and Susan Hunter comes from a Dawes' application made by their grandson Larkin C. "Lake" Wilson around 1896-1898. That application states that Susan Hunter was a full-blood Cherokee. According to this application, Susan Hunter came from "...Cherokee Nation East of the Mississippi." The only clue to their previous residence before arriving in Kentucky is North Carolina based upon the place of birth listed in census records for their presumed oldest son, James. It is unknown when and where William and Susan died but by 1828, James Reeves is found living in Hempstead County, Arkansas and there is no further record for his parents.

Jane Reeves who married John B. Wilson and Henry G. Reeves are documented as children of William and Susan Hunter Reeves in the Dawes' application filed by Lake Wilson. Other presumed children are James, Rebecca, Green B. and Clarinda Reeves. A descendant of Green B. Reeves has participated in the Reeves DNA Project and matched the descendant of an Ambrose Reeves who died in Arkansas around 1855. There is almost no information available regarding Ambrose Reeves but in the 1900 census, his son William Carroll Reeves gives his father's birthplace as Tennessee. It might be possible that there is a connection to Reeves living in Obion, Tennessee, but I have been unable to document it.

Interestingly former president Bill Clinton is a descendant of William Reeves and Susan Hunter through their daughter Jane Reeves and her husband, John B. Wilson.

Participation in the Reeves DNA Project by more of the male descendants of these lines would be a great benefit in resolving their identities.

Coming next, in Part 3 of this series Carolyn will investigate Miles Reeves who migrated from the Carolinas to Christian County arriving a few years after these Reeves' families. Some of Miles' descendants also moved on to Arkansas, settling in Independence County.

(Information regarding these Reeves' families includes the research of Kathy Wilburne for the family of James Reeves and Will Johnson, professional genealogist, for the research of William Reeves.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Reeves of Christian County, Kentucky: Part 1

The history of Christian County as published in The County of Christian, Kentucky - Historical & Biographical edited by William H. Perrin in 1884 lists Brewer Reeves as one of the earliest settlers to that county. In fact, the act creating Christian County which was passed in 1796 and took effect on the 1st of March 1797 provided “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. Three weeks after the act became effective, they met, Brewer Reeves, Jacob Barnett, Moses Shelby, Hugh Knox and Jonathan Logan constituting the court and began to transact the business of the new county.

Reeves Advertisement from the Hopkinsville Kentuckian circa 1900Brewer Reeves is believed to have been the son (correction - brother, see update below) of Thomas Reeves, Jr. of Augusta and Rockingham counties of Virginia where Brewer is found in the court, tax, and deed records prior to his arrival in Kentucky in the mid 1790's. Brewer died within a few years of migrating to Kentucky and his estate was entered for probate in Christian County in November of 1799. Mrs. Martha Reeves and their children remained there and Brewer's descendants continued to be actively involved in Christian County affairs where their son Benjamin, after serving in the War of 1812, became a state senator in 1812, 1814 and 1817.

Another Brewer Reeves immigrated from Augusta County, Virginia before 1830. This second Brewer was the son of the elder Brewer Reeves' nephew William. William's older brother John had also migrated to Christian County where he had married Lucretia Dunkerson in 1819.

In 1820, Todd County was formed from Christian and Logan Counties, thereafter the descendants of this Reeves family could be found in both counties.

Benjamin H. Reeves had moved to the Territory of Missouri in 1818 after his terms in the state senate. In 1821 he was elected a Delegate from the Missouri county of Howard to assist in framing a Constitution for that State, and was, a few years thereafter, elected Lieutenant-Governor of Missouri. In 1826 he was appointed by the Government of the United States a Commissioner to survey and mark out a road from Missouri to the Spanish provinces in a direction to Santa Fe. Returning from Missouri in 1836, he settled in the recently created Todd County.Death of Judge Willis L. Reeves

The descendants of this family continued to be politically active. Brewer Reeves' son Willis Long Reeves was for many years clerk of the Todd County Court and a grandson Crittenden Reeves, son of Benjamin, was elected to the Kentucky Legislature. Brewer's grandson Reuben A. Reeves, the son of Ottway Curry Reeves, married and moved to Palestine, Anderson County, Texas where he practiced law and in August 1864 was elected associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Another grandson, Willis Long Reeves, Jr. was a judge of the Todd County Court of Appeals at the turn of the 20th century.

In Part 2 of this series I'll present the limited information available on what may be another Reeves family, or possibly two more Reeves families. The family of James Reeves seems to have migrated into Kentucky from South Carolina while there is no definite known origin of William Reeves with wife Susan Hunter.

Update: Rather than being the son of Thomas Reeves, Jr., it appears that Brewer Reeves was his brother based upon several suits in the Augusta County, Virginia Chancery records. In the suit Sevier vs. Thomas Reeves concerning 304 acres in Augusta County purchased in 1769, Brewer Reeves is named as the brother of Thomas Reeves. In another 1770 Augusta County Chancery action, Herndon vs. Thomas Reeves, a statement by Brewer Reeves mentions living in Thomas Reeves' home so it may be possible that Brewer was much younger. Thomas Reeves, Jr. with wife Sarah, formerly of Spotsylvania County, was the son of Thomas Reeves, Sr. who died in Spotsylvania County in 1760. Thomas Reeves, Sr. was the son of Henry Reeves, Jr. of Essex County. George Reeves named his nephew Thomas Reeves, Jr. as well as nephews George, Henry and John Reeves, all sons of Thomas Reeves, Sr. in his 1754 will, but did not mention Brewer.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Reeves Literacy in Independence County Arkansas

Literacy of my ancestors is a topic that always interests me, when I can make a determination. Many of my Arkansas farmer and hillbilly ancestors could not read or write. However, it appears that most members of my Reeves ancestral line had at least basic literacy skills.

My fourth great-grandfather, Jordan Reeves, Jr, c 1773 - c 1845, was probably literate. I presume this based on unclaimed mail addressed to him in Nashville TN in 1805 and 1806 -- he had moved to Wilson County by 1805. Twenty years later, Jordan Reeves Jr settled in Independence County Arkansas, living southeast of Batesville, near Newark. He is listed in the Arkansas Gazette as having unclaimed mail at the Batesville post office several times between 31 Dec 1825 and 31 March 1827. This does not prove absolutely that Jordan was literate, but it raises the possibility. It is also possible that his wife Mary Magness was literate, rather than Jordan, and read the letters for him.

The 1850 census contains a column that should be checked if the person being enumerated is “over 20 years of age and unable to read or write.” This column is unchecked for Elias Morgan Reeves who could evidently do both, but it is checked for his wife Terissa Gilbreath Reeves. They are my third great-grandparents.

My great-great-grandfather, David Robertson Reeves, was orphaned at the age of four and is found in the 1870 Independence County, Arkansas federal census living with his sister Cynthia Reeves Drennon with an occupation of “works on farm.” He was thirteen years old. On the 1870 census there are two columns labeled “unable to read” and “unable to write.” Both are checked for young David, and indeed, for everyone in the household. By 1880, David has apparently learned to read and write because the same two columns are unchecked for both David and his wife, Mary Caroline McDoniel Reeves. David’s sister Cynthia and her husband both died in 1871, leaving him alone again at age fourteen. It is not known who he lived with until his 1878 marriage, but apparently he was given educational opportunity at last.

By 1900, the census provides three columns: “can read,” “can write,” and “can speak English.” For both Teressa Jane Reeves Henderson and her husband John C Henderson (my great-grandparents), all questions are answered “yes.” Subsequent generations all achieved literacy.

By defining literacy as the ability to read and write, I'm setting the bar pretty low. It is doubtful that any of these "literate" ancestors achieved anything close to the equivalent of a high school education. Adult literacy has never been great in rural Arkansas, and continues to be an issue to this day.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Reeves Gang

Preston ReevesIn the course of researching the descendants of George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia and more specifically his son William who left Ashe County, North Carolina circa 1820 migrating to Greene County, Indiana and later to Arkansas, I came across the story of "the Reeves gang" in various Iowa histories. Lenoir Reeves, often referred to as "Noah" is mentioned in these stories along with a George Reeves. Lenoir is believed to be a son of William Reeves. Although no irrefutable documentation can be found, there is a large amount of evidence to support this family association.

The following version of the story of the Reeves gang is found in Iowa History at the IAGenWeb Project:
...The Reeves family was suspected of being connected with the gang of horse thieves that were doing so much work in Polk county, and a mob of citizens went to the Reeves home and gave them orders to leave the country under penalty of severe punishment if they refused to go. Then the family moved to Fort Des Moines from their home in Linn Grove on the North River. There were two old men and several grown sons in the Reeves family.

The Reeves family had not lived in Fort Des Moines long when Cameron Reeves killed James Phipps. The citizens of North River heard of it, and fearing that some trouble would arise over it they took upon themselves the trouble of forcing them again to move. Cameron had been placed in jail at Oskaloosa, so he escaped the visit of the mob. The remaining family were visited one day by about sixty men and were again told to leave the country. When the mob was approaching, Presley Reeves saw them and thought that be would make a run for liberty, and started across a corn field. He was captured in a short time and brought back. The mob forced them to load all their possessions on wagons and leave. After their departure they seem to have made a better record, as Cameron became a prominent man in Omaha and served as sheriff for several years.
In no version of this story that I have been able to locate does there seem to be anything more to the supposed guilt of the Reeves family than rumor and supposition. According to the History of Madison County, Iowa (Chapter XVII, page 134), the vigilantes involved in this legend were from neighboring Madison and Warren Counties. The vigilantes even captured and held prisoner Sheriff Michaels of Polk County who they encountered as he was on his way to Linn Grove with warrants for 6 of the vigilantes. Another version of the story can be found at the Annals of Polk County, Iowa and City of Des Moines.

It does appear that Lenoir "Noah" Reeves of Ashe County, North Carolina was one of the Reeves mentioned in this story as his wife, Mourning, and their children are found in the 1850 Polk County, Iowa census but Lenoir is not listed in the household. Could this be due to his having been expelled from the county by vigilantes?

This same Reeves family after their removal to Nebraska are recorded as law abiding and prominent citizens in Douglas County. From the biography of Preston Reeves in the Illustrated history of Nebraska: a history of Nebraska...Volume 3, J. North, 1913:
REEVES, PRESTON, deceased, late of Douglas county, Neb., the son of George and Elizabeth (Daughton) Reeves, was born in Virginia, May 20, 1824. Elizabeth D. Reeves was born in Grayson county, Va., in 1799. Mr. George Reeves was a brother-in-law of A. T. Jones, the first postmaster of Omaha, and a brother of Cameron Reeves, the first sheriff of Douglas county. One son of George Reeves was a lieutenant in ex-Governor Thayer's regiment during the Civil War. Preston Reeves homesteaded the present site of Creighton college, in Omaha, in the spring of 1854...
The identity of the George Reeves mentioned above with wife, Elizabeth Daughton (Doughton), is unknown but he is very probably the son of William Reeves' brother Jesse whose son George appears to have left Ashe County, North Carolina and there is no further information found there regarding him. George's wife Elizabeth is likely his cousin, daughter of Mary "Polly" Reeves and Joseph Doughton.

The truth of this incident is undoubtably lost in the mists of time and will never be known, but the history of Douglas County, Nebraska may be more reliable than some of the other versions of this story. It is certainly more pleasing to a Reeves' descendant. Either way, it makes a good story.

See Episode 2 - More of the Reeves Gang, a supplement to this post with more extensive information.

(Photo of Preston Reeves from the History of Nebraska, Vol. 3 pub 1913)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Another of the Reeves' Mysteries

One of the recurring mysteries of Reeves' research is John Reeves who is first found in Granville County, North Carolina living among the descendants of William Reeves who died there in 1751. The Reeves Review II as well as other internet sources list John as a son of this William Reeves but he is not listed in William's will which even lists family members who were essentially excluded from receiving any legacy. The Reeves Review also assumed that the John Reeves who is found in Pendleton, South Carolina in the later part of the 18th century is the same John Reeves found in Granville County in the 1755 tax lists with a son Thomas. The John Reeves of Pendleton, SC appears to be far too young from age estimates in census records to have been the John of the 1755 tax lists.

This John Reeves appears as an adult in Granville tax lists of the 1780's living in the same area with Jonathan Reeves, the son of Malachi, and usually in a residence close to John Hooker, Jonathan's father-in-law.

Grave of Thompson Reeves, son of Frederick, in Walton, GeorgiaBurgess Reeves, son of William Reeves of Granville, left North Carolina at approximately the same time that John Reeves did for they are both recorded in the 1790 census of Pendleton District, South Carolina. John Reeves is listed in that census with 1 male over 16, 5 males under 16 and 4 females.

Again in Pendleton District, the census of 1800 lists John Reeves' household as: Males - 4 under 10; 2 10-15; 2 16-25; 1 over 45 (total of 8 sons); Females - 1 under 10; 1 10-15; 1 16-25; 1 26-44.

Little is known of John's wife other than her given name Sarah. In an 1804 Pendleton SC Deed from John Reeves to Benjamin Fuller, Sarah Reeves relinquished her dower rights.

By 1809, John Reeves is recorded as a Taxpayer of Jackson County, Georgia. Undocumented family lore tells that John Reeves was killed by indians after migrating to Georgia. There is also supposedly a family bible that belonged to Frederick Reeves that lists his father as John and mother as Sarah. A transcription of that bible or photocopies would be a great benefit to research of this family.

By the 1820 census in Gwinnett County, Georgia, eight Reeves male individuals are found - John Reeves, 26-44; Frederick Reeves, 26-44; Jonathan Reeves, 26-44; Loftin Reeves, 26-44; Malachi Reeves, 26-44; Isaac Reeves, 16-25; Burgess Reeves, 16-25; and Thompson Reeves, 16-25. After 1850 when census records include place of birth, the older of these individuals list their birth place as North Carolina while the younger list South Carolina.

It may be mere coincidence that eight Reeves' males left South Carolina before 1820 and eight Reeves' males arrived in Gwinnett County, Georgia before that date, but the records of both Pendleton, South Carolina and Gwinnett, Georgia need to be researched in the most minute detail in order to either rule out or establish a connection between these Reeves.

Fanny Reeves who married Andrew Boyd in Jackson County, Georgia in 1811 is likely one of John Reeves' daughters as they are found in the same neighborhood of Gwinnett County in 1820 only a few households from John, Burgess and Jonathan Reeves.

Descendants of these eight proposed sons of John Reeves who have participated in the Reeves DNA Project have all been placed in DNA Group 3 with other descendants of William Reeves of Granville confirming a family connection.

(Photo by "Bud" for FindAGrave.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reeves/Reaves Research Project

In the past, a fellow Reeves’ researcher, Richard Reeves, and I have consolidated our efforts in searching the records of York County, South Carolina for Reeves information and were able to resolve many mysteries in addition to identifying several misconceptions and fallacies in the previously held theories of the Reeves family who migrated there from Granville County, North Carolina. We’ve also searched all of the available records of Granville County for more information on that family.

There actually are many original documents that contain previously undiscovered information in the tax records, deed and will books when a detailed search of the available records is conducted. And if there are also estate files such as we found to be available in the York, South Carolina files now online at www.familysearch.org, they are a goldmine.

We are now planning to start systematically reviewing and researching the extant records of the southeastern portion of North Carolina, primarily Wayne, Green and Duplin counties as well as any surviving records from Old Dobbs County in an attempt to learn more about the Reaves family who settled there around 1750. That Reaves family’s origins are a mystery that we would like to attempt to resolve. We may not find all the answers but you never know what great new discoveries are hiding in the reels of microfilm. Once we learn more about the Reaves of the Wayne County area, we plan to move on to those in Brunswick County who are similarly a puzzle.

Family Search hasn’t been able to upload all of the copies of original records to their site as yet, but they microfilmed them in the past and those films can be rented for a small fee and viewed at their LDS Family History Centers.

Richard has developed a list of the documents available on microfilm and online from Family Search, such as:

Dobbs County, crown patents, 1759-1775 – Microfiche 1997. 3 microfiche.

Duplin County, Court 1Minutes 1784-1793 FHL US/CAN Film 18804

Wayne County, Minutes, 1787-1868, (1 unlabeled volume) 1787-1794 FHL US/CAN Film 1730559

Wayne County, Wills, accounts, inventories, and sales of estates, 1807-1957; indexes, 1782-1965, 1782-1965

We’re going to upload the list of microfilm reels and share it on Google Documents while we work together to rent the films, then copy and transcribe any and all Reeves documents we find. Any other Reeves/Reaves/Rives/Reavis researchers who would like to participate as we search the surviving records of North Carolina for more Reeves’ information may contact Richard or Beverly and we can share the file with you on Google or make other arrangements to share it if you don’t have a Google account.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Maritime Records

Maritime records are a relatively unexplored source of information about Reeves/Rives who emigrated from England to the Virginia colony.

In his book The Ryves-Rives-Reaves Families of Europe and America, W Patrick Reaves includes the following tantalizing, but flawed, references to shipping records:

The Ryves, as indicated by English shipping records in the Virginia colonies, were associated with the following ships:

  • "The Griffin"
  • "Providence" (owned by Charles Ryves)
  • "Sarah" (the name of Timothy's wife. This ship was inherited by Charles Ryves in 1689 according to VA Maritime archives record 5R 10081, reel 960, public records office class C24//1128, Chancery records dated 1689, lawsuit involving "The Sarah", Names of Persons involved were: Charles Ryves, George Ryves, Merchant of Virginia and Francis Parsons, Master) [NOTE: Sarah? We know that Timothy's widow was Mary from records in Charles City County Virginia, but Sarah may have been a previous wife]
  • "The Exchange" (owned by Brune Ryves Jr of London and Portsmouth)
  • "Charles" (owned and captained by Charles Ryves, a grandson of George Ryves of Woodstock, 1685-6, record SR12622, p 22, Va Maritime archives)
  • "The Blandford"

"The Providence", owned by Charles Ryves of Woodstock, was operating in Virginia in port about three times a year from 1629 and into the 1700s.

Investigation of the above claims has uncovered several fallacies in assumptions made about these records.

The Brune Ryves Jr mentioned above was indeed the great-great-grandson of Robert Ryves of Dorset, but we don't yet know whether or not he actually owned the "Exchange".

However, the George Reeves and Charles Reeves involved with the ship "Sarah" are not of the DNA Group 8 (Robert Ryves) line as Patrick Reaves believed. They are two of the four sons of this George Reeves as documented on the Reeves Project Wiki. See:

George Reeves of Middlesex VA

Charles Reeves of Middlesex VA

Documentation for Charles Reeves also indicates that he was co-owner of the "Providence" referred to above and not Charles Ryves of Woodstock.

The claims about the ships "The Griffin", "The Exchange", "The Charles", and "The Blandford" still need to be pursued.

The invalid assumptions drawn from the records about George and Charles Reeves accentuates the importance of retaining the spelling of names as found in records. None of the records found for these two men and their brothers Thomas and Francis appear to have used the spelling "Ryves."

We should also be very careful about trusting claims made in genealogy books when primary sources are not provided or when they are transcribed inaccurately or incompletely.

Thanks to Beverly for her meticulous research on George, Charles, Thomas, and Francis Reeves of Middlesex, Virginia.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bass Reeves, U S Marshal

I was researching the novel True Grit by Charles Portis for a book club presentation, when I started reading articles about real U S Marshals who served when Judge Parker and the Western District of Arkansas had jurisdiction over Indian Territory in the 1870s and 1880s. In one of my google searches, the name Bass Reeves caught my eye.

Bass Reeves could have been a prototype for Rooster Cogburn. At 6'2" and 180 pounds, he could shoot a pistol with either hand. He populated the Fort Smith federal jail with the desperate criminals he captured, including the notorious Seminole Greenleaf, who was on the lam for eighteen years. Once tried for shooting his trail cook, Bass Reeves was acquitted and went on to bust up a horse stealing ring, capturing 19 horse thieves at one time. During his 32 years as a federal peace officer, he arrested more than 3000 felons and shot and killed fourteen outlaws in defending his life while making arrests.

Bass Reeves was one of the first African-Americans (perhaps the first) to receive a commission as a Deputy U S Marshal west of the Mississippi River. He was born a slave in 1838 in Crawford County, Arkansas. Moving to Grayson County, Texas in 1846 with his owners, the William Steel Reeves family, Bass Reeves ultimately because a fugitive slave, taking refuge amongst the Creeks and Seminoles in Indian Territory. After the civil war he returned to Crawford County with a wife and several children where he farmed and served as a scout and guide for U S Marshals going into Indian Territory. In 1875, he was hired by the Parker court in Fort Smith as a commissioned deputy U S Marshal.

Read more about Bass Reeves at:

The Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Bass Reeves - Wikipedia

Or if you wish, watch a movie made about his life:

Bass Reeves at IMdb

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Funny - Poor Bossy!

The following article doesn't pertain to any Reeves' individuals, but since I came upon it while searching the issues of the Paducah Sun in McCracken County, Kentucky in the course of researching my Reeves' cousins there, it seems to belong here nonetheless.

The Paducah Sun June 15, 1905
Thursday Evening



One Man Will Go Over the North
And the Other the South Side

The first cow arrest since the cow ordinance went into effect was made this
morning by Cow Catcher George Webb, who made the capture about 11 o’clock.

He brought his prisoner, a brindle, muley cow, to the city hall and she was
immediately impounded. Chief Collins has appointed an assistant to Webb, and the two will work the town, one working the north and the other the south side.

Chief Collins has issued instructions to Webb and his assistant to arrest
every cow seen on the streets unattended, and it is expected that the pound
will be full in a few days.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Collecting Reeves' Signatures

As everyone who has researched the various Reeves families knows, the Reeves, Reaves, Rives and Reavis all had a affinity for the name William. Trying to definitely identify each individual can be challenging so I have begun to collect the signatures of any William Reeves that I happen upon.

After several years of watching for a document with an original signature by my ancestor, William Reeves of Wake County, North Carolina, I recently found one in the probate file for the estate of Woodson Daniel. Wake County Militia Capt. Woodson Daniel named his lifelong neighbor and friend, William Reeves, as one of the executors of his will. The probate file of Woodson's estate contains a 1798 suit filed by one of the heirs against the estate and its executors which required that depositions be taken. The three page deposition by William Reeves also bears his signature.

He signed his name, spelling it Reves as did all of his sons. Interestingly the descendants of George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia whose DNA matches that of William Reeves of Wake County's descendants also signed their names with the Reves spelling.

William Reeves of Wake County, NC

The signature of James Reeves' son William of Guilford County who was confused with William Reeves of Wake County by the Reeves Review was found on the 1791 will of John Rhodes of Guilford County. John Rhodes named him as his son-in-law and an executor of his will.

William Reeves, son of James Reeves of Guilford County

Even when the individual makes a mark rather than signing their name, the mark can also be distinctive and help to identify the correct person. William Reeves who died in Granville County, North Carorlina in 1751 didn't use the normal X for a mark but initialed his will in a unique manner.

The signature below is that of a witness to the 1817 York County, South Carolina will of Robert Ellis. The exact William Reeves who witnessed this will is unknown since there were at least three living in York County at the time. William Reeves, Sr., his son William, Jr. and another, as yet unidentified, William Reeves whose name was normally written with the suffix Esqr. indicating that he was probably a justice of the local court.

William Reavis whose will was written in Northampton County, North Carolina in 1784 signed his name clearly making the distinction between the name variations Reeves, Reaves and Reavis.

It's obvious from this small group of signatures how unique each is, not just the way the characters were formed but the spellings of their names. As FamilySearch.org makes more and more original records available, hopefully we can add many more original signatures to the collection that will further differentiate the multitude of William Reeves, and George Reeves, and countless others.