Henderson County Tennessee

Reeves Family

Contributed by   Billy Fred Reeves, Sr.
Great-Great Grandson of Richard Elwell Reeves, Written 26 October 2007

Written by R.E. Reeves 27 July 1866 to N.C.

Lexington, Henderson Co Tennessee
July 27th 1866

Mr. Journey Dr Sir,
My son La Fayette was in Lexington yesterday and read your letter which gave us all great satisfaction to hear from you, But alas to hear of the death of some we are still left morn and ever lament the sad news of last long absence, now lost friends forever gone, and myself left on the very verge time but not known to me whither there is a sister alive or not to morn with me, but thanks be to god if we never meet in this world that we all may meet in a better world where there will be no absent friends to grieve after, where our union then will be complete forever & may god save us all in his kingdom at last, be my continual prayer, My wife & myself at home are in tolerable health consisting two daughters one son & daughter in law., Our oldest daughter married & moved to Missouri & died, her name Clandestine., John D Reeves cut himself died the ninth day inspite of medical art the next James L Reeves married his wife has five children two dead, Samuel H. Reeves is married his wife five children alive two dead De La Fayette Reeves moved wife three children all dead Sally is married Susan is married Josephine is married, all married but those at home two daughters one son named Serephina Clancy Hariett & Bradberry. Richard we call Dick was in the Federal Army taken sick sent & got him home but died in a short time after left his wife and one child she lives with us., I now want you to come to this country as quick as possible, we think you can do good here since for all the doctors were in favor of the a Southern Confedercy & had to get off quick., They were mostly sesesh (means Rebels) and could not stay here among the union people., So we think you could do well in this country, so please come and see us this fall or sooner if you can and then will be better prepared to judge for yourself., We should be all very glad you would move out here soon and leave that old worn out country at last, Think you will have a chance to do better as this country is more fresh and furtile., I wish you to let me know something of Micajah and wife Elizabeth how she is doing and all about them, and the rest of my relations as far as you know, & if any of you move out here I want sister Hannah to come without fail, we will all be glad to see her and take care of her will be our hearts desire., I know not whether you can read this handwriting or not, the ink is pale and badly wrote., please excuse my bad wrote letter I have wrote this letter with out specks & the pen I wrote I cant see with specks as all I do all without them, I don’t use them at any time, we would be glad to see you all give our best respects to all relations and friends in that country.

I am very respectfully,

R E Reeves

Richard Elwell Reeves was born 1788 in North Carolina and died in 1890 at Decatur County Tennessee. He was 102. The picture I am attaching is Richard and his wife Eliza. It is believed this picture was taken at his son’s house near Finley Tennessee about 1885. Richard was a Methodist Minister and school teacher. Samuel Wesley Reeves (my grandfather) probably saw him at Finley. Sam would have been about 9 at this date of 1885.

I have not seen the following names prior to this letter Clandestine and John D Reeves. Since Richard Elwell Reeves and Eliza Miller Reeves were married on 25 January 1824 and the first child in my discoveries was Susan born 1828, it is reasonable to assume there must have been two or more prior to the birth of Susan in 1828. The mortality rate among young children was numerous during this period. Diseases considered common in our contemporary times were killers to the 1800’s youth.

Richard shows up in the 1830 Census in Henderson County Tennessee and has nine children in the 1840 Census in Henderson County. I am sure some died between that period and the 1850 Census when the census process allowed for the listing of all family members.

I will collate all the information found in all these letters into one complete discovery document when I have finished the transcription.

I can almost feel the despair from the sickness and death experienced by these old nation builders. Richard’s father fought in the Revolutionary War against the British. I have 93 more pages of letters such as the one you have just finished reading. What would we do if we were put in the position, as these old patriots were, to have to endure so much death and grief? In his own feeble manner, Richard was attempting to convey the heart-wrenching grief he was feeling from the loss of so many of his family members.

Love You One and All,
Billy F Reeves, Sr.

Richard Elwell & Eliza (Miller) Reeves

My great grandfather and great grandmother James Lee Reeves & Martha Jane Pritchett Reeves.
Boy on left is Lee Edward Reeves, Baby on Martha’s lap is Lucy Reeves, Girl at Rear is Sarah Clancy Reeves,
and boy on right is Richard Leo Reeves. My grandfather Samuel Wesley was not born when this picture was taken.

(Photo on Left) - My grandfather - Samuel Wesley Reeves. Sam was a cotton farmer

(Photo on Right) - My Father, Arthur Fane Reeves 1907 - 1985 Dad was a fisherman and trapper in West Tennessee.
He was very rugged, very honest and an excellent father. I was in love with my dad and mom and when I lost them,
I lost my best friends.

This is me as I currently appear in my state of deterioration.
Billy Fred Reeves, Sr.

Also see Decatur County TN