Reeves, James (c1785 SC - 1844 SC)


Reeves, James


Father: Unknown, but probably Elisha Reeves
Mother: Unknown

Birth: abt 1785, probably South Carolina
Birth Source: Place of birth from statements of children on 1880 census.

Death: 29 Jan 1844, Lancaster County, South Carolina
Death Source: 1844 Will and James A. Blackmon Family Bible

Spouse1: Betsy Garris, m. c1804
Spouse2: Bethenia Williams, m. c1824


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
Children of James Reeves, Sr. and Bethenia Williams:
  1. Elizabeth H. Reeves, b. 17 Jun 1825
  2. Malissa Caroline Reeves, 15 Nov 1827
  3. Mary Missouri Reeves, b. May 1831
  4. Dorcas A. Reeves, b. 7 May 1835
  5. Thomas Jefferson Reeves, b. 7 Dec 1837
  6. Amy Ella Reeves, b. 4 Aug 1840
  7. Charlotte Ann Bethenia Reeves, b. 31 Jul 1844
James Reeves Sr. is thought to have been born around 1785. There is no good source for this exact date, but the ages on the census records narrows the window down to about 1785-1790. His middle name may have been Brady, just as his son Junior's is, but no record which states this has been located. A notice in the Camden Gazette, 11 April 1816, of letters remaining in the Post Office in Camden on the 1st of April lists a "J. B. Reaves." This likely refers to James Sr.; however, James B Reeves was also likely in the area at the time, so this may be a reference to him.

The names of his parents have not been determined, but there are several possibilities. It has been suggested that James had a brother, John Reeves, who died August 3, 1840 in Mississippi, and a sister, Elizabeth Reeves, who married David Williams. In the 1790 census, there is an Elisha Reeves living in Camden District with a wife and a boy under 16 years old. By 1800, Elisha was gone. Based on age, enumeration, associations, and geography, Elisha seems to be the best candidate to have fathered James Reeves and John Reeves, although it is possible that they were children of John Reeves by his second marriage.

By 1800,William Reeves was living in Lancaster County with his wife, one girl under 10, and two boys under 10. This William is known to have been a son of John Reeves. His children were named in his will, and he is not the father of this James or John. William's neighbors, however, place him living in the same area where Elisha Reeves had been living in 1790. One neighbor was David Williams, husband of Elizabeth Reeves. Several members of the Blackmon family were also living nearby.

It is known from Daniel Reeves's pension application that Daniel was born in 1754 and that he was a son of John and Nancy. Also from Daniel's pension application, it is known that his mother Nancy had died and that John had remarried by the time that Daniel was away fighting in the Revolution. Daniel's relationship with his step-mother was so strained that he stayed with his father's brother (apparently Moses Reeves of Lancaster County) when he was home for leave, and, after Daniel married, he left his wife Eleanor to live at his uncle's home rather than with his own father. It would seem that with John's second marriage he had begun a new family and that relations with his older children may have soured, at least with Daniel. This scenario fits well with the 1790 census, which shows John with one son born after 1774 and what appear to be three unmarried daughters in his household. It seems possible that James Reeves, Sr., was the son of John Reeves by his second marriage. One factor that seems to support the idea that James Reeves might have been John's grandson is that James was born after 1785 and John Reeves in or after 1790. Another important factor is the tradition that James Reeves, John Reeves, and Elizabeth Reeves, wife of Daniel Williams were close relatives. Since James Reeves married Elizabeth's daughter, she almost certainly was not his sister. Age estimates based on census reports indicate that she was probably born between 1775 and 1778. She could have been the daughter of either John Reeves or his brother Moses Reeves. But the close proximity between David Williams, Britton Blackmon, James Reeves, and John Reeves — and the frequency of intermarriages among these four families — suggests a close connection. If Elizabeth were John's daughter and James were John's grandson, this would make her his aunt. But all relationships remain speculative until further evidence emerges.

It is likely that James and his first wife Betsy Garris were married about 1804 or 1805 in Lancaster District. Bedford Garris, her father, first bought land in Lancaster in 1805, and the oldest child John was born about 1805 as well. By 1810, James Reeves was living in Lancaster County as a head of household. James owned a good deal of land in/around Rich Hill and Primus in Lancaster County. On the 1825 Mills Atlas map of Lancaster County, his place is marked 'Reeves.' Based on the map, it appears he lived on the right side of Rocky River Road between Rich Hill and Primus about where Daisy Couch Rd. intersects today. One deed mentions the James Reeves old place and the plat it refers to shows he owned that area of land, and may possibly have moved further up the road near the Primus Crossroads.

The following advertisement was run in the Weekly Raleigh Registeron 7 July 1831, and suggests his son John was in Georgia for a period before his eventual move down there around 1852.
Twenty Dollars Reward.
Runaway from the Subscriber on Saturday evening last, three Negroes, one fellow and two wenches - the fellow is about 25 years of age, stout and well made, very active and intelligent, he is about five feet eight inches high, he goes by the name of Fed or Frederick; one of the wenches is about nineteen years of age, very black and well made - the other about seventeen years of age, a little light complected, the first described negro named Poll the other Dolly, all three of these negroes are very likely - I am induced to believe that the said negroes have been taken off by my son John Reeves, and that it is probably he will make his way to Georgia where he has a living - my son is about 18 or 19 years of age, small stature and a little down look when spoken to; he was dressed in a dark homespun jean coat, a pair of copperass colored pantaloons and broad brim black hat. - Any person who will take up the said negroes and lodge them in Jail so that I can get them, shall receive the above reward, or for any of them in proportion.
Lancaster District, S. C.      }  33 3w
June 6th 1831                        }

James died January 29, 1844 according to his son-in-law James A. Blackmon's family bible. He left a will in which he leaves his current residence to his wife and wills his children slaves and/or money. The Michael Horton Tract is mentioned several times. It is thought that this particular piece of land is what gave rise to the equity case that followed. Deeds mention that he bought this land from Michael Horton. However there is no extant deed between James and Michael. William Horton's estate was settled in 1835 and 1836, and there was an Equity case similar case where the land was sold. It appears James Sr. and James Jr. did buy land from Amos and Sterling, two of William's sons, during this time. However, the deed for the Michael Horton tract does not appear to be extant. It has been suggested that John thought his father had meant to give him the land, but had forgotten. However, no document has been located that shows this. On 14 November 1844, Elisha and Bethena registered a Bill of Complaint in the Lancaster District Court of Equity. This turned into the equity case Elisha Reeves and Bethena Reeves vs Richardson et al. After a hearing on 28 November, James H. Witherspoon, Comr. of the Court, decreed that all the lands and three slaves in question be sold at public auction by him. After duly advertizing, the auction took place on 6 January 1845 at Lancaster Court House. Three slaves named Ann, Meranda, and Wylie were sold off for a total of $981. Elisha bought two of them. Four tracts of land were bid off as well. John bought the Horton acres for $1802. He made a down payment, but then immediately mortgaged it back to Witherspoon for $1 to be returned to hum upon payment of $1761.50. This was to be paid in thirds yearly through 1848. The mortgage was made on January 15, the same day Witherspoon deeded the land to him. Thomas Flemming bought tract B (78 acres) for $210.50. This was deeded to him on January 27th, but then mortgaged it back as well to be paid in halves through 1847. James A. Blackmon bought tract C for $800. John Taylor bought tract D for $201.01. He mortgaged this back to Witherspoon as well, to be returned on the payment of the total by halves through 1847. Both the deed and mortgage were made January 20. The mortgage names this tract as the James Reeves old place and includes the triangle below Primus crossroads and extends west and south from there towards Rich Hill.

Based on the early census records, it appears James and Betsy had three children who died young.

On the 1810 census, there are listed the ages which correspond to these people: James (listed as head) 16-25; Betsy (16-25); John (0-10); Winnie (0-10).

On the 1820 census, there are listed the ages which correspond to these people: James (listed as head) 26-45; ?Betsy (26-45); John (10-16); Winnie (10-16); Elisha (0-10); James Jr. (0-10); male1 (0-10); male2 (0-10); Jane (0-10); female (0-10). Three children, two boys and one girl, unidentifiable.

On the 1830 census, there are listed the ages which correspond to these people: James (listed as head) 40-50; Bethena (20-30); John (20-30); Elisha (16-20); James Jr. (16-20); Jane (10-15); male (10-15); Betsy (0-5); Malissa (0-5). One boy unidentifiable.

Although early Lancaster County, SC, probate records were destroyed, the land transactions are largely in tact. In one early transaction, circa 1814, James Reeves purchased 100 acres on Bear Creek that had been granted to James Blackmon in January 1786 (deed incorrectly states 1780) from James Blackmon of Lancaster County. David Myers and John Blackmon witnessed the deed. In 1827, John Blackmon sold 15 acres to James Reeves. The deed states the land had been granted to John Blackmon on 16 January 1786; however, no grant with that name appears to exist. It is more likely it was part of the grant to James Blackmon, mentioned above. This piece of land joined land owned by Dudley Hale; George Craig and David Williams, husband of Elizabeth Reeves, witnessed the transaction. James was involved in a number of other transactions. Cumulatively, land transactions associate James Reeves and his sons John and James Brady Reeves with Flat Creek, Rocky River Road, Bear Creek, and Little Lynches Creek in southeastern Lancaster County.

This page has the following file(s) attached:-


Death:        James A. Blackmon Family Bible
                   1844 Will of James Reeves, Sr.
Census:      1790 Census - Lancaster County, SC
                   1800 Census - Lancaster County, SC
                   1810 Census - Lancaster County, SC
                   1820 Census - Lancaster County, SC
                   1830 Census - Lancaster County, SC
                   1840 Census - Lancaster County, SC
History:     Camden Gazette, 11 April 1816
                   Twenty Dollars Reward. Weekly Raleigh Register, 7 July 1831
                   1844 Will of James Reeves - Lancaster Co., SC, Will Book A 1865-1892, pp. 329-331
                   Equity Case Report - Lancaster Dist., SC, Court of Equity Report Book A, pp. 243-247
                   1813 Deed - Lancaster Co., SC, Deed Book H, p155 - James Blackmon to James Reaves
                   1816 Deed - Lancaster Co., SC, Deed Book L, p284 - John Blackmon to James Reves
                   1845 Deed - Lancaster Co., SC, Deed Book P, pp40-41 - James H. Witherspoon, C E to John Reeves
                   1845 Deed - Lancaster Co., SC, Deed Book P, p42 - John Reeves to James H. Witherspoon
                   1845 Deed - Lancaster Co., SC, Deed Book P, pp23-24 - James H. Witherspoon, C E to John Taylor
                   1845 Deed - Lancaster Co., SC, Deed Book P, pp39-40 - John Taylor to James H. Witherspoon CE LD
                   1845 Deed - Lancaster Co., SC, Deed Book P, pp35-36 - James H. Witherspoon, C E to Thomas Flemming
                   1845 Deed - Lancaster Co., SC, Deed Book P, p38 Thomas Fleming to James H. Witherspoon CE LD