Reeve, James (c1610 UK - bef 1671 NY)


Reeve, James


Father: Thomas Reeve
Mother: Unknown

Birth: c1610, England
Birth Source: Estimated from first appearance as adult in 1636.

Death: 6 May 1698, Southhold, Long Island, New York
Death Source: 1692 Will recorded 4 Jul 1698 gives date of death

Spouse1: Mary Purrier


Children of James Reeve and Mary Purrier unknown wife:
  1. James Reeve, Jr., b. 1672
  2. Isaac Reeve
  3. Thomas Reeve
  4. Daniel Reeve
  5. Mary Reeve
  6. Hannah Reeve
  7. Deborah Reeve
"Southold Town - 1636-1939- The Oldest English Town in the State of New York". The book was presented by the official town historian Wayland Jefferson and bears the authorization of the town supervisor, S. Wentwood Horton (later a state senator):

This is a "deposicion" (deposition) sworn to by Thomas Osman on March 18, 1658, in the presence of Barnabas Horton and Thomas Moore, all three of whom are known to have been here at that time. The purpose of the deposition was to establish ownership of land in an area called Hashamomock, east of Hashamomock Pond and west of what is now Greenport. In 1636 Osman was living in Antigua, an island in a Caribbean archipelago then called the Summer Isles. He said he and William Purrier, his future father-in-law, and James Reeve, who became his brother-in-law, 'did go adventuring' that year to the 'Chowan country' of North Carolina in quest of turpentine, a valuable commodity then known as spirits of resin.

The Chowan country, they soon discovered, was already alive with other Englishmen also looking for turpentine, which was obtained by making incisions in the trunks of pine trees and distilling the resin that exuded from them. The trio ran into a Thomas Reeve, who was with William Salmon, Thomas Terrill, Thomas Benedict, Henry Whitney "and others who had come hither from ye Summer Isles".

Discouraged by the competition, the whole party "did set sale" with Matthew Sunderland (how they met him is not explained) "to the country the said Sunderland had from his mater, one James Farrett, by letter patent from ye Earle of Starlinge. And ye said Osman does further depose that ye said company with others whose names he has forgotten did set downe on ye necke called Hashamomock and did ingage in distillinge sperrits resin from ye trees in ye greate swampe and further Sunderland, Salmon, Whitney and Benedict did from ye beginning owne ye said necke in equal shares and did so from our first sitting downe in ye yeare 1636-7". (Hall, p. 18)

An abstract of the will of William Purrier from Abstracts of Wills, Vol. I, 1665-1707, Page 37-38 follows: WILLIAM PURRIER, of Southold, "In perfect health of body," makes his grandson James Reeve, "now living with me," his sole executor, and desires him to take his mother, my eldest daughter Mary Reeve, into his family and provide for her during life. If she refuse, then he is to pay her 20 Nobles yearly. "I leave to my two youngest daughters, Sarah Mapes and Martha Osmun 20 pounds each." To "Isaac Reeve who now lives with me," two oxen. To my grandchild Mary Wyndes, one cow. To Thomas Terrill who married my grand daughter Mary Reeve, two acres of land by his dwelling house. To grand son James Reeve all my dwelling house, lands and meadows. Dated December 13, 1671. Witnesses Nicholas Eades, John Youngs. James Reeve is confirmed as executor May 13, 1676.

Research Notes

Recently revisiting the research of this family in order to find the truth as to which Reeve individual, James or Thomas, was the husband of Mary Purrier, it became apparent that the James Reeve of the Osman Deposition could not have been the James Reeve of the 1692 Will since he would have to have been born circa 1610 and presumably his wife would have been close to that age therefore making it impossible for her to have been the mother of children born circa 1670 which the children named in that will would have been.

Discovery of the book The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut By Frederic Gregory Mather, Pub 1913, sheds more light on the family timeline although it does not solve the mystery instead raising the issue that the generations were mixed. The premise is suggested that James and Thomas were brothers and it was their father who was the husband of Mary Purrier. It suggests that it was the first Thomas who was the husband of Mary which still leaves the Osman Deposition's statement that it was James Reeve who was the son-in-law of William Purrier, but this timeline and view of the generations of the family makes more sense otherwise.

Previous research:
In the past, there has been much confusion regarding which Reeve individual, Thomas or James, was the husband of Mary Purrier daughter of William Purrier. The 1671 will of William Purrier left bequests to his daughter Mary Reeve, grandson James Reeve, Thomas Terrill husband of granddaughter Mary Reeve and Isaac Reeve. The children listed in James Reeve's 1692 will appears to confirm that he was the husband of Mary Purrier.

Upon further research of various sources pertaining to the early Reeve families of Southold, Long Island, I have found that there are numerous statements contained in the published A history of Mattituck, Long Island, N.Y. which are in conflict with information contained in the 1658 deposition of Thomas Osman included above. The deposition was apparently not known to the public at the time Rev. Charles E. Craven wrote the history and the information contained in the deposition is contrary to Rev. Craven's biographical assertions.

A lengthy 50 page document by Wesley L. Baker of the Long Island Historical Society details an extensive search of the records of Long Island for information concerning the Osman depositions the whereabouts of which are now unknown. The conclusions reached based upon his findings begin on p. 37 of the document which can be viewed at Study of the Depositions of Thomas Osman. The conclusions contained there are reflected in the pages of The Reeves Project pertaining to this family.

This published study based upon the depositions of Thomas Osman mentioned above does not make any assertions regarding a familial relationship between James Reeve and Thomas Reeve who was also named in the deposition; however Y-DNA of descendants of both James and Thomas matches, proving that they were in some way related.

Although the father of James, William and Thomas Reeve of Long Island is generally believed to be unknown, if the published volume A history of Mattituck, Long Island, N.Y. is to be believed, their father was also named Thomas. That book on page 44 makes the statement “The eastern part of the Reeve lot was owned wholly or part by William Reeve who died in 1696 a son of 1st Thomas.”


Dickerson & Dickinson - Descendants of Philemon Dickerson of Southold, Long Island, New York, 1978, Wesley Logan Baker, Adams Press
Study of the Reeve family of Southold, Long Island, N.Y. : and Southold descendants of the Southampton, L.I. Reeves family and genealogy of said families up to 1800, 1970, Wesley Logan Baker
Hall, Warren, Pagans, Puritans, Patriots - Yesterday's Southold - a Bicentennial Flashback.
Study of the Depositions of Thomas Osman
A history of Mattituck, Long Island, N.Y. by Charles E. Craven, pub. 1906
The Salmon Records, Register of Marriages & Deaths in the Town of Southhold, pub 1918
The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut By Frederic Gregory Mather, Pub 1913