Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pewter John Reeves Stamper

There are numerous sites on the internet with discussions and opinions regarding the origins of John Stamper who migrated to Carter County, Kentucky from North Carolina. The countless conflicting theories speculating on John Stamper's parentage are far more than there is room to relate on this post. Here are a few of the hypotheses found on this subject:

Eastern Kentucky - Carter County
Some published genealogy records report James W. or John Stamper as a half-Cherokee Indian reportedly fathered by a Cherokee Indian and a Reeves woman, either Agnes Reeves or Agnes' sister. (Who is Agnes Reeves? None of the websites espousing this theory identified her.)

John's birth name was James W. Stamper and James himself took the name "John". This same John was also known as "Pewter John Reeves Stamper".

A notarized affidavit by a descendant, Vernon J. Mead, in December 1983, shows John as a son of a Cherokee Indian.

Stamper genealogy lists a James W. Stamper (John) as the son of Richard Stamper and Martha Carter of Wilkes County, North Carolina.

One story relates that John was the offspring of one of William Stamper's sisters, possibly named Joanna. A Joanna Stamper lived in the Ashe County, North Carolina/Grayson County, Virginia area, and many Stamper researchers believe she was the sister of William and Thomas Moore Stamper. She married a Perkins.

Richard and Martha Stamper were possibly adopted parents who took him in when the out of wedlock birth to a Cherokee father and a Stamper mother occurred.

John seemed to have been a counterfeiter of coins, making silver coins out of pewter. He therefore had the nickname of "Pewter John".

Prior to locating in Kentucky, John's history is sketchy and questionable as many reported "facts" are conflicting. His birth has been variously reported in either February, September or December of 1800, in Ashe, Swain or Cherokee Counties, North Carolina.

The facts that don't appear to be contested regarding John Stamper are:

Grave of Sarah Stamper in Carter County, KentuckyHis marriage license and marriage bond were recorded in Floyd County, Kentucky, as John Stamper in Book 1, page 127 and Book 1820-2, page 24, respectfully. On 8 Jun 1820, he married Sarah Stamper, who was presumed to be his first cousin.

He was born about 1799, according to an Ashland Independent Newspaper dated June 22, 1882, that lists John's death at age 83, at the home of his son-in-law, Ezekiel McGlone, Buffalo Valley, Carter County, Kentucky.

John is buried at Bethel Cemetery, Olive Hill, Carter County, Kentucky, but his monument is now degraded and unreadable.

And finally, to put to rest the speculation that his father was a Cherokee Indian, the DNA of a descendant of John Stamper is a genetic match to the descendants of the Reeves' family of Grayson County, Virginia and Ashe County, North Carolina, and additionally to their Reeves' relatives in Wake County, North Carolina. Based upon DNA, Pewter John Reeves Stamper was the child of a Reeves male and an unknown female, possibly from the Stamper family. From the fact that John himself added the "Reeves" to his name, it could probably be assumed that he was aware of the family connection.

(Thanks to Anna Fultz Braun, Stamper descendant, for the use of her photo of Sarah Stamper's gravestone.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Family Finder Fun

When FTDNA had a sale at the end of last year, I decided to take the plunge into DNA testing. Since I received my Family Finder results on February 10, I’ve had difficulty tearing myself away from my computer where I slavishly and obsessively chase obscure family relationships.

Getting off to a deceptively easy start, one of the first matches I resolved was in my Reeves line. A descendant of Jordan Reeves Jr was a fifth cousin match. We both had uploaded gedcoms to FTDNA and had good paper trails. The second match was even easier as he was a known cousin of the first Jordan Reeves match.

About six out of my 220 matches have been this straightforward -- the other 214, not so much. But that’s ok. Finding and connecting with cousins is fun, but solving mysteries is even more so; in fact, it's highly addictive.

What a lot of new surnames to research! Who the heck are all those Kirklands, Peacocks, and Flowers, anyway? Why do I have cousins in Norway when only one ancester (ok - known ancestor) has immigrated to the US since the revolution? Who knew that half of Carroll County, Arkansas is related to me?

Perhaps all those unidentified sisters and daughters are making their presence known.

Consanguinity chart from

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Curious Biography of John Reeves

I recently came across a biography published in 1884 in a history of Morgan, Monroe and Brown counties of Indiana for a John Reeves of Mason County, Kentucky. The biography contains some worthwhile genealogical information but also raises numerous questions.

From: History of Morgan, Monroe & Brown County, 1884
by Charles Blanchard, Pg 333

John Reeves' gravestone in Burkhart Cemetery, Morgan  County, Indiana"JOHN REEVES is a native of Mason County, Ky., and was born February 20, 1802, and is a son of James and Sarah (Holton) Reeves, the former a native of Ireland, and the latter of Maryland. John Reeve, Sr., emigrated with his parents, Isaac and Margaret Reeves, to America previous to the Revolutionary war, and when sixteen years of age entered the army under Gen. Washington, serving the seven years. He then married and settled in Mason County, Ky., where he and wife ended their days. John Reeves, our subject, is the only child of his father living. In 1823, he moved to Monroe County, Ind., and in 1824 to Owen County, where he married, in 1828, Mrs. Eleanor Hayward. In 1829, he removed to this county, where Mrs. Reeves died in 1861, the mother of eight children - James, Nancy, Abigail, Austin S., Sarah, Samantha, Benjamin and Julia A. In 1863, he married Mrs. Ann Edwards. Mr. Reeves is an excellent gentleman, and he and wife are members of the Christian Church, of which Mr. Reeves has been an active worker for fifty years."

The first, and most obvious question, is in regard to the statement "John Reeve, Sr., emigrated with his parents, Isaac and Margaret Reeves, to America". Does the author mean James Reeves, Sr., simply James Reeves or John Reeves? There is no John Reeves, Sr. referenced anywhere else in the biography.

There is no mention in the information regarding John Reeves' parents of a connection to the other Reeves' families of Mason County, Kentucky who were in large part descendants of George Reeves and Ann Doggett of Prince William County, Virginia. Yet, among the names of his children are Austin S. (Smith?) and Benjamin - names used repeatedly by descendants of the Prince William, Virginia Reeves' family.

Finally and most intriquing of all is the inclusion of an Isaac and Margaret Reeves in his ancestry. Is it possible that this family could be connected to Isaac Reeves and his wife Margery of Wilkes County, North Carolina?

See a follow-up post regarding James Reeves and the family of Isaac Reeves of Wilkes County, North Carolina.

(Photo by Bill Mason for Find A Grave.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Reeves' Fiction - Fortune Rhodes

The myth that William Reeves, the son of James Reeves of Guilford County, North Carolina, married a "Fortune Rhodes" seems to have begun with Reliques of the Rives (Ryves) by James Rives Childs and published in 1929. In Reliques Part II Appendix A on Page 704, William Reeves, ID 4212, is listed as marrying Fortune, daughter of John Rhodes.

1784 Deed from William & Hannah Reeves to MulloyWhen the Reeves Review II by Mrs. Emma Barrett Reeves was published in 1982, the folly escalated and William Reeves, the son of James, was listed with Fortune Rhodes as his first wife and a Milly whose maiden name was unlisted as a second wife. This William Reeves was supposedly the same person of that name who died in Madison County, Kentucky in 1821. The William Reeves of Madison County, Kentucky was, in fact, from a completely different family and DNA lineage.

The Reeves Review also included another William Reeves in the Reeves family of Guilford County, North Carolina and listed him as a son of James Reeves' son Malachi and his wife Fortune whose maiden name was incorrectly stated as "Burton". This second William Reeves, son of Malachi, with wife Hannah was said to have died in Wilkes County, Georgia in 1816 where there is a will for a William Reeves with wife Hannah recorded.

Since the family of James Reeves was not part of the same Rives family from which James Rives Childs descends, it is unlikely that the research included in Reliques for this family is his own. It is far more likely that this information was submitted to him for inclusion in his publication which may also have been the case with the Reeves Review II.

Regardless of the source of Fortune Rhodes' inclusion in these books, research of the available primary source documents of this family reveal the absurdity of this Reeves' family lore.

The truth of Fortune Rhodes -
Fortune, the wife of Malachi Reeves, was incorrectly identified as the daughter of Richard Burton of Guilford County based upon legacies left to three Reeves' grandchildren in his will. Those were, in fact, the children of Malachi and Fortune Reeves' son Thomas Reeves. When Thomas Reeves died, his widow Elizabeth Reeves was granted the administration of his estate in Guilford County, February Court 1795. On 26 Apr 1796, his widow Elizabeth Reeves married Elias Simons in Guilford County. Elizabeth Simons was named by Richard Burton as his daughter in his 1799 will and the Reeves grandchildren, Richard, Thomas and Martha Reeves, are the children of Elizabeth Burton and Thomas Reeves. Richard Burton DID NOT name a daughter, Fortune, in his will. He named Elizabeth Simons, Mary Mileham and Dorcas Bourton (Burton).

The wife of James Reeves' son William was Hannah as evidenced by a deed dated 1 Apr 1784 recorded in Guilford County, NC Deed Bk 3, Pages 95-96 which named his wife as Hannah. In another deed dated 22 Nov 1791, William and his mother Millicent sold 320 acres to Samuel Mileham. The deed noted that this was the plantation conveyed by James Reeves' Will unto his Son & wife "the said William Reeves & Milley Reeves". Hannah Reeves, wife of William, signed the deed as well. James Reeves' will had stipulated that “I will and bequeath to my son William Reeves the Plantation and Land I now live on to be his whole and sole property at the death of my beloved Wife Melissent and not before”. The terms of the will prevented William from selling the plantation without his mother's consent since it was her property as long as she lived. That deed is also signed by William's wife Hannah presumably relinguishing her dower rights. William's mother Milly's inclusion in this deed is probably the source of the confusion regarding William having had an additional wife named Milly.

James Reeves' son William was incorrectly identified in the Reeves Review as the son of Fortune and Malachi Reeves. Based upon research of the probate, deeds and other records of Guilford County, there is no record that William Reeves, ID 212.iv in the Reeves Review, with wife Hannah Smith, listed as a child of Malachiah and Fortune Reeves existed. Among all the deeds by Fortune Reeves conveying property to their sons after Malachi's death, there are NO deeds to a son, William. This William also supposedly died in Wilkes County, Georgia in 1816. The William Reeves who died in Wilkes County, Georgia in 1816 is undoubtably William Reeves, the son of James Reeves who was the only William Reeves living in Guilford County circa 1780 to 1800 with a wife Hannah. The only reference to an unidentified William Reeves was in the will of John Rhodes which then must be William, the son of James Reeves. The will lists no bequest to the wife of William Reeves and daughter of John Rhodes but neither is there a bequest to his son John Rhodes, Jr., yet both William Reeves and John Rhodes, Jr. (with their relationships stated) are named in the will as Executors.

After Malachi Reeves' death in 1784, his widow, Fortune Reeves, married John Rhodes, father-in-law of William Reeves the son of James, in 1788. Fortune is named as the wife of John Rhodes in his 1791 will which also states that Malychia (sic Malachi) Reeves was her former husband.
And thus began the incredible fiction of Fortune Rhodes which should serve as a cautionary tale in the use of abstracted documents rather than a full transcription when publishing - in print or on the world wide web.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Another Mystery: William C Reeves of Independence County Arkansas

The family of Jordan Reeves Jr appeared in Independence County in 1825. William C Reeves first appears there in 1834, so I would naturally want to determine whether he is of the Jordan Reeves clan. I have found little to nothing to connect him -- his origins remain unknown.

Records for William C Reeves in Independence County are sparse. This much is known:

He first appears in an 1834 Arkansas tax list in Black River Township, Independence County.

The next record of him is his marriage to Martha Ann Tucker on 31 July 1836 in Independence County, Arkansas. Entries in marriage records are variously spelled as Rives, Reeves, and Reves. The marriage was announced in the Arkansas Gazette on August 23, 1836, per

In Independence county, on the 31st ult. by Hon. Wm. Arnold, Capt. Wm. C. Reans [sic], to Miss Martha Ann Tucker, daughter of Peyton Tucker, Esq.

The title "Capt" would seem to imply military service.

William had died by the April 1840 term of the Independence County probate court when the administrator of his estate, Peyton Tucker, petitioned the court to discharge his duties as executor, having found assets totaling $84. The same petition states that William C Reaves left a widow and one child.

His widow Martha Reeves appears in the 1840 census age 20-29 with one male < 5, one male 15-19, one female 10-14. The two older children are not likely to be Martha's. Their parents are unknown.

Oddly, the 1850 census records identify a daughter Sarah A Reeves, born about 1838, and living with her mother who is remarried to William Hooper. No male child has been found. Sarah A Reeves, born about 1838 in Arkansas, married Adam Allen on 23 Feb 1860.

While William Reeves and Jordan Reeves both lived in Black River Township at the same time, it was a large area and we know that proximity is no indicator of a relationship. William Reeves mother-in-law (step-mother of Martha Tucker) was a Magness and Jordan Reeves was married to a Magness. However, in that period, it would have hard not to have a Magness connection, especially in that sparsely populated area.

Friday, February 10, 2012

George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia

It was previously believed that George Reeves who settled in the New River area of Virginia and North Carolina around 1767 was descended from Henry Reeves of Essex County, Virginia through his son Thomas and came to the New River area from Chesterfield County, Virginia. After DNA tests on several of the descendants of George Reeves matched descendants of William Reeves of Wake County, North Carolina, research of that area has produced numerous deeds and other court documents which appear to pertain to this George Reeves.

There are countless Johnston County deeds circa 1762 to 1765 with references to both George Reeves and Richard Burton, believed to be the father of Jane Burton Reeves, such as: Richard Burton, Johnston County, to Samuel Peek, Buckingham Co, Virginia, 314 Acres in Johnston County, the plantation whereon said Burton now lives beginning at Wm. Reeves corner red oak on the bank of Neuse river, running thence on his line S23½ยบ W crossing Ellobies creek several times 98p to his corner pine: S23½ W 160p to a corner pine: S65 E210p to a pine: N24 E184p crossing Gut several times to a blazed White Oak on Neuse River, just above the mouth of said Gut: up said River by several meanders to 1st sta…houses, orchard &c…Ann Burton∗ wife to Richard Burton examined privately by Lod. Tanner Esq. Wit: John Alston, Thomas Webb, Wm. Bradford, Johnston County, October 13, 1763.

The exact family relationship between George Reeves and William Reeves of Wake County is currently undocumented but the genetic match is close enough that they may have been brothers. Among the many details that connect these two families is their use of the name REVES rather than the many other variations - Reeves, Reaves, Rives. William Reeves and his father William, Sr. both signed their name "Reves". George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia and his heirs also used the Reves spelling of the name. In subsequent generations, many descendants of both families changed to the more commonly used spelling of Reeves while some descendants maintained the original spelling of Reves.

It appears as though both Richard Burton and George Reeves sold their property in Johnston County around 1765 which would coincide with the appearance of both men in the New River area around 1767. Additionally a Johnston County court order of July 15, 1766 wherein Timothy Shaw was replacing George Reeves as overseer of the road would presumably be a result of George Reeves' removal from Johnston County.

From The Virginia magazine of history and biography, pub 1922 by the Virginia Historical Society - "...It was originally surveyed in 1753 for Peter Jefferson, Thomas and David Meriwether and Thomas Walker. It was the Peach Bottom tract. John Cox settled there the same year. George Collins and George Reeves settled there in 1767."

In George Reeves' deposition for Beavins (Blevins) vs. Newell — O. S. 174; N. S. 62 — Bill, 27th September, 1805, he stated that he was present in the New River area as early as 1767.
George Reaves was on the 1771, 1772, 1773 and 1774 tithables lists of Cornelius Roberts in extinct Fincastle County, Virginia.

He appears on the 1787 tax list of Montgomery County with 100 acres. In 1789 he was living in Grassy Creek/Fox Creek area of Grayson County near Daniel, Elisha and John Blevins, Robert Osborne and Ezeiel Young. The New River area changed state and county designations several times and by 1793, George and his son, Jesse, are listed in the tax lists of Wythe County, Virginia.

As George "Reaves", he received a grant for 200 aces on the waters of the New River in Montgomery County on May 18, 1796 and another for 100 acres on the north side of that river adjoining his own line on the west on May 30, 1796.

The children of George and Jane Burton Reeves were Jesse, William, Anne who married Bartholomew Austin, Mary who married Joseph Doughton, Susanna who married William Tolliver, George Jr., Lucy who married David Cox, Jr., Prudence who married Andrew Cox, Charity who married Zachariah Osborne, John and Elizabeth who married Samuel Phipps.

∗ The wife of Richard Burton was previously believed to be Mary; however all records for Richard Burton prior to around 1765 list his wife as Ann. In Apr 1765: Exhibited into court, a sale and inventory of the estate of James Farmer, decd, by Mary Burton, Executrix. Recorded in Johnston Co, NC County Court Minutes. Research by Burton Family researchers indicates that Ann Burton died sometime before 1765 after which Richard Burton married Mary, the widow of James Farmer who had died in 1761 in Johnston County.

Other posts in this blog about George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia

New Data on George Reeves of Grayson County
Wilkes County's George Reeves Mystery
The Rest of the Story
Another Episode of the Epps Wife Fantasy
More Reeves Signatures

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Another Soldier of the Revolution

On the 20th of September, 1819 in the District of West Tennessee, Samuel Reeves, a resident of Lincoln County, made a declaration regarding his Revolutionary War service. Samuel stated that he was sixty-six years old at that time making his year of birth 1753. He did not indicate where he was born or give any information regarding his parents but did state that he enlisted in May of 1775 in Surry County, North Carolina.

Samuel's statement in support of his pension states that he enlisted for a term of two years and six months in a company commanded by Captain Joseph Philips in the Regiment commanded by Colonel Thomas Polk of the North Carolina line. He recounted being in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown, serving until November of 1777 when he was discharged in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. His statement of 1819 states he was discharged in New Jersey while the 1826 statement gives Pennsylvania as the location.

The pension file also includes statements by both his wife, Susannah Brack Reeves, and her sister, Patsy Brack Worfe, giving details of his marriage to Susannah in Wake County, North Carolina on the 20th of November 1785.

Samuel is listed in the 1790 census of Granville County, North Carolina living in a household adjacent to Samuel Brack who was presumably Susannah's father.

Although Samuel's parents are unknown, he was named as executor of the 1803 will of his sister Elizabeth's husband Benjamin Coates recorded in Iredell County, North Carolina Will Book 1, Page 82. Another sister, Lucretia Reeves, was the wife of George Allen, Jr. and the marriage is said to be recorded in a family bible as detailed in The Allens of the Southern States.

There is no definitive listing of the children of Samuel and Susannah Reeves although a son, Malachi, is named in the Revolutionary War pension statement. A William Reeves also gave a statement for that pension application and is believed to be another son which is consistent with the ages of children in census records but no relationship is stated.

Although proximity is certainly not proof of a family connection, Allen Reeves and Samuel R. Reeves who are also found in Lincoln County at the same time that the Samuel Reeves' family was living there, are believed to be his sons. An Isaac Reeves was also living in the same community at that time but again, there is no proof of a connection. Isaac moved on to Lawrence County, Alabama and died in Itawamba County, Mississippi in August of 1858.

Samuel's son, Malachi Reeves, his wife Sinah Swanner and their family migrated to Carroll County, Arkansas, as did some of the children of Samuel R. Reeves whose wife, Nancy, is listed as a widow in the 1860 Lincoln County, Tennessee census.

The widow's pension of Susannah Brack Reeves gives Samuel's date of death as the 12th of October 1834.

There don't appear to be any participants in the Reeves DNA Project from this lineage which would be a great help in determining from which Reeves' family they descend.

Transcription of the pension statements of Samuel Reeves are available at Southern Campaign Revolutionary War Pension Statements & Rosters.