Reeve, Thomas (1611 ENG - c1665 NY)


Reeve, Thomas


Father: probably Thomas Reeve
Mother: Unknown

Birth: 1611, probably in Warwickshire, England
Birth Source:

Death: c1665, Southold, Long Island, New York
Death Source:

Spouse1: Mary MNU


Children of Thomas Reeve and Mary MNU:
       1.  Thomas Reeve, Jr.   (See Research Note 1)
  1. Thomas Reeve, d. 1682
  2. John Reeve, b. c1652-1654
  3. Joseph Reeve, b. c1656
  4. Hannah Reeve, b. Nov 1657
  5. Jonathan Reeve, b. 1659
  6. Walter Reeve   (See Research Note 2)
Thomas Reeve, age 24, sailed from London for St. Christopher, West Indies in 1635 according to English emigration records. Also in this group were William Salmon, 25, and Thomas Terrill, 18.

"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)

"Southold, Long Island, NY was under the jurisdiction of New Haven from 1641 to 1662. Beginning in the latter year and for a short time thereafter, it was under the Colony of Connecticut. "Goodman" Reeves is referred to once in the New Haven Colonial Records, and once in the records of Connecticut. The New Haven record shows hye and several others were appointed in 1660 to evaluate property in Hashamomuck. The Connecticut record shows that in 1662 he was one of 25 Southolders who "accepted to be made free of this Colony," i.e. elected to be made freeman of Connecticut. As only Thomas Reeves shows in Southold Records at these times, it is believed that "Goodman" Reeves was Thomas Reeve. He lived at the South end of the Town Street, second easterly from the bridge." ("Genealogy up to 1800 of the Reeve Family of Southold, Long Island NY," page 342, Wesley L. Baker, 1970)

Thomas Reeve first appears in Southold Town Records in 1652; an inventory of his lands was entered in 1656. It's believed he owned lands prior to these dates, however, but the original land records of Southold no longer exist. The 1656 inventory shows that his home lot in Southold was between Thomas & Richard Terry in the western end of the village and he also owned property at North Sea, Toms Creek, Old Field, Hog Neck and South Harbor. Later entries in his inventory included land and meadow at Oysterponds, Calves Neck, and Cutchogue, including 220 acres of woodland which he acquired in 1661-2 as a participant in the Cutchogue land dividend, located in present day Mattituck. The latest record of Thomas in Town land records was in 1665, the year he apparently died and "Widow Reeve" appears.

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:
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.

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.”

A lengthy 50 page document by Wesley L. Baker of the Long Island Historical Society detailing 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.

(1)  Son "Thomas Reeve, Jr."
Prior to 24 September 2020 the first son was listed here as Reeve_Thomas_Jr_4224. This is now believed to be incorrect, see Research Notes for Reeve_Thomas_203.

(2)  Son "Walter Reeve"
For relevant discussion see Research Notes for Reeve_Walter_4745


Dickerson & Dickinson Descendants of Philemon Dickerson of Southold, Long Island, New York, 1978, Wayne L. Baker, Adams Press
Hall, Warren, Pagans, Puritans, Patriots - Yesterday's Southold - a Bicentennial Flashback.
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
1635 Ship List - Matthew of London