Garris, Betsy (1785 NC - 1824 SC)


Garris, Betsy


Father: Bedford Garris
Mother: (possibly) Susannah

Birth: c. 1785, Duplin Co., NC
Birth Source: Estimated

Death: c. 1824, Lancaster Co., SC
Death Source: Estimated

Spouse1: James Reeves, Sr.


Children of James Reeves, Sr. and Betsy Garris:
  1. John Reeves, b. c1805
  2. Winifred Reeves, b. c1809
  3. Elisha Reeves, b. c1810
  4. James Brady Reeves, Jr., b. c1812
  5. Jane Reeves, b. 1 Feb 1815

Betsy Garris Reeves was born in Duplin Co., NC, and reared in Mecklenburg Co., NC. Her marriage to James Reeves can be estimated from the approximate birthdates of her children as well as from the movements of her parents, who moved from Mecklenburg Co., NC, into Lancaster County about 1805. On 23 May 1805, Jonathan Blackmon of Lancaster District sold 60 acres to Bedford Garris for $150. The land was described as part of a 465 acre tract granted to John Caston and conveyed to John Clark, deceased, who sold it to Blackmon, including also a tract bought by Clark at a Sheriff's sale, consisting of 195 acres of land granted William Ferguson and joining Joseph Hail. William Ward and Henry Staver witnessed the deed. (Lancaster Co., SC, Deed Book F, p. 261.) (Note that William Reeves also purchased land from William Ferguson and was a neighbor of Joseph Hail.

Betsy's father, Bedford Garris, was a Revolutionary War soldier and pensioner; he applied for a pension on 30 April 1833 from Mecklenburg County, NC, giving his age as 70. He stated that he had lived in Dobbs Co., NC, at enlistment. Later, he moved to South Carolina "for about ten years" before returning to North Carolina. He indicated that he had lived in North Carolina for "the last twenty years." If these dates are correct, Garris lived in Lancaster County from 1803 to 1813 and in Mecklenburg Co., NC, from 1813 to 1833. Garris was enumerated in Duplin Co., NC, in 1790; in Lancaster Co., SC, in 1810; and in Mecklenburg Co., NC, in 1830. He has not been located in 1800 and 1820. At the time of the 1790 census, when Betsy Garris Reeves was a small child, his household consisted of one male over age 16, one male under age 16, and three females. Neighbors in 1810 included Jonathan Blackmon, William Williams, Joseph Hale, Dudley Hale, Brittain Blackmon (husband of Anna Reeves), Magness Liles, and Benjamin Stogner. Garris's household included two males under age 10, one male aged 16-26, and one male over age 45, plus one female aged 16-26.

Betsy Garris Reeves predeceased her father, who (as per North Carolina pension records) died on 17 January 1835. Garris was survived by a widow named Susannah. It is not known whether Susannah was Betsy Garris Reeves's mother. The 1810 Lancaster County, SC, census showed only one female aged 16-26. This would seem to indicate that Garris's first wife — who would have been born by about 1765 and over age 45 in 1810 — was probably deceased. The 1830 Mecklenburg County census showed Bedford Garris living alone, aged 70-80.

Her father's will and probate records document the children of James Reeves and Betsy Garris. The will of Bedford Garris, dated 19 March 1834 and proven February 1835, Mecklenburg Co., NC, names children Winnie Blackmon, William Garris, Elisha Garris, Jane Richardson, and granddaughter Elizabeth Richardson. Garris states that "all the balance of the porceeds from the sale is to be divided equally among all my grandchildren, and to my daughter Winnie I gave any money on hand at my decease." Mecklenburg Co., NC, Court of Pleas Minutes indicate that Bedford Garris died in 1835 leaving land on Richardson's Creek consisting of 110 acres. Garris left "the following heirs at law, towit: William Garris, Elisha Garris, Jane Richardson wife of Kendrick Richardson, Winny Blackmon wife of Nathan Blackmon who resides in Georgia and Elisha Reeves, James Reeves, John Reeves, Mary wife of William F. Richardson, and Jane wife of Amos Blackmon, the children of a deceased daughter Betsy Reeves."

Note that Nathan Blackmon and his wife Winny seem to have been particularly important to later Reeves migrations. They seem to have left South Carolina and to have been followed by several of their nieces and nephews. By 1840, they were living in Harris Co., GA; their nephew Elisha Reeves was enumerated in an adjacent household in Harris County in 1840. Blackmon reseachers identify Nathan as a son of James Blackmon — from whom James Reeves purchased land — and a cousin of the several Blackmons who intermarried with the families of James Reeves.


History:    Will of Bedford Garris, Mecklenburg Co., NC, Will Book G, p. 195
                   Mecklenburg Co.,, NC, Court of Pleas, 1835
                   Charles Respass, Blackmon Research Report, Lancaster Co., SC, Public Library