Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Back to Christian County, Kentucky

Previously Carolyn and I collaborated on a three part series of posts regarding the various Reeves' families who were early settlers to Christian County, Kentucky. Part 2 of that series discussed James Reeves, John Reeves, a somewhat older Reeves' individual, William Reeves, and William Reeves with wife Susan Hunter who was said, by her descendants, to be full-blood Cherokee.

There is no documentation in Christian County to connect these Reeves' families but James Reeves is known to have married Nancy Goodwin, daughter of Jesse Goodwin previously of Pendleton, South Carolina whose origins are said to be in Greenville. Both a James Reeves and a John Reeves are recorded in the 1790 census of Greenville County, South Carolina. They appear to have lived in an area claimed by both Spartanburg and Greenville since some deeds state the land was in Spartanburg yet were recorded in Greenville County deed records. Also in Spartanburg in the 1790 census are two William Reeves.

In the Greenville County deed records, John Reeves or Reaves (listed both ways in the deed book) sold 58 acres on George Woolf's Creek on the waters of the Saluda River in Spartanburg to George Woolf in June of 1793. One of the witnesses to this deed was William Reaves. Also in the Greenville County land records in Grant Book C, at page 291, James G. Reaves was awarded a 1794 grant (pictured above) for 237 acres on both sides of Beaver Dam Creek in Spartanburg County.

I subsequently discovered the 1812 will of this George Woolf in Greenville County. He named his three nephews William, Ewel and John Reaves among the legatees. These nephews were described as the sons of "his brother" (presumably his brother-in-law) John Reaves. The will creates the impression that John Reeves was deceased by 1812 but does not specifically state that.

John Reeves' sons appear to have been living with George Woolf at the time of his death in 1813. The only other members of his household had been a wife and two daughters in the 1790 census, but in the 1810 census of Greenville County he is listed with 3 Males 16-25 and 1 Female 16-25 (probably Elizabeth, wife of Ewel) in addition to George Woolf himself.

Several members of the family of George Woolf also migrated to Christian County, Kentucky in the early 1800's. Another nephew and legatee in the will of George Woolf, Henry Woolf, Jr., migrated to Kentucky where he was granted 200 acres in Christian County on the Muddy Fork of the Little River. Land was surveyed on January 24, 1799 (Kentucky Land Warrants Bk. 17 p.305). Henry Woolf, Jr. appeared on the Christian County, Kentucky tax rolls for years 1798-1801 but moved back to South Carolina in 1802.

It appears that John Reeves joined these Woolf family members in the migration to Kentucky but died shortly thereafter and his children returned to South Carolina possibly with Henry Woolf, Jr. in 1802.

We still don't have definitive proof of the extended family of any of these Reeves' individuals, but thanks to the will of George Woolf and other Greenville/Spartanburg County records, we are beginning to have a better idea as to their origins prior to their arrival in Christian County, Kentucky.

Once again - it would be wonderful if more male Reeves' descendants from these families would participate in the Reeves' DNA Project.


  1. Hi, does anyone know of a connection between Susan Hunter/Reeves (said to be full blood Cherokee) and son, Green B Reeves to a Ulysses Reeves, married to Mary Moreland Reeves, buried in Piney cemetery in Adair County, Ok?

    1. Jan,

      I've never run across anything for a Ulysses Reeves in Oklahoma. There is a descendant of an Ambrose Reeves who was born in Tennessee (per his son's 1880 census) and lived in Arkansas whose DNA matches the descendant of Green B. Reeves. Ambrose died before 1850 and his wife is found in Newton (I think I'm remembering correctly) County AR as a widow in that census. Almost nothing is known of Ambrose but I mention it because Newton County is in NW Arkansas and close to the Oklahoma line which might be significant.

      One other recent item that has come to light is the appearance of someone who may be the elder William Reeves, probable father of William Reeves who married Susan Hunter. An unknown William Reeves was present in the Watauga settlement before appearing in South Carolina:

      Reeves, William . Was certified to the county Court of Frederick in Commonwealth of Virginia to be a man of peaceable and honest behavior and that his wife, Mary Reeves, is the daughter of Poter Wolf, Dec'd, who formerly lived in Commonwealth of VA.
      Washington TN County Court Min 1/144. [This entry is NOT dated] Although this entry isn't dated other entries in the same minute book are from 1778.

      Deed records in Spartanburg SC appear to be for the same individual and this additional connection to the Woolf family is very interesting.