Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Wayfarer - William Reeves of Ashe County

William, the son of George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia, and most of his children left Ashe County, North Carolina shortly after 1820. Based upon estimates of his age from census, he would have been around 55 years old at the time. He was a justice of the Ashe County court and appears to have been prominent in the community, but for whatever reason, he left North Carolina and ventured to the new state of Indiana. By 1822, William was listed on the Lawrence County, Indiana poll tax list. Once William left North Carolina and began to migrate westward, he seems never to have stopped moving.

1829 Land Warrant in Greene County, Indiana to William Reves
1829 Indiana Land Grant
to William Reves
In the years preceding William's departure from the New River area of Virginia & North Carolina, his father had died in 1811 as well as his brother George Reeves, Jr. George Reeves, Jr. was killed by his brother-in-law William Tolliver, husband of sister Susanna Reeves. The trial was held in Wilkes County and there are various theories but the actual cause of the incident still remains unknown. Beginning around 1813, there was another court case, Landreth vs. Reves, which continued over a lengthy period with documents in the court records as late as 1822 in regard to it. There are numerous documents in the Ashe County Civil Action Court files regarding this case although there is no clear explanation of the events that precipitated the court case. From various documents, John Landreth states that he had been accused of perjury by William Reves although there is no exact explanation of the nature of the accusation. It would appear from these documents that the entire extended Reeves' family, even William's wife Anne Terrell Reeves, became involved in a fracas which resulted in the issuance of a summons. Oddly, members of both the Tolliver and Landreth families also migrated to the same area of Indiana in the 1820's.

William Reves' bond in Landreth case
1816 Bond by William Reves and
Allen Burton for John and Ann Reves
Whether the unpleasantness of the death of his father, the murder of his brother or the Landreth court case played a role in William Reeves' decision to leave Ashe County is unknown, but following these events, the family began the first of their migrations. They settled in the area of Greene & Lawrence Counties where they remained until sometime before 1840 when they are found in the census of Carroll County, Arkansas.

From: History of Greene County, Indiana, pub. 1870 by J. Ward, Worthington, Indiana - As taken from the official records, and compiled from authentic recollections by pioneer settlers. Chapter XV - Beech Creek Township: Among other pioneers whose name deserves a place in the history of the township, may be mentioned...William and Noah Reeves...Pg 47 - William Reeves and his boys first settled the farm now owned by Edward Walker.

Between Indiana and Arkansas, the Reeves' family must have spent some time in Missouri probably in the area of Washington County. William's son Albert married there in 1837. Lenoir (Noah) Reeves was also living in Missouri briefly for several of his children were born there before he ventured briefly to Arkansas, Iowa and Nebraska then eventually to Oregon, dying there in 1888. Both Albert and Timothy settled in the area of Iron and Butler Counties in Missouri.

Missouri Ann Reeves, daughter of Timothy Reeves
Missouri Reeves Emmons
daughter of Timothy Reeves
By the Census of 1840 for Carroll County, Arkansas, William along with his sons John, Terrel and Gaston Reeves are listed. The 1840 tax list for Carroll County lists Lenoir, William, Terrel and John Reeves. They, along with Gaston, are also listed in the 1841 tax lists for Carroll County. Located near the headwaters of the Buffalo River in Van Buren Township in Carroll County there is a Reeves' Creek which is said to have been named for this Reeves' family.

The 1841 tax list appears to be the last historical record of William Reeves. Several family trees list a date of death of 1854 in Missouri but no documentation can be found in support of that theory. It is likely that William, and his wife Anne as well, died in Carroll County between 1840 and 1850 when most of his sons are found in the census of Independence County, Arkansas.

Descendants of William Reeves' brothers Jesse and John have participated in the Reeves DNA Project and been placed in Group 6. A descendant of George Reeves, Jr.'s son Enoch, also a participant in the Reeves DNA Project, has been placed in Group 14 with a descendant of George Reeves whose paternity is currently unknown but may be the son of Jesse. Whether these are NPEs (non paternity events) is unknown and more extensive research is needed to resolve this mystery. Hopefully at some future time, descendants of William Reeves will participate in DNA studies, either Y Chromosome DNA or the new autosomal DNA projects that are now available and help to clarify this lineage.

Other posts in this blog pertaining to the family of George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia:

George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia
Who really are the descendants of Henry Reeves?
Col. Timothy Reeves, CSA
The Reeves' Gang
Episode 2 - More of the Reeves Gang
Pewter John Reeves Stamper

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