Reeves, Sarah


Father: John Reeves (inferred - no direct proof)
Mother: Sarah MNU

Birth: 1790-1794
Birth Source: An estimate of the compiler - based on census records, estimated marriage date and children's ages

Death: living 1850
Death Source: 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Randolph County, Alabama

Spouse1: Benjamin Brand (abt. 1785 - lvg 1860)


Sarah, the second wife of Benjamin Brand of Gwinnett County, Georgia and Randolph County, Alabama, may be one of the several unidentified daughters of John Reeves of Jackson County, Georgia. This posit is based only on indirect evidence, as no marriage record, probate record or other genealogically useful direct evidence has come to light which would prove the relationship beyond a reasonable doubt. The main points of indirect evidence are as follows:

1) The use of the name "Reeves" in the descendants of Benjamin and Sarah Brand.
2) The physical proximity of the Brand and Reeves families in Georgia and Alabama.
3) A shared and continuing interest in the Primitive Baptist denomination, both in Georgia and Alabama
4) Matching autosomal DNA segments of appropriate length for the generational distance between descendants of Sarah and descendants of the John Reeves family

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census of Randolph County, Alabama clearly infers that the wife of Benjamin Brand was named Sarah. Yet, for many years genealogical researchers have pointed to an undated, undocumented and unsourced Brand family manuscript which identifies the wife of Benjamin Brand as Mary Gill. No date of marriage, place of marriage or other detail is offered in the text of the compiled Brand family document to support this claim. Based on an examination of his enumeration in the 1820 U.S. Federal Census and the ages of his children, it would appear that Benjamin Brand was first married about 1807. Court records reveal that Benjamin was a resident of Clarke County, Georgia at the time of his first marriage. Yet, a check of extant Georgia marriage records for the specific and broader location and period in question yields no result. No probate record or deed of gift has yet surfaced which would prove the relationship either. There was a Thomas Gill living in Clarke County, Georgia concurrently, so there is at least a possibility that this is true.

However, the existence or non-existence of Mary Gill is only tangentially related, because it would appear that the first wife of Benjamin Brand died circa 1820-21 in Gwinnett County, Georgia. An examination of the Benjamin Brand household in the 1830 U.S. Federal Census reveals a wife of younger age and also a gap in the children's ages during the period 1820-1825. There are multiple possible explanations for this situation (e.g. erroneous enumeration, children who died in infancy, etc.) but as we shall see, there is additional evidence to support the very simple idea that the first wife of Benjamin Brand died about 1820-21 and he remarried about 1823 to Sarah Reeves, daughter of John Reeves.

The first important evidence is the 1823 list of founding members of Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church of Walton County, Georgia. While physically sited in Walton County, the church is actually very close to the Walton County - Gwinnett County border, located near Loganville. Historically it has drawn membership from both counties and many of the Brand family have been members there. The list of founding members includes one "Sarah Brand". This woman has historically been identified as Sarah, the wife of William Brand (1756-1848) and mother of Benjamin Brand. Certainly, it can easily be shown that the final William and Sarah Brand homestead was within 2 or 3 miles of this location, but the problem comes when thinking about this earlier Sarah in the context of her age. At the time the church was founded in 1823, this earlier Sarah was approximately 63 years old! No other Brand family member has been identified on the list of founding members, so we are left to believe that this earlier Sarah was arranging transportation and actively participating at what was an advanced age for that period. Once again, a much simpler solution presents itself in the possibility that the "Sarah Brand" on the list of founding members is Sarah, the wife of Benjamin Brand. She would have been approximately 30 years old and also lived in proximity to the church.

The second important point is that the William Brand, Benjamin Brand and John Reeves families all lived in proximity to each other in Georgia as well. Deed records of Jackson County, Georgia are clear in identifying the John Reeves homestead on Williamson's Creek. This waterway is marked on modern maps with the same name, but is now located in Barrow County (which was formed from parts of Jackson and Walton counties in 1914). Williamson's Creek is in fact located almost exactly at the point where Jackson County, Walton County and Barrow County all meet, and more perhaps significantly, only 5 miles from Loganville in Walton County and Benjamin Brand homestead just across the line in Gwinnett County. The opportunity for members of the Brand family to meet the Reeves family were certainly many, as both families were large.

John Reeves was deceased by September 7th, 1818 when his presumed son Burgess Reeves and son-in-law Andrew Boyd applied for administration of his estate. Benjamin Brand is not mentioned as a son-in-law at this time or in subsequent related documents. A fact which agrees well with the timeline mentioned above. Benjamin Brand would not have married Sarah until about 1823.

Benjamin Brand removed from Gwinnett County, Georgia about 1845 and re-settled near Rock Mills, in the southernmost portion of Randolph County, Alabama (then known as "Beat 8"). Joining Brand or perhaps even preceding him to Randolph County were three of the younger presumed sons of John Reeves, e.g. Loftin Reeves (1792-1879), Burgess Reeves (1794- lvg 1860) and Thompson Reeves (1799-1877). On the 1850 U.S. Federal Census of Randolph County, Alabama - Beat 8, Benjamin and Sarah Brand were enumerated in household #892 and her presumed brother Thompson Reeves was enumerated with his family close by in household #776. On January 30th, 1847 Benjamin Brand and his daughter-in-law Nancy Lundy Brand became charter members of Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church, near Rock Mills. While Sarah is not mentioned as a subscribing member, it is interesting to note that the name of this church in Randolph County, Alabama is identical to the church in Walton County, Georgia.

Sarah, the second wife of Benjamin Brand was last known living at the time of the 1850 U.S. Federal Census enumeration in Randolph County, Alabama. Some of the facts recorded in this enumeration are admittedly questionable, as Benjamin Brand's birth year is given as 1775 (he was actually born about 1785) and Sarah's birth year is given as 1780. No other census enumeration agrees with this date for Sarah, and so for the present it must remain in question. Her birth place is identified as North Carolina and in fact her presumed father John Reeves was a North Carolina resident in that year, but it is much more likely that she was born in South Carolina about 1790-1794.

No matter who she was, Sarah was the mother of two sons and a daughter by Benjamin Brand, all born 1825-1830. Only one of these children Callaway Brand (1829-1862) has been positively identified, but he died two decades prior to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census when he might have revealed additional details related to his mother's birthplace. The use of the surname "Callaway" as a given name is perhaps also significant, as there were a number of prominent Primitive Baptist preachers of that surname who were active in Georgia during the period in question. As a member of that denomination, Sarah was perhaps strongly influenced by one of them.

This compiler is a direct descendant of Benjamin and Sarah Brand, through their son Callaway Brand. Comparison of autosomal DNA segments between the compiler and numerous descendants of John Reeves in various branches has identified segment matches with two known descendants of Burgess Reeves (1794- lvg 1860), in lengths that are appropriate for the generational distance. Furthermore, the segments in question can be shown through the expedient of other matches to have been inherited by the compiler through Callaway Brand. While this is in no way proof positive of Sarah's origin as a daughter of John Reeves, it is another important fact to be considered.

Research Notes


1820 U S Census; Census Place: Gwinnett, Georgia; Page: 272; NARA Roll: M33_8; Image: 208
1830 U S Census; Census Place: Gwinnett, Georgia; Series: M19; Roll: 17; Page: 326; Family History Library Film: 0007037
1840 U S Census; Census Place: Gwinnett, Georgia; Page: 97; Family History Library Film: 0007044
1850 U S Census; Census Place: Beat 8, Randolph, Alabama; Roll: M432_14; Page: 342B; Image: 125
1850 U S Census; Census Place: Beat 8, Randolph, Alabama; Roll: M432_14; Page: 334A; Image: 108
27 Jan 1808 Clarke County, Georgia, Minutes of the Court of Ordinary, apprenticeship of Malachi Brand to Benjamin Brand
21 Jun 1823 List of Founding Members, Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church, Walton County, GA; Gwinnett Churches, J.C. Flanigan
Jackson County, Georgia Deed Book F, page 13, warranty deed from Joseph Hamrick to John Reeves dated 3 Aug 1813
07 Sep 1818 Jackson County, Georgia, Minutes of the Court of Ordinary, letters of administration on the estate of John Reeves, dec'd
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Page last modified on Sunday 21 of April, 2019 10:32:38 CDT by Joe_Spann.