Reeves, John (c1667 ? - 1731 VA)


Reeves, John


Father: Unknown

Birth: probably before 1667, probably Virginia
Birth Source: Estimated - married before 1688

Death: May 1731, Lancaster County, Virginia
Death Source: Lancaster Probate Records, Will Book 12, p. 199

Spouse1: Mrs. Elizabeth MNU Clarke, m. before 12 September 1688
Spouse2: Mrs. Phebe MNU Harris, m. after 26 May 1703


Children of John Reeves and Elizabeth MNU:
  1. Elizabeth Reeves, b. Before 26 May 1703
  2. William Reeves, b. Before 26 May 1703
  3. John Reeves, b. Before 26 May 1703
  4. James Reeves
  5. Eaton Reeves, b. c1704

This John Reeves makes his first appearance in Lancaster County records in 1688. He appeared in a tithables list dated 10 October 1688 with three tithables. Earlier, he had been mentioned on 12 September 1688 (and possibly as early as 19 May 1688, depending on how one interprets the document) as having married Elizabeth Clarke, widow of William Clarke of Lancaster County. William Clarke had been alive on 9 October 1687 when he was listed with two tithables and on 14 December 1687 when he appeared on a list of men able to bear arms in Lancaster County (John Reeves was shown on neither list). Clarke was deceased by 9 May 1688 when probate was granted to Elizabeth Clarke, his widow, with Thomas Barker, William Merriman, Richard Carter, and John Harris appointed to appraise the estate. Records dated 12 September 1688 and 10 October 1688 show that at the time he died William Clarke was involved in the estate of Frances, orphan of Francis Brittain of Northumberland County. John Dunaway and Richard Eaton of Northumberland County had file suite against Clarke for money that Clarke owed the Brittain estate.

These items are significant for several reasons. First, they establish that John Reeves was not head of household in Lancaster County before the fall of 1688. This means he either moved into the county in late 1687 or 1688, became a free man during this same time, or reached tithable age during these months. Second, they suggest that he married Elizabeth Clarke between May and September 1688, possibly between 9 and 12 May 1688. Third, they suggest a connection between William and Elizabeth Clarke and Northumberland County that seems signficant. Richard Eaton and Francis Brittain were half-brother or step-brothers; William Clarke's connection is unclear, but John and Elizabeth (MNU) Clarke Reeves named a son Eaton Reeves. Fourth, they suggest that marriage to Elizabeth (MNU) Clarke may have been a "step up" for John Reeves, providing him with property and with at least some of the three tithables with which he was taxed in 1688.

The wives of John Reeves are identified by the following court records:
  • 12 Sep 1688. Inventory Recorded. William CLARKE. Inventory returned by Elizabeth REEVES, relict. Will Book 5, p. 125.²
  • 11 Jun 1718. Will of Arthur CLARKE recorded. Will dated 2 Apr 1718. Daughter, Sarah; brother, William REEVES; father-in-law Jno. REEVES and mother. To Wm. REEVES all lands in Accomac Co. Executors, John and William REEVES. Witnesses: Eliz. LYON, Wm. LEWIS, Giles LAWRENCE. Will Book 10, p. 264.²
  • 9 May 1733. Will of Phebe REEVES recorded. Will dated 29 Jun 1732. Granddaughters: Phebe HARRIS; Mary REEVES, daughter of Jas. REEVES. Grandson: Jno. HARRIS. Executor: Son-in-law, Jas. REEVES. Witnesses: Jos. CARTER and Jas. MONRO. Will Book 12, p. 266.²
NOTE: The terms father-in-law and son-in-law were also used to indicate "step-father" and "step-brother" in the colonial era.

Also of possible significance is the fact that Thomas Reeves — probably the same individual identified in 1689 — was tithable in the same part of Lancaster County between 1691 and 1696 as was John Reeves. Thomas's name appears only a few names from that of John Reeves; it also appears near to that of his former master, David Fox, who was a wealthy landowner and owner of several slaves and servants. This Thomas may be the same Thomas Reeves who first appears in Richmond Co., VA, about 1698 and who may then have appeared in Northumberland County during the 1720s.

A partial summary of many records pertaining to the life of this John Reeves follows. Many other items can be found in Lancaster Court Orders: Order Book No. 4, Order Book No. 5, and Order Book No. 8.

On 12 November 1691, John Reeves filed suit in Lancaster County against John Harris. (Sparacio, Lancaster Order Book 1691-1695, p. 1.)

John Reeves served on a jury, Lancaster County, April 8, 1696. (Sparacio, 1691-1695, p. 19).

John Reeves was on the list of tithables for Lancaster County, Court of December 1696. (Virginia Tax Records, From the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the William and Mary College Quarterly and Tyler’s Quarterly, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore (1983), p. 265.)

John Reeves was owed "p Noat 2:19::0" from the estate of Mr. Alexander English., Lancaster County, January 20, 1697/8. (Sparacio, Will Abstracts, 1690-1709, p. 61.)

This John Reeves may have been involved in a legal matter in neighboring Richmond County's Order Book 2 in 1698.

John Reeves had four tithables on the tax list for Lancaster County, Court of November 1698. (Sparacio, 1695-1699, pp. 79, 80.)

Between 1703 and 1705, John Reeves served as administrator for the estates of Corderoy Davis and William Briteman. (Sparacio, Lancaster County Order Book 1701-1703, pp. 46, 97, and 1703-1706, pp. 50, 80). Brightman's will, written 26 May 1703, had named his goddaughter, Elizabeth, daughter of John Reeves; his godson, William, son of John Reeves; his godson John, son of John Reeves; Elizabeth, wife of John Reeves; and his "very good friend John Reeves, Sr.," who was to serve as executor. David Fox and John Bradley witnessed the document. (Note that Captain David Fox in 1689 had been master of a servant named Thomas Reeves.

On 11 September 1706, Mathias Giles and wife acknowledged a sale to John Reeves (Sparacio, Lancaster County, VA, Deeds, 1701-1706, p. 100.)

On 12 June 1708, John Reeves, sawyer, of Lancaster County, sold to Thomas Lyne, the plantation whereon he (Lyne) then lived in Whitechapel Parish, granted William Neasum on 29 January 1649, and sold by William's heir-at-law Robert Neasum to Mathias Giles on 8 February 1692, and by Giles assigned to Thomas Chitwood, who conveyed it to John Reeves. The land is described as being adjacent Margaret Giles, Neasum, and Merriman. Ben Herne and Arthur Clarke witnessed. (Sparacio, Lancaster County, VA, Deeds, 1706-1710, pp. 32-33.)

Jno. Reevs was on the list of tithables for St. Maryes White Chappell Parish, Captain Richard Ball’s list, Lancaster County, November 14, 1716. (Virginia Tax Records, From the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the William and Mary College Quarterly and Tyler’s Quarterly, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore (1983), p. 270,)

John Reeves remained in Lancaster County until he died in 1731. His will, subsequent probate records, and the will of his second wife Phoebe (MNU) Harris Reeves help document his offspring and family connections. Those records are abstracted below.

From "Abstracts Lancaster County, Virginia, Wills, 1653-1800" by Ida J. Lee -
p. 186, 12 May 1731. Will of John REEVES recorded. Will dated 10 Apr 1731. Wife: Phebee. Sons: William, Eaton, and James. Daughter: Elizabeth FLINT, wife of Richard FLINT. Servant: James MUNRO. Executor: son, James REEVES. Witnesses: Joseph CARTER, James MONROE, Esther JOHNSON. Will Book 12, p. 199.

Lancaster Co., VA, Court Minutes, 1729-1732, as abstracted by Ruth and Sam Sparacio, show the following:

p. 48 (p. 34 of original court volume)
Court date, 12 May 1731. The will of John REVES was presented in court by James REVES, executor of the estate of John REVES. It was proven by the oaths of James MONRO and Hester JOHNSON, witnesses of the will. Certificate was granted to James REVES for obtaining probate.

p. 58 (p. 41 of original volume)
14 Jul 1731. The appraisal of the estate of John REVES, deceased was returned to court by the executor James REVES. Ordered to be recorded.

14 Jul 1731. The suit between William CATLETT and Sarah his wife
(plaintiffs) and James REVES, executor of the estate of John REVES, deceased. CATLETT motioned for a continuance and it was granted.

p. 62 (p. 43 of original volume)
8 Sept 1731. The suit between William CATLET and Sarah, his wife (plaintffs) and James REVES, executor of the estate of John REVES. By petition, continuance granted.

p. 64 (p. 45 of original volume)
13 Oct 1731. William CATLETT and Sarah plaintiffs, petitioning for Sarah's share in the estate of John REVES. William CLARK and Arthur CLARK were her grandfather and father. Parties set forth the petition. A committee was appointed by the court to settle all the accounts related to the suit and report their proceedings at the next court.

Research Notes

There were several Reeves families in the Northern Neck of Virginia between 1650 and 1750. One William Reeves died about 1699 in Northumberland County. Thomas Reeves lived in Richmond County, and John Reeves lived in Lancaster County. A Robert Reeves who was a contemporary of this William lived in Northumberland County. Later, George Reeves would also live in Northumberland County. Slightly further afield, the family of Henry Reeves, Sr. lived in Old Rappahannock/Essex County. Across the Rappahannock River in Middlesex County was the large family headed by George Reeves and his four known sons, Thomas, Francis, George, and Charles. DNA analysis establishes, however, that there was no connection between the family of George Reeves and that of Henry Reeves, Sr.. Since descendants of these other Reeves families have not yet been tested, the possibility of kinship between some of them cannot be precluded.

John Reeves's origins are unclear. He may be related to any one of several Reeves families living in the Northern Neck in the late seventeenth-century, but certain documents suggest relationships on which future research should focus.

A 6 June 1655 Lancaster Court Order showed that David Fox's "son-in-law" — apparently his stepson — Arthur Clarke had reached the age at which he could choose his own guardian. Arthur petitioned to have Mr. Thomas Griffin replace Fox as his guardian. This apparently happened, but Clarke seems to have come of age, married, produced a child, and died by 27 November 1660, when his widow Jane Clarke entered a deed of gift for her young son, William Clarke. This man seems to have married Elizabeth (MNU) and to have died by September 1688, by which time Elizabeth (MNU) Clarke had married John Reeves. William and Elizabeth Clarke had one known child, a son Arthur Clarke, who died testate leaving a daughter Sarah, who then married William Catlett. Sarah (see above) apparently had a claim to John Reeves's estate through her deceased grandmother Elizabeth (MNU) Clarke Reeves.

Men named David Fox — a prominent Lancaster County family, with ties to the Balls, Kenners, and other local gentry — were involved with the John Reeves family in a number of transactions. A 1689 document, referenced above, indicates that a later David Fox was master of a servant named Thomas Reeves. The 1718 will of William Fox — grandson of the first David — includes a bequest (of a cow and calf) to James Reeves, presumably the son of John and Elizabeth (MNU) Clarke Reeves. Cumulatively, all of these references suggest a longstanding association between the Reeves and Fox families; it remains to be seen whether any kinship exists between Thomas Reeves of 1689 and John Reeves who married Elizabeth (MNU) Clarke, whose husband's grandmother had married the first David Fox.


1731 Will - John Reeves - Lancaster County, Virginia Will Book 12, p199
1732 Will - Pheebe Reeves - Lancaster County, Virginia Will Book 12, p266

Lee, Ida J. Abstracts Lancaster County, Virginia, Wills, 1653-1800.

Sparacio, Ruth and Sam, Virginia County Court Records, Deed & Will Abstracts of Lancaster County, Virginia, 1654-1661, pp. 16, 126.

Sparacio, Ruth and Sam, Virginia County Court Records, Deed & Will Abstracts of Lancaster County, Virginia, 1652-1657, p. 79.

Sparacio, Ruth and Sam, Virginia County Court Records, Lancaster Co., VA, Order Book Abstracts, 1729-1732, Orders from Lancaster County Order Book No. 8, 1729--1743, being pages 1-71, for the Courts held 12 Nov 1729 through 13 Sep 1732 (McLean, VA: The Antient Press, 1998).