Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The search for Avery Reeves continues…

In a previous post I mentioned the theory that Avery Reeves was the son of Jonathan Reeves and Nancy Hooker of Granville and Wake counties of North Carolina. Not only Avery’s parents are a mystery but his wife and children are as well.

The 1790 census of Wake County lists a Jonathan Reeves with 2 Males over 16, 5 Males under 16 and 4 Females. Jonathan Reeves is undoubtably the same Jonathan who was first listed as a tithe of Malachi Reeves in Granville County in 1762. In 1769, he married Nancy Hooker in Granville County and during the 1780’s is listed on the tax lists of Beaver Dam Creek in southern Granville County just north of the Neuse River. By the 1790 census he is living on the south side of the Neuse River in the Fish Dam community of Wake County along with his presumed brother-in-law Richard Banks. Richard Banks married Karenhapuch Hooker on 16 Jun 1774 in Granville County after the death of his first wife, Ruth Hooker, who was probably another daughter of John Hooker.

Grave of Nancy Reeves Handly at Old Beans Creek CemeteryThe first record of Avery is on 15 Sep 1795 when he was bondsman for the marriage of Ruth Reeves, believed to be his sister, and John Sanders in Wake County. Avery arrived in Franklin County, Tennessee before 1812 when he is listed in the tax lists there. In Franklin County, John Sanders was a neighboring property owner, his land being adjacent to Avery’s in deed records.

Prior to his arrival in Franklin County, Avery lived briefly in York County, South Carolina where he is recorded in the 1810 census. Avery is found in that census living in the Rich Hill community among other descendants of Malachi Reeves of Granville.

Recently, when transcribing a Franklin County deed of Avery Reeves, I noticed that one of the witnesses was Hance McWhorter. I found this especially interesting since one of Avery’s presumed sons was Hance Henderson Reeves. An internet search for Hance McWhorter revealed that he was the son of Hance McWhorter, Sr. Additionally, I found that Hance, Jr.'s sister Mary had married a John Henderson in York County, South Carolina and one of their sons was Hance Henderson.

Rebecca, the youngest daughter of Hance McWhorter, Sr. was supposedly born circa 1775 in South Carolina. There currently seems to be no credible documentation available regarding Rebecca's spouse and she was known to have still been single in 1800 about the time Avery would have arrived in South Carolina. There is a documented connection between Rebecca McWhorter and the Reeves' family in York County, South Carolina for Rebecca was a witness in Nov of 1800 when John Henderson (her brother-in-law) was plaintiff in a suit against Wiley, William and William Reeves, Sr.

Interestingly, the death of a Rebecca Reeves, age 85 and born 1775 in South Carolina, is recorded in the U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules Index in Franklin County, Tennessee in Sept. 1860.

Much more research is needed to prove Avery’s parents as well as his spouses and children, but based upon current research and a vast amount of circumstantial data, the following are believed to be some of the children of Avery Reeves:
William Reeves, b. 1795 in North Carolina, d. 1862 in Franklin, Tennessee

Jonathan Reeves, b. circa 1801

Nancy Reeves, b. 1804 in South Carolina, d. 1857 in Franklin, Tennessee, m. William Claiborne Handly

Sarah Virginia Reeves, b. 1810 in South Carolina, d. 1878 in Leon County, Texas, m. James G. Dickey

Hance Henderson Reeves, b. 1814 in Tennessee, d. 1861 in Franklin County, Tennessee, m. Amanda Bean

Check back – I’ve only just begun to search the records of Franklin County and have lots more documents to find. Hopefully some of them will produce more information about this family.

(Photo of Nancy Reeves Handly's gravestone by Patti Campbell of Estill Springs, TN for Find A Grave.)

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