Reeves, James (c1765 NC - c1830 ?)


Reeves, James


Father: Malachi Reeves
Mother: Fortune MNU

Birth: before 1765, probably Granville County, North Carolina
Birth Source: Named as a grandson and legatee in the 1781 will of James Reeves

Death: before 6 Jul 1830, Buncombe County, North Carolina
Death Source: Guardian appointed 6 July 1830 for James Reeves, Jr. son of James Reeves, Sr. dec'd.

Spouse1: Elizabeth Wells, m. 11 Jan 1785
Spouse2: Unknown, m. 1810-1820


James Reeves who is named as a grandson of James Reeves in his will of 1781 and the 1788 deed by the heirs of Malachi Reeves to Nathaniel Tatum recorded in Rockingham County is undoubtably the Sydney James Reeves who married Elizabeth Wells in Guilford County in 1785.

James Reeves of Buncombe was previously believed to be the son of Samuel Reeves of Rowan County; however, that James Reeves appears to have been at least 10 years younger. He married Deborah Wainright in Rowan County in 1800 and in the 1810 census all of their 4 children are listed as having been born after 1800 which would be consistent with their marriage date of 1800.

A combination of Isaac Reeves of Wilkes County NC, Isaac Reeves the son of William Reeves of Granville County NC and Samuel Reeves of Rowan has also been listed as the father of James which is unsubstantiated by any historical record. Isaac Reeves of Wilkes was never referred to as Isaac Samuel Reeves and is from a different DNA lineage. Several descendants of Isaac Reeves son Peter have been placed in DNA Group 6.

A search of the records of Rowan County found no instances of Samuel Reeves being referred to as Isaac Samuel Reeves.

The fact that "Sidney" James Reeves∗ and Elizabeth Wells were married in Guilford County as well as naming one son Malachi lends credence to the belief that he was of the family of Malachi Reeves of Guilford County. A descendant of James' son Jesse Jefferson Reeves has also been placed in DNA Group 3 which is the lineage of William Reeves who died in Granville County NC in 1751.

The first record found to date for James Reeves in Buncombe County is a deed dated 22 Aug 1799. The deed is essentially a deed of trust from Benjamin Yardley to James Reeves for five (5) tracts of land totaling 650 acres. The full balance to become due in 1809.

James Reeves (incorrectly spelled Reavis) is listed in the 1810 census of Buncombe County with the following household: 1 Male ›45, 1 Male 10-15 (Malachi), 1 Male ‹10 (Wells), 3 Females 10-15 (Mary, Sarah and unknown) and 2 Females ‹10. Note that there is no wife in this household indicating that Elizabeth Wells Reeves was deceased before 1810.

The 1820 census lists James Reeves' household as 1 Male ›45, 1 Male 16-25 (Wells), 2 Males ‹10 (Jesse and Unknown), 2 Females 10-15 (unknown) and 1 female 26-44. James Reeves appears to have remarried by 1820 and this second wife may be the mother of the two male children born after 1810. The second male child is probably James, Jr. who was apparently mentally impaired because there is a document in an 1830 Estate File for James Reeves documenting the appointment of a guardian on 6 July 1830 for James Reeves, Jr. son of James Reeves, Sr. dec'd. James Reeves, Jr. was listed on this document as a "lunatic".

This individual needs to be researched extensively in the court, deed and probate records of Buncombe County to find more documentation regarding this family. Additionally, proof of the identities of all of his children is needed.

The following are believed to be the children of James Reeves and Elizabeth Wells:
  1. Jackson W. Reeves, b. abt. 1786, m. Mariah Rachel Ratcliff
  2. Malachi Reeves, b. 1792, m. Barbara Glance
  3. Mary Almeda Reeves, b. c1794-1800, m. Abraham Eaton
  4. Wells W. Reeves, b. c1800, m. Margaret Ann Surrett
  5. Sarah Reeves, b. 1798, m. Absolom Eaton
The following children were possibly born to James Reeves and a second wife:
  1. Jesse Jefferson Reeves, b. 1811, d. after 1870 Crawford County, MO; m1. Priscilla Worley, m2. Susanna Innman in 1839
  2. James Reeves, Jr., b. after 1810 (See attached appointment of guardian dated 6 Jul 1830)

Research Notes

The Guilford County marriage record lists his name as "Sidney James Reeves" but currently no other records have been found using the first name Sidney. However, there doesn't appear to be any question that this is the same individual to whom Elizabeth Wells was married in Guilford County.

Although proximity is not proof of a family connection, newly married Jesse Reaves (sic) is listed in the midst of members of the family of (Sidney) James Reeves in Buncombe County in the 1830 census. The residences of family members and Jesse are listed in the following order:
  • Joseph Worley
  • Jesse Reaves (sic)
  • Wells Reaves (sic)
  • Mallachiah Reaves (sic)
  • Charles Glance
Jesse's first wife was from the Worley family and Malachi's wife was Barbara Glance so this appears to be a neighborhood where all of the family and allied families lived which adds credence to the belief that Jesse Jefferson Reeves was a son of James Reeves.


Guilford County, NC Will of James Reeves, WB A, p. 306
Rockingham County, NC Deed Book B, P.10
Marriage Records of Guilford County, NC
Buncombe County NC Deed Book B, p. 122
1810 Census - Buncombe County, North Carolina
1820 Census - Buncombe County, North Carolina
1830 Census - Buncombe County, North Carolina (James is probably the male age 60-69 in household of son Malachi)
Buncombe County, NC Estate File of James Reeves, Sr.

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