Birth: 1690, Surry County, Virginia
Birth Source: Reliques of the Rives
Death: c1758, Brunswick County, Virginia
Spouse1: Hannah Bishop
- Sarah Reeves, b. 1712, North Carolina
- Thomas Rives, b. c1714
- George Reeves, b. 1716
- Harmon Rives, b. c1720
- Joseph Rives, b. 1725
- Benjamin Reeves, b. c1730
- William Rives, b. c1733
- Thomas Rives of St. Andrews Parish, Brunswick County, for Love and Affection which I bear to my son George Rives of same, 50a, being part of the land where I now live on, dated 29 November 1746. Signed Thomas Rives (bhm). (Deed Book 3, Page 245)
- George Rives of Northampton County, North Carolina for £50 paid by James Parham of Brunswick County, St. Andrews Parish,50a, being a tract of land granted to the sd. George Rives by a deed of Gift dated 29 November 1746 by Thomas Rives his father, dated 5 May 1748. Signed George Rives (bhm). Witnesses: Absalom Atkinson,John Atkinson, William Ezell, Junr. Court May 5, 1748, Deed and memorandum acknowledged by George Rives and Mary the wife of the said George appeared and relinquished her right of Dower. (Deed Book 3, Page 411)
From Reliques of the Rives:
Thomas Rives, born about 1690, became resident of Brunswick county, Virginia, from its formation, and was residing therein in St. Andrews Parish as late as 1757. He must have died shortly thereafter as there is no further mention of him in the records. He resided in the lower part of Brunswick county near the North Carolina line, and adjacent to Northampton county, North Carolina, in that part of Brunswick county which had formed a part of Isle of Wight county before the formation of Brunswick. Living near him were his nephews, Timothy, Foster, and George Rives, sons of Col. William Rives, of Prince George county, Virginia, who had acquired land-probably that, in fact, on which Thomas Rives himself was seated-in this section as early as 1722. Another neighboring landowner of Thomas Rives was his younger brother Joseph Rives, who had obtained a patent to land in the same neighborhood in 1722 and on the same day on which Col. William Rives had acquire his holdings which were afterwards to pass into the possession of his son Timothy Rives and his son-in-law Thomas Jefferies.
The first mention of Thomas Rives in the Brunswick records occurs in 1733 when he was ordered with "Thomas Reaves, Jr., Timothy Reaves, and Foster Reaves" to clear a road in Brunswick county opposite Nathaniel Perry's (O.B. 1, p. 37). In 1735, and again in 1737, 1739, and 1743, his land is described as adjoining that of Timothy Rives when the land of the latter was ordered to be processioned by the parish authorities (V.B., St. Andrews Parish). On May 9, 1738, Thomas Rives, "of Brunswick county," purchased from John and Batte Peterson, "of Prince George county," 100 acres of land in Brunswick which was described as part of a larger tract of 385 acres taken up by John Peterson on February 20, 1719, the said 100 acres being defined as "up the Fork next to Rives little old field to Mathew Parham's line and along Parham's line to Jeremiah Brown's land***to Sikes line along Richard Sikes to Highland." The witnesses to the deed were Burwell Brown, Thomas x Rives, Jr., and Robert x Douglas. One half of this land he deeded on November 29, 1746, to his son George Rives, in the following terms:
To all christian people to whom these presents shall come I Thomas Rives of Saint Andrews Parrish in Brunswick County sendeth greeting know ye that I the said Thomas Rives for Divers good causes & consideration of the true love and natural affection which I bear to my son George Rives of the Parrish & County aforesaid, have given granted and confirmed and do by these presents freely clearly and absolutely give grant make over and confirm unto my son George Rives & his heirs forever, one part of a certain tract of land containing by estimation fifty acres more or less being part of the land where I now live on and in the Parrish of Saint Andrews and County of Brunswick and beginneth in manner following, at a red oak by the side of a gul, thence east down a dividing line to a red oak a corner tree of Jeremiah Brown's land, thence North west along the said Brown's line to a red oak a corner tree, thence South West to the aforesaid gul. and down the gul. as it meanders to the beginning***
In witness whereof I the said Thomas Rives have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty ninth day of November, one thousand seven hundred and forty six.
Thomas X Rives (SS)
Signed, sealed and delivered
In the presence of us
(no witnesses signed)
At a court held for Brunswick County December the 4th 1746 this deed was acknowledged by the within named Tho. Rives and ordered to be recorded.
Teste: Ro. Clack, Cler. Cur.
The vestry of St. Andrews Parish paid Thomas Rives on October 10, 1741, an amount of 100 pounds of tobacco for a coffin for Katherine Harris, and in 1748 he appeared with Timothy, Foster, and George Rives among the voters from Brunswick county. In December, 1751 he was co-defendant with Joseph Rives, his son, in a suit brought by Joseph Parkes, executor of Joseph Parkes, deceased, for a debt of 1 (pound): 13 (shillings): 1 (pence) (O.B. 4, p. 144); and a little later, in 1752, he was defendant in a similar suit for a debt of 20 (pounds): 10 (shillings) brought by John Peterson, administrator of Batte Peterson, judgment being given against him for 10 (pounds):3 (shillings): 6 (pence) (O.B. 4, p. 301). He was now nearing the end of his life and by reason, no doubt, of his age, and possibly his restricted means, the county court ordered in March, 1755, on his petition, that he be discharged from the payment of county and public levies for the future (O. B. 5, p. 2378). The second half of the 100 acres "on the southside of the Meherrin River," acquired by him in 1738, was deeded by him on May 24, 1757, to Harmon Rives for "natural love and affection." The deed, signed "Thomas X Reaves," and witnessed by Tho. Person, Wm. Parham, Nathaniel Perry, and Nathaniel Hicks, gives no clue to his wife's name. She had probably died some time previous.
There is no more striking illustration of the disparity of fortunes arising in Virginia among members of the same family by the application of the law of primogeniture, which remained in force in Virginia until after the Revolution, than that afforded by a comparison of the family of Col. William Rives, of Prince George county, eldest son of George Rives, with that of Col. William Rives’ younger brother, Thomas Rives, of Brunswick county. Such a disparity did not always arise, however, for the father more often than not made suitable provision for his younger children by deeds of gift during his lifetime or by specific bequests in his will. If he died intestate, however, the eldest son was entitled under the law to the entire landed estate; and this practice had legal sanction until that great democrat and most notable of Americans and Virginians, Thomas Jefferson, led the fight in Virginia against this instrument for the perpetuation of privilege.
With the one possible exception of Foster Rives, Col. William Rives’ sons were one and all literate; and were, without exception, apparently plentifully endowed with land and slaves: at least, they were possessed of sufficient property to enable them to continue to give the same educational opportunities to their children which they had enjoyed, for not one of their descendants is recorded as illiterate. Down to the War Between the States, which shattered the social fabric of the South, their descendants appear as prosperous slave and land owners: in many cases, as in the families of the descendants of William Rives, of Dinwiddie county, Virginia, and Timothy Rives, of Brunswick county, Virginia, giving their sons the advantages of a college education.
Thomas Rives appears to have been ill-favored both by fortune and by educational advantages. It is of record not only that he was illiterate but also that at least five of his six sons were equally unable to sign their names to such legal documents to which they were parties as have survived. Though the star of the family had set for a time in the person of Thomas Rives, it was to rise again in one of his granddaughters, Charlotte Rives, who became one of the most notable and distinguished members of the family.
1746 Deed - Thomas Rives to George Rives - Brunswick County, Virginia Deed Book 3, p245
1748 Deed - George Rives to James Parham - Brunswick County Virginia Deed Book 3, p411
1757 Deed - Thomas Reaves to Hermon Reaves - Brunswick County, Virginia Deed Book 6, p151