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.
The 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.)