Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Mysterious Reeve Family in Texas

On a recent visit to the Boerne City Cemetery just north of San Antonio in Kendall County, Texas, I happened upon the grave of Nannie Hazel Reeve. She died at just 28 years old. There doesn't seem to be a Texas Death Record for Nannie so the cause of her death is unknown.

Nannie Hazel
Born Jan. 18, 1888
Died July 9, 1916

A search of the 1900 census records, found that Nannie was the daughter of William Thomas and Martha Reeve who were living in neighboring Comal County at that time. William Thomas Reeve was born in Mississippi in 1850, the son of Randolph Reeve and Clementine Ewell. According to the inscription on Randolph Reeve's gravestone, he was born on 2 Dec 1819 in Wilkes County, Georgia. The family was listed in the 1850 census of Amite, Mississippi:

Randolph Reeve moved from Mississippi into Louisiana where he is found in Rapides Parish in 1860 and Grant in 1870. From there he migrated into Texas and is recorded in Comal County in the 1880 census. He died in Blanco County, Texas on 26 Jul 1891.

I've currently been unable to find a documented link to Randolph's parents but he may prove to be the son of a John Reeve, born 1789 in Georgia. From around 1820 John Reeve is recorded in Amite, Mississippi. He married Elizabeth Andrews there on May 20, 1823. Elizabeth was probably a second wife for, based upon census records, it appears that John had two small children, Randolph born 1820 and Thomas born in 1822, prior to his marriage to Elizabeth. To further link John Reeve to Randolph, in the 1850 census William Ewell, brother of Clementine, is his next neighbor.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Peter Reves of Halifax County, Virginia

Peter Reves, born in 1768, was the brother of my 3rd great grandfather, George Reves. Both were sons of William Reeves (originally Reves) of Wake County, North Carolina. The entire family originally spelled their name with one "e" but over time like so many of the various other Reeves' name variations, it became Reeves. The 1858 Death Register of Halifax County gives Peter's age as 90 years old and the 1850 Census of Halifax County confirms that he was born in North Carolina.

Halifax County, Virginia
On 22 Feb 1793, he married Ann "Nancy" Tucker in Lunenberg County, Virginia. Within a few years, Peter had moved from North Carolina to Halifax County, Virginia which is evidenced by his appearance on the 1800 Halifax tax lists. Their four children were all born and married in Halifax County. Their children were William T. Reves, Anna Dennis Reves, Elizabeth Tucker Reves and Peter May Reves.

In addition to farming, Peter was involved in public service for most of his life beginning when he was appointed constable in Capt. Willis Jones' District of Wake County, recorded in the County Court Minutes of September 1792. By September of 1822 when his father's estate was being administered in Madison County, Kentucky, probate documents executed by his brother Charles in Halifax County were certified by Peter as a justice of the Halifax County Court.

Littleton Tazewell, Governor of Virginia, appointed Peter sheriff of Halifax County in December of 1835. There is a bond for $30,000 dollars recorded in Deed Book 42, Page 628 signed by Peter Reves along with 16 other Halifax residents for the faithful fulfillment of his duties as sheriff of Halifax County dated 26 Jan 1836.

It's unknown exactly when Ann Tucker Reves died, but Peter married a second time to Lucy Haliburton on 16 Jun 1834 in Person County, North Carolina. Lucy was many years his junior and apparently a young widow.

In the later years of Peter's life, he was Chairman of the Halifax County Court. The Revolutionary War pension file of Thomas Neal contains the statement of his wife, Elizabeth Brown Neal, regarding her husband's war service which was taken by Peter Reves as Chairman of the County Court on April 1st in 1851. Being in his mid 80's, his signature is somewhat unsteady but is clearly "Peter Reves".

1857 Dower Survey of Peter Reves' Land
Plat of Lucy Reeves' Dower
Estate of Peter Reves
The Halifax County, Virginia death register of 1858 lists the death of Peter "Reaves" on 28 March 1858 at age 90 years. On that record, his father's name is given as William Reeves, no mother is listed and his wife is named as Lucy. The date from the Halifax death record may be delayed by one year and the deaths recorded are from the previous year for the dower portion of Peter Reves' land was surveyed for his widow Lucy in 1857 and recorded in the deed books of Halifax County. Those 1857 documents regarding Lucy Reves' dower also list him as Peter Reves, dec'd. (Halifax VA DB 59 p.299)

Although many remained in Halifax, descendants of Peter Reves and Nancy Tucker Reves migrated to Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Colorado and numerous other points west.

Other posts related to the family of Peter Reves
The Reves Family of Halifax County, Virginia
Uncle Tommy Reeves of Malden, Missouri

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

An Arkansas Reeves' Mystery Solved

When I originally came across the biography of a William Reeves of Montgomery County, Arkansas in Goodspeed's Biographical & Historical Memoirs of Western Arkansas, published in 1891, I had no idea which Reeves' family this particular William Reeves descended from. I saved the biography among all the copious Reeves' data I collect thinking that at some point his ancestry might be identified. And surprisingly, I recently found William in the probate records of the estate of William Reeves, Jr. who died in Smith County, Tennessee circa 1855. His mother died before 1842 when William Reeves, Jr. married again to Jemima Downing in neighboring Allen County, Kentucky.

Reeves-Melson House, built c1882William C. Reeves of Montgomery County, Arkansas was not the small child indicated by the Goodspeed biography for the 1850 census records his presence in his father's household at age 12. His father died sometime before February 1855 when his estate was being probated in the Smith County, Tennessee Court. The subject of this sketch is recorded in those court minutes as having sold his portion of his father's estate to his father's sister, Elizabeth and her husband Horace Oliver and his cousin Rhoda Reeves and her husband Richard C. Sanders. This estate was not finally settled until sometime circa 1870.

The grandfather of William C. Reeves was another William Reeves whose 1837 will was probated in Smith County in January of 1839. He had given a statement for his brother Daniel Reeves in support of Daniel's Revolutionary War pension application. The statements in that pension application record the father of William and Daniel Reeves as John Reeves of South Carolina. According to William's statement they lived in an area he described as above Camden (probably Lancaster County).

From Goodspeed's biography, William was a resident of Montgomery County in Arkansas's Quachita Mountains by 1859. On 14 Feb 1863, he enlisted as a corporal in Company A, Arkansas 1st Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army which operated in Missouri, Indian Territory and Arkansas. He was promoted to Full Sergeant prior to being discharged.

In 1868 he was appointed sheriff of Montgomery County. After his term as sheriff, he homesteaded eighty acres of land adjacent a small branch of the Mazarn Creek. The Reeves-Melson house which he had built around 1882 is still standing and is a historic site. There is also a Reeves' Creek in this area which is presumably named for him.

William C. Reeves died on April 15th, 1920 in Womble, Montgomery County, Arkansas.

The following is the biography as published by Goodspeed but descendants should beware for numerous inaccuracies are found in the biography when compared to the historical records of this family ~
William REEVES The entire life of this gentlemen has been one unmarked by any unusual occurrence outside of the chosen channels to which he has so diligently applied himself, and although he was born in Smith County, Tenn., in 1839, he has been a resident of Montgomery County, Ark., since 1859, and has identified himself with every interest of his adopted county and State. His parents, Dr. William and Ruth (Campbell) Reeves, were born in North Carolina, but afterwards became residents of Smith County, Tenn., the father dying when William was a small boy, and his mother when he was nine years old. He was the youngest of two sons and one daughter born to them: John (deceased), and Mary J. (wife of Thomas Green), being the other two members of the family. William was reared by an uncle, Moses Reeves, of Smith County, until he was ten years of age, when he began doing for himself, working on a wood boat on the Cumberland River for several years, afterwards turning his attention to farming. He was married in 1850, to Miss Emily Jones, and the same year came to Montgomery County, and lived on the south fork of the Caddo River, where he has a fine farm of 368 acres. For about seven years he was engaged in merchandising at Black Springs, but has since devoted his attention to farming, a calling for which he is naturally adapted. In February, 1863, he became a member of Company A, First Arkansas Infantry, and operated in Missouri, Indian Territory and Arkansas. He organized Company I, of the second Kansas troops, but afterwards took part in the engagement at Jenkins' Ferry, besides several others. In 1868 he received the appointment of sheriff of Montgomery County, a position he has satisfied for four years. He is a demitted member of Crystal Ridge Lodge, of the A.F. & A.M., and for some time has been an earnest member of the Christian Church.

Photo of Reeves-Melson house from Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Once again it's Saturday morning and today's newsletter from Alabama Pioneers is too good not to share so I have included portions of that post below.
Saturday 14, July 2012
Have you ever made a mistake?

I never make mistakes. (LOL) The truth is I make many each day and wish I didn't but I guess as long as I'm alive, I will make mistakes. That's part of being human.

Mistakes are made in genealogy as well so we can never completely trust the research someone else has done. But that's what makes it so fascinating. Each person has the opportunity to add their own data and knowledge to a family line...

Genealogy is a lot like science. The definition of science is the “methodical study of material world.” Knowledge of our world progresses as scientific facts are tested and proved. In the process, some long-held beliefs about our world are discarded and new ideas advanced as scientists study our world. But without some of their wild theories, science would never move forward.

With the debut of DNA in genealogy, many previously accepted family trees have been found to be inaccurate and this has created some hard feelings in the genealogy world. This is because years of work, time and research were suddenly thrown out. It's similar to what learned scientists must have felt when Columbus discovered the earth was not flat, but round. But where would America be if he had not challenged this accepted belief and ventured across the Atlantic?

It may be silly to compare genealogy research to scientific study but the concept is the same. I often receive comments from people who say, they spent 20 or 30 years researching a family line and something on the website is not correct. When someone informs me of this, I offer to add their information to the disputed biography, GEDCOM or disputed article. Some people follow through and provide me the information while others do not.

...Obviously, there will be disputes about material provided. Some will probably never be solved. In my own family, there is a dispute between two family lines in regard to a middle name of a gr-grandfather.. Both lines have argued that they knew the man and claim that they were correct. To this day one line follows one direction while another follows another. Until new information is found, neither line will agree as to the correct name but at least they continue to research and try to prove their theory. This is how we move forward.

The above article is by Donna Causey of Alabama Pioneers who has graciously consented to have her newsletter reprinted here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Busting Myths about William Steel Reeves

Page from James Robertson bible
William Steel Reeves was born in Pendleton District, South Carolina on 9 March 1794, the son of George Reeves Jr and Mary Polly Steele (surname unproven). His birthdate is recorded in the James Robertson bible.

William Steel Reeves married Nancy Totty in Hickman County Tennessee in 1816. He moved to Crawford County, Arkansas before 1836 and stayed for several years before moving to Grayson County, Texas before 1850.

William Steel Reeves died on 7 June 1872 and is buried in the Georgetown Cemetery in Pottsboro, Grayson County, Texas.

It is in a book called "The History of Grayson County, Texas" where at least two myths about William seem to have gotten their start.

In this book, William's descendant Geraldine Coe wrote the section on the history of the William Steel Reeves family which begins thusly:

My great great grandfather was born March 9, 1794 in Pendleton District South Carolina. His ancestors came from Ireland to S.C. in 1792. He was orphaned at age 3 and his uncle raised him in Nashville, Tennessee.  

In this short excerpt, two myths appear:

Myth #1 -  the family "came from Ireland to S. C. in 1792." They did not. See William Steel Reeves' lineage in the ancestry tree: Reliques of the Rives -- Group 8 DNA.

Myth #2 -- "he was orphaned at age 3 and his uncle raised him in Nashville, Tennessee." This is not true either. His mother died when he was very young, but his father George Reeves Jr remarried quickly to Mary O'Barr while still living in Pendleton, South Carolina." The family later moved to middle Tennessee where William is found in the 1820 census of Hickman County.

Sadly this book is found in libraries all over the country and continues to serve to perpetuate these myths. It never seems to work to put too much faith in genealogy books as so many rely on family lore and unfounded conjecture rather than research and documentary evidence. You must still verify, verify, and verify again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Another Soldier of the Revolution

In the course of researching Reeves' families who were early residents in Georgia, I recently came across a new John Reeves. Or at least he was new to me because I had previously never encountered him. He was also a soldier of the Revolution as another John Reeves profiled here in the past but there is currently no information regarding in which state's armies or militia he served.

John Reeves was a resident of Georgia by at least 1795 for on 17 November 1795 in Columbia County he married an apparent widow, Mrs. Sarah McNeil Glover. Sarah was the daughter of Daniel McNeil and was named as Sarah Reeves in his 1804 will in Columbia County. John was probably living in Georgia as early as 1780 for his daughter Susanna Reeves Baggett whose age is given as circa 1778 to 1780 lists Georgia as her place of birth in the 1850 census.

There is currently no information as to the identify of John's first wife and probable mother of daughter Susannah. I have also been unable to find references to John's parents or other family. The only other Reeves living in Columbia County in the 1820 Georgia census is a Spencer Reeves of approximately the same age who may have been a brother but that guess is based solely on proximity.

Sarah Reeves died sometime before 1813 for on the 11th of January 1813, John Reeves married again. His third wife, Allethea MacGruder Drane and her deceased husband Walter Drane were both from Maryland. Allethea was born in Frederick County, Maryland about 1757 and Walter Drane, another former Revolutionary War soldier, was from Prince George's County, Maryland. They had also been residents of Columbia County, Georgia since shortly after the Revolution. Walter Drane had served in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1800 and 1802. He died in Baldwin County in 1807.

Based upon John Reeves' Revolultionary War service, he was allowed a draw in the 1827 Land Lottery of Lee County, Georgia.

An abstract found on the internet of the 1833 will of John Reeves, probated in Columbia County, Georgia on 25 November 1833, gives the following information -
REEVES, John s/Sept 16 1833 p/Nov 25 1833. Heirs, beloved wife Allethea. Daughters, Susan Baggett, Sarah Inglett and Rebecca Harden. Sons, John and Thomas. Son in law James Harden. granddaughter, Nancy Harden. Grandson Thomas Harden. Exrs Thomas Reeves and James Harden. Witness: William Motherwell, William Drane and Stephen Drane.

Hopefully at some future time, we will be able to learn more about this John Reeves of Columbia County, Georgia and his origins.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Thisbe's Letter

The following letter was written by Thisbe Jones Reeves of Hillsborough, North Carolina to her niece Julia Jones. Julia was the daughter of Thisbe's brother Horace Jones of Massachusetts who was visiting another brother, Doctor Calvin Jones in Wake Forest.

Thisbe Jones had married David Higbie around 1805 in Massachusetts but he soon moved the family to New York where he abandoned them. Dr. Calvin Jones described him as a wastral who had squandered everything, abandoned his wife and daughter, leaving for distant parts. In Wake County, North Carolina in 1813, Thisbe obtained a divorce and later married Rev. Willis Reeves of Orange County.

It is a bittersweet letter, Thisbe is noticeably thrilled to be able to have her niece visiting in North Carolina and once again be able to see someone from her home in Massachusetts but she is also somewhat downhearted. From her description, life in Orange County was much more backward than what she had found at Wake Forest in Wake County while residing there with her brother. In spite of Thisbe's melancholy comments it is still a delightful letter and a very personal vignette of Thisbe Jones Higbie Reeves.

To Miss Julia Jones- August 1830

My dear Julia,
you are at last so near me as the forest and yet I cannot see you. I am more impatient than ever to see you. You have not been absent from my thoughts, half an hour since bro- informed me of your arrival. I feel as tho in seeing you, I shall again see my departed parents- my brothers and sisters, and my own dear, dear, native place. I shall also see, not in imagination, but in reality my Julia, the child of my brother in whose house I have spent many happy hours and some of the happiest in carrying in my arms and playing with his Julia.

Shall I indeed once more behold, one of my far distant relations. I now live far from all. Seldom indeed am I blest with their sight. Bro- Calvin is the only one within reach and inconveniences prevent seeing him half as often as I wish.

He came by on his way to the mines but only staid one night- we could not prevail upon him to stay longer. He was not well when he started, I should be glad to hear from him. I was myself but barely able to crawl about. He gave me some medicine which has --- me. When sister writes to him I wish she would tell him.

Your letter arrived a few days after he was here. I was pleased with your coverage- If any one has resolution they can do much - I have --- the time when I could do so, too and have and could again, --- my heart as light and hopes ever highting. But I am now weighted down with many sorrows and forbodings. Thus I have no bright hopes no fair prospect in view, I bless and praise God I have the christian life which extends beyond the limits of mortal --- . By faith I see the promised land where the wicked ? from troubling and the weary are at rest. Yes, there is a land where we shall live forever. Who would not content for ? desire this happy county. Christ the lamb of God has, conjoined death and the graves. then where -- death is thy sting and to grave thy victory.---

If you are not preparing to start when you receive this- do write me and tell me as near as possible when you will come. A week ago, I fixed two rooms for you, sister and the children. Tho I cannot lodge you elegantly- I hope I can comfortable and I do not think you will either (pg torn)

When I do my best the only good so (pg torn) of any size up stairs M- occupies ?(pg. torn) have no right whatever to enter it and ? always keep it locked. I was mortified to put bro. and M- both in the little room- when so warm. I thought I would tell him the cause but had no opportunity nor time. I did not see him half long enough- had I been well I might have managed better. I could have put Mont. with Calvin but did not think of it but I have now turned topsy turvy an unfinished room which is quite pleasant- have moved out many things and would have moved more had I a place to put them, however, I think you will not dislike it. I have even been down on my knees to scour up the old seasoned stairs- make haste and come before it gets dirty. Tell sister to bring her children, there is plenty of room. You are pleased with Carolina. So was I when I lived in Wake- but it is very different in this county. You will here see back-ward style. I give this warning that you shall not be disappointed and hope after all you may enjoy yourself awhile very well the novelty will be something, and I think you will for my sake make yourself contented. I think if I could have you with me a prison would be a palace, at best for a time. This hermitage might so fiting be named a prison for I have no means to get away. I wish you had been here to the ?. I want much to go to a methodist one this fall and if you are here and are desirous to go Mr. R. I think will fix us off .

My love to sister and children- yours ever T.J.R.

(This letter is included here by permission of Pamela G. Boan descendant.)