Friday, February 10, 2012

George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia

It was previously believed that George Reeves who settled in the New River area of Virginia and North Carolina around 1767 was descended from Henry Reeves of Essex County, Virginia through his son Thomas and came to the New River area from Chesterfield County, Virginia. After DNA tests on several of the descendants of George Reeves matched descendants of William Reeves of Wake County, North Carolina, research of that area has produced numerous deeds and other court documents which appear to pertain to this George Reeves.

There are countless Johnston County deeds circa 1762 to 1765 with references to both George Reeves and Richard Burton, believed to be the father of Jane Burton Reeves, such as: Richard Burton, Johnston County, to Samuel Peek, Buckingham Co, Virginia, 314 Acres in Johnston County, the plantation whereon said Burton now lives beginning at Wm. Reeves corner red oak on the bank of Neuse river, running thence on his line S23½ยบ W crossing Ellobies creek several times 98p to his corner pine: S23½ W 160p to a corner pine: S65 E210p to a pine: N24 E184p crossing Gut several times to a blazed White Oak on Neuse River, just above the mouth of said Gut: up said River by several meanders to 1st sta…houses, orchard &c…Ann Burton∗ wife to Richard Burton examined privately by Lod. Tanner Esq. Wit: John Alston, Thomas Webb, Wm. Bradford, Johnston County, October 13, 1763.

The exact family relationship between George Reeves and William Reeves of Wake County is currently undocumented but the genetic match is close enough that they may have been brothers. Among the many details that connect these two families is their use of the name REVES rather than the many other variations - Reeves, Reaves, Rives. William Reeves and his father William, Sr. both signed their name "Reves". George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia and his heirs also used the Reves spelling of the name. In subsequent generations, many descendants of both families changed to the more commonly used spelling of Reeves while some descendants maintained the original spelling of Reves.

It appears as though both Richard Burton and George Reeves sold their property in Johnston County around 1765 which would coincide with the appearance of both men in the New River area around 1767. Additionally a Johnston County court order of July 15, 1766 wherein Timothy Shaw was replacing George Reeves as overseer of the road would presumably be a result of George Reeves' removal from Johnston County.

From The Virginia magazine of history and biography, pub 1922 by the Virginia Historical Society - "...It was originally surveyed in 1753 for Peter Jefferson, Thomas and David Meriwether and Thomas Walker. It was the Peach Bottom tract. John Cox settled there the same year. George Collins and George Reeves settled there in 1767."

In George Reeves' deposition for Beavins (Blevins) vs. Newell — O. S. 174; N. S. 62 — Bill, 27th September, 1805, he stated that he was present in the New River area as early as 1767.
George Reaves was on the 1771, 1772, 1773 and 1774 tithables lists of Cornelius Roberts in extinct Fincastle County, Virginia.

He appears on the 1787 tax list of Montgomery County with 100 acres. In 1789 he was living in Grassy Creek/Fox Creek area of Grayson County near Daniel, Elisha and John Blevins, Robert Osborne and Ezeiel Young. The New River area changed state and county designations several times and by 1793, George and his son, Jesse, are listed in the tax lists of Wythe County, Virginia.

As George "Reaves", he received a grant for 200 aces on the waters of the New River in Montgomery County on May 18, 1796 and another for 100 acres on the north side of that river adjoining his own line on the west on May 30, 1796.

The children of George and Jane Burton Reeves were Jesse, William, Anne who married Bartholomew Austin, Mary who married Joseph Doughton, Susanna who married William Tolliver, George Jr., Lucy who married David Cox, Jr., Prudence who married Andrew Cox, Charity who married Zachariah Osborne, John and Elizabeth who married Samuel Phipps.

∗ The wife of Richard Burton was previously believed to be Mary; however all records for Richard Burton prior to around 1765 list his wife as Ann. In Apr 1765: Exhibited into court, a sale and inventory of the estate of James Farmer, decd, by Mary Burton, Executrix. Recorded in Johnston Co, NC County Court Minutes. Research by Burton Family researchers indicates that Ann Burton died sometime before 1765 after which Richard Burton married Mary, the widow of James Farmer who had died in 1761 in Johnston County.

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