Rives, Timothy (1742 VA - 1803 VA)

Rives, Timothy

Rives, Timothy


Father: George Rives
Mother: Frances Tatum

Birth: 2 or 21 Jan 1742, Albermarle Parish, Surry County, Virginia
Birth Source: Virginia Births and Christenings

Death: Dec 1803, Sussex County, Virginia
Death Source: Reliques of the Rives

Spouse1: Martha Binns, m. 8 Feb 1773 (bond), Sussex County, Virginia
Spouse2: Rebecca Mason, m. 4 Feb 1780 (bond), Sussex County, Virginia


Children of Timothy Rives and Martha Binns:
  1. Charles Binns Rives, b. 15 14 Feb 1774
  2. Archibald Rives, b. 9 Jun 1775, d. youngest
  3. Anthony Rives, b. 22 Nov 1776

From Reliques of the Rives:
Timothy Rives who was born January 21, 1743, in Albemarle Parish, Surry county, Virginia, lived not far from the courthouse near Freeman’s Bridge in Sussex county (formed in 1754 from Surry), where he was a prominent planter and slaveholder. Although the youngest son, he received by a specific bequest of his father, George Rives, 400 acres of land as well as four slaves. By the year 1782 the number of his slaves had increased to a total of 21.
By far the most interesting fact to record concerning Timothy Rives, of Sussex, however, is that he was the owner for a brief time — from 1766 to 1768 — of Jolly Roger, "the first horse that gave distinction to the racing stock of Virginia."¹ On May 9, 1767, the Virginia Gazette published the announcement of "Timothy Rieves" that "The noted horse Jolly Roger stands at my house, near Freeman's Bridge, in Sussex county, in order to cover mares at 20 s. the leap, 50 s. the season, or 5 l. ensurance. Good pasture for mares."
Timothy Rives evidently had purchased Jolly Roger in 1766 from Charles Harrison (1735-1796), youngest son of Benjamin Harrison, of "Berkeley," but kept him only a short while for in 1768 the horse was advertised by James Balfour, of Brunswick county.
Jolly Roger’s performances on the English turf and his pedigree are recorded in the name of "Roger of the Vale." After his importation into Virginia, some time after 1749, he was given the name by which he has since been known to American horsemen.
Trevathan has given a cogent explanation as to why the first race-horses of America landed on Virginia soil, and why for many years thereafter every race-horse imported into America landed at the ports of either Virginia or the Carolinas.²
Many men, studying the history of the race-horse of America, have wondered that he should have been, in his importation so purely local,-why he did not disembark in old Boston, or even on the coast of Maine, or at the Battery. There is plain reason for that in the types of the men who were coming from other lands to make this new country under a new flag. The masters of Virginia and of the Carolinas were the cavaliers of old England. They were men of the horse and the sword at home.
The Puritan of New England was not a man for horse-loving nor for display. Certainly he was not the man in whose heart the race-horse could have honest home. He was given to humility and to simple drudgeries, denying himself the indulgencies of that very class which had populated early Virginia. So it is that the old pictures of the Puritan of New England set him always at his going and coming on foot. Ever a sturdy man and ever a reliant one, he did for himself the duties which the horse was supposed to share with the cavalier. Your Virginian and your North Carolinian and your Marylander threaded his way through the early forest astride his horse.
  • * * *
The honor of having bred, reared, and developed a type of race-horse in America belongs to Virginia and Carolina. Almost up to the time of the Civil War Virginia was known as the race-horse region of America.
  • * * *
The ascendency of Virginia on the turf for many years was decided. It could not have been otherwise, since, beginning with Bulle Rock, following closely with Dabster, joining then with Jolly Roger, Janus and Fearnought, importing mares of equal quality with these stallions, and continuing to import as each gentleman upon his plantation needed a stallion to replace one gone, it is no wonder that Virginia should have held her place as the first thoroughbred mother of this land. As it has been said, for more than fifty years all the best thoroughbred mares in America were owned on the plantations that lay along the James and the Rappahannock rivers or in the Carolinas.

Timothy Rives married, 1st, Martha Binns (b. 1748, d. Dec. 30, 1778), according to a marriage bond dated February 8, 1773, in Sussex county, daughter of Charles and Judith (Eldridge) Binns. He married, 2nd, Rebecca Mason (b. Dec. 16, 1746, d. 1815), the marriage bond being dated February 4, 1780, in Sussex, daughter of Major John and Elizabeth (Chappell) Mason, but had no issue by his second wife. Timothy Rives died in Sussex county, December, 1803. His personal estate was appraised in that county in 1810 at £571, his eldest son, Charles Binns Rives, acting as administrator of the estate.

Research Notes

Reliques gives the incorrect birth year for Timothy. The Albermarle Parish registers say 1742, not 1743. There appear to be two entries for Timothy Rives. In the published transcription, he is first listed as son of George and Frances "Ricks", born 2 Jan 1742, along with Christopher "Ricks", born 20 Dec 1739. In the second, he is listed as son of George and Frances Rives, born 21 Jan 1742. The three sponsors listed are the same in each entry.

The births of Charles Binns Rives and Archibald Rives are listed in the Albermarle Parish Register.


Birth:      Virginia Births and Christenings, 1584-1917 (FamilySearch)
                   Boddie, John Bennett. Births, Deaths and Sponsors 1717-1778 from the Albermarle Parish Register of Surry and Sussex Counties, Virginia, p120
Marriage1: Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850 (Ancestry)
Marriage2: Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850 (Ancestry)

1811 Will - 1811 Will - Rebecca Rives - Sussex County, Virginia Will Book H, p163
Childs, James Rives. Reliques of the Rives, p493
¹For these and other details regarding Jolly Roger the compiler is indebted to that very scholarly article, The Equine F. F. V's, contributed to the Virgima Magazine, xxx, p. 329 et sequitur, by Mr. Fairfax Harrison, who has done so much these last years for Virginia history.
²Trevathan, The American Thoroughbred, pp. 5, 7, 10-11.