Saturday, March 24, 2012

Uncle Tommy Reeves of Malden, Missouri

Thomas Bird Reeves settled in Dunklin County, Missouri in 1859. He was the son of William T. Reeves (originally spelled Reves) and Michell Hoskins of Halifax County, Virginia born on the 26th February, 1819. In 1829, his father died leaving a widow and seven children.

Thomas Bird Reeves
Thomas Bird Reeves
After William’s death, Michell Hoskins Reeves took her seven children and migrated west into Tennessee along with her family where her father, Thomas C. Hoskins died around July of 1839 in Rutherford County, Tennessee.

It was in Rutherford County that Thomas Bird Reeves married Louisa E. Ford* in 1848. The extended Reeves’ family then moved on to Gibson County in northwestern Tennessee where several of his sisters married as did his brother Peter May Reeves.

By the census of 1860, Thomas and his family were recorded in the census of Dunklin County, Missouri. The majority of his extended family remained in Gibson County, Tennessee, where his mother Michell Hoskins Reeves died in 1878. Thomas Bird Reeves lived in Dunklin County, Missouri for the next forty years where his children and grandchildren grew up and married. According to his biography published in The History of Dunklin County, Missouri - "Uncle Tommie, as he is affectionately called, owned and occupied one of the first business houses in Malden but has been principally a farmer." Some years after Thomas moved across the Mississippi River into Missouri, his brother Peter migrated to Greene County, Arkansas which is just across the state line from Dunklin County.

Obituary of Thomas Bird Reeves published in the Weatherford Democrat of Parker County, Texas on the 9th January, 1896:
Thos. B. Reeves died last Sunday morning, Jan. 5th, near Greenwood, aged 76 years, of general debility or paralysis. He was sick only about 36 hours. He moved to this county from Missouri last November. He has been a member of the Missionary Baptist church since 1862. He was a member of the Cotton Hill lodge No. 306, I.O.O.F. of Missouri since 1874. His remains were interred in the Greenwood cemetery Monday, under the auspices of the Odd Fellows of this city. Rev. Mr. Tenison of the Greenwood settlement preached the funeral discourse in the house of the deceased’s son, where Mr. Reeves died.

Family of Thomas Bird Reeves - his widow, Louisa Ford Reeves on far left
The above photo contains members of Thomas Bird Reeves family - (Back Row) Tom Sipes, Belle Keedy Stevens holding Herbert Stevens Jr, Charles F. Moore; (Front Row) Louisa E. Ford Reeves, widow of Thomas Bird Reeves, Minnie Stevens Sipes holding Rosina Sipes, Lou Reeves Moore, Bernice Stevens and Clara Stevens.

My own grandfather, William Hubbard Reeves, was born in Ballard County, Kentucky and also migrated across the Mississippi River into New Madrid County, Missouri as an adult. I often wonder if he might have been aware that he was closely related to these Reeves’ cousins who lived just a few counties away.

* Recently I found a death certificate for one of the children of Thomas Bird Reeves which lists his wife's name as Louisa Elizabeth Ford. Somewhere in my mother's 30+ years of Reeves' genealogy she had found something indicating her middle name was Emetine which now seems doubtful. Her name was very probably Elizabeth, not Emetine, and I'm trying to sift through all the various data files to find the source of the name Emetine so I can correct all my family records.

(Many, many thanks to Sarah McEachern for the photos of Thomas Bird Reeves and his family.)


  1. I came across your blog purely by accident while doing some research on Dunklin County Missouri(where I live). I came across this post about "Uncle Tommy" and became interested b/c I am also doing genealogy research on my husbands family the "Simpson's". I have found a Reeves connection while researching them. My husbands gg-granfather is Willis Reeves 1880 census Woodruff County Arkansas, I have not been able to find who his mother and father were. All I have is from this census that his father was born in North Carolina. So, was wondering if there could be some connection to your Reeves from N. Carolina?

    1. Sheila,

      Thanks for the note.

      Your husband's Willis Reeves, b. 1850, isn't part of my North Carolina Reeves' family. However, I believe he is “John Willis Reeves”, son of Jesse Jefferson Reeves of Buncombe County, North Carolina who migrated to Crawford County, Missouri. Follow this link to the Reeves Project and the page for Jesse Jefferson Reeves -

      There is also another post in this blog regarding early families to Missouri who came shortly after the Louisiana Purchase acquired that territory that mentions Jesse Jefferson Reeves. That post is