Monday, December 31, 2012

Sarah Reeves Dickey of Leon County, Texas

Although no document has yet been found stating absolutely that Sarah Virginia Reeves was the daughter of Avery Reeves of Franklin County, Tennessee, there is ample evidence to support the belief. Several posts to this blog have listed the various records that have been found pertaining to Avery Reeves. Just as his parents are still undocumented, so are his children but it is fairly certain that William Reeves, Jonathan Reeves, Nancy Reeves who married William Claiborne Handley, Sarah Reeves who married James C. Dickey and Hance Henderson Reeves of Franklin County, Tennessee are some of those children.


In 1850 before they left for Texas, the household of James C. Dickey is recorded in Franklin County in the census of that year. Sometime after the birth of their youngest child, Claiborne in 1854, James and Sarah left Tennessee for the state of Texas which had been annexed to the United States in 1845. They're found in Leon County, Texas in the 1860 census. During the early years following Texas' annexation, it was an extremely popular destination for settlers migrating from the eastern United States and east Texas counties were filled with families from Kentucky and Tennessee.

On a recent visit to east Texas, we spent a pleasant fall afternoon locating the Pleasant Grove Cemetery where most of the members of the Dickey family are buried. It is east of the small town of Leona in Leon County on Farm Road 1119 close to the area where Leon and Madison counties join just west of the Trinity River. The area is said to have once been called the "Dickey community". It probably hasn't changed substantially since these early pioneers arrived and is still not heavily populated.

Most of the older sons of James and Sarah Dickey served in Texas Regiments of the Confederacy and returned to Leon County following the end of the Civil War.

Both James and Sarah Dickey were deceased by 1885, but many of their descendants still live in this area of east Texas where they settled back in 1855.



Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wilkes County's George Reeves Mystery

There has recently been much speculation on the web regarding the identity of the "George Reeves of Wilkes County, North Carolina" who is named as a legatee in the probate records of John Epps in Halifax County, Virginia. There is a conveyance dated 6 Sep 1793 (Recorded 24 Feb 1794) in Halifax County wherein Nathaniel Epps, Moses Epps, David Powell, Sr. (m. Mary Epps), John Comer (m. Amey Epps), Edy Epps, Temperance Epps, of Halifax County; Ambrose Gresham (m. Elizabeth “Bettie” Epps) of Lunenburg County; and George Reaves of Wilkes County in North Carolina, legatees of John Epps, sell to William Epps of Halifax a 40 acre tract of land on the south side of Banister River in Halifax County. These were the grandchildren of John Epps, children of his son Joshua who predeceased him, dying in 1778. One of the three remaining daughters, Patty, Millison or Dicey, named in Joshua Epps' will had apparently married George Reeves.

View of the blue ridge from Grayson County
It has been theorized that this George Reeves must then be George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia who is listed on several occasions in the tax and deed records of Wilkes County, North Carolina. In George Reeves deposition for ''Beavins (Blevins) vs. Newell'', 27th September, 1805, he stated that he was present in the New River area as early as 1767. George Reeves' home was located on Peach Bottom Creek just north of the New River and there is no record that he made his home at any time on any of the other properties he was granted or purchased. This New River area was for approximately 20 years claimed by both Virginia and North Carolina with the state line repeatedly moving as many as 20 miles either side of the present state line. The land that George Reeves owned in Wilkes County and ultimately sold to his son William became part of Ashe County when it was formed from Wilkes in 1799.

The following deed recently found in the Wilkes County records may help to identify the correct George Reeves or at least put to rest any lingering speculation that the Epps' legatee must be George Reeves of Grayson. This George Reeves is located much further south than the Peach Bottom tract and is in the area where Isaac Reeves had settled in the early 1780's. Isaac Reeves had previously been located in the area of Lunenburg and Mecklenburg counties of Virginia as was the Epps family.

Wilkes County, North Carolina
Deed Book B-1, p. 416
9 Dec 1794

THIS INDENTURE made this ninth day of December one thousand seven hundred and ninety four Between George Reeves of Wilkes County and State of North Carolina of the one part and William Petty Senior of the same state and county of the other part, Witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred pounds Current money to him in hand paid by the said William Petty before the Sealing and Delivery hereof the receipt whereof the said George Reeves doth hereby acknowledge and himself therewith to be fully satisfied and paid and for which Sum he hath granted Bargained sold conveyed and confirmed by these presents doth fully clearly freely and absolutely sell convey and confirm to the said William Petty his heirs and assigns for ever a tract or parcel of Land containing two hundred Acres of Land lying and being in our county of Wilkes lying on little Cub Creek BEGINNING on a pine in Thomas Rogers line adjacent to the Moravian line and running South two hundred and four poles to a maple near a branch in John Greers line thence East with said line one hundred and twenty four poles to the corner thence North twenty Degrees East seventy two poles to a pine thence North Sixty East seventy six poles to a red oak sapling in William Gilreaths line being conditional line between James Chaney and said Reeves Thence North with said Gilreaths line forty two poles to the corner Thence North seventy Eight Degrees West two hundred and sixty poles to the first Station &c - Together with all woods waters mines Minerals Hereditaments and appurtenances to the said Land Belonging or appertaining and all the whole right title and Intrust of him the said George Reeves to the said Bargained premises to have and to hold to the said William Petty his heirs and assigns for ever And the Intent and meaning of these presents are that the said William Petty his heirs and assigns may at all times forever hereafter lawfully and peaceable possess hold and enjoy the said Bargained premises with all the rights and privileges thereunto belonging free and clear of all Incumbrances and the said George Reeves doth covenant and agree well and truly to warrant and defend the same In witness whereof the said George Reeves hath hereunto set his hand and seal the day and date above written ~
James Hardgraves  }
Joshua Greer          }                          George Reeves (Seal)

(Wrote on the Back)
S. N. Carolina       }      May Term 1795 -
Wilkes County     }     The within Deed was duly
proven in open court by the oath of Joshua Greer and
ordered to be Registered.
                   Test
                        C. Gordon C.C.
The 1788 and 1789 tax lists of Wilkes County record a George Reeves along with William Petty, John Greer, Joshua Greer and the adjoining property owners listed in the above deed, Hardgraves, William Gilreath and James Chaney, in Capt. Tribbles District. Also, James and John Reeves, sons of Isaac Reeves, Sr. and Alexander Holton whose daughter married James Reeves had been listed in Tribbles' district in 1787. These individuals all lived just south of Wilkesboro in an area joining the Moravian settlement along the Yadkin River.

The George Reeves of the Wilkesboro area is no longer found in Wilkes County after the recording of this deed and may have returned to Halifax County in Virginia where he appears to be the individual listed on the tax lists there in 1798. It should be noted that Asher Reaves had also returned to Halifax, Virginia after the Revolution. A George Reaves is listed repeatedly in the tax lists there until before 1830. The 1830 census records a widowed Martha Reeves around 80 years old as head of a Halifax County household. Since Patty is a nickname for Martha, this may likely be Patty Epps, granddaughter of John.

Hopefully someday descendants of Asher and George Reeves/Reaves of Halifax will participate in the Reeves DNA Project. And with the popular new autosomal DNA projects by Ancestry and Family Finder, there may be hope of one day unraveling this mystery.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Reuben A. Reeves of Todd County, Kentucky


Gravestone of William O. Reeves, son of Reuben, at the city cemetery in Palestine Texas
Reuben A. Reeves was the son of Ottway Curry Reeves and Mary Ann Mansfield, the grandson of Brewer Reeves who was one of the earliest settlers of Christian County, Kentucky. The act creating Christian County was passed in 1796 and specified "that the Justices to be named in the commission of the peace for said county" should meet at the house of Brewer Reeves and organize for business. Brewer, his wife Martha and their family had immigrated to Kentucky from Augusta County, Virginia.

In January of 1846, Ruben married Sarah Mills in Todd County and soon afterward left Kentucky for Texas which had just been admitted to the United States. Anderson County was a popular destination for the stream of immigrants flowing into Texas from various U.S. states. By 1848, Reuben had established a law practice in Palestine, the county seat of Anderson County. He and his young family are found there in the 1850 U.S. census and by 1857, Reuben had been elected a district judge in Palestine.

After the civil war began, he enlisted on the 11th of April 1863 in Terrell's Regiment of Texas Cavalry of the CSA and became captain of Company E. A year later when the term of James H. Bell, associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court expired, Ruben Reeves ran for and was elected to that office in August of 1864. The resignation of his commission from the CSA was written on the 19th of September 1864 in Tyler, Texas.

Letter by Capt. Reuben A. Reeves Resigning his Commission
Reuben Reeves served as associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court until the war's end and participated in the Constitutional Convention of 1866. He was then elected district court judge for the Ninth Judicial District but on November 30, 1867 when Texas came under federal military control, he was among the officials removed from office as "impediments to Reconstruction". When Governor Richard Coke was elected, Reuben Reeves was reappointed associate justice of the Supreme Court of Texas on January 30, 1874 and served until April 18, 1876 when he returned to Palestine to practice law. At one time his son William also held the office of district judge in Anderson County.

President Grover Cleveland appointed Reuben Reeves to the Supreme Court of New Mexico Territory in the 1880's, and he served in that office until 1889. He died in Dallas at the home of his daughter on January 30, 1908, and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

Read more about Reuben A. Reeves at The TSHA Handbook of Texas Online