Sunday, August 26, 2012

Orange County's Rev. Thomas Reeves

The Reeves family of Orange County, North Carolina is something of a mystery. They are surrounded by other Reeves' lineages in the neighboring counties of Wake, Granville, Guilford and Chatham but the DNA of a descendant of Willis Reeves who was in some way related to Thomas, does not match any of these other Reeves' lines.

Letter from Thomas Reeves to cousin Mary Lynch in Orange CountyThomas Reeves was the son of Revolutionary soldier John Reeves and Mary Lynch. John Reeves died on March 12th, 1834 according to documents in his pension file. His health was so frail at the time of his pension application that the court officials taking his statement went to his home because he was unable to attend court. Sadly, John's statement includes no biographical information and relates only to details of his military service.

The documents regarding his pension refer to Thomas Reeves as his son and only surviving heir but there is a large amount of circumstantial evidence that Willis Reeves was a member of this family. Whatever the family relationship, Thomas, John and Willis Reeves appear to be of the same family. An 1845 letter from Thomas to his cousin Mary Lynch tells of a trip up the Platt River with cousin John C. Reeves (John Claiborne Reeves, son of Willis).

Thomas Reeves married Martha Davis, daughter of Jonathan Davis, on the 24th of January 1810 in Wake County. According to a biography of his son, Columbus Palestine Reeves, Thomas and Martha were the parents of eleven children but no documentation has yet been located to name all of the children.

Thomas was both a minister and the owner of a large plantation. In the 1840 census of Orange County, he is listed with 18 slaves. Sometime around 1845, Thomas Reeves moved to Ray County, Missouri. Biographical information for Ishmael Reeves born circa 1830 in North Carolina who was a slave in Ray County, Missouri by 1845 indicates that he may have belonged to Thomas Reeves. The Ray County, Missouri Slave Schedule of 1850 lists Thomas as owning 20 slaves.

Obituary published in the Raleigh Register, Raleigh, North Carolina on Friday, 2 Oct. 1846:
DIED - In Missouri, on the 24th of August last, Mrs. Martha Reeves, a native of Wake County, and wife of Elder Thomas Reeves. Also, on the next day, their daughter, Ephrata, aged about 17 years.
On the 1st of January 1850, he married Mrs. Winifred Phillips. Thomas Reeves died in 1855 in Ray County, Missouri. His estate was contested by the widow, Winifred, who remarried to Jacob Darneal on 20 Jun 1855. Winifred Darneal filed suit against the estate for payment of certain specific legacies bequeathed by Thomas Reeves. The suit was eventually argued and determined in the Supreme Court of the State of Missouri.

(1845 letter from Thomas Reeves in Crab Orchard, Missouri to Mary Lynch in Orange County, North Carolina from the Lynch Family Papers in the Historical Collections of UNC.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Clue in the Search for Jordan’s Wife

Nine months ago, I wrote this post about the wives (or lack thereof) of Jordan Reeves. Two autosomal DNA tests and hundreds of matches later, I finally have a clue. It’s just a clue, but a clue is much more than I had before the DNA tests.

Previously, I had noted that everywhere I found Jordan Reeves, I found Jacob Chamblee – on deeds, tax lists, jury lists, census records – he seemed to be Jordan’s BFF over a period of 20 years. Despite my persistence, I never found Jacob’s parents or figured out who his siblings were, if any. He and Jordan parted ways in Pendleton, South Carolina about 1795 and the trail went cold. Until now.

Today I found an ancestryDNA match to a descendant of Joshua Burriss and Sarah Chamblee. Sarah and Jacob are both mentioned in passing in this summary of the Chamblee family of North Carolina. In 1800 Joshua Burriss and Sarah Chamblee Burriss are found living two dwellings away from, you guessed it -- Jacob Chamblee in Pendleton, South Carolina. Jordan, of course, had recently departed for Nashville.

This match does not mean that I descend from Sarah, only that I just might have an ancestor in common with her. The quest for Mrs. Jordan Reeves will continue, re-invigorated with this find, and focused on the Chamblee family for now.

Edited to add: I have found a total of 8 Chamblee DNA matches thus far that further support a Chamblee for Jordan's wife.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Col. Timothy Reeves, CSA

Letter to Gen. MarmadukeCol. Timothy Reeves (he signed his name as Reves), was the youngest son of William Reeves (Reves) and Anne Terrill of Ashe County, North Carolina. William's father was George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia, a soldier of the Revolution.

The internet has numerous sites with various references to Col. Timothy Reeves, commander of the 15th Missouri Cavalry of the confederacy. He is referred to as both a devil and a saintly hero depending on each individual's point of reference - he was a baptist minister and a ruthless military commander. The determining factors seem to be based upon Civil War sympathies.

He was present and had preached at the gathering held on 25 December 1863 at Pulliam's Farm in Ripley County that is recalled as "The Wilson Massacre". Union forces under Major James F. Wilson made a surprise attack during a Christmas dinner gathering killing 35 confederate soldiers along with 60 civilians including women and children, families of the confederate soldiers and neighbors. Col. Timothy Reeves is said to have commanded the Confederate forces who began immediate reprisals against the union forces which culminated in the execution of Major Wilson.

Col. Timothy ReevesAfter 150 years the validity of this story and whether the massacre did indeed take place is still hotly debated on countless websites. The complete truth of the incident will probably never be known, but there is much evidence to support the belief that the event did take place. There are even references to it carved on some confederate tombstones in the Ripley County area.

His brother, William, also a baptist minister as well as his adjutant in the 15th Missouri Cavalry, may have died during the war for there is no historical record of him afterward.

In May of 1865 Confederate General M. Jeff Thompson surrendered 10,000 men at Jacksonport, Arkansas. Out of those 10,000 men, only one was not paroled - Confederate Colonel, Timothy Reeves, Commander of the 15th Missouri Cavalry, CSA. Thompson wrote that:
"In a few days we finished all the paroles, except that of Timothy C. Reeves, whom Col. Davis would not agree to parole, considering him outlawed for the shooting of Major Williams (Major Wilson, this was a misprint) and five men on the Price Raid; but I must state for Col. Reeves, that he was as good a man and soldier as any in the command, and his shooting of that party was entirely justifiable.."
From all accounts Timothy Reeves lived the remainder of his life in peace, preferring to be known only as a minister. When he died on March 10, 1885 three wives and most of his children had predeceased him.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Funny - Election Results

Col. William Pulaski “W.P.” Walton became sole owner of the weekly Democratic paper of Stanford, Kentucky, the Interior Journal, in 1881. A railroad contractor from Virginia, he was known for his staunchly Democratic beliefs, as his editorials proved, so there is little surprise that the Journal was quick to endorse local and national Democratic candidates. Colonel Walton began a tradition of “courageous opinion” and seemingly inexhaustible Walton family editorial copy. His editorial regarding the election of November 1894 is certainly no exception.

Semi-Weekly Interior Journal
Stanford Ky., November 13, 1894


One of the many bad results of last Tuesday’s awful slump is the election of Alphabet Guffy to the appellate bench from the 1st Kentucky district over Hon. W. L Reeves, a fine lawyer and a man of brains. Guffy is a blatherskite, a turncoat and an ignoramus. He has been a member of every political party and his flop into the republican party is of recent date. That party thought there was no show for its candidate in that stronghold of democracy against such a man as Reeves, and Guffy was nominated as a joke, but the vote shows that it is the unexpected that happens. Guffy’s majority is 668 and the result is as inexplicable as it is deplorable. The commonest lawyer at any bar knows as much law as he and it is a crying shame that such a man is elevated to pass upon the liberty and property of the people of Kentucky from its highest court. Fortunately the old man is three score and ten and as that is the allotted span of life we have the hope that death may claim him before he has brought the court into disgrace and contempt.