Reeves, William (1755 NC - 1830 TN)


Reeves, William


Father: George Reeves
Mother: Mary Jordan

Birth: 6 Mar 1755, Northampton County, North Carolina
Birth Source: Reliques of the Rives

Death: 1830, Davidson County, Tennessee
Death Source:

Spouse1: possibly Margaret MNU


Children of William Reeves:
  1. George Reeves, b. c1775 in Watauga, Washington County, Tennessee
  2. Nancy Reeves, b. 1792 in South Carolina, United States
  3. William Reeves, b. 1794 in South Carolina
  4. John Reeves, b. 13 May 1795 in South Carolina
  5. Timothy Reeves, b. 1804 in Davidson County, Tennessee
  6. Thomas Reeves, b. 1804 in Davidson County, Tennessee
  7. Amelia Reeves
  8. Charlotte Reeves
  9. Perry Reeves

Some of William's children moved to Johnson and Franklin Counties in Arkansas, while others remained in Fayette, Bond, and Christian Counties in Illinois. There was also migration back and forth between these two locations, particularly before and after the Civil War.

William Reeves moved with his parents and siblings and about 13 other families from Wake NC about 1771 to the Watauga settlements in what is now eastern Tennessee.

William Reeves was a signer of the 1776 Watauga Petition, a request by the inhabitants of the Watauga settlements to be annexed by North Carolina. His brother Jordan Reeves and his father George Reeves also signed a less well-known petition later in 1776.

There are many references to William Reeves in the Washington County TN Court minutes during the period 1778-1783, including his presence on the 1778 tax list and a 1778 land grant. He granted Power of Attorney to sell his land in Watauga in 1784. Some say that William accompanied his sister Charlotte Reeves Robertson on the Donelson flotilla to Fort Nashborough (Nashville) in 1779/1780. If this is true, he returned to the Watauga settlements as there are many references to him in records after 1780.

1778 Deed surveyed in 1783:

Entry #886 Dec. 31, 1778 William Reaves200 ac in Washington Co. on Wataugah R.; border; joins John Moor; [includes?]The plantation where John Brown formerly lived; enter by John Brown who transferred to W. Reaves; warrant issued Sept. 3, 1783 by John Carter; 200 ac surveyed Sept. 10, 1783 for Wm. Reaves by George Vincent DS for James StuartCS; 200ac entered by Jon Brown on entry taker's report. [For grant see file #637 in Washington Co.; MARS] (Since both George Reeves and William Reeves join John Moor, they can't live very far apart.)

In 1782:

Justices appointed to take the inventory for 1783

1st District - Richard White
2nd District - Jno McNabb
3rd District - Wm Cobb
4th District - Zach Isbell
Andrew Willson, John Thurman, Wm Reeves, Joel Callihan, John Brumitt, Da'l Henderson and Jas Pearce are constables to notify people. Col Charles Robertson, Thomas Houghton and Landon Carter appointed assessors.

11 nov 1784 p 256

Power of Attorney: from Rich'd Bradcutt to Mashack Hall proven by oath of George McCormack from Wm Reeves to Mashack Hail proven by oath of Thomas Lackey.

Some researchers believe that William moved to Spartanburg SC from the Watauga settlements. There are 3 William Reeves/Reaves in Spartanburg SC in 1790. Two of them were William Reaves Sr next door to a younger William Reaves. The other one was Wm Reeves with no sons under the age of 16. Though it is difficult to match one of these census entries to William, there is other evidence (recently discovered by researcher Gerald Witt) that William was in Spartanburg SC during the period 1787 to 1796.

There can be little doubt that the William Reeves in this deed is this man as his brother-in-law Elisha Garland witnessed the deed:
Page 407-Deed Book M-page 146-147- Jan 18, 1787 John Williams and wife Hanna (Spartanburgh) to William Reeves (same); for 300 sterling sold 311 acres on Williams Creek of Tygar River; border: N & S -"old lines" and E-John McElrath; grant Apr 3, 1786 Gov. William Moultrie to John Williams. Witness: Elisha Gorland and Jesse Gorland and James Woodruff. Signed John and Hanna Williams. Wit oath Aug 30, 1796 James Woodruff to Zadock Ford. Recorded: Nov 8, 1809. Gerald's Note: Notice the two transactions were recorded the same day, but they are in reverse order. Again, William bought high and sold low. William's brother-in-law Elisha Gorland (Garland) is a witness, which is a good indicator that we have the correct William.

William sells the land in 1796:

Page 406-Deed Book M; page 140-141-Oct (omitted) 1796 William Reeves (Spartanburgh) to William Morgan (same); for 100 sterling sold 311 acres on Williams Creek of South Tygar River; where William Reeves lives. Witness Samuel Nesbett, John Collins and James Vernon. Signed Williams Reeves and Margaret's mark. Wit. Oath Nov 7, 1809 John Collins to Daniel McKie Recorded: Nov 8, 1809

In 1810, William's land is sold again in 1810. The deed references the 1796 sale.

Page 412-Deed Book M-Page 186-Aug 1, 1809 William Morgan and wife Nancy (Spartanburg) to Daniel McKie (same); for $1000 sold 400 acres on both sides of Williams Creek of S. Tygar River; where William and Nancy Morgan live; part of 311 acre grant Apr 3, 1786 to John Williams and sold to William Reavs Jan 18, 1787, who sold to William Morgan Oct. 1, 1796 and ...Signed William Morgan and Nancy's mark. Wit. Oath Jan 4, 1810 John Rogers to Hugh Means. Recorded: Feb 10, 1810.

Both deeds are from Spartanburg County/District South Carolina, Deed Abstracts Book A-T (1785-1827) by Albert Bruce Pruitt. There are other deeds involving a different William Reeves who owned property along the Pacolet River during this period in Spartanburg, SC.

Court minutes for Spartanburg county reference William, his brother Jordan, and neighbor in several locations, Jacob Chamberly/Chamblee:

Spartanburgh County, South Carolina Minutes of the County Court 1785-1799 by Brent H. Holcomb

Page 151-Petit jurors for the January 1792 session: (21) Jacob Chamberly, (22) Jordan Reaves
Note: Jordan and Jacob are listed on the Pendleton District 1790 census. Evidently, they moved to Spartanburgh for a short time before moving to Davidson Co. TN.
Page 158-12 Jan 1792 Petit Juror (8) William Reaves
Page 168-June session 1792 William Reaves a member of jury.
Page 203-12 January 1795-William Reaves is petit juror #14
Page 210-13 June 1795-William Reaves is petit juror #9

We can't be sure that all the Williams serving as petit jurors are this William, but the presence of Jordan and Jacob in the list lend credence to this.

Some of his children were born in SC between 1792 and 1795. The two youngest, twins Thomas and Timothy, were born in 1804 in Davidson County TN. His oldest son George was born in 1775 most likely at Watauga. It is not known why there were so many years between the birth of George in 1775 and the next known child Nancy who was born in 1792 in SC.

William and Margaret(?) may have moved to Illinois in 1828 with some of their children. Whether they moved or not, they were back in Davidson TN by 1830 where William died in 1830 and Margaret in 1837.

See article titled "Ancestry of Eliza Jane Reeves 1819-1884" by Virginia Howell in Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History, Summer 1995, Volume IX, Number 1/33. Not everything in the article is accurate, but it is still a good resource for William.


Birth:       Childs, James Rives. Reliques of the Rives, p324
History:   Holcomb, Brent H., Spartanburgh County, South Carolina Minutes of the County Court 1785-1799
                 "Ancestry of Eliza Jane Reeves 1819-1884" by Virginia Howell in Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History, Summer 1995, Volume IX, Number 1/33
                 Pruitt, Albert Bruce, Spartanburg County/District South Carolina, Deed Abstracts Book A-T (1785-1827)
                 1776 Watauga Petition
                 1787 Deed - John and Hanna Williams to William Reeves - Spartanburg County, SC Deed Book M, p146