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.

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.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mary Reeves Doughton

The family of Mary called Polly, daughter of George Reeves of Grayson, Virginia, who married Joseph Doughton has been a mystery since there are no probate records for Joseph who died in 1832 in Ashe County, North Carolina. Documenting their children has been a futile effort until I recently discovered that Ashe County, North Carolina's Register of Deeds has put scans of their deeds back to 1799 online. In many instances, deeds are about so much more than the sale of land and in this particular instance, these Ashe County deed records are a gold mine of genealogical information.

In Deed Book V there are three deeds by the heirs of Joseph Doughton which provide the names of their nine children who lived to maturity. In each of these three deeds, the heirs were selling a tract of land to another of the heirs - Jesse Doughton, Charles H. Doughton and George Reeves, son-in-law and husband of daughter Elizabeth Doughton.

These deeds not only document the children of Mary Reeves and Joseph Doughton, they give the names of the husbands of those daughters who had married by 1832 when Joseph died. David Cox, John Cox McGimsey, Denny Robinson and George Reves are identified as the husbands of daughters Jane, Charity, Polly and Elizabeth. The deeds provide as much documentation of the family members as a will would have.

Heirs of Joseph Doughton to George Reves
Ashe County NC Deed Book V, page 268
Heirs of Joseph Doughton to George Reves
Ashe County NC Deed Book V, page 269
According to family legend, Joseph Doughton is believed to have been a member of an early surveying team in the New River area. He contracted typhoid fever and was taken in by former Revolutionary soldier Lt. George Reeves who had settled along the New River in 1767. As the story goes, Joseph was nursed back to health by George Reeves' daughter, Mary. During his convalescence, they fell in love and were married.

Joseph Doughton was recorded as a justice of the Ashe County Court by 1806 and in 1817 served as a representative from Ashe County to North Carolina's House of Representatives. Descendants of Joseph and Polly Doughton continued the family's public service - Rufus Doughton would later serve as North Carolina's Lt. Governor and Robert Doughton as a U.S. Representative.

Thanks to these wonderful deeds by Joseph Doughton's heirs, we now have documentation that their children were Irena Jane Doughton Cox, Elizabeth Doughton Reves, George H. Doughton, Grace Doughton Phipps, Charles Horton Doughton, Charity Ann Doughton McGimsey, Jesse Doughton, Polly Doughton Robinson and Rosamond Doughton Lewis. There also appears to have been another child, Joseph Doughton born about 1794, who died before reaching maturity. Although undocumented he is listed in several sources and the 1810 census of Ashe County lists a child that age in Joseph and Mary's household.