Monday, December 5, 2016

Reves Family of Halifax County, Virginia

Over the last few years, the Library of Virginia has been scanning original documents from the Chancery Court case files of Virginia counties. These records are a wonderful source of family records which were previously unavailable online. As anyone who follows this blog knows, I am always thrilled to find original signatures of Reeves individuals especially when they are from my Reeves or Reves family. Signatures are such a great help in differentiating between early Reeves families where some names such as William, George and various others were frequently used by numerous completely unrelated Reeves' families.

After a wait of several years, the LVA has begun to add the images of Chancery Court cases for Halifax County. These images have produced many interesting documents and original signatures for the Reves family there who descend from Peter Reves, brother of my third great grandfather George Reeves (Reves) of Wake County, North Carolina who died in Warren County, Kentucky.
The 1834 document above is in relation to the sale of 103 acres on Runaway Creek which had belonged to Peter Reves' son William T. Reves who died in 1829. William was only about 35 years old when he died and his estate appears to have had more debts than assets so this tract of land adjoining that of his widow was purchased by his father. The document contains the signatures of Peter Reves as well as those of his son Peter M. Reves and his son-in-law Bird Lanier Ferrell.
Michal Hoskins Reves, widow of William T. Reves, signed the 1831 document on the left which is her answer to the Chancery bill regarding her husband's estate. I find it interesting that Michal could sign her name in an era when few women were literate. The document also lists the names of their children William H. Reves, Thomas B. Reves, Elizabeth M. Reves, Ann T. Reves, Peter M. Reves, Sarah G. Reves and John Y. A. Reves.
The above 1860 letter from William Bolivar (W.B.) Ferrell, grandson of Peter Reves, pertains to a Chancery case filed by his father William C. Ferrell against the estate of Peter Reves following his death in 1857. William C. Ferrell, another son-in-law was the husband of Peter's daughter Elizabeth who died circa 1830. For whatever reason, Peter Reves will did not name William C. Ferrell or the heirs of Elizabeth Reves Ferrell in his 1854 will. He did, however, write a codicil to the will in 1855 in which he included Elizabeth Ferrell Chaney, daughter of Elizabeth Reves and William C. Ferrell.

The document on the right is a receipt signed by Peter's son Peter M. Reves in 1875 and another example of his signature. After his death in 1876, once again there is a Chancery suit in regard to his estate. The husband of his daughter Elizabeth, Walter S. Hazelwood, filed suit against all of the heirs of Peter M. Reves in order to have the court order a division of his lands among his heirs. The children and grandchildren of Peter M. Reves are named in the suit as Virginia T. Burress along with her daughters Annie and Susan J. Burress; Susan Ann Reeves; James Coates and Maud his wife; Joel T. Anderson and Judith P. his wife; R. C. Chaney and Lucy his wife; Bettie W., William T., Nettie L. and Maggie May Reeves children of Peter M. Reeves, Jr. deceased; William C. Reeves and R. (Robert) E. Reeves.

As unpleasant as I'm sure these Chancery cases among an individual's heirs were, they provide an abundance of tidbits regarding the family's genealogy and make the lives of researchers several hundred years later much easier.

Other posts pertaining to this Halifax County, Virginia Reves family:
Peter Reves of Halifax County, Virginia
William Reeves of Madison County, Kentucky
George Reeves of Warren County, Kentucky
Uncle Tommy Reeves of Malden, Missouri