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 Cowan 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.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

More Reeves' Signatures

As I have continued to collect scans of original documents primarily for their signatures, I have numerous signatures for the Reeves (Reves) families of Wake County, North Carolina and Grayson County, Virginia/Ashe County, North Carolina. These families share matching Y-Chromosome DNA but currently no paper trail has been located to explain the connection. Currently proximity is one of the few commonalities, both William Reeves and a George Reeves who appears to be the same individual who settled in the New River area around 1767 were recorded in the deed and court records of Orange and Johnston Counties circa 1760. The other major commonality is that the male members of these families were all literate and consistently signed their names as REVES, not with the double "E" used by later generations.

Included here are various documents signed by William Reeves of Wake County NC and his sons as well as the sons of George Reeves of Grayson County VA.

Signature of William Reves (c1740-1821) of Wake County, North Carolina from his answers to interrogatories in depositions taken in the court case of David Daniel vs. the executors of Woodson Daniel.

The signature above is that of Peter Reves, son of William Reeves (Reves) of Wake County NC. Peter, along with his brother Charles, moved a short distance into Halifax County, Virginia around 1800. This acknowledgement signed by Peter Reves in 1851 is part of an application by Elizabeth Brown Neal for a Revolutionary War pension based upon her husband Thomas Neal's service. Elizabeth Neal's statement was made to Peter who was the Chairman of the Halifax (VA) County Court.

Madison County, Kentucky consent for the marriage of his daughter Elizabeth signed by Jeremiah Reves, one of the younger sons of William Reeves. Elizabeth Reves married a Jefferson Reves whose identity is unknown. Jefferson was likely a cousin of Elizabeth's, possibly the son by that name of her uncle John Reves of Wake County NC who disappeared from the records there around 1837.

Above document is the 1802 Madison County, Kentucky marriage bond for George Reves, the son of William Reeves of Wake County NC, to Elizabeth "Betsy" Wilkerson.

1811 Note to James Cox for $133.00 signed by Jesse Reves of Ashe County, North Carolina, another son of George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia.

1809 Power of Attorney by George Reves, Jr., son of George Reeves of Grayson County VA, to Robert H. Burton to act on his behalf in a court case in the Ashe County Superior Court.

Bond by William Reves, son of George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia, and his son-in-law Allen Burton for John Reves, Jr. and William's wife Ann Reves. This court case, Landreth vs. William Reves, was filed around 1813 and was still active as late as 1822.
The John Reves, Jr. named in this bond is most likely the son of William Reves of Ashe who was born circa 1795. It was a common practice in early America to differentiate between individuals of the same name by identifying the younger person as Junior not necessarily because the individual named as Senior was their parent.

Although the above is not a scan of the original document, the signatures as published appear to be taken from scans of the original document. The signature of Wm Reves on this 1761 Orange County, North Carolina deed would undoubtably be that of William Reeves, Sr., the probable father of both William Reeves of Wake County and George Reeves of Grayson.

There are many more documents signed by these individuals and others as well as later generations using the Reves spelling of the surname but eventually most of the family began to use the more common Reeves variation of the name. As yet I have been unable to find other Reeves' families who spelled their name in the same manner. It would be a great help in locating the family's origins if we can eventually find others using the Reves name.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Hub Reeves, My Grandfather

After seriously neglecting this blog for some time, I'm going to make an effort to revive it, even if only with Reeves' pictures until I discover some new Reeves' family connections or solve a Reeves' mystery.

I love this picture of my grandfather William Hubbard Reeves, born 1882 in Blandville, Ballard County, Kentucky to Sidney Preston Reeves and Nancy Susan Wingo.

William Hubbard Reeves (2nd from left)
He moved from Kentucky into southeastern Missouri after marrying and was involved in the timber business. In New Madrid County he had a sawmill and for a time operated a general store there as well. He did love a good team of mules so this picture, taken around 1920, is quite special to me.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The rest of the story...

Since the previous posting regarding the mysterious George Reaves referred to in a Halifax County deed of September 1793 by the heirs of John Epps, much new information about his identity has been discovered.

Revolutionary war soldier Asher Reaves' pension statement recounts that he was born in Prince William County, Virginia and joined the revolutionary forces from Halifax County, Virginia in 1778. He states that he lived in Halifax County, Virginia prior to the Revolution from where he originally enlisted, then his father relocated to Wilkes County, North Carolina, from there he was recruited for subsequent tours of service. Asher stated that he moved with his father to Wilkes County in the State of North Carolina about 2 miles from Wilkes Court House on the Yadkin River where he lived until the fall of 1789.

Asher's parents have previously been unidentified, however the following appear to be some of the earliest references to Reeves or Reaves in Halifax, Virginia:
On 27 Dec 1771, George Reeves witnessed (signed with his mark) a deed from Luke Williams, carpenter, and Catherine his wife of Halifax County to James Ingram, gentlemen of Accomac County for 500 acres near Sandy Creek. Halifax County Deed Book 8, p. 295.

On 18 Jun 1773, Luke Williams of Halifax County executed a deed of trust to John Lewis, Jr. of Halifax County for 986 acres adjoining William McDaniel, James Henry, Charles Wormack, George Reaves, Joseph Morrosson, George Curry. Halifax County, Virginia Deed Book 9, p. 202

On 15 Oct 1778, Luke Williams of Halifax County deeded 100 acres on Court house branch to George Reaves of same county. Halifax County, Virginia Deed Book 11, p. 128-129.
Wilkes County, North Carolina
The only older Reeves' individual living in Wilkes County, North Carolina during the Revolution was an Isaac Reeves with wife Margery. Isaac Reeves did not name any of his children in his 1807 will, but they have been identified through tax and deed records of Wilkes County and do not include Asher. Although at times George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia was listed in the records of Wilkes NC, it should be noted that the state line between Virginia and North Carolina was in dispute for approximately 20 years. Areas along that boundary were constantly being shifted back and forth between the two states. The area where George Reeves lived along the New River was along that boundary so the state and county changed repeatedly. From 1767 when he arrived on the Peach Bottom Tract until his death in 1811, George Reeves lived on the north side of the New River. The Peach Bottom Tract on the New River is approximately 40 miles from the Wilkes County Courthouse and the Yadkin River as described by Asher Reaves in his RW pension statement and Little Cub Creek adjacent to the Moravian line mentioned in George Reaves' Wilkes County deed of 1794. (See above map with the New River at the top and the Wilkes Courthouse "CH" much further south.) This George Reaves is the only individual who was both a resident of Halifax County, Virginia and Wilkes, North Carolina who could be the father to which Asher referred.

George Reaves origins are undocumented but the statement of Asher Reaves in his Revolutionary War pension that he was born in Prince William County, Virginia suggests that George came from Virginia's northern neck. In Northumberland County, Virginia, Margaret and William Scurlock administered the estate of a Thomas Reeves who died about 1729. This suggests that Margaret was Reeves's widow and that she married William Scurlock as her second husband. One Margaret Scurlock later married Joseph Morrison in North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia, on 9 December 1739. This Margaret appears to have been the widow of both William Scurlock and Thomas Reeves.

Joseph and Margaret Scurlock Morrison were taxed in Dettingen Parish, Prince William County, Virginia in 1747 with Joseph Scurlock and George Reves as tithables in their household, indicating that they were young men aged 16-21 years (and thus born between 10 June 1726 and 10 June 1731). This appears to suggest that Margaret (MNU) married first Thomas Reeves, second William Scurlock, and third Joseph Morrison, and that George Reves and Joseph Scurlock were her sons.

The following appears in Prince William County, VA, Order Book 1759-1761, 25 March 1760, p. 69: Nathaniel Chapman vs. Joseph Morrison, Fortunatus Legg and George Reeves. In debt. the defendants filed their plea to which the plaintiff demurred generally and time is allowed the defendants untill next Court to consider the same. (Published in The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 20, p. 38.)

Margaret and Joseph Morrison were both still alive on 4 December 1762, when they were dismissed from Broad Run Baptist Church in Fauquier County to join Birch Creek Baptist Church in Halifax County, Virginia. Joshua Scurlock, a proven son of William Scurlock, was dismissed from Broad Run "to Halifax" on 10 June 1763. Joseph Morrison and Joshua Scurlock are found in Halifax County during the 1760s. A 1778 Halifax County deed identifies Joseph Morrison as a neighbor of George Reeves. Additionally, he is recorded in the Halifax tax lists through 1788.

Other members of the extended Scurlock/Morrison family also migrated to Wilkes County, North Carolina about the time that George Reaves did. The following excerpt from Michael Scurlock of the Northern Neck and Some of His Descendants refers to Joshua Scurlock who is very likely the half brother of George Reaves:
"Sometime after 1762, like so many Virginians of the era, Joshua (Scurlock) and his family migrated from their home state, going first to Wilkes Co., N.C., where he received a North Carolina land grant of 300 acres on both sides of Moravian Creek on 1 March 1780. On 27 October 1788, Joshua, now, 'of the State of Georgia,' sold this land and the deed was recorded in Wilkes Co., N.C."
George Reaves described as "of Wilkes County, North Carolina" is named in a Halifax deed dated September 6, 1793 as one of the legatees of John Epps, deceased. The deed refers to the heirs of a deceased son Joshua, as being: Nathaniel Epps, Moses Epps, David Powell, Sr., John Comer, Edy Epps, and Temperance Epps of Halifax County, Virginia; Ambrose Gresham of Lunenburg County, Virginia; and George Reaves of Wilkes County, North Carolina. According to Joshua Epps' Will of 1778 (Halifax Co. Will Bk. 1, 1773-83, p 216) his children were: John, Nathaniel, William, Isham, Moses, Mary (m. David Powell, Sr. before 1767), Elizabeth “Betty” (m. Ambrose Gresham on 24 Mar 1787 in Halifax VA), Millison (m. John Clay), Dicy (m. Elisha Lacy), Amey (m. John Comer before 10 Sept. 1775), Temperance (unmarried in 1793), Edy (unmarried in 1793) and Patty (a nickname for Martha) who must then be the daughter who married George Reaves. This is further confirmed by the appearance of a widowed Martha Reaves listed as head of household beginning on the 1816 tax lists and in the 1830 Halifax census after the death of George Reaves around 1815.

Asher Reaves was Surety on a Halifax County, Virginia marriage bond dated 25 November 1785 for the marriage of Joseph Morrison to Margaret Raney establishing another connection between Asher and George Reaves. Joseph Morrison was the probable step-father of George Reaves and therefore step-grandfather of Asher.

George Reaves reappears on the Halifax County, Virginia tax lists in 1796 after selling his property in Wilkes County in 1794:
9 Dec 1794 Deed - George Reeves deed to William Petty, Sr. for 200 acres on Little Lick Creek adjacent to the Moravian line. Wilkes County, North Carolina Deed Book B-1, p. 416
Excerpt from 1796 Halifax County Personal Tax List
At the time George Reaves returned to Halifax County, he was apparently over 65 years of age for he was listed as exempt on the 1796 personal property tax list which coincides with the birth date of George Reeves, probable son of Thomas in the Dettingen Parish tax listing of 1747. George and his sons Elijah and George, Jr. are listed in the tax records of Halifax through 1815 when George appears to have died. The following year, a widowed Martha Reaves is listed as head of household in the place of George on the tax list.

This extensive additional information regarding George Reaves of Halifax County, Virginia and Wilkes County, North Carolina was located as part of an effort to learn more about the Reeve(s) families of Virginia's northern neck. The collaboration of several Reeves' researchers, especially Dan Knight, has helped to link George and Asher Reaves to each other as well as their roots in northern Virginia. Hopefully more information will be found and possibly a descendant will someday participate in the Reeves DNA Project adding further to our knowledge of George Reaves.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Those Places Thursday - The Cumberland Gap

The Cumberland Gap is a pass through the Cumberland Mountains section of the Appalachians located just north of the point where Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia meet. Native Americans had used this pass through the mountains long before the American colonists became aware of it. After a team of loggers led by Daniel Boone widened the path and made it more accessible to settlers migrating westward, it became a major passageway through the lower central Appalachians and an important part of the Wilderness Road.

The Cumberland Gap Looking Toward Kentucky
Around the age of 65, my ancestor William Reves left Wake County, North Carolina which had been his home for most or possibly all of his life and migrated to Madison County, Kentucky around 1806.  His youngest sons, George and Jeremiah, had made this trip several years before along with other settlers from the Granville-Wake County area.

William Reves lived most of his life on a 400 acre tract granted to his father William Reves, Sr. in what had been Orange County in the 1750s, Johnston County in the 1760s, then Wake County and is now Durham County.  In her book Durham County - A History of Durham County, North Carolina, Jean Bradley Anderson states "Among the first to take up land in present Durham County were William Reeves, who received 400 acres where Ellerbee Creek runs into Neuse River (1746)".

In August of 1760, as William Reaves, Jr. he registered his cattle brand in Orange County.  He is found listed in the minutes of the Wake County Court from the county's inception in 1771 through 1803. He is recognized as a Revolutionary War Patriot based upon his civil service as a tax assessor in Wake County during the revolution by the DAR. From the 1770's, he served on juries, was overseer of roads, assessor and tax gatherer in Captain Woodson Daniel's district and from 1787 to 1803 was a Magistrate Justice of the Wake County Court.

Many of the documents that refer to him spell his name Reeves, but he and his sons who were all literate, always spelled their name Reves which tends to set them apart from the many other Reeves families of North Carolina.  DNA of several of his descendants also establishes that they were unrelated to the other Reeves families in the Neuse basin but to date no records have been found with clues to their origins.

His final appearance as a justice of the Wake County Court is recorded in 1803 and on Sept. 16th, 1806, his son William Jr. sold his 130 acre tract south of Ellobey's Creek. These were the last records for either of them in Wake County and by the 1810 census, both are recorded in Madison County, Kentucky.  

Several years ago my cousin and I made a trip to North Carolina by way of southern Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap into Virginia and drove a two lane highway through the Appalachians from Virginia into North Carolina. Even in a modern vehicle on modern roads, it is apparent what an accomplishment it was for my 65 year old 4th great grandfather to make such a trip through the Cumberland Gap in 1806.