Rives, James (1807 NC - 1866 IL)

Rives, James

Rives, James


Father: William McGuffy Rives
Mother: Mary Catherine Turner

Birth: 13 Sep 1807, Warren Co., North Carolina
Birth Source: Reliques of the Rives

Death: 12 July 1866, Green Co., Illinois
Death Source: Reliques of the Rives

Spouse1: Elizabeth Hood, m. 17 Sep 1825, Granville County, North Carolina
Spouse2: Julia Woodcock, m. 6 Jun 1852


Children of James Rives and Elizabeth Hood:
  1. John Hood Rives, b. 4 Aug 1826
  2. William Charles Rives, b. 18 Feb 1828, d. 1850
  3. Sally Ann Rives, b. 28 Aug 1829, m. Thomas E. Gary
  4. Stephen Turner Rives, b. 21 Mar 1831
  5. Andrew Jackson Rives, b. 17 Dec 1832, d. 20 Jun 1842
  6. Mary Elizabeth Rives, b. 7 Aug 1835, m. George Alexander Temple
  7. George Washington Rives, b. 13 May 1837
  8. Lucy Rives, b. 21 Dec 1838, m. Charles W. Craw
  9. Frances Jane Rives, b. 18 Mar 1841, m. Robert Woodcock
  10. Margaret Susan Rives, b. 20 May 1843, m. James Wesley Robinson
  11. James Rutledge Rives, b. 18 Mar 1845
  12. Pamela Catherine Rives, b. 2 Feb 1847, m. George Bruce
  13. Infant Rives, b. still 16 Mar 1851

Children of James Rives and Julia Woodcock:
  1. Charles Rives, b. 22 Nov 1854, d. 3 May 1856
  2. Emma Rives, b. 18 Jan 1856, d. 20 May 1890
  3. Herbert Joseph Rives, b. 12 Mar 1857, d. Feb 1887
  4. Katurah I. Rives, b. 25 Sep 1858
  5. Elmer Ellsworth Rives, b. 6 Nov 1860

From Reliques of the Rives:
Rev. James Rives, one of the sturdy pioneers of Illinois, was born September 13, 1807, in Warren county, North Carolina. He married September 28, 1825, Elizabeth Hood (b. July 17, 1810, in Granville co. N. C.) and, accompanied by her, set out in the autumn of 1826 and settled in Christian county, Ky., in the neighborhood of his three brothers. The journey from North Carolina to Kentucky was made across the rough and thinly-settled country in a one—horsecart. In Kentucky he purchased a tract of uncleared land, which he undertook to improve, continuing its cultivation until the autumn of 1834 when, in a covered wagon drawn by oxen, he removed his family to Illinois, and settled near the present site of Greenfield in Greene countyyon 160 acres of land pre-empted from the Government for $1.25 an acre. Here he founded the village of Rivesville—filed for record November 11, 1835, James Rives, proprietor—— andhere he built the family homestead, still standing in a sad state of decay, and now known in the family as the “Old House.”

He did not confine himself to farming and stock raising but became also a merchant, as well as the village postmaster. By hard work, perseverance, and economy, he added six more farms to his original tract and gradually became a man of considerable means. He made the greater part of the money, which he accumulated, from cattle; his first venture in which was made with borrowed money.
James Rives was a stern and upright man, prominent in his community, widely known in the county and of a commanding influence in all civil affairs. He was a pioneer in the development of the part of Illinois (then a Territory) in which he settled. He was untiring in his industry and insisted upon a like energy in his relations with his family and employees. The family and hired help were called before daylight in the winter months and family prayers were always held by him before breakfast. The early rising was not popular with his men and, on one occasion, upon calling upon one of the hands to lead the prayer, the man pronounced the invocation, “O, Lord, we thank Thee that Thou has brought us almost to see the light of another day.”

In the autumn of 1847 James Rives attended the Methodist Conference and obtained a license to preach. Local meetings were held in his home, and quarterly meetings at his store. Quarterly meeting day was always a great occasion, many coming from a considerable distance for the transaction of the church business and for the opportunity the meeting afforded for social intercourse with neighbors and friends. Open house was kept by Mr. Rives and sometimes as many as seventy-five guests would be entertained to dinner. Rivesville contained about this time some half-dozen or more homes, a combined store and post-office, schoolhouse, cording mill, blacksmith shop, and tailor shop. It ceased to develop, however, when the village of Fayette, two miles to the north, obtained the post—officeof the neighborhood; finally, it lost its identity when the founder, after the death of his first wife in 1851, sold out to his son, John Hood Rives, and moved to Greenfield in 1852. At Greenfield, Rev. James Rives purchased a farm of ninety acres on the northern edge of the town, now known as Rives Addition, for which he paid $15 an acre, and on which he built a second Rives’ homestead. Here he continued his farming and stock raising, resumed his mercantile business, and devoted his Sundays to preaching.

The many deeds of benevolence and generosity exhibited by “Uncle Jimmy Rives,” as he became known, did not diminish his temporal estate. He was a prodigal host, his home in Greenfield becoming known as the “Methodist Hotel,” while a furnished room up—stairs,always reserved for the preachers, took the title of the “Prophet’s Chamber.”

During the War Between the States he was a deeply interested observer of the momentous events of that period. When leaving Kentucky in 1834 he had disposed of all his slaves, permitting them to choose their new masters. Mr. Rives was a Republican in politics and sent a son into the ranks of the Union Army to fight against nephews enlisted in the Confederate cause. Well off as he was, his wife was obliged to make coffee out of parched rye or wheat during the war, so great was the scarcity of imported goods.

On July 8, 1866, while preparing to proceed to church to preach, he was suddenly stricken and died from a heart attack. He was buried in the family graveyard in sight of the old Rives’ homestead where many members of the family have since found a final resting place.


Marriage1: North Carolina, County Marriages, 1762-1979 (FamilySearch)
Census:      1830 Census - Christian County, Kentucky
                   1840 Census - Greene County, Illinois
                   1850 Census - Greene County, Illinois
                   1860 Census - Greene County, Illinois
History:  Childs, James Rives. Reliques of the Rives, p192