Jane Reeves, lost sister found

I’m so excited, I couldn’t sleep! So I’m up early at the computer…. The detective work of genealogy is just so fun! Last night I “discovered” Jane Reeves. I mean, I didn’t really discover her, but she took on an identity and became real to me.

I had vaguely known about her since earlier this past fall when I ordered, viewed and transcribed microfilmed court records out of Scioto County, Ohio (Court of Common Pleas Journal, 1810-1851). In the Portsmouth August term of 1819, there was a lawsuit by siblings of George Feurt, deceased, against another of their brothers, Gabriel Feurt. The document listed George’s heirs, including the following siblings:

Benjamin Feurt
Thomas Feurt
Peter Noel and Susannah Noel his wife (Susannah Feurt Noel)
Philip Noel and Mafsey Noel his wife (Massey Feurt Noel)
[note two Feurt sisters married two Noel brothers]

Another sibling, Mary (Feurt) Reeves, had died earlier that same year, so her interests in the estate were conveyed to her children:

Joseph Reeves
Jane Reeves
Susannah Reeves
Elijah Reeves
Mary Reeves
by Thomas Reeves their Father and Natural Guardian

These were the complainants who were taking legal action against Gabriel Feurt, Defendant. This document provides beautiful proof that Mary Feurt is the first wife of Thomas Reeves and the mother of the children listed. I could tell from what I knew about the Reeves children and their approximate birthdates from census and cemetery records, that this list was probably in birth order.

The other, first important document that fleshed out the Reeves siblings was father Thomas’ probate abstract out of Washington County, Iowa, dated 1846 (page 145 Book B):

John Reeves
Margaret Reeves
“oldest son” Joseph Reeves
Elijah Reeves
Susannah F. Hodges
Mary M. Crowell (sic) should be Crouch, but the transcriber of the handwriting probably could not make it out. I am still trying to locate the original handwritten record.
Delilah Harman
Executors John S. and Margaret Reeves

From a biography about John S. Reeves in a Washington County, Iowa history book, I knew that Thomas Reeves had been married twice, and that John S. was born to his second marriage, to Mary Hoskinson. Margaret was also from this second marriage. The bio did not mention the name of Thomas’ first wife, so I am particularly happy to have found the Feurt lawsuit record to verify my line.

Thomas Reeves’ marriage to Mary (Polly) Hoskinson was found in the records of Scioto County, Ohio in 1822. Also in that county I found the marriage record of Delilah Reeves to Henry Harman in 1818. The fact that eldest sister Delilah was married prior to the 1819 lawsuit document is probably why the list of Reeves children did not include her as an heir.

I was so thrilled to see married names for sisters Susannah and Delilah in the Washington County, Iowa probate record, so that I could follow them in the census records to flesh out their lines somewhat. No daughter Jane was listed here, so she obviously did not survive long enough after the 1819 Feurt document to be listed in an 1846 probate record.

So now I come to why I was excited last night. In reading through my thick file on the Reeves family, I came across correspondence from 1996 with two other Reeves researchers. That was long before I knew anything about the parents and family of my Mary (Reeves) Crouch and I was following up on possible Reeves connections in the LDS IGI.

Although they could not help me place my Mary Reeves, one of them did suggest that since Mary married M. M. Crouch in Delaware County, Indiana in the 1830s, that other Reeves listed there might be siblings of hers. He gave me a list of four Reeves marriage records, including Elijah to Indiana Custer, Susannah to John Hodge, and Jane to Nicholas Friend. Back in 1996 I didn’t know anything about these people so this correspondence was filed away. Now, in re-reading this letter in 2011, I certainly recognize the names Elijah and Susannah, and now the name Jane fits in!

I immediately set about researching this Nicholas Friend on the internet. I found three different marriages for him, one to Mary Haines in 1822, one to Jane Reeves in 1832 and one to Naomi Wheatcraft in 1840. I followed him through the census records and found a photo of his headstone (Jasper County, Iowa) on Find-A-Grave. A Google search led me to the Delaware County Historical Society website and a query there which was full of information on Nicholas’ family. I also found transcripts of Deed Book A from Delaware County. Land sales include the wife’s name. Nicholas Friend and wife Jane sold land in 1837 and 1838. But in 1839, Nicholas sold land with no wife mentioned. In 1840, Nicholas Friend and wife Naomi sold a parcel of land. The 1838 sale said Nicholas and wife Jane were “of Jay County, Indiana,” but so far I have not found a death or cemetery record for Jane (Reeves) Friend in Delaware, Jay or Blackford County, Indiana. I will keep looking. If Jane died around 1839, she may well have had children during her short life. What became of them? Next mystery to solve!

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