Reeves, Zachariah (1799 SC - 1871 MS)


Reeves, Zachariah


Father: Lazarus Reeves
Mother: Elizabeth Mosely

Birth: 31 Oct 1799, Richland County, South Carolina
Birth Source: Headstone

Death: 23 Jul 1871, Amite County, Mississippi
Death Source: Headstone

Spouse1: Anna Wells


Children of Zachariah Reeves and Anna Wells:
  1. Joseph Simpson Reeves, b. 5 Nov 1825
  2. Rachael Reeves, b. c1837, m. Mr. Moore
  3. Martha Adaline Reeves, b. 27 Jan 1839

From Abstract History of the Mississippi Baptist Association:
The following extracts are taken from a lengthy biographical sketch written by Elder C. H. Oiken and published in the minutes of 1874:

Zachariah Reeves was born in Richland district, South Carolina, October 31, 1799. * * * Early in 1811 his parents removed from South Carolina, and during the month of February of the same year they located in Pike county, Mississippi, then a territory. * * * He grew to manhood among the early scenes of hard work and joyous life, strong in the power of bodily endurance and vigorous in native thought of mind. Without this preparation it is questionable whether he could have ever performed the work in the ministry which his long and zealous labors among the churches of the Mississippi Baptist Association abundantly show.

He married early in life. The partner of his choice was Miss Anna Wells, a young lady of respectable parents. They were Presbyterians. Some objections were raised by the parents of the young lady to the marriage. As, however, there was a mutual understanding between Mr. Reeves and Miss Wells, any obstacle thrown in the way of those who have privately plighted their troth would only strengthen their determination to consummate their wishes. They soon found an opportunity to carry out their design. It was not long before all parties became reconciled. Mrs. Reeves was a pious woman. At this time Mr. Reeves was not a Christian. He was fond of worldly amusements and enjoyed them with a zest.

In 1823 he was hopefully converted, and in the month of June of this year he was baptized into the fellowship of Friendship Baptist church by Elder Absalom Harper. This church was •situated about six miles north of Summit, in Pike county. Prior to his conversion Mr. Reeves was deeply irreligious. He was exceedingly fond of gay associates, and the gatherings of young persons for the various amusements of the day. Frequently would he ride a dozen miles after the day's work to be present at a party, and yet lose no time from his work in the field next day. His conversion was genuine. It was not only a change of the intellect, but of his moral nature. His love of things had been transformed. What was once irksome now became a delight. There was a sure foundation for a better life. Nobler objects than those he once pursued inspired his renewed nature. The conference meeting of the church was to him a pleasure no less than a duty. He felt that he was a soldier in the sacramental hosts of God's people, and that it was his duty to be present in the drill and march and battles of that army which God had chosen for the subjugation of a hostile world, and the enlisting of that world under a new banner, and under a new commander, even Christ, the Captain of our salvation. * * *

After a membership of nine years the church believed him called to do a great work in the Master's vineyard to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ's gospel to earth's perishing' mortals. On the 7th day of April, 1832, he was, therefore, formally licensed to exercise his gifts. In seven months the church became satisfied that he should now be set apart to the full work of the gospel ministry— a presbytery was called for this purpose. On the 18th of November of this year the presbytery assembled in the Friendship Baptist meeting-house, when Bro. Zachariah Reeves, after being thoroughly examined, was set apart to his lifework as a minister of the gospel by the imposition of hands, prayer, charge and presentation of the Bible. The ordaining council was composed of Elders Joel Harvey, Chas. Felder, Jesse Young/ Benjamin Garlington, Thomas D. Grante and Shadrach Coker. He had now entered the thirtyfourth year of his age, full of bodily strength and vigorous health.

He soon took a prominent position among the ministers of that time. He was regarded by his brethren as a man of native powers of mind— one mighty in the Scriptures. After the death of the lamented Chas. Felder, Bro. Reeves was chosen moderator of the Mississippi Baptist Association in 1843, and for twentyfour years he was the beloved and revered presiding officer of the oldest Baptist Association in the State. * * *

His labors in the ministry during thirty-nine years were full of zeal and self-denial. He was indeed instant in season and out of season. He was constantly pastor of four churches, and for years served as many as seven. He seldom spared himself. * * * In the latter part of his life, when an invalid wife required his attention, he seldom failed to be at his appointments. * * * A.s to the matter of his preaching, salvation by grace was the great theme— Christ the Savior appeared in every sermon. He appeared before his congregations as one conscious that the impenitent were spiritually diseased; that they were alienated from the life of God, and that there is but one remedy — namely, salvation through faith in Christ. His ideas upon these two central truths of the gospel were as clear as a sunbeam— man's helplessness and a willing and able Savior. Nor did he ever omit to enjoin obedience to all of Christ's commands upon the converted. If you love the Lord, he would say, you must keep His commandments. Obey Him, then, in the ordinance of baptism. Follow Him into the Jordan. It is thought that he baptized from three to four thousand persons during his ministry. * * *

He was a strict disciplinarian; was a strong believer in the purity of the churches. Those who would not walk according to the gospel had no interest in Christ's kingdom on earth, and the church should, therefore, withdraw fellowship from such. He was a landmark Baptist ; he did not believe in pulpit affiliation. He could not comprehend how a mixture of truth and error could promote spiritual growth or subserve the cause of Christian union. * * *

He was decidedly in favor of an educated ministry. He took a common-sense view upon this subject. The ax sharpened would do more and better execution than one not sharpened.

  • * * He stated many years ago to Elder E. C. Eager, who was then on a visit to South Mississippi as agent of Mississippi College, that "two worldly men proposed to educate him, pay his expenses through college. He was then married. His lifesorrow was that he had not embraced the opportunity. " * * *

As a missionary Baptist, he believed that the church, being the "pillar and ground of the truth," and the "light of the world," owed to the world the gospel— that neither latitude nor longitude bounded this debt. "Go ye into all the world" meant every zone and clime of earth; that the soul of the Hottentot or the New Zealander or the European was alike precious in the sight of the Lord; that men everywhere stood in need of the gospel. * * *

We come now to the close of his life. Amid all of his arduous labors and many privations he had experienced many sorrows, Often had he been called upon to pass through the deep waters of affliction. Dark clouds had often gathered over his home.

  • * * Six lovely flowers had ceased to bloom; six times he, and his beloved companion had followed the remains of their little ones to their last resting place. * * * At last, after an illness of — years, his devoted wife was called hence on July 20, 1866, in the sixty-second year of her age. * * * He now felt that his own end was near at hand ; that his work was about finished. From this time he thus expressed himself to his brethren at every associational meeting. His house had been set in order— he was waiting for the summons. He was ready for the Master's call. After an illness of a few days at the house of a friend where he had been invited to celebrate the rites of matrimony, on the 23d of July, 1871, he fell asleep in Jesus. All who knew him felt that a good man in Israel had fallen. He was beloved bv all his brethren. His name is a household word of sweet remembrance in all the churches of South Mississippi. He is gone, the last save one of a noble line of pioneers who preached the blessed gospel of the Son of God in the southern portion of this State."

Mr. Reeves was a man of remarkable fidelity and endurance, "We first meet with his name in 1833, when Friendship church was received into the Association. From this time until 1870, a period of thirty-eight years, he was absent from the meetings of the body only five times. Thus in thirty-eight Associational meetings he was present at thirty-three. And twenty-four years of this time he was the Moderator. He was evidently a man of great influence and power in his day.

Research Notes


Birth:          Headstone, Zachariah Reeves Cemetery, Brookside, Amite County, Mississippi
Death:        Headstone, Zachariah Reeves Cemetery, Brookside, Amite County, Mississippi

1840 Census:  Pike County, Mississippi
1850 Census:  Pike County, Mississippi
1860 Census:  Amite County, Mississippi
1870 Census:  Amite County, Mississippi

Schilling, T. C Abstract History of the Mississippi Baptist Association, p86-90