Monday, April 23, 2012

Margaret aka Margaret Burgess

Margaret, named as his wife in the 1751 will of William Reeves of Granville County, North Carolina is repeatedly shown as Margaret Burgess, yet always without a source for the maiden name Burgess. Very little is known of Margaret other than what is available from William Reeves' will and the Granville County court record of Jun 1754 binding her daughter Eliza to William Howlet.

William Reeves’ will, written on August 2, 1751, states “I give & bequeth to my wife Margarett Reeves one Shilling Sterling in lieu of her Dower of thirds”. The will contains no explanation of his reasons for leaving no bequest other than one shilling to the widow instead of the customary one third of the estate. On the 3rd of December 1751 when the will was presented in court, it was recorded against the objections of the widow, Margaret.

1751 Will of William Reeves Page 11751 Will of William Reeves Page 2

On 7 June 1754, Eliz'a Reeves, "supposed to be the child of Margaret Reeves," was living "at George Andersons" in Granville County when she was bound to William Howlet until she was eighteen years of age [Granville County Bastardy Bonds].
In Granville County on 16 January 1771, Patience the base born child of Eliz'a Reeves, was bound as an apprentice to Valentine White until 21 years, to become a spinster [Granville County Bastardy Bonds]. A Granville County bond of 19 December 1796 records the marriage of Patience to Augustine Anderson.
A new North Carolina tax law enacted in 1749 described taxables as all and every White Person, Male, of the Age of Sixteen Years, and upwards, all Negroes, Mulattoes, Mustees Male or Female, and all Persons of Mixt Blood, to the Fourth Generation, of the Age of Twelve Years, and upwards, and all white Persons intermarrying with any Negro, mulatto, or Mustee, or other Person of mixt Blood,...shall be deemed Taxables...[Leary & Stirewalt, North Carolina Research, Genealogy and Local History, chapter 13]. Thus, free African American and Native American households can be identified by the taxation of their female family members over 12 years of age.

In 1712 all fifteen members of the Anderson and Richards families were freed and given 640 acres in Norfolk County, Virginia, by the will of John Fulcher. In an effort to "prevent their correspondence with other slaves" Fulcher's executor, Lewis Conner, by a deed dated 20 March 1712/3, swapped their land in Norfolk County with land on Welshes Creek in Chowan County, North Carolina [Chowan DB B#1:109].

It is unknown whether George Anderson was Native American, black or mulatto but in the Granville tax lists his entire family is routinely listed as "other free persons" and includes the females of the household as in the 1754 tax list of Robert Harris - Anderson, George and his wife and son Jerh: and Daughter Kate 0 4.

William Reeves was recorded as early as February of 1718 in Chowan County, North Carolina where he and his son-in-law Robert Hicks were said to have been traders among the indian tribes in addition to being property owners. Accordingly it is not unreasonable to believe that his first wife, as well as Margaret who is believed to be a second wife, could have been Native American and therefore considered "mixed-race".

Malachi and James were two of the older sons of William Reeves and their mother is generally believed to be William Reeves' first wife. Malachi Reeves was a "Black" taxable in the 1752 Granville County tax list of Jonathan White [CR 044.701.19]. He was a white tithable with his sons William and Jonathan, John Allin, and one slave in Samuel Benton's list for Fishing Creek in 1762 [NCGSJ XIII:25]. Additionally, Malachi's brother James Reeves was also a "black" taxable with his son James Reeves and "negro" Mary Anderson in the 1758 Granville County list of Nathaniel Harris.

Hopefully someone will eventually be able to determine just exactly who Margaret Reeves was, and if there is any validity to the use of the maiden name of Burgess.

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