Reeves, William Harrison (1814 KY - 1889 KY)


Reeves, William Harrison


Father: George Reeves
Mother: Elizabeth Wilkerson "Betsy"

Birth: 26 Nov 1814, Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky
Birth Source: 1826 Will of George Reves, Warren County KY Will Book D, p. 3

Death: 31 Mar 1889, McCracken Ballard County, Kentucky
Death Source: Gravestone photo from Antioch Baptist Cemetery at Find A Grave

Spouse1: Penelope B. White, c1843, Ballard County, Kentucky
Spouse2: Mrs. Fannie Emma Faulkner Marrs, 30 May 1881, Henry County, TN


Children of William Harrison Reeves and Penelope White:
  1. Mary Anna Reeves
  2. George Willis Reeves
  3. Susan Josephine Reeves
  4. Fannie B. Reeves
  5. William T. Reeves
  6. Robert L. Reeves
  7. Martha Harriet Reeves
  8. Emily B. Reeves, b. 1859
The following biography from Kentucky - A History of the State contains statements which cannot be documented and appear to be incorrect. The family did not come from Halifax, Virginia - this Reeves family originated in Wake County NC as evidenced by countless court, deed and probate records. The only connection to Halifax VA is the relocation of two of George Reeves' brothers there around 1800. It may be that George and his younger brother, Jeremiah, after leaving Wake County journeyed to Virginia with their older brothers and remained there for a short while before migrating to Madison County, Kentucky. It may also be because their mother, Elizabeth Wilkerson, was born in southern Virginia. The Wilkerson family documented as being from Prince George County, Virginia.

Also the statement in the biography regarding George Reeves' service during the War of 1812 cannot be documented even after much effort. An uncle of William Harrison Reeves, William Britt Wilkerson, served in that war as did several cousins from the Searcy family. The biography though flawed does however contain much valuable biographical information.

WILLIAM HARRISON REEVES stands pre-eminent among the energetic citizens of Paducah. His parents removed from Halifax County, Va., (sic) and settled near Richmond, in Madison County, Ky., in the early part of the present century, and there William H. was born, in 1814. George Reeves, his father, was a soldier under Gen. Harrison in the war of 1812, and in consequence of his admiration for his veteran commander, gave the name to his son. William H. was left an orphan when a mere lad, and also dependent on his own efforts for sustenance, which prevented his obtaining even a common school education. His first effort at self-support was a position on a keel-boat on the Green River. When eighteen years old he came to the Purchase and located in what is now Ballard County. Having an elder brother in that vicinity, he made his home with him until the brother's death, which occurred a few years later. Here William H. engaged in the lumber traffic for a time, then operated a wood-yard for a period of six years, and then opened a small general store in the interior of Ballard County. After four years he sold this business, and in 1840 was made county constable, from which time he was for many years engaged in the official business of the county, either in the office of constable or sheriff. Though beginning life without means, he soon accumulated a handsome fortune, and gradually developed into one of the most substantial farmers and traders in western Kentucky. Mr. Reeves has ever been noted for his stern and unflinching integrity and fidelity to any public or private trust, and while he has been largely connected with the public weal of his section, he has been also intrusted with the adjustment of many private estates with the guardianship of orphaned children. For many years he has been a member of the Masonic order and of the I.O.O.F. He was first married in Ballard County, in 1843, to Miss Penelope White, daughter of Rev. Willis White, now of Clinton, KY. She died in February, 1879, leaving a family of seven children; Mary A., wife of Dr. Charles Hinkle, of Ballard County; George W., now of Montana; Susan J., wife of Hon. William J. Pucket; W. T. Reeves, a lawyer of Blandville; Martha, wife of W. W. Morris; Fannie B., wife of William O. Coffin, of Illinois, and Robert L. Reeves of Paducah. Mr. Reeves was married to his present wife, Mrs. Fannie Marrs of Paris, Tenn, in 1881. In 1880 Mr. Reeves retired from his farm to Paducah, and there effected a business connection with T. F. Terrell, under the firm name of Terrell & Reeves, and as such they are doing an extensive business in the tobacco trade.
From: Kentucky - A History of the State Volume I by Battle, Perrin & Kniffen pub. 1888.

Research Notes

References in the above biography in Kentucky - A History of the State to descending from an "old Virginia family" apply to the maternal lineage, the Wilkerson and Britt families, not the Reeves family. William Harrison Reeves' mother was a descendent of the Wilkersons of Prince George and William Britt of Goochland Counties in Virginia. There are no records of this Reeves family in Virginia other than several uncles of William Harrison Reeves who moved from North Carolina into Halifax County, Virginia after their marriages. Thorough research of the records of Halifax County establish that no one from this Reeves family lived there prior to around 1800.


1826 Will of George Reves, Warren County KY Will Book D, p. 3
1850 Census - Ballard County, Kentucky
1860 Census - Lovelaceville, Ballard County, Kentucky
1870 Census - Lovelaceville, Ballard County, Kentucky
1880 Census - Lovelaceville, Ballard County, Kentucky
Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002 online database at Ancestry.com
Find A Grave, gravestone photograph

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