Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Maryland Connection

Over the last several years when researching Rowan County, North Carolina in order to separate fact from fiction in regard to the Reeves’ families of that county, I was repeatedly directed to The History of Rowan County, North Carolina originally published by J.J. Bruner, Salisbury, N.C., 1881.
From Page 227: “The last wife of Michael Braun of the ''Stone House" was Mrs. Eleanora Reeves. Mrs. Reeves was a Maryland lady, named Wakefield, and was first married to William Reeves, when quite young, by whom she had four children — Thomas, Samuel, Sally, and Nancy. Samuel was the late Samuel Reeves, the father of Dr. Samuel Reeves and of Mrs. Sarah Johnston. Nancy Reeves married a Mr. Kiestler, and was the mother of Mrs. Jane Price, and the grandmother of Robert Wakefield Price and others, now of Salisbury.”

Page 230: “Joseph Hughes left one son, Hudson Hughes, who married the daughter of Col. Andrew Balfour. The daughter of this couple, Mary, became the wife of Samuel Reeves, Esq., and the mother of the late Dr. Samuel Reeves, and of Mrs. Sarah Johnston, now of Cincinnati.

Page 241: The War of 1812 – “Patriotic speeches were made, and volunteers stepped into the ranks of the recruiting officers. Barracks were erected on the eastern side of Crane Creek, on the plantation owned by the late Samuel Reeves…
There seemed no way to correlate the commonly held beliefs regarding the Reeves residents of that county with the published history. An 1801 will for a Samuel Reeves was recorded in Rowan County, as well as guardian records for Nancy and Sally Reeves above, the daughters of William Reeves who died before 1804. I have always been puzzled by these passages since it had been assumed that the Reeves of Rowan County were descendants of William Reeves of Granville County, North Carolina.

Grave of Josias ReevesSeveral members of that family had lived briefly in Rowan County in the 1760’s in an area that became Guilford in 1770. William Reeves’ son James Reeves along with his sons Jeremiah and William in addition to several other unidentified Reeves individuals – Benjamin, Samuel and a William Reeves with son George. However, from 1770 until the mid 1790’s no Reeves are recorded among the taxpayers or in the deed indexes of Rowan County.

I recently happened upon information regarding the family of Thomas Reeves of Charles County, Maryland when researching Reeves in Ohio for the Reeves Project. Josias Reeves, son of Thomas Reeves and Mary Murphy of Charles County, Maryland, had migrated to Ross County, Ohio around 1804. Josiah Reeves' obituary, as published in the Scioto Gazette, Chillicothe, Ohio, and reprinted in the Ohio State Journal, Columbus, on October 6, 1841, reads as follows:
"At his residence in Pickaway County, Ohio, on the 22nd day of September, Mr. Josias Reeves, Senr. a soldier of the War of Independence, in the 81st year of his age. Mr. Reeves was born in Charles County in the colony of Maryland and in October 1760 O.S. and after the Revolution settled in Culpeper County, Virginia, when he emigrated to the state of Ohio in 1804.
The writer of this has heard him say that he was never in debt at any time, five dollars - never had a lawsuit of any kind, either as plaintiff or defendant. He lived as far as possible, peaceably with all men and 'owing no man anything'.
He left an aged widow with whom he lived for sixty years, and many descendants who hold his memory in grateful remembrance. Mr. Reeves was for thirty-seven years a member of the Methodist Church."
As I began to search Charles County, Maryland probate records for documentation of Josias’ origins, listed among his siblings in the probate documents of Thomas Reeves estate in 1778 were Samuel, born 1749, and William, born 1770, as well as Bennett, born 1766, who had migrated to Wilkes County, Georgia at around the same time Samuel and William relocated to Rowan in North Carolina. The three siblings appear to have remained in Maryland until after their mother Mary's death which was recorded in 1793, with Samuel and William arriving in Rowan County by 1795 and Bennett in Wilkes County, Georgia by 1800.

Finally the Rowan County published history corresponds with historical documents and the Reeves in that county can now be correctly recorded. As always, I have to comment that it would be wonderful for someone from this lineage to participate in the Reeves DNA Project and further clarify their history.


(Photo by "schcrochet" for FindAGrave)

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