Saturday, May 21, 2016

More Myth Bustin' - Mrs. Harriet E. Bedingfield

John T. Reeves son of Jeremiah Reeves and Jane Brazile is said to have married widow Mrs. Harriet E. Bedingfield on the 6th of December 1812 in Baldwin County, Georgia according to page 92 of The Reeves Review II. As a result countless Reeves' descendants have copied this incorrect marriage to their family trees and list Harriet Elizabeth Bedingfield as the mother of John T. Reeves' children.

A more accurate narrative of Harriet E. Bedingfield's story begins with a marriage record for Harriet Eliza Hargrove's marriage to John Bedingfield on 27th of May 1807 in Richmond County, Georgia. By the 7th of January 1811, John Bedingfield was deceased and his will was presented for probate in Baldwin County, Georgia. That abstracted will is as follows:
Will of JOHN BEDINGFIELD of Baldwin and Richmond Co.'s, 10/5/1810:1/7/1811, Wife: mentioned, not named. Exrs: Wife, and George R. Clayton. Son: John. Niece: Harriett Pegram Fox, dau. of Colonel James Fox, decd. Testator to be buried in St. Paul's Churchyard near son, John. Wits: F. Walker, Thomas Watkins, Robert Watkins, Vas Walker. Baldwin Co. WB A p. 31
The next year, Harriet married John T. Rives, son of Timothy Rives of Richland County, South Carolina originally from Prince George County, Virginia. The Georgia Journal of Baldwin County, Georgia published this notice - 23 Dec 1812 - Turner Reeves of Washington Co. married to Harriet Bedingfield of this place. After his marriage to Harriet, John T. Rives served as guardian for Harriet's son John Bedingfield.

Further proof that the husband of Mrs. Harriet Bedingfield was not the son of Jeremiah Reeves, is found in the 1820 Will of Timothy Rives of Richland County, South Carolina. The will recorded in Will Book G, page 180-183 includes the following:
Whereas there now unhapily exists a Suit and controversy either in Law or Equity in the County of Washington in the State of Georgia between Harriet Rives Widow & relect of my deceased son John Turner Rives as Administratrix of her Said deceased husband Plaintiff and my son Thomas Rives (who is in this suit acting as my agent) Defendant...
John Turner Rives died between 1816 when he was recorded as the guardian of John Bedingfield, Jr. in Baldwin County and the 5th of February, 1820 when his father Timothy wrote his will. Harriet Hargrove Bedingfield Rives had lost two husbands in less than a decade and by August of 1828 was deceased when her own estate was probated in the records of Baldwin County.

John T. Reeves, son of Jeremiah and Jane Brazile Reeves, married an Elizabeth, born circa 1797, whose maiden name is still unknown sometime around 1810. They are recorded in Jasper and Muscogee counties in Georgia but by 1860 are listed in the census of that year in Gadsden County, Florida and were still there in 1870. Based upon all the documentation presented here, it is completely impossible for Harriet E. Bedingfield to have been the wife of this John T. Reeves as proposed by The Reeves Review.

Thanks so much to Reeves' researcher Joan Chase who found the will of Timothy Rives of Richland SC while searching for her Thomas Reeves and let me know that Harriet had been mentioned in the will as the widow of his son John Turner Rives.

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