Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bennett Reeves of Wilkes County, Georgia

Gravestone of John D. Reeves, Jr. in Stewart County, GeorgiaIt wasn’t my intention to write another post about the Maryland Reeves family but in the course of researching Reeves in Georgia, I have recently found several interesting items in regard to Bennett Reeves who left Charles County, Maryland after 1790 and relocated to Wilkes County, Georgia. On 2 Nov 1791, Joshua Hill and his wife Amey sold 300 acres on the waters of Newford creek in Wilkes County to Bennett Reeves. One of the testators to that deed was John Dyson, Bennett's cousin who was also from Charles County, Maryland.

Previously, Thomas Reeves who married Bethany Stinson in Wilkes County, Georgia in 1808 was believed to have been the son of Thomas Reeves the son of Malachi and Fortune Reeves of Guilford County, North Carolina, but the statements by three of his children who lived until the 1880 census contradict that theory. This supposition appears to have been based upon proximity due to the fact that other members of the family of Malachi Reeves had relocated to Wilkes County.

In the 1880 census, Hickerson Reeves, Thomas Reeves and Caroline Reeves Yeager, children of Thomas Reeves and Bethany Stinson, as well as Bennett F. Reeves and John D. Reeves, Jr., sons of John D. Reeves, each gave information that their father was born in Maryland. This confirms that they were grandchildren of Bennett Reeves, son of Thomas Reeves and Mary Murphy of Charles County, Maryland and identifies both Thomas Reeves and John D. Reeves as his sons. Bennett Reeves also had at least two daughters according to the census of 1820, but neither has been identified.

Gravestone of Thomas Reeves in Herring Cemetery, Morgan County, AlabamaAdditionally an 1816 deed for 33-3/4 acres in Guilford County on Mairs Fork of the Haw River from Thomas Reeves to Leven Covey describes Thomas Reeves as "of the State of North Carolina & County of Guilford". This indicates that as late as 1816, Thomas Reeves was still living in Guilford County on Mairs Fork of Haw River. This was undoubtably the same land willed to him by his grandfather Richard Burton in his 1799 will.

Following Bennett Reeves death sometime after 1820, both of his sons left the Wilkes County area. John D. Reeves is next found in the western portion of Georgia in Meriwether County where his descendants eventually migrated further southwest into Stewart County. Thomas and Bethany Stinson Reeves along with their children were found in Morgan County, Alabama after leaving Wilkes County.

Again, this is another instance of the “perils of proximity”. In the course of Reeves research, we repeatedly find two or even three different Reeves families and lineages living in the same county so it should never been assumed that all the families in a particular county are related.

(Gravestone photos by Barbara Parks of the Herring Cemetery in Morgan County, Alabama and Christine Thacker of Red Hill Christian Church Cemetery in Stewart County, Georgia for Find a Grave.)

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