Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hardy, wife of William Reeves, Jr.

Early North Carolina deeds recorded primarily in Edgecombe County from before 1740 include Hardy as the wife of William Reeves, Jr. of the Reeves' family of Granville County. Hardy has long been a complete mystery with no clues to her maiden name or family but recently another researcher who descends from the Merritt family of Chowan, Bertie and Halifax counties called to my attention that Charles Merritt's 1718 Chowan County will named a daughter Hardy. Hardy was not married at the time the will was written and it is assumed she was still underage.
Scan of Charles Merritt's Original 1718 Will
This Reeves' family lived in the same areas of North Carolina where Charles Merritt and family were found. After Bertie was formed from Chowan in 1722, William Reeves continued to engage in land transactions in the same area on the Roanoke River where Nathaniel Merrit, son of Charles, appears. After Edgecombe County was formed from Bertie in 1732, William Reeves, both Sr. and Jr., along with Merrit family members are found there. The following deeds document the close ties of these two families:
William Reeves, Robert Long, Joseph Sewards, and Franis Varnums were adjacent landowners referenced in a deed from Nathaniel Meriot to Joseph Ballard on February Court 1723. The land was on the Roanoaky River on Plumtree Island.

Ralph Mason Sr., of Bertie, to Phillip Smith, land on the south side of the Morratock River on Plumb Tree Island between the lands of Buckley Kimbrough (late of Joseph Calvert and Amy Besnon Vernon), adjacent Robert Lang, John Gray, Thomas Witmell and the Goose pond (being land said Mason and Ralph Jr., his son, formerly lived on and was purchased from William Reeves and Nathaniel Merrit). Witnessed by Robert Harris, Richard Moore, Ralph Mason, Edgcombe County, August 20, 1739.

William Reeves, Jr. and Hardy his wife of Edgecombe County to Mary Merritt (county not identified). For 12 pounds sterling money of England, 220 acres more or less in the fork of Chockeyott creek joining John Muston, the Spring meadow and the Wolf Trap branch, including all houses, orchards, gardens. Wits.: Robert Harris, Richard Cuerton (sic Cureton), Nathaniel Merritt (X his mark). Registered: Robert Forster C. Ct. 23 Sept 1741

Although there is no extant marriage record or other documentation that has been found to date, there are ample records involving William Reeves, Jr., his wife Hardy and the Merritt family to suggest a connection and support the belief that Hardy Reeves was the daughter Hardy named in Charles Merritt's 1718 Chowan County will. Much more in depth research of the Reeves and Merritt families in Chowan and Bertie counties is needed.

This William Reeves, Jr. was previously believed to be the same William Reeves who died in York County, South Carolina in 1821; however, it is unrealistic to conclude that based upon current documentation. The William Reeves who died in South Carolina in 1821 would have been well past 100 years old if that were the case. 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 a nephew of William Reeves, Jr., born circa 1710.

The results of DNA testing for two recent new participants in the Reeves DNA Project who descend from William Reaves who died in Wayne County, North Carolina in 1793 have revealed that they belong to DNA Group 3 and are genetic matches to descendants of William Reeves of Granville. This suggests that the children of William Reeves, Jr. may be the individuals who appear in the deed indexes of Old Dobbs County, North Carolina beginning in the late 1750s.

Thanks to my Yancey cousin, Charlie Rathbun, for calling Charles Merritt's will to my attention.

No comments:

Post a Comment