Rives, Joseph (c1781 VA - 1867 VA)


Rives, Joseph


Father: Frederick Rives
Mother: Mary Magdalene (Stegall)

Birth: c1781, Henry County, Virginia
Birth Source: Reliques

Death: 22 Jul 1867, Gladehill, Franklin County, Virginia
Death Source: Virginia Deaths

Spouse1: Mary Frances Prunty, m. 15 Feb 1814, Franklin County, Virginia


Children of Joseph Rives and Mary Frances Prunty:
  1. Cynthia Arnold Rives, b. 7 Apr 1804, m. Robert N. Dickson
  2. Benjamin Franklin Rives
  3. Mary Frances Rives, m. James L. Nicholson
  4. George Washington Rives, b. 8 Dec 1815
  5. Robert Burwell Rives
  6. Harriet Rives, m. John Dickinson
  7. Ann Rives, m. David Morgan Mayo
  8. Sarah J. Rives, m. Jacob P. Sutherland
  9. Frederick Alexander Rives
  10. William Waller Rives, b. 5 Feb 1824

An 1810 deed states that Joseph was the son of Frederick Rives. The 1815 tax list also lists him as the administrator of Frederick.

In 1843, Joseph Rieves was the highest bidder on a house and lot which Tyres G. Newbill had lived on in Newport in Giles County that was sold by the sherriff to him after Newbill had taken the oath of being an insolvent debtor. In 1845, Joseph and Frances Reives sold this same land to William H. Snidon and William H. Peck.

In 1860, he was living with his son Robert B. Rives and family.

From Reliques of the Rives:
Joseph Rives was born in Henry county, Virginia, in 1781, and died soon after the close of the War Between the States at Gladehill, Franklin county, Virginia, where he made his home throughout most of his life. He possessed extensive interests in land and slaves in Franklin county; but suffered reverses in later life through the defaults of his friends, on whose notes he had made himself the security during the wave of speculation which overswept the country in the '40's. Extracts from his letters to his son, George Washington Rives, who had settled in Paris, Illinois, and illustrative of the unsettling conditions which speculation had engendered, and of his own elevated character, are quoted below:
Dear George:Franklin 3rd August 1848.
I have taken up my pen to address you in answer to yours of the 30th. * * * I have read your letter with attention and I have arrived at the conclusion that you have gotten into too great a notion of Speculation. On that subject let me say to you that speculation, at this time, is Precarious and I am of the opinion that it will always be so from this time on and my opinion is predicated upon the fact that the People of this United States have departed from their former principles both Morally and Politically and when I say this I do not confine myself to either party for it is a fact that cannot be contra dicted that there is in this day and time a large portion of the people using their utmost skill and endeavor to lead everyone they can into Errors in various ways. See what a large portion of People is exerting their Influence over those who they profess to be their best friends and lead them on until they have sacrificed them and in many cases left them Destitute of Property and character (for it has come to this, if a man becomes Bankrupt in property he will be bankrupt in morals although he may have acted the part of an honorable man). I have been an attentive looker-on for, this more than forty years, and for the last seven yrs, I have had much to do with men, and some of them was men that I had the highest opinion of as men of honor * * * men that I would have put more confidence in than any other men * * * I now look upon them to be men destitute of Honour and Honesty * * * I have not arrived at my opinions from Prejudices or anger. I strove against such for yrs and wished and tried to think and believe better things but one act after another by them and I have seen so much mean, low, dirty, conduct in them and I have been compelled and forced to give up all confidence in them (my friends!) and I am constrained to believe they are or would be the most Consumate Scoundrels that has ever lived among us if they had talent or tact to carry out their principles. Now if I am correct in what I have said of men then there is great danger in Speculation. * * * There is one other subject you have mentioned in your letter that I wish to give you some thoughts upon that is your becoming a candidate for your State Legislature. Have you ever considered the obligation that a man puts himself under when he accepts of an office from the gift of the people, there is no obligation more binding on any one than such a one as that, as soon as a man receives an appointment from the people it is his unbounded duty to consult the good of that people and the man that is thus chosen and fails or neglects to consult and attend close to the Best Interests of his Constituents is unworthy of the office he may hold and is a man that lacks correct principles, a betrayer of the trust that has been confided to him and that constitutes him a traitor and there is scarcely any Principle in the human heart more to be despised and feared than that of a traitor * * * Oh that men would study to be wise, good and virtuous and then we should see better times * * * Your sister Mary Nicholson is at my house at this time and in a very low state of health * * * Poor Fred is much afflicted * * * I fear he will be a poor crippled person all his life * * * The maker has done more for you than the most of mankind and do you intend to slight his goodness. He has given you the power to speak, and do you intend to spend your days in this world and not speak for him and his cause. You see abuses of the laws of this country in the administration of the same and you are moved upon to speak in Public and warn the People of this impending danger and the consequences that will result and have you never decryed the abuses of the Laws of God * * *
Your affectionate father Joseph Rives.

Under date of July 15, 1852, Mr. Rives wrote to his son, George:
* * * About 10 years ago honesty and rascality became such belligerents to each other that necessity compelled them to go to war with each other and rascality has obtained a complete victory over honesty and has almost annihilated honesty from our country. Very little of it is to be seen any where and when you see it, it is so deformed that you scarcely dare to have any confidence in it because it has so little support or aid either in church, State or social circles and rascality has got speculation so much under its control that it is at the bidding of rascality and is continually flattering speculation and saying to it that if you should get into difficulties you can go to California and dig gold or to Texas the land of promise. I have paid from five to six thousand dollars in the last ten years for my information, as the security of speculation and none care even to teach me a tune to the Ballad I have gotten * * *

The following is taken from a letter written by Mr. Rives on November 10, 1857, from Franklin county, Virginia, to his son, George:
My main object in sending these accounts to you is that you may examine it and if there is any error in it you will point it out and it shall be corrected with pleasure * * *. I have made my will and have given each Legatee an equal portion of my Estate, and only charge them with what they may have received by way of advancement and I wish to settle with each one before I Depart this life and not have the matter to be settled between my legatees which is most sure to produce some feeling among brothers & sisters * * * . Just here I will say that whatever you may be charged with, as I have said to all my Legatees, is subject to any corrections you may point out * * * . I wish you to communicate freely and what you conscientiously believe * * * . I am now in the 76th year of my age and I feel that I am fast declining * * * .

Joseph Rives married, in 1803, Mary Frances Prunty who died in Franklin county, Virginia, about 1852 or 1853 of tuberculosis.

Research Notes

Note that Virginia marriage records state Joseph and Mary F. were married in 1814. Reliques claims the marriages was in 1803. Also note that Cynthia was born in 1804. The original marriage record should be examined to verify the date.


Marriage1:  Franklin County, Virginia, Marriage Bond Index, 1786-1858 (Ancestry)

1820 Census:  Franklin County, Virginia
1830 Census:  Franklin County, Virginia
1840 Census:  Franklin County, Virginia
1850 Census:  Franklin County, Virginia
1860 Census:  Franklin County, Virginia

Franklin County, Virginia Tax Lists
1810 Deed - Frederick Rives to Joseph Rives - Franklin County, Virginia Deed Book 7, p73
1862 Will - Joseph Rives - Franklin County, Virginia Will Book 15, p29
1843 Deed - J. Peck Sherriff to Joseph Rieves - Giles County, Virginia Deed Book F, p349
1845 Deed - Joseph & Frances Rieves to William H. Snidon & William H. Peck - Giles County, Virginia Deed Book G, p188
Childs, James Rives. Reliques of the Rives, p391