Saturday, September 29, 2012

Reeves' Migration to the Louisiana Purchase

The French had ceded the vast Louisiana territory that lay west of the Misssissippi River to Spain before it became the property of France again and was purchased by the United States in 1803. The French had made few settlements in Louisiana, primarily establishing trading posts from which trappers and hunters explored the wilderness. Spanish authorities, however, encouraged migration. They offered land grants to all who could prove they had cleared and improved the land with the intention of making permanent settlement.

This migration was accelerated by the arrival of Daniel Boone in Missouri in 1795. He established a claim in St. Charles county and within a few years signed an agreement with the Spanish authorities to bring one hundred families from Kentucky and Virginia to Upper Louisiana.

John Reeves, Revolutionary War soldier, who was subject of a previous post left South Carolina within a few years of his 1796 marriage to Rachel Barnes and was present in the area south of the Missouri River that became Madison County, Missouri by around 1801. On 26 Dec 1833, he gave a statement in regard to the land claim of Benjamin Pettit, Jr. where he was recorded as saying that he was well acquainted with Benjamin Pettit, Jr. the original claimant; that he (Benjamin Pettit, Jr.) came to this country, then the province of Upper Louisiana, in the year 1802 or 1803. John Reeves is also documented as making a statement that in 1804 on account of the Osage Indians, the inhabitants were driven together for a common defense, and that they raised a common crop in that year.

In the course of recent research of the Reeves of Patrick County, Virginia, I found that after the removal of all that family from Virginia around 1820, two of the presumed sons of George Reeves of Patrick County, had migrated to Missouri after leaving Virginia. Thomas Reeves and his brother Josiah were present in Franklin County, Missouri shortly after leaving Virginia.

The State Historical Society of Missouri gives the following information regarding the Harrison-Reeves Bloomery in Crawford County: Thicketty Creek, in the northeastern part of the county close to the Washington County line, three miles south of Bourbon. It is the second earliest record of the mining and smelting of iron ore in Missouri. It was probably erected in 1819 or 1820 by William Harrison, one of the earliest settlers of Crawford County, and Josiah Reeves, with Thomas Reeves as forgeman. Early bloomeries in Missouri usually consisted of a forge which resembled a smith's forge and a furnace. This crude furnace, known as Harrison's Furnace, Harrison's Forge, Harrison's Bloomery, or Harrison's Iron Works, continued in operation for several years.

Around the same time the Reeves of Patrick County settled in Franklin and Crawford Counties, two of the sons of Samuel Reeves of Rowan County left North Carolina and by 1830 were recorded in the census of St. Francois County, Missouri. Bennet Abner Reeves and his brother William were then listed in the 1840 census of Cape Girardeau, County. The Bureau of Land Management issued land warrant #2707 for 40 acres in Cape Girardeau County on 20 Jan 1827 to Bennet A. Reeves as well as another warrant #5740 for 40 acres in the same county on 1 Aug 1838.

In Crawford County by 1840, Josiah Reeves and his descendants were joined by Jesse Jefferson Reeves of Buncombe County, North Carolina, who was probably a son of James Reeves. Jesse J. Reeves' sisters, Mary and Sarah, who had married into the Eaton family, also migrated to the area of Missouri south of the Missouri River.

Reeves' families were not only settling in the Missouri River area of the Louisiana Purchase, others like Jordan Reeves were migrating across the Mississippi River into Arkansas. Jordan had settled in Independence County, Arkansas by 1825 and numerous other Reeves' families followed within a very few years.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Reeves of Patrick County, Virginia

In the course of writing a previous post regarding the George Reeves who died in Wilson County, Tennessee in 1816, it became apparent that this was the same George Reeves who is found in the early records of Patrick County, Virginia from around the time of its inception in 1791.

1820 Missouri Land Patent to Thomas Reeves & William Harrison
George Reeves' Wilson County will names only his youngest son Jeremiah and daughter Susannah, making no mention of the older children. Research of Patrick County, Virginia marriage records establish most of George's daughters from the records of his consent to their marriages; however, his sons were apparently all of age and no consent was required. From the tax and deed records of Patrick County, it appears that in addition to Jeremiah, George's children included sons Thomas, Josiah, John and Charles. Daughters Ann who married James Turner, Lucy who married William Witt, and Jane who married James Williams are documented by George Reeves' consents in the Patrick County marriage records. Another daughter Polly was apparently old enough not to require consent to her 1808 marriage to Nicholas Thomas but after his death is found in Wilson County, Tennessee with other family members and as "Polly Thomas" married John F. McDaniel there in 1816.

By the time the 1820 census was taken in Patrick County, all of these Reeves individuals had left the area and are no longer found in any of the records. John Reeves and his wife Hannah Pedigo who had married in 1807 left for Campbell County, Tennessee shortly after 1811 and begin to appear in the census there in 1830. Charles Reeves' last appearance in the Patrick County records was in October, 1816 when he married Elizabeth Lackey and on the 2nd of November 1816, Josiah (sometimes listed as Joseph) & Constandestion Reeves executed a deed to John Mize for the property which had been conveyed to Josiah by his father. The last record in Patrick County of any member of this family is a deed executed by Thomas Reeves on 10 November 1819 (DB5:244).

Harrison Cemetery in Crawford County, Missouri where William Harrison who migrated to Missouri with the Reeves and his descendants are buried.
The youngest son, Charles, apparently settled in White County, Tennessee soon after leaving Virginia. It was there that his wife Elizabeth died in 1821. He is found there in other records throughout the 1830's and may be the Charles Reeves recorded in the 1840 census of Warren County, Tennessee.

I very recently happened upon records in Franklin and Crawford Counties of Missouri for a Thomas and Josiah Reeves who appear to be the individuals who migrated from Patrick County, Virginia. Thomas Reeves and William Harrison, described as of Washington County, Missouri, received a land patent for 80 acres in Crawford County on the 20th of May in 1824. Thomas and Josiah Reeves are both recorded in Franklin County, Missouri in the 1830 census. Thomas must have died between 1830 and 1840 for he is not recorded in any other census. Josiah lived in Crawford County and is recorded there in the 1840 and 1850 census, dying sometime after 1860 when he was recorded in that census in the home of a son, R. B. Reeves, in Texas County, Missouri.

(Photo of Harrison Cemetery marker by P. L. Greenlee for FindaGrave.)

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Surprising Connection

Some time ago, I discovered a John Reeves, Revolutionary soldier of Columbia, Georgia that I was previously unfamiliar with and added a post here with what information was available. Shortly after writing that post, I noticed the grave of Nannie Hazel Reeve in the cemetery at Boerne, Texas and wrote another post about this mysterious Reeve family who came to Texas around 1880.

Gravestone of Randolph Reeve in Rusty Creek Cemetery, Johnson City, Blanco County, TexasIn the course of doing some research to learn more about the family of Nannie Hazel Reeve, I found that her grandfather Randolph Reeve had come to Texas by 1880 where he died in 1891 in Blanco County. Prior to the family's arrival in Texas, they were living in Grant Parish, Louisiana at the time of the 1870 census and in the 1860 census were recorded in Rapides Parish.

Randolph Reeve married Clementine Ewell in Amite County, Mississippi on the 17th of May, 1846 and they were living there in the 1850 census. Their three children - John R., Mary Elizabeth and William Thomas Reeve were born in Amite County.

Also living in Amite County from around 1830 was a John Reeve, born 1789 in Georgia. John appeared to be a likely candidate for the father of Randolph Reeve so I began to search the probate records of Amite County. Probate documents show that John Reeve died on the 20th of February 1867 and there are numerous petitions and filings in regard to his very large estate. A last will and testament is eluded to numerous times but doesn't appear to be extant in the records. Amite County only has two will books that do not appear to be complete.

John Reeve's third wife Elizabeth Dunn appears to have died before 1860 and the probate documents state that John Reeve had no family. The only legatees named are the heirs of his deceased sisters and those of a half-brother and half-sister. As I began to read the documents, I immediately recognized the names as being the heirs of John Reeves who died in Columbia County, Georgia in 1833 - Susannah Baggett, Sarah Englett (Inglett), Rebecca Hardin and Thomas Reeve. Thomas was named as a half-brother and a half-sister, Polly Hardin was also named.

The Amite County MS census of 1830 lists John Reeve's household as including 2 males under 5 years old, 1 male 5-9 and one female under 5. Did all of these children die before 1867? The missing will might have contained explanations regarding his children but the probate books do not. A Thomas Reeve, born 1822, and found in Amite in 1850 was very likely his son but he can't be found in records after 1850 so he may have been deceased before 1867, possibly dying in the Civil War. But Randolph was not deceased in 1867.

It is currently not possible to define it, but there must be some connection between John and Randolph Reeve even though he is mentioned nowhere in the probate records. In 1850, John Reeve's next neighbor was William Ewell, Randolph's wife Clementine's brother. William Ewell was also an executor of John Reeve's will. Could it be that Randolph was John's son and a disagreement caused their relationship to be severed and Randolph was excepted from receiving any legacies from the estate? Unless the will of John Reeve is eventually found, the questions of Randolph's parentage may never be resolved.

UPDATE: In the course of further research of this family, it seems more probable that Randolph was the child of Spencer Reeves who was also living in Columbia County, Georgia at the time of Randolph's birth and had several sons who are as yet unidentified. The 1820 census of Columbia County, Georgia lists Spencer Reeves' household with 4 males ‹10, 1 male ›45, 1 female 10-15, 1 female 16-25 and 1 female 26-44. There are also several instances of the use of the name Randolph among Spencer's descendants. Spencer was likely a brother to John Reeves, but there is currently nothing to support that theory other than proximity.

(Gravestone photo by Wendy Johnson for FindaGrave.)