Friday, May 18, 2012

A Multitude of Myths

There is probably no other Reeves' family about whom there are more unfounded myths reverberating around the world wide web than that of William Reeves who died in Granville County, North Carolina in 1751. Whether all of these myths and the associated misinformation were solely the products of The Reeves Review, is unknown. Many of them can be traced to that publication but may have been submitted to Mrs. Emma Reeves by others and are not based upon her own research.

Roanoke Rapids area of North Carolina
William Reeves is recorded in the area of Chowan County, North Carolina prior to 1720. He had lived in Chowan, Bertie and Edgecombe counties, dying in Granville County in 1751. His descendants spread to Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and countless other states across the United States. The participants included in Group 3 of the Reeves DNA Project are descended from this family. The following are just a few of the incorrect beliefs associated with this family.

Myth #1
That William Reeves name was William Rives, William Cabell Rives or William Cabell Reeves - Nowhere in the historical documentation of this individual's life is there any record of a middle name or initial, much less the middle name Cabell. William Cabell Rives (1793-1868) was an American lawyer, politician and diplomat from Albemarle County, Virginia. He represented Virginia in both the U.S. House and Senate and also served as the U.S. minister to France. That family is a completely different DNA lineage and is not related to the Reeves family of Granville, North Carolina.

Myth #2
That William Reeves who died in Granville County, North Carolina was descended from the Rives family of Dorset in Great Britain - Descendants of the Rives family of Surry County, Virginia as detailed in the book Reliques of the Ryves descend from that family and are a different DNA lineage (DNA Group 8) of the Reeves DNA Project. See Ancestry tree for that family who descend from Timothy Rives (1625-1692).

Myth #3
That William Reeves' wives were Martha Wylie and Margaret Burgess - There are no available documents in marriage, probate, or land records that support these names with the exception of the given name Margaret. Margaret was named as William Reeves' wife in his will but there is nothing to indicate her maiden name. The name Burgess seems to have been applied simply because it was used as a given name for her son, Burgess Reeves, born 1746. The surname Wylie speculated as the name of his first wife, is presumably based upon the use of the given name Wylie in succeeding generations of this Reeves' family.

Myth #4
That Isaac Reeves of Wilkes County, North Carolina was the son, Isaac, named in William Reeves 1751 will - Based upon the DNA of Isaac Reeves' descendants, there is no family connection between these families. Descendants of Isaac Reeves are represented in DNA Group 6 of the Reeves DNA project. It is far more likely that the Isaac Reeves who lived in Caswell County from its inception in the 1770's until around 1781 when he is described in a Caswell County deed as "of Randolph County" was the son of William Reeves named in his will. However, even that has not been proven but is a more reasonable assumption.

Myth #5
That Samuel Reeves of Rowan County, North Carolina was "Isaac Samuel Reeves" and the son of William Reeves - Samuel Reeves of Rowan County was the son of Thomas Reeves and Mary Murphy of Charles County, Maryland. This is substantiated by birth records in Maryland, the published history of Rowan County, and other documents that connect Samuel Reeves of Rowan County to other Maryland family members.

Myth #6
That William Reeves who died in York County, South Carolina in 1821 was William Reeves, Jr., son of William Reeves who died in Granville County in 1751 - The son of William Reeves would have been approximately 110 years old in 1821, having been born around 1710. The only William Reeves living in Granville County throughout the years 1755 to around 1790 when he moved to South Carolina was the son of Malachi Reeves. William is listed as a tithe of Malachi's in Granville County tax records beginning in 1755.

Myth #7
That William Reeves with wife Hannah Smith who died in Wilkes County, Georgia in 1816 was the son of William Reeves' grandson Malachi Reeves - There is no record that Malachi and Fortune Reeves had a child William and NO record in Guilford County, North Carolina of his existence. William Reeves, the son of James Reeves and brother of Malachi was the William Reeves who died in Wilkes County in 1816. His wife is identified as Hannah in several Guilford County deeds as early as 1784. James Reeves' son William was incorrectly identified as the William Reeves who died in Madison County, Kentucky in 1821. That William Reeves is a different DNA lineage (DNA Group 6) and is documented in the records of Wake County, North Carolina as not having been a member of this family. As for Hannah Smith, it was a William RIVES that she married in Mecklenburg County in 1820 (4 years after the William Reeves of Wilkes County's death). See copy of marriage license at right (note his signature is Rives).

And the most outrageous myth of all, Fortune Rhodes, deserved it's very own post. See A Reeves Fiction - Fortune Rhodes.

As lengthy as this post is, it is only the tip of the iceberg for there are many more fictions regarding this family in numerous sources. With the availability of DNA testing and original probate documents online, we can only hope that these myths will eventually begin to fade from the mainstream of Reeves' genealogy.

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