Reeves family originated in Pike County

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 20, 2010

One branch of the Reeves family arrived in Covington County circa 1907. The parents of this family were natives of Pike County, Ala.

The Reeves name is somewhat intertwined with that of Rives, Ryves, Reaves, and Reives, and this makes for difficulty in tracing the individual family lines.

Ryves appears to be the original spelling in England for most of these lines, but one researcher claims the Reeves descendants had their distinctive origin long before the Ryves ancestor, William Rives, arrived in Virginia. It was further reported that most of those in the United Sates going under the name of Rieves originally belonged to the Rives family, and a lesser number of those using Reaves and Reeves belonged to the same Rives line.

The subjects of this narrative were descendants of Charles Akin Reeves (1829-1918) and his wife, Martha Ann Elizabeth (Dykes) (1842-1909). The Charles Reeves family was residing in Pike County when the son, George Washington Reeves, was born in 1869. George was reared there and was married in 1888 to Bethenia “Thenie” Dunn (1871-1929). Thenia, the daughter of John Thomas Dunn and his wife, Nancy (Dudley), was also born in Pike County.

George and Thenie began their family in Pike County with their first child being born in 1889. After this they had nine more children born before they left Pike and moved to Covington County circa 1907. They had a tenth child born in Andalusia before they chose to move west to Texas in 1908 or 1909. However, George’s asthma did not allow him to tolerate the dust in that area, so the family returned to Covington County by April 1910 when the federal census was enumerated. They only remained here for a few months before moving to a home where George had purchased 53 acres of land on December 19, 1910, in Okaloosa County, Fla. In 1915 when Okaloosa County was formed, the farm fell within its boundaries.

George and Thenie Reeves reared the following 10 children: Nora Magdaline, b. 1889, d. 1977, m. (1) Hiram Robbins (2) George Mears (3) Art Stovall (4) D.S. McDonald (1898-1985); Clara Leola, b. 1891, d. young; Ethel Eugenia, b. ca 1893, d. young; Ida Virginia b. 1894, d. 1965, m. George Minton Bagley (1889-1935); Sallie Missouri, b. 1896, d. 1985, m. (1) Robert Jackson Kilcrease, Sr. (1894-1936) (2) Malachi Garrett (3) Henry Pierce; Jessie Matilda, b. 1898, d. 1930, m. Marcus E. Whittle (1896-1974); James Morgan, b. 1900, d. 1955, m. Florine Paulk (1905-1944); George Paul Lavaga, b. 1902, d. 1962, m. Lois Elefair Richards (1904-1980); Nancy Pearl, b. 1904, d. 1972, m. Herman John Christie (1895-1981); Martha Inez, b. 1906, d. 1973, m. (1) Edward Todd (2) William Weber (3) Ralph Henry; and Luna Lillian, b. 1908, d. 1999, m. Paul C. Welton.

As most families of the time, the Reeves were farmers. With 10 children in the family to support, the family learned to be quite resourceful.

They gardened and grew most of their food, which included beans, peas, corn and sweet potatoes.

For the livestock they grew corn and velvet beans, and they slaughtered some of the hogs for meat. There was considerable canning and food preservation during the respective seasons. Staples such as flour, salt, sugar and baking powder and soda were bought at Tom Park’s Store at Galliver or a store in Holt when funds permitted. Kerosene was another valuable item for various uses around the farm.

The typical lifestyle of a farm family at the time was for the wife and mother to help in the field. Thenie would place her young children on a quilt nearby as she helped with the farming.

As the children grew they would also help in the field and care for the younger children. Food was prepared and cooked on a wood-burning cook stove. Clothes were washed in a “wash pot” and hung on lines and shrubs to dry.

The only source of heat for the house was usually a single fireplace.

The normally essential buildings surrounded the house. A barn was needed to house some of the stock, farming implements, storing feed, etc.

The chickens needed a place for roosting and laying eggs. A smoke house was necessary for smoking the hams, sausage, etc. and storage.

The washhouse was especially useful when electricity was available for operating a ringer-style washing machine, and all needed the “out house”.

The Reeves couple lived a meager but pleasant life. They never owned an automobile, but traveled only by mules and wagon.

In 1928, George purchased 10 acres, which were located about one mile west of Holt, Florida.

They resided there for about two years until both their deaths in 1929.

The oldest daughter, Nora Magdalene Reeves, was married first to Hiram Robbins with whom she had the following three children: Perry, George and Dorothy.

She was buried beside her fourth husband D.S. McDonald, in the Pensacola Memorial Garden Cemetery.

The fourth daughter, Ida Virginia Reeves, was married to George Minton Bagley in 1913 in Santa Rosa County.

He was the son of John and Martha (Clemmons) Bagley and was born in Troy.

They reared the following four children: Virginia, Harry, Evelyn and Ray. Both were buried in the Andalusia Memorial Cemetery.

The next daughter, Sallie Missouri Reeves, was married in 1914 in Santa Rosa County to Robert Jackson Kilcrease Sr., son of Robert and Mary (Parker) Kilcrease. They reared the following children: Sibyl, Robina, Robert Jr., Eleanor and Joyce. They were buried in St. John’s Cemetery in Pensacola.

The next daughter, Jessie Matilda Reeves, was married in 1918 to Marcus E. Whittle. They were both buried in St. John’s Cemetery in Pensacola.

The oldest son, James Morgan Reeves, was married in 1923 to Florine Paulk, daughter of Joseph and Ella (Hudson) Paulk.

They reared the following children: James, Romeo, Donald, Kenneth, Carolyn, Tom and Lamar. They were buried in the New Holt Cemetery in Holt, Fla.

The second son, George Paul Lavaga Reeves, was married in 1921 to Lois Elefair Richards, daughter of John and Sarah (Kilcrease) Richards.

They reared the following children: Paul, Harold, Wilma, Dudley, Rosalyn, Melba and Elaine. They were buried in the Shady Grove Cemetery in Baker, Fla.

The next daughter, Nancy Pearl Reeves, was married in 1925 to Hermon John Christie. They reared the following children: Geraldine, Warner, Nancy and Arlene.

The next daughter, Martha Inez Reeves, was married first to Edward Todd by whom she had a son Edward Todd Jr.

The youngest daughter Luna Lillian Reeves, was married in 1927 to Paul C. Welton.

They moved to San Mateo, Calif., and reared the following children: Donald, Patricia, Darlene and Michael.

The source for the above family history was two family stories published in The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama. These were written by a grandson, Donald Arrington Reeves, of Baker, Fla.