Thursday, April 12, 2012

Craven County's John Reeves

A John Reeves whose origins are another of the many mysteries of Reeves' research, died in Craven County, North Carolina in September of 1790. He left a will written on July 13, 1790 naming wife, Courtney (incorrectly spelled "Coatney" in the will), older daughters from a prior marriage and the younger children born to he and Courtney after their marriage circa 1784. Courtney Taylor was the widow of James Reed who had died in 1782 in Craven County.

The will of John Reeves named his daughters Elizabeth Cheshire, Jean Reeves and Mary Wilson, in addition to Jestenon (Justinion, later called Jesse Tinion), Francis and "the child that my wife is big with now" (Lucius Reeves).

John Reeves' will signed with his markSeveral years ago a book, "The River Reeves" was written which details the descendants of John Reeves. At one time, a researcher involved with that project indicated to me that there had been some thought that this John Reeves was part of the Reeves' family of Wake County, North Carolina, but that is doubtful and seems to be based solely upon proximity. John Reeves of Craven County, unlike William Reeves of Wake County and his descendants as well as their close relatives in Grayson County, Virginia who descend from George Reeves, Sr. all spelled their names as Reves and were able to read and write. Later generations of the family began to use the more common variation "Reeves" but throughout the 18th century and until around 1850, they always spelled their name "Reves" although the same cannot be said of county clerks and census takers.

Courtney Reeves was listed in the 1790 census of Craven County, but within the next few years, she and the four children from her marriage to James Reed along with the Reeves children moved to Baldwin County, Georgia. In Georgia, Courtney drew land for her children in the land lottery. Courtney died in Hancock County, Georgia and her children eventually moved on to Alabama.

The only other Reeves found in Craven County during this time period is a Nancy Reeves for whose estate an inventory was filed in 1797. This Nancy Reeves' identity is unknown and no other Reeves are named in the estate documents.

Interestingly, in the course of my recent research of Reeves in Charles County, Maryland as discussed in a previous post, I found the 1772 deed for a tract of land referred to as Basford Manor in Charles County by John Reeves of Halifax County, North Carolina to Justinion Jordan of Charles County. John Reeves was the son of Upgate Reeves of Charles County and is found in numerous other documents along with Justinion Jordan. There is, however, no known family connection between the two individuals. The identity of John Reeves' spouse and children, if any, is also unknown. He had obviously removed from Charles County sometime after 1760 and was living in Halifax County in North Carolina where he is believed to have died although there is no documentation to that effect.

Could it be that the use of the name "Justinion" for his child indicates a connection between the John Reeves of Craven, NC and John Reeves of Halifax, NC/Charles, MD? We now have another enigma to add to the ever increasing list of mysteries to be solved.

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