Sunday, March 3, 2013

Interesting New Developments

In the earliest days of this blog, I added a post regarding the Reaves family of Wayne County, North Carolina whose origins prior to their arrival in Old Dobbs County have been a mystery. Thanks to DNA, that mystery may finally be solved. Two participants in the Reeves DNA Project who descend from William Reaves of Wayne County have now matched DNA Group 3. DNA Group 3 includes the descendants of William Reeves who died in Granville County, North Carolina in 1751.

Wayne County, North Carolina Area
The fact that their origins have previously been unknown probably stems from the 1878 courthouse fire at Kinston in Lenoir County which destroyed all the records housed there. Dobbs County had been formed from the eastern portion of Johnston County in 1758 and in 1791, Wayne County from the western portion of Dobbs. The records of early Johnston and other counties formed from Johnston - Wayne, Greene and Lenoir Counties, were placed at the courthouse there and all were lost in that fire. The only exception was the original grantee deed index from Old Dobbs County.

With this new DNA evidence, we are presented with the question of how the Reaves of Wayne County are related to the family of William Reeves who died in Granville County in 1751. Previously William Reeves, Jr. of that family was believed to have been the individual by that name who died in 1821 in York County, South Carolina. However, the William Reeves who died in South Carolina would have been well past 100 years old if that were the case since he must have been born about 1710. It is far more likely that a generation has been missed and the William Reeves with wife Elizabeth who died in York, South Carolina was the son or nephew of William Reeves, Jr. Recent research of the probate, tax and deed records of Granville County has established that the William Reeves who was present in the records of Granville County from around 1755 as a tithe of Malachi Reeves was undoubtedly Malachi's son. From 1755 when he is first listed, until November of 1796 when he is recorded in a deed transaction wherein he sold 257 acres on Tabbs Creek to John Hall (Deed Book P, p.342) before leaving for South Carolina, he is the only William Reeves in the records of Granville County.

William Reeves, Jr. along with his wife Hardy was often recorded in the deed records of Edgecombe County from at least 1740 and continued to be found in deeds there until the 1750's. As William Reeves of Edgecombe County, he was last found in the records of Granville County in May of 1753 when he sold 525 acres on Fishing Creek (Deed Book B, p.243-244) to his brother Malachi. His absence in the Granville and Edgecombe County records coincides with the appearance of William Reaves in the records of Old Dobbs County around 1758 based upon the extant deed indexes of Old Dobbs.

1790 Will of William Reaves of Wayne County

 These recent DNA results may indicate that some of the Reaves' individuals found in Old Dobbs and later in Wayne County were descendants of William Reeves, Jr., previously of Edgecombe County and that William Reaves may even have been his son. Hopefully records in the surrounding counties that were not destroyed in the Lenoir courthouse fire can be found to provide more documentation for this family.