Search billions of records on
ca. 1736-1815
by Lois Gillespie
(Abbreviated form)

The birds still warble sweet in the springtime, and crisp green blades of corn brighten the red soil of the old Rives plantation in Franklin County, Virginia. Otherwise, things are much changed from the busy days of 1779, when Capt. Frederick Rives built his home here. There is little to suggest the activity and vigor of the early occupants, or that its builder was a man of extensive property and considerable influence. The home's chimneys are crumbling; its verandas and galleries are gone. All the "appurtenances thereunto appertaining" mentioned in land deeds have disappeared, too.

Brambles, honeysuckle, and periwinkle choke the near approaches, and vines obscure the outlines of roof and wall. Inside the house, paneling has been stripped away; a bare space above the generous main fireplace suggests that a handsome mantel once graced it. Bales of stored straw show the low estate to which the old dwelling has fallen. Two ancient walnut trees one dying, stand guard over the ruin. A third tall tree with giant arms rises at the end of the space between the house wings--it is so smothered with ivy and wild grapevines that only with difficulty can one discern that it is a cedar. Perhaps it marks the grave of the owner, who is said to be buried "within the shadows" of the house.

Even in its derelict state, the house wears an air of simple dignity and seems an almost sentient presence beneath the trees. It stands at the edge of a field in a bend of Pigg River--a field which a local resident says was an Indian council ground before the days of the white man. The air is balmy, the honeysuckle is fragrant, and on a spring morning only the territorial claims of two cardinals break the silence.

Although some persons might question whether this modest dwelling was actually that of Captain Rives, it is certainly the one pictured page 353 of the definite study of the family, Reliques of the Ryves. The photograph is captioned, "Frontier Home in Franklin County, Virginia of Captain Frederick Rives (ca. 1737-ca. 1816)." Author of the book was James Rives Childs, descendant of Captain Rives through his daughter Sarah. He based his work on intensive research in both England and Virginia and made use of family records, letters, and photos that could have been obtained only through intimate family sources. An error in his identification of the home would be unlikely.

According to Mr. Childs, the captain was great-grandson of the original immigrant ancestor, William Ryves, who was a son of Timothy Ryves of Oxford City, England. (See notes for subsequent revisions in the thinking of Mr. Childs and for comments on pronunciation of the name in England and America,) The English research of Mr. Childs traces the family to Robert Ryves (ca. 1490-1551) of Damory Court, County Dorset. Family members appear to have been staunch Royalists and devoted Anglican adherents. Robert's son John and grandson Richard evidently remained in Dorset but several great-grandsons, including Timothy, mentioned above, lived in Oxford, a Stuart stronghold.

Timothy Ryves of the parish of St. Mary Magdalen, Oxford City, Co. Oxford Gentleman, and steward of the University of Oxford, evidently was born about 1588. On 11 March 1611 he was admitted as a brewer by Oxford University which exercised firm control over the production and sale of sale and beer. On numerous tax lists from 1624 to 1640 he was shown among the "privileged persons" residing in Oxford. He was most likely left orphan and was taken under the protection of the eldest branch of the family at Oxford, obtaining preferment at the University through his cousins Dr. George Ryves and Sir William Ryves, knight, of the same parish. Timothy married twice and had four sons--Richard and Timothy (later supposed to be the Virginia immigrant) by his wife Mary, George and William (first supposed to be the Virginia immigrant) by his wife Elizabeth. Timothy's baptism was recorded in the St. Mary Magdalen parish register as, "Timothie, the son of Mr. Timothie Rives was bap. the 9 day August 1625.  A record which is probably George's baptism in Oxford mentions him as "William the sone of Mr. Timothie Rives was *** 1644", and he is later shown as the heir to his father's estate.

Several of Timothy's first cousins were men of distinction including Dr. George, Warden of New College and Chancellor of Oxford University, and Dr. Charles, Chaplain to James the First. This man was a noted scholar who served on the committee for the King James version of the Bible and was responsible for that part of the New Testament translated from the Greek. Other cousins were Colonel James of Ireland; Sir William, Attorney General for Ireland; Sir John; and, finally, Sir Thomas Advocate General to Charles 1. One hopes that Charles did not proceed to the headsman's axe because of advice given by Sir Thomas!

Most of these Ryves men had died before Charles I's defeat in 1645 at Naseby, an event that sealed the fate of the Cavalier cause. The King surrendered himself to the Scots, who two years later turned him over to Parliament in return for 400,000 pounds in back pay. (Sir William Ryves died that same year; Sir Thomas lived until 1652.) Parliament made several conciliatory advances toward the king, but he refused to make any concession or compromise. He was tried by Parliament and beheaded 30 January 1649. Royalists like the Ryves found England under Puritan rule a dangerous place.  A close relative of Timothy's, Dr. Brune Ryves, Chaplain to King Charles I, was in Oxford at the time of the surrender to parliament in 1646. Under the articles of surrender, he was given " ... full liberty at any time within six months to goe to any convenient Port and to Transport himselfe with his servents, Goods, and Necessaries beyond the Seas." Although Brune did not go "beyond the seas," it is possible that Timothy's sons were given the same option at this time. Since many of the Rives were already involved in overseas trade in the early 1600's, it is possible Timothy Jr. had already been put to trade. He was known as living in 1643 because of his father's burial record showing "Mr. Timothy Ryves, the elder was buried ultimo September 1643."

Timothy and his second wife Elizabeth died within a month of each other in 1643; Childs theorizes that his son William, aged seventeen or eighteen, was a part of the Royalist exodus about 1653 or 1654, although he could find no records of William except those in Surry County in 1684 and 1695.

The immigrants to America settled along the James River in Virginia. Many of the records in the area were destroyed or carried off during the Revolutionary and Civil wars. Additional records have been found and abstracted since Childs did his research in 1929. Now, there is evidence of several Rives immigrations to Virginia including "Timothy" who is recorded as "Reve" and "Reevs" in the administration of his estate in a Charles City County Court Order Book for the years of 1687-1695. This is the same location as known Rives, George and Robert.

From "Charles City County, Virginia Court Orders 1687-1695", abstracted by Benjamin B. Weisiger III:

p. 421 3 October 1692

Administration of Goods and Chatalls late of Timothy Reevs of this County decd is Committed to Mary his Relict
Mary the Relict of Tymothy Reeves deced & William Stanback and Thomas Lewis her _____ enter them ___ in open Court and are bounde in thirty thousand pds tobacco to Capt. James Biss, presid't of this Cort and his assignes joyntly and severally that the sd Mary shall and will well and truely Administer the sd Goods and Chattils and despose thereof according to law soe as this Court and every member thereof be indempnifyed from the same.
Ordered That Capt Henry Batt assigne and Swear apprising of this estate of Tymothy Reevs.

p. 431 3 November 1692

"The Inventory of Timothy Reevs estate Sworn to by the Relict is __ into Cort. vide Inventory Cooke"

p. 455 13 April 1693

"Judgement is granted Rob't Bolling plt against Wm Lawes and Mary his wife, Admin'x of Tymothy Reeves decd for payment of two pounds nine shill. four pounds d__ed by the plts oath to be due"

In the same order book were records for Robert Rives as follows:

p. 580 5 August 1695

"Commission of administration of Goods and Chattalls rights and Creditts late of Morris Caligham granted already. page 529

"Robert Reives and Sarah his wife, Exec'x of Morris Caligham decd exhibit to the Court an inventory of the estate. Ordered it be recorded.

"Robert Reives & Thomas Anderson & Charles Gee confess judgmt joyntly and severally to Capt James Biss the first in comison of the Peace for this County for the sum of six thousand pounds of Tobacco.

"Provided [never ____es] that if the sd Robert Reives and Sarah his wife Execx of the last will and Testamt of Morris Caligham decd or one of the doe well and truely perform and execute the Will of Morris Caligham and pay the legacys therin without fraud to whom the same are or shall become due then this judgment to be voyd ____ to be of full f__ed."

p. 580 5 August 1695

Robert Reives together with Thomas Anderson & Charles Gee his ___erties, Confess Judgmt to Capt James Biss President of this Court for the sum of six thousand pounds of Tobacco to be pd unto the sd James Bisse or his Assigns. Provided nevertheless that if the sd Robert Reeves Thomas Anderson Charles Gee or any of them doe well and truely pay unto the orphans of Morris Caligham or the Survivour of them Comeing of lawfull age or to whomsoever the sum shall be _____ all such estate as to them belong and to them payable by Sarah the Execs of the sd Caligham the now wife of the sd Reives and indempnify the justices from the same then this judgmt to be voyd. Court adjouing to a Court in Cours

p. 589 18 Sept. 1695

"Bond of Robert Reives, Thomas Anderson and Charles Gee to pay the orphans of Morris Caligham when they come of age, such estate as belongs to them, and payment by Sarah, the Executrix of Caligham, now wife of said Reives."

At Orphan's Court at Westover 18 Sept. 1695 Present: Mr. Richard Bland Capt. Capt. Daniel Luellin Mr. Robert Bolling Capt. John Hamlin.

If the Timothy Reevs recorded in the Charles City County Court Order Book is the same Timothy Rives of Oxford, he died in 1692 and would have been 67. Only Timothy's widow Mary is mentioned in the transcribed record of Timothy's estate, and she is later recorded as remarried to a William Laws in 1693. A connection between Timothy b. ca 1670 and his brother Robert Rives is made on the inventory statement of the estate of Timothy Rives.

William Rives was recorded as a landowner in 1684 and 95 in Southwarke Parish Virginia, Surry County, and in James City County across the James River in 1704. His early appearances being transported and not as a land owner until later in life, indicates a life at sea. Close relatives Brune Ryves Jr. and Charles Rives of London owned and operated ships involved in overseas trade at this time. It is likely that William began his career at sea with either his brother Timothy or Brune Ryves Jr.

Timothy's son George stated he was "age fifty nine years or thereabouts" in a deposition given in 1719 which would put his year of birth around 1660. He also stated that he had lived in Charles City County. He seems to have been a resident of Prince George and Brunswick counties.

It is possible that George was married to Hannah Bishop, daughter of John and Sarah Bishop. The wills of John ( Prince George County, Virginia Deeds, 1713-28, page 114) and Sarah ( Prince George County, Virginia Deeds, 1713-28, page 589), list a daughter Hannah Reves/Rives. The 1704 Virginia Rent Rolls list John Bishop Jr. and John Bishop Sr. in Prince George County. Earlier, they were in the Parish of Wayenoake on the south side of James River (Charles City County Order Book 1677-1679, page 16 and Prince George County Book 7, page 305). George does not appear until 1714 in Prince George County, but since the individuals are in roughly the same area, it is possible that this connection is accurate. There are other "Rives" in the counties of Essex and Isle of Wight, and further research may prove this connection to be inaccurate. Other items to consider are that only one grandchild, not a Rives, is listed in both of the wills even though George had children born circa 1683, 1690, 1696 and 1698. Hannah may not be listed in her grandmother's deed of 1677 unless the reference to Elizabeth or Sarah is her which would make her too young to be the mother of the first two children and less than 40 when George is 59 in 1719. This possible age difference lends more credence to the theory that Hannah was married to George's son Thomas, born circa 1690.

George first appears in 14 August 1714 as a landholder in a deed between John Womack Sr, of Prince George County granted to John Womack Jr. of 200 acres on the north side of Blackwater Swamp next to "George Reve" (Prince George County Records 1713-1728, p 22). He was also a witness to the inventory of the estate of John Davis on 10 February 1714 (Prince George County Records 1713-1728, page 55).

On 12 March 1715, "George Reves" was listed as one of the 12 jurors summoned by the Sheriff to make equal division between Stith Bolling, plaintiff and Robert and Thomas Bolling of 100 acres of land.

In a deed recorded on 11 November 1717, James Thweatt of Prince George County granted to William Eaton, 200 acres on the north side of Blackwater Swamp, south side of Reedy Branch, next to John Cureton, Mr. Henry Batte, Robert Burchitt, John Womack and "George Reives" (Prince George County Records 1713-1728, page 197).

In a survey made on 28 November 1722 in Prince George County by Robert Bolling, Surveyor, "George Rives" is listed as owning 225 acres on the fork of Cherry Orchard Branch of Jones Hole Swamp.

George's son Joseph, apparently a man of some means, lived in Prince George County and was a resident of Bristol Parish. In 1722 and 1724 he purchased land on the south side of the Meherrin River "on the south side of Dutchman's meadow." This was in a part of Isle of Wight County incorporated into Brunswick County in 1732 and adjoined the land where his brother Thomas lived. Another brother, Col. William, entered land in the same neighborhood on the same date as Joseph's second purchase. Joseph also was patentee or 300 acres in Prince George County "on the lower side of the Little Creek of Deep Creek."  This land became part of Amelia County when it was formed in 1735.

In April 1731 he and his wife Sarah sold 190 acres in the Parish of Warwicke Creek, Isle of Wight County to Richard Sykes, later conveying 100 acres in the same county "on the southside of the Great Meadow John Peterson his land" to George Cater. (In view of the evident education of some of their relatives, it seems strange that neither he nor his father could sign his name.) In both deeds, Joseph Rives is described as being "of Bristol Parish in the County of Prince George."

The Bristol Parish vestry book, 1720-1789, shows that he was one of the men ordered "with the freeholders of their Presinct [to] Procession from Jas. Baugh's path between Black water and Second Swamp to Monksneck Road." He fulfilled this duty in 1743 and 1747.  It appears that he died shortly after 1757. In 1767 his son Joseph (Frederick's brother) was assigned the same area, and the entry explains the reason for the exercise:  "That the procession'd gone Round and the Land marks Renewed..." and thus impressed upon the mind of every freeholder.

Mr. Childs says that seven children were born to Joseph Rives and his wife Sarah. For some reason, names of only four were found in the parish register as transcribed by Chamberlayne:

"Daniel Son of Josep and Sarah Reeves born 31th august bapt 11 sept 1726.

"Mary D. of Joseph and Sarah Reeves Born 20th Sepr 1730

"Joseph Son of Joseph & Sarah Reaves Born 5th Decr 1732 Bapt 1th august 1733."

"Isham s of Joseph & Sarah Reaves Born January ye 25, 1740"

Reuben (ca. 1728-post 1766)

Burwell (ca. 1734-1769)

Capt. Frederick (ca. 1736-ca.1814)

Although the birth dates do not so indicate, one may surmise that Joseph and Sarah lived temporarily in another parish, where the other births were recorded. Or, the services of Bristol Parish Church may have been intermittent and baptism not always available. One clue that might be followed is the fact that the 1767 procession order was dated "Vestry at Blandford for Bristol Parish." Childs seems quite certain that Reuben, Burwell, and Frederick were sons of Joseph and Sarah; probably he had access to Bible records or other family information.

Our Frederick seems to have been the first of his family to bear that given name. At the time of his birth, Virginians were enthusiastic about the Hanoverian rulers, so that names of members of the royal family were given to numerous persons and places. The name of Frederick, Prince of Wales was given to a Virginia county, and it inspired the naming of the city of Fredericksburg. Members of an old Royalist family might consider it a suitable name for their little son.

His name first appears in public records of 1757. On April 26 of that year he and his brother Burwell paid 150 pounds to John Marshall of Brunswick County for a tract of 330 acres on Briery Creek in that county. With their respective wives as cosigners, they in turn sold the property 23 March 1769 to George Stegall of Brunswick. Deed Book 15, page 123

Frederick Rives appears as a witness for an indenture proved in Brunswick County Court on 25 February 1760.  Deed Book 6, page 430.

We find the name of George Stegall in an important document in the files of Amelia County Court House:

Know all Men by these Presents that we Frederick Rives and George Stegall, are held & firmly bound unto our Sovereign Lord King George the Third in the sum of Fifty Pounds Current Money of Virginia, to be paid to our said Lord the King his Heirs Exrs and Admrs jointly & severally firmly by these presents sealed with our Seals & dated this twentieth day of July, 1761.

Whereas a marriage is shortly intended to be solemnized between the abovebound Frederick Rives and Mary Magdaline Stegall Now the condition of this obligation is such that if there be no lawful cause to obstruct the said Marriage then the said obligation to be void otherwise to remain in full force. Fredk. Rives (Seal)

Sealed and Delivered

in presence of his

T. G. Peachy [Acossn.] Geo. X Stegall Jr. (Seal)


Teste: S. L. Farrar [?] Clerk

There evidently being no cause to obstruct the marriage, the father of the bride gave his consent as follows:

I do hereby give my Free consent to a marriage shortly intended to be solemnized between Frederick Reeves and my Daughter Mary Magdalen Stegale Given under my Hand and seal this the 23 Day of July 1761.


Witness Thomas Young George X Stegall

his mark

botom X Stagell


It seems likely that both bondsman George Stegall Jr. and witness Bottom Stegall were brothers of the bride--we know that Bottom was her mother's maiden name. By a deed dated 28 February 1762, Thomas Bottom of Amelia County conveyed to "Mary Magdaline Rives (wife of Frederick Rives) of Brunswick County" one negro woman slave named Anaky, and one negro girl named Doll about five years old, and one negro boy about five months old named Hampton, "for and in consideration of the affection he hath for his granddaughter Mary Magdaline, wife the said Frederick."

He appears in the vestry book of St. Andrews Parish, Brunswick County in 1763 according to which Frederick Rives, Benjamin Johnson, and David Merideth were ordered in that year to procession all the land between Ingram's Road, Miles' Road, Pennington's Road and the Great Creek

By 1767, Frederick and Mary Magdalene had moved to a frontier area a few miles east of the Blue Ridge. He and his negro Phyllis were on a list of tithables taken by George Jefferson in Cambden Parish in Pittsylvania County.

He appears in the deed books of that county with a purchase of land 30 March 1769 from George Stegall and his wife Agnes of Brunswick. He paid one hundred and fifty pounds for 5,400 acres, described as being "all the land that Frederick Reaves and George Stegall Bought of Robert Wickly lying on both Sides of Pigg River." (Pittsylvania County, Deed Book 1, page 349-350)

Frederick and Mary and Burwell and Amy of Pittsylvania sold 330 acres to George Steagall Junr. of Brunswick County in 1769. This land was bounded on Briery Creek and the lines of David Merideth, John Threadgills Colliers, Bottom Steagall and George Steagall Junr. It is stated that Fredrick bought this land from John Marckel. (Brunswick County, Virginia, Book 15, page 123)

In July of the next year he purchased for seventy pounds from Lewis Jenkins, of Pittsylvania, 400 acres on both sides of Pigg river, "beginning at the mouth of Jacks Creek on Pigg River thence up the River to Thomas [Potters] line" (Pittsylvania County, Virginia, Book 1, pages 449-451) The land became part of Henry County when that unit was organized in 1776-7. The jurisdiction changed again in 1786 with the creation of Franklin County, in which it now lies.

Childs points out, page 350, that in the month of July, 1770, Frederick Rives sold, for a total of 550 pounds, 3100 acres of land on both sides of Pigg River. (It should be noted that the river is quite an attractive stream and took its name from an early-day family, not from its appearance or nature.) He also sold in 1772 another 100 acres "on Mountain Creek a branch of Pigg River" to Samuel Canterbury. In this deed, the grantor is described as being of Camden Parish. His wife was a co-signer.

Childs was impressed with the man's business acumen: "For the 5,800 acres for which he had paid a total of 220 pounds, he had, within a period of three years, repaid the purchase price by the sale of 3,300 acres, and had enriched himself to the extent of 365 pounds while still retaining title to 2,500 acres." Childs thought it natural that our ancestor became a person of influence "upon whom responsible positions were quick to revolve."

One of the most important of these positions was that of captain of militia, for which he took the oath 23 June 1774 (Pittsylvania County Court Orders Book 2, page 402).

Frederick Reeves and Jessee Heard gentlemen producing commission from his excellency the govenor appointing the Captains of the Militia of this County took the issued oaths to his Majestys Person and Government and repeated and subscribed the Test.
In 1777 he was one of the gentlemen justices designated to record the names of "the Inhabitants of Henry County of those that hath taken the oath of allegiance." On April 10 of the next year, he was appointed with four others to choose a location for the new Henry County court house.

Frederick and Jesse Heard were called up to exercise their position of Justices of the Peace on 17 February 1778 (Henry County, Virginia, Book 1, page 130).

In 1779 (the year he built his home on Pigg River) he was recommended along with his better known neighbor, Patrick Henry, and four other men as a proper person to serve Henry County in the Commission of the Peace.

His civic service continued in the newly-formed Franklin County. Although the demands on his time would seem less than those of former times his name continued to appear frequently in early court records as he appraised or administered estates, laid out routes for new roads, or performed jury duty. Again he was recommended as a "Proper Person" to serve in the county Commission of the Peace. In 1788 he was appointed valuer of property and Judge of Security.

Frederick and Alexander were witnesses for the sale of a Negro girl named Edy from Thomas Bottom to Patty Rives on 28 March 1780 (Henry County, Virginia, Book 2, page 67).

On 25 September 1783, Frederick sold 250 acres on the south side of Pigg River to Thomas Potter (Henry County, Virginia, Book 2, p 382-384).

Frederick purchases 400 acres on both sides of Pigg River beginning at the mouth of Jacks Creek from Lewis Jenkins on 19 November 1785 (Henry County, Virginia, Book 3, p 172).

In the meantime, he had by successive sales of land to his sons formed in effect a family enclave on both sides of Pigg River, including the low-water crossing on present-day county route 673. On 4 June 1786 he sold his oldest son, Burwell, for the sum of sixty pounds, 400 acres on the north side of the river, west of Glade Creek (Franklin County, Virginia, Book 1, pages 41-42). Two months later son Alexander bought three hundred acres, more or less, lying on "Island Creek." The purchase price was seventy pounds (Franklin County, Virginia, Book 1, pages 92-93).

Frederick sold three acres to Harmon Cook for 3 pounds on 2 April 1787. Burwell was one of the witnesses (Franklin County, Virginia, Book 1, pages 193-194). Then on 4 August 1787, Thomas and Susanah Potter and Frederick and Mary Rives sold 250 acres near the mouth of Mountain Creek on Pigg River for 200 pounds (Franklin County, Virginia, Book 1, pages 284-249).

Frederick was one of three individuals to put up a bond for Thomas Douglass to preach the Gospel and solemnize matrimony on 3 September 1797 (Franklin County, Virginia, Book 1, pages 264).

On 14 September 1790, Fredrick Reeves appears on the tax list of Franklin County with 1 white male over 16, 6 blacks over 16, 1 over 12, and 6 horses.

On 31 October 1793, Frederick and his son Alexander sold 300 acres to Reubin Brown, and Mary Magdaline relinquished her right of dower (Franklin County, Virginia, Book 3, pages 94). The deed states that this is the land on which Reubin resided. Frederick sold Alexander 400 acres on the south side of Pigg River on 1 November 1793 (Franklin County, Virginia, Book 3, pages 65). This land is listed as being the land on which Frederick was then residing.

In 1797, Alexander apparently deeded the rest of the land back to his father (Franklin County, Virginia, Book 3, pages 502).

Son George acquired some of the family property in 1800, buying 600 acres on both sides of Glade Creek (Franklin County, Virginia, Book 4, pages 55). The land descriptions of these deeds (see appendix) were no doubt unmistakable at the time of writing, especially if it was still the custom to renew the landmarks by "processioning." But nearly two centuries later the corner oaks and wagon roads and the "old order line" are something of a mystery. However, it seems fitting to give the text of one conveyance, which delineates the thousand acre tract left to Frederick Rives after sales to sons and others. This document furnishes reference points for most of the other deeds made by him. It describes the heart of his holdings, where his plantation home stood where he spent his last days, and where his funeral was preached and his household goods sold at auction after his death in 1815.

Frederick granted a power of attorney to his son George to transact business in Georgia on 1 February 1803 (Franklin County, Virginia, Book 4, pages 421).

By a deed of gift dated 19 April 1810 and recorded in Franklin County Deed Book 7, pages 73-74, Frederick Rives bestowed on his son Joseph (apparently the only one of his four sons still living in Virginia) a "certain Tract or parcel of Land whereon the said Fredrick Rives now lives on Pig River..." The gift was made "for the natural Love and affection which I bear to my soon Joseph Rives as well for the further consideration of one Dollar to me in hand paid..." The land description has been phrased for easier following:

Beginning at the mouth of Glade Creek on the north side of Pig River

thence up the said Creek to the mouth of the first branch on the north side of said creek

thence up said branch to the head,

thence along Burwell Rives line to John S. Burwell's corner white oak

thence north with John Burwell's to the order line,

thence East with said order line to a corner White Oak,

thence with said order line to Jack's Creek,

thence down the creek with its meanders to the River,

thence up the River to the mouth of the first Branch on the South side of the River above [Piney Cliff]

thence up said branch to the head,

thence south to the old limestone road,

thence up said road to a corner Post oak on the south side of the road at the head of a hollow

thence a straight line at the head of a branch that runs in on the South side of the River opposite Burwell Rives plantation, thence down the said branch to the River,

thence down the same to the Beginning...

Some of the geographical features mentioned are clearly shown on the U.S. Geological Survey map, Penhook Quadrangle. Glade Creek, Jack's Creek, and of course Pigg River appear. The name of neither Island Creek nor Mountain Creek was found, though some unnamed waterways are shown. One called Tanyard Branch shows prominently in the area--this unlovely designation may have supplanted "Mountain" or "Island" during Joseph's operation of a tanyard on his property. No creek is shown running into the river opposite where Burwell Rives's plantation would have been.

Also, local ideas differ as to the identity of the "limestone road"--so-called because it was the route from the Washington Iron Works near Rocky Mount to the quarry that furnished limestone for it. The quarry was of considerable importance during the life of the foundry. It lay on Rives land--Joseph refers to it in his will, desiring that it not be sold unless all his heirs agree to such sale. Some say that Doe Run road (somewhat southwest of this area) is the limestone road, but a lifelong neighborhood resident identifies it as a spur running northeast from county road 673 on the south side of Pigg River. Possibly both were part of the road to the quarry. The second designation accords with the many deeds defining the Rives properties. As if in corroboration, on the south side of this roadway (yes, at the head of a hollow) stands an oak tree of enormous size and evident age. It bears imbedded within its bark countless strands of wire, as though it had stood as a boundary marker from earliest times. Like the old Rives homestead, it seems in itself a veritable presence, a tangible link with the past.

On the north side of the river, one finds that the brick home now designated the "Holland Home Place" (1/2 mile south of Highway 40 on County Route 673) was built in 1798 by John S. Burwell, whose line formed part of the Rives boundaries. Probably the riddle of the old order line could be solved by a visit to the Bedford County court house, where the earliest surveys were filed, before the creation of the later counties. Hours of investigation might enable one to identify more of the many roads and rocks and owners' lines (if not the trees) mentioned in the deeds. Using the plat book, one might trace bit by bit the ownership of the countless smaller parcels into which the once-vast holdings of Frederick Rives have been splintered.

1810 has been mentioned as the date of the deed of gift by Frederick Rives to his son Joseph. The U.S. census of Virginia (page 298) enumerated that year lists three males in the father's home--one 16-26, one 26-45, one over 45. There was a female under age ten; another was between 16 and 26. Nine slaves completed the roll. Apparently two of his daughters were living in the neighborhood: the households of John Brown and Charles Lumsdell were enumerated nearby. At the courthouse, we have learned these names, and those of other sons-in-law, from consents granted by Frederick Rives to the marriages of his daughters: 1792, Sarah to John Brown; 1795, Phebe to Murphy Still; 1799, Lucy to James Cowden (our ancestors); 1802, Elizabeth to James William Quarles; 1808, Mary to James Bottom. The James Bottom home, a log house moved from its original location near Sydnorsville, is an attraction of the living history farm established by the Blue Ridge Institute adjacent to Ferrum College. The college is located a few miles west of Rocky Mount, seat of Franklin County. The dwelling contains household utensils and furniture from the early 1800's. Because of Mary's early death it may be that she did not live in the house; on the other hand, it is quite possible that the big fireplace and winding stairway were familiar scenes to members of the Rives family.

According to the writings of Lillie Wright, great-granddaughter of James and Lucy Cowden, the Cowdens moved from Virginia to Kentucky before 1810. So, too, did Lucy's brother Burwell; he appears in the 1810 census as a resident of Warren County, Kentucky. Also there is his son-in-law, Thomas Prunty--spelled Brunty, as Aunt Lillie spelled it. (The bond and consent for the Prunty marriage are on file in Franklin County Virginia.) Thomas and Sally (Rives) Prunty's daughter, Mary G., grew up to marry her cousin Rives Carter Cowden, first child of James and Lucy. (We thus trace our lineage to Frederick Rives through both his son Burwell and his daughter Lucy.) The James Cowdens have not been found in the 1810 census but in a deed of 1814 their place of residence was given as Warren County Kentucky. By 1816 they had moved to Allen County. Elizabeth and her husband, James Quarles, are said to have emigrated to Tennessee in 1804; the same deed of 1814 calls them residents of Wilson County of that state.

1810 census records of the households of James Bottom and Murphy Still are yet to be found. Possibly the female 16-26 and the male 26-45 in Frederick's household were a daughter and a son-in-law, and the little girl a grandchild? Since the Bottom house has been dated 1804, it seems strange that their household does not appear. If Mary's health was as fragile as her early death suggests, perhaps the Bottoms moved back to the paternal home so she could be cared for. As it happens, the only child they seem to have had was a girl.

No trace of Frederick's son Alexander has been found; careful study of Franklin County deeds might yield clues to whether he died or moved away, James Rives Childs apparently was unable to discover anything about his life and death. One vague reference indicates his participation in at least one action during the Revolutionary War. Alex Rives received an award in the December 1786 session of Franklin County court for damages done to a horse Alexander Reeves appears in the Franklin County tax list in 1790 but not in 1800. (His household included one white person over 16, one black person over 12, and one horse.) Even if he had moved from Virginia, it seems that he or some of his heirs would have been mentioned in the settlement of his father's estate in 1815. Perhaps he never married.

Childs assigns to George Rives a death date of 1806. His wife's name is not known. (When he was surety to the bridegroom at the marriage of his sister Elizabeth, Anne E. Rives was a witness. She has not yet been identified otherwise and may have been his wife.) Childs ascribes two sons to George. One, whom he does not name, was born in 1788 and apparently moved to Kentucky. The other, John Cook Rives, was born in 1795 and died in 1864. According to the Dictionary of American Biography, this future founder of the Congressional Globe (forerunner of the Congressional Record) was born in Franklin County, Va., "probably" the son of George Rives. At age eleven he went to Kentucky to live with an uncle, Samuel Casey. That would be 1806, the year Childs says George died, and almost exactly the time Aunt Lillie says James and Lucy moved to Kentucky. It fits very well that on October 12, 1804, George Rives granted power of attorney to his brother Burwell, authorizing him "to sell certain tract of the county of Franklin, on the waters of Glade Creek...and to make a good and lawful title. I bind myself to anything he does in that business."

Nowhere have we found reference to the death of Mary Magdalene, or any note of her presence later than 1793, when her husband and son sold the land to Reuben Brown. At that time, the clerk noted that "Mary Magdalene the wife of said Frederick Rives relinquished her right of dower."

All in all the world of Frederick Rives was greatly changed by the year 1810 when he deeded the home place to Joseph. He did "reserve to his own proper use and Interest the sole possession and profit of said Land...during his natural life...." The deed was duly witnessed at time of signing by Benjamin Cook, Joel Shrewsbury, and P. Dickinson, but it was not recorded until after the grantor's death.

The following year brought Frederick Rives the grievous loss of his son Burwell and daughter-in-law, Mary (Gillum) Rives. A history of McLean County, Illinois (where some of their children later lived) states that the couple died within a week of each other October, 1811, in Union County, Kentucky, Typhoid? Plague? Burwell made his will 23 September of that year. It does not mention Mary; either she had already died or he was sure she would not survive. Joseph Rives was administrator of his brother's estate. (There is evidence that Joseph was at one time a Kentucky resident: when Union County was established 25 January 1811, both Burwell and Joseph were sureties in connection with the appointment of Sheriff John Waggener, and Joseph was named a deputy sheriff.)

On 13 April 1812, Frederick Rives divested himself further of his worldly goods by conveying to his six daughters a tract of 500 acres lying on the south side of Pigg River. The boundary began "at the mouth of a Branch opposite the Plantation of Burwell Rives and with the line of Joseph Rives' Land and up the said Branch with Jos. Rives' line to the head cornering on a White Oak" and so on, mentioning the second hollow below the wagon Road crossing place on Pig River (probably where county road 646 now crosses). For each daughter the terms were the same as those for Joseph--natural love and affection "also for the further sum of one Dollar..." Again, the father reserved the land and premises for his own use during his natural life. ( Deed Book 7, pages 95-96)

The greatest genealogical value of this document lies in the positive identification of his daughters: "Patsey Lumsdon, Phebe Still, Sally Brown, Elizabeth Quarles, Lucy Cowden, and Mary Bottom formerly Patsey Rives, Phebe Rives," etc. He intended no error or confusion.

On 5 March 1814, less than a year before his death, Frederick Rives made gifts of slaves to four of his daughters. He stipulated the usual consideration of natural love and affection and mentioned also "the Better maintenance and preferment of [each daughter] during her natural life and for the benefit of her Lawful Children after her death." To Mary Bottom, of Franklin County, he gave a Negro boy by the name of Nelson and a Negro girl, Catherine, with her two children, John and Peter. The deed was witnessed by Joseph Rives, Robert Prunty, and Samuel Young. ( Deed Book 7, pages 74-75)

To Lucy Cowden, wife of James Cowden of Warren County, Kentucky, he gave a Negro boy named Cyrus, a Negro Girl, Charlotte, also Charlotte's child, Jack. ( Deed Book 7, pages 75-76) He gave daughter Sally Brown, wife of John Brown of Franklin County, Negroes named John and Cloe. ( Deed Book 7, pages 76) To daughter Elizabeth, wife of James Quarles of Wilson County, Tennessee, he deeded two Negro girls named Jane and Rebeckah. ( Deed Book 7, pages 77) Phebe Still received a Negro boy named Nelson and a woman named Hannah. ( Deed Book 7, pages 114-115) The four deeds were witnessed by the same men named above with James Bottom adding his "X".

Additionally, Frederick gifted a Negro boy named Lewis to his son Joseph Rives on 5 September 1814. ( Deed Book 7, pages 144-145)

Revealing as these documents are, it is the probate papers-accounts of inventory, sale, and settlement--that provide the strongest impression of the atmosphere of the Rives plantation. Death came to the owner in January, 1815. We learn from the records of the executor (son Joseph) that Dr. R. M. Talliaferro attended him during his illness, that Wm. Calhoun provided the "srowd, etc." and that the family paid Joseph Pedigo five dollars for "preaching funeral."

Public sales held on January 21, February 17, and additional days disposed of household furnishings, plantation goods, and stock. Fourteen slaves formed by far the most valuable portion of the estate, bringing a total of $3,627.54--nearly a thousand dollars more than their appraised value. Only old Phyllis, household member nearly a half-century, brought exactly her appraised value, forty dollars. It is reassuring to know that her purchase by Joseph Rives prevented her being parted from the family.

Articles sold suggest the traditional self-sufficiency of the Southern plantation. Corn, bacon, lard, and honey represented food staples; tobacco and cotton seem to have been the chief cash crops. Cider casks, wine sieve, and a fifty-gallon still--along with decanter, casebottle and tickler--indicate importance of potables in the household. (A tickler, according to the Century Dictionary, was "a small bottle containing about half a pint (of spirits), or just enough to 'tickle'.") One expense charged against the estate was $11.25 for whiskey furnished for the four days selling property.

There was spinning and weaving equipment to produce clothing and household linens. Flax and cotton, as well as wool from his nine sheep, would have supplied fibers for the loom and various wheels listed. Shoes might be made from hides like those in the inventory.

Several listings of "bedstead and furniture" reflect the considerable size of the household. One bedstead at $35.25 and a thirty-two-dollar feather bed were the most costly household items sold. The "large corner cupboard" at $25.51 was third in value.

The desk, sold for twenty dollars, conjures a picture of the plantation owner going over his accounts, using the money scales and weights, checking the contents of his "pockett book." Perhaps he sat here in the "arm cheer" when he wrote his consent to Lucy's marriage. (Usually he signed his name "Fredk" with the "k" superscribed, but on this occasion he wrote it in full.) He apparently kept his petty cash in the desk, for the final settlement listed an item, $2.93 3/4, "Amt of Cash found in Desk that was not Inventoryed."

Some articles, such as the spice mortar and pestle bought by a son-in-law, suggest tastes beyond those for side-meat and corn pone. In 1815, the "looking glass" purchased by another son-in-law might have been a luxury item. One must speculate as to the status of a "Yankee clock." The tableware seems quite modest. Along with numerous earthenware pieces were two sets of pewter plates, four pewter bowls, and some pewter tankards. Possibly there had been other and more costly articles which had been given previously to family members, perhaps at time of marriage.

Like many homes inventoried in colonial days, when this home was founded, the Rives household contained books. There were a dictionary and a gazetteer, also a prayer book reminding one of the family's Anglican ties. One could wish to know what "old books" were in the parcel that sold for thirty-seven and a half cents. Again, valued books may have been apportioned earlier to family members. Joseph's will, dated 7 July 1862, bequeathed to two of his sons his "whole library of books," some of which may have been volumes originally owned by his father. The possibility of earlier gifts to Frederick's children is strengthened by the fact that no items of household linen or wearing apparel appear in the record, nor do the sword and small arms that an officer would have had. (As to literacy, it may be noted that we find no cases in which a child of Frederick Rives was incapable of signing his own name. The Rives men's signatures are well-formed and self-confident. Frederick's wife signed her name to several documents, although, as we have seen, her father signed his name with an "X". Elizabeth Rives penned her name in elegant shaded script when she witnessed her father's consent to Lucy's marriage to James Cowden.)

On tours of field inspection or military duty, or on visits to neighbors or to the county seat, Captain Rives undoubtedly rode a bay mount--only bays were listed among his stock. In cattle his choice was less precise: red, black, pied and brindle cows are listed, some being further distinguished by white faces or white tails. The number of steers suggests considerable use of beef for food and/or sale.

Farm tools listed are predictably primitive--grubbing and hilling hoes, scythes and cradles, reaping hooks, several "slays." The "Wagon" (sold with its "geer" for the fairly large sum of $39.01) appears to have been the only wheeled vehicle, though a pair of old cart wheels was listed Numerous saws, adzes, "chizzles," cooper's tools (specified in the inventory but not in the sale record), sheep shears, and steel-yards indicate the miscellaneous nature of plantation work.

The (mis)spelling of certain words may show haste, individuality, or lack of learning on the part of the sale clerk. Perhaps it reflects as well the local pronunciation. "Cheer" for chair, "mole" for mold and "chearn" for churn conform to one's idea of Virginia speech of the time

The large number of persons attending--in midwinter--the sale of property of Frederick Rives, deceased, indicates to some degree the regard in which he was held. Some buyers seem to have come from a distance to purchase his valuable slaves, but dozens of neighborhood names appear. Many of these men bid on the household furnishings, farm equipment, and products. Others--some with the given name of Frederick or Burwell--seem to have come to buy some small object that had belonged to their departed friend and neighbor. The son and sons-in-law of Frederick Rives made a significant number of purchases.

In 1825 the old home passed into other hands, in the course of time becoming known as "the old Simonis place." At length it was left to the elements--and to an occasional pilgrim descendant of its builder.


This sketch, originally intended to demonstrate the possibilities of "the courthouse time machine" in recreating past times, owes much to the agencies that have preserved this treasure of information and have permitted researchers to use it. For their courtesy we express sincere appreciation. However, we have by no means exhausted the potential of the public records of Franklin County and its neighbors.

In the Henry County clerk's office in Martinsville are ample materials for a full-scale article on the involvement of Frederick Rives and his neighbors in the Revolutionary War effort. Some of these have been reprinted in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography and are available in many libraries. Of special interest are records of claims made by local citizens asking payment for goods furnished to the army.

From Reddy, p. 7: "Under the 'Commissioners of Provisions Law' commissioners were appointed in each district to collect supplies for the revolutionary army...Each county clerk recorded the names of those to whom warrants were issued...A Warrant is an order, or promissary [sic] note, for the money value of supplies given, or services rendered, as recorded in the Public Claims...without the services and supplies represented by these Public Claims victory for the Continentals would have been impossible."

Fodder to Lt. Col. Lee's Legion, beef for Capt. Eliphaz Shelton's company "on their march against the Tories," bacon for the Henry Militia "on the march to Genl. Green," corn for Capt. Disart's company "on their return from General Green,"--such items show the closeness of the action to Henry County citizens. Dozens of other officers are named, and numerous specific military actions are cited. A further dimension is added by mention of corn for the hospital at Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina, supplies for the hospital at Henry County Courthouse, bacon for the general hospital at Col. Perkins's in Pittsylvania.

One man submitted a bill for six pounds for "12 days of wagon & team on the march to York in September 1781." Josiah Carter (he may prove to be our kin) asked 42 shillings in payment for a saddle for use at the hospital at Henry County courthouse. Someone else submitted a bill for putting on ten pairs of horseshoes.

Payment was asked for a gun "impressed from him for the use of the militia when ordered to join the Marquis de Lafayette." A special poignancy inheres to a claim regarding a "Rifle Gun impressed by Capt Henderson for use against the Tories, and lost." Still another gun was "furnished Capt. Jonathan Hanby for his co. ordered to Ninety Six in 1781 & lost at 96." Pity the poor soldiers who were using them, and the reason they were lost!

Frederick Rives and his neighbors are much in evidence. As above stated, he was commissioned a captain of militia in 1774. He served in that capacity until his resignation in 1781--a year in which his youngest son was born, and his older sons were old enough to enlist. Command of Frederick's old company fell to Tully Choice. Two years later, Burwell Rives was listed as an ensign of that company; it seems likely that he had entered service when his father resigned. Also mentioned was the fact that Frederick Rives assisted in recording the names of those who had taken the oath of allegiance. It seems an indication of a characteristic practicality that his list is the only one noted that gives ages as well as names--information pertinent to military effectiveness.

The wording of the oath of allegiance brings a new appreciation of the enormity of the step the colonists were taking: "I do Swear or Affirm that I do renounce & refuse all allegiance to George the Third, King of Great Britain, his Heirs & Successors, & that I will be Faithfull and bear true allegiance to the Common Wealth of Virginia, as a Free and Independent State, & that I will not at any time, do, or Cause to be done, any matter or thing that will be prejudicial or Injurious to the Freedom & Independence thereof, as declared by Congress and also that I will discover & make known to some one Justice of the Peace of said State, all Treasons or Traiterous (sic) Conspiracies which I know or shall hereafter know to be Formed against this or any of the United States of America So help me God." In the words of the Declaration of Independence their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor were pledged to the cause.

Some of the claims made by ancestor Frederick Rives for supplies that he had furnished were as follows:

Nine pounds 15 and 6 for 975 lbs. beef to Jesse Heard, company provisioner. (He was the brother of Ann Heard who married Peter Gilliam; their daughter married Burwell Rives.)

Also one pound 8 and 3 for 10 Diets, 5 pecks Corn, 1/2 bushel Oats, 37 bundles corn blades & 150 rough feeds for public cattle.

Two pounds 13 and 3 for 71 lbs. Bacon furnished Capt James Cowden for the use of the Henry militia. (The captain was uncle of the James Cowden who married Lucy Rives.)

Other family connections making claims were William Cowden (father of our James), Peter Gilliam, and George and Stephen Heard. Many other neighborhood names appear, names that also appear on the list of buyers at the sale of the estate of Frederick Rives--Swanson, Standifer, Estes, Dillion, Potter, Law. Further reading would add much to the picture.


Page 1. The home identified by Childs as the Frederick Rives place stands on land now owned by James S. Holland and is known locally as "the old Simonis place." On page 89 of Bicentennial Reflections, published by the Franklin County Bicentennial Commission, there is mention of Capt. Rives, with instructions for reaching his former home by driving south from Route 40, 2 1/2 miles on Route 673. The author of the article told me by telephone that it is on land owned by Mrs. James Cundiff. The house Mrs. Cundiff owns is a ruin known as "the old Rives place," which does stand on land which Frederick Rives deeded to son Joseph. I suspect that it was the latter who built this house.

A full two stories, with extensive paneling and such refinements as a music room, it was much more grand than the house pictured in Reliques of the Ryves, and which we visited in full confidence that it was the home of Frederick Rives. It is an unprepossessing home made in two sections, each constructed story-and-a-half, and each containing two rooms on the ground floor and two upstairs. These units stand eighteen or twenty feet apart, gable ends to north and south, with the south end of each section containing a fireplace chimney. The east section has a fireplace at the north end as well. The west door of the this portion faces the east door of the other; a roof protects the intervening space. The doorsills are several feet above the ground, and one's imagination readily envisions a connecting veranda pleasantly situated to catch the breeze while affording shade against the sun.

Mr. Childs says that the house was built in 1779 but it appears to have been built in two phases: the chimney of the west section is of rough cut stone, whereas both the south and north chimneys of the east part of the house are of well-finished bricks This part apparently contained the more formal living areas Its south room boasted large fireplace, extensive paneling, and a stairway curving up to the second story. Windows to east, south, and west light this chamber. A door to the east doubtless opened onto a porch or veranda overlooking the road. Here the host might stand to greet arriving guests.

Where exposed, the construction is of horizontal square-hewn timbers separated by layers of clay or packed earth about the same depth as the wooden members. Exterior walls were sheathed in clapboard, interior walls with paneling. Some tongue-and-groove paneling remains in the west section, but it may be of later origin. The roof, its underside exposed in the upper story, was constructed of hand-hewn one-by-twelves, set at a vertical slant. Through the intervening spaces the metal sheathing covering the outside may be seen.

Mr. Childs stated that Frederick Rives is buried nearby. His book, so frequently referred to herein, could have been bought a few years ago for fifty dollars. We resisted the urge to acquire it--it was available at both the Denver Public and Salt Lake City genealogical libraries. Now it has disappeared from the shelves of both. When a rare copy surfaces today the asking price is several times fifty dollars. The NEGHS library in Boston still had a copy in 1975.

Mr. Ford Cundiff told of the use of the field as Indian council ground. He indicated that potsherds and other artifacts were commonly found there when he was a boy.

As to the original immigrant ancestor, Mr. Childs later decided that it may have been Timothy after all:

Twenty-eight years ago I published Reliques of the Ryves Lynchburg, 1929, and since that time certain corrections and additions have been made available by correspondents or as the result of subsequent research. As in all probability the original work will never be reprinted and as it had a fairly wide distribution, the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography [Vol.65 (1957), page 355.] has offered me the hospitality of its pages to note the emendations which I would now make in my work if a new edition were ever issued.

When the book was written I offered the conjecture that William Rives was the emigrant ancestor. I have recently had occasion to question this assumption. The basis for the birth of William to Timothy Ryves and his wife of Oxford (pp. 74-75) was the slightest, and his presence in Surry County, Virginia, was made evident only as a tithable in 1684 and 1695. Mr. Laurence B. Gardiner, of Memphis, has recently put me on what I believe is a surer track. He has brought my attention to the discovery of a Charles City County Order Book for 1687-1695 where, on page 421, there is found: "Capt. Henry Batte ordered to assign and swear appraisers of Estate of Timothy Rieve" (the French pronunciation of the name apparently still persisting).

I suggest now the likelihood that this Timothy "Rieve" or Rives was the emigrant ancestor and that he was identical with 206, Timothy Ryves, born 1625, son of Timothy and Mary Ryves of (Oxford (p.51), and that he was the father of George, Robert, John, and Timothy Rives, of Virginia. The William Rives living in Surry in 1684 and 1695 may well have been another son of this this Timothy. At any rate I advance the hypothesis as one for future investigators to bear carefully in mind.

The earliest records of Rives in Virginia are found in The Original Lists of Persons of Quality

          Lists of the Livinge and Dead in Virginia Febr: 16th 1623.
                    NATHANIELL REEUE  [REEVE]
                    JOHN REEVES
                    JOHN REEVES

          [Regi]ster of the names of all ye Passinger wch Passed from ye Port of London for on whole yeare Endinge at Xpmas 1635.
                    THO: REEVE   24
                    JO: REEVES   19
                    WM REEVE   22

The variant spellings of Reaves, Reeves, and Rieves indicate that the name was pronounced with a long "e" sound. If it was French, as its spelling suggests, the final "s" probably would be omitted. An indication of usage in our branch of the family is shown by the fact that Grandpa Wright called his half-brother, George Rives Dowell, "Reeve."

Pages 2-3. Notes on Childs's English findings are from Part 1, Chapter V of Reliques and from the comprehensive chart he compiled. Part 11, "The Virginia Family of Rives," begins page 73. Speculations as to William's migration are page 76; death of Timothy of Oxford, page 75; information on George (son of William) begins page 77. Chapter VII of Part II starts page 345, beginning with Joseph, son of George and father of Frederick. Information from deed books and parish registers is given herein, with note of Joseph's death page 346.

The fact that Joseph and Sarah named a son (though not their eldest) Burwell, and that Frederick so named his first son, suggests some connection with the distinguished Virginia family of that name. We have yet to substantiate or disprove this theory. Mabel Thatcher Rosemary Washburn, a descendant of Frederick through his daughter Sally, suggests that Frederick's mother may have been a Sarah Burwell. It does seem more than coincidence that one Franklin County neighbor whose lands bordered those of Frederick Rives was John S. Burwell.

In a note page 86, Childs writes: "The processioning, or remarking of the boundaries of parishioners' lands was a part of the regular duties of the church vestries in the 18th century, owing to the frequent disputes which arose, as a result of careless surveying, of the boundaries of land. The processioning was ordered at intervals of two years by the county courts in Virginia and was performed under appointment of the respective vestries of the counties."

Page 4, Thomas Bottom to granddaughter, Amelia County Deed Book 7, page 560.

Childs noted page 86 that lists of tithables "furnished the basis for the imposition of the direct poll tax in Virginia and were inclusive of all white persons of the male sex over sixteen gears of age, all white women employed in tilling the ground, and all slaves, both male and female..."

Purchase, with George Stegall, of Pittsylvania land: Childs, page 349. idem.

Listed as tithable with negro Phyllis in several sources, including history of Pittsylvania County.

Elected captain of militia: Recorded Pittsylvania Judgment Book ii, page 402; confirmation Book iv, pages 293-294. Both references cited by Childs page 350. Idem: "On September 27, 1775, he renounced allegiance to Great Britain and took the oath of allegiance to the Commonwealth of Virginia."

Committee to choose courthouse site: Henry Co. Order Book (not paged), cited by Childs page 351.

Page 5: Wingfield summarizes the early Franklin County court order books in An Old Virginia Court. Frederick Rives mentioned pages 13,36,107.

Sale of land to Burwell (1786): Franklin Co. Deed Book 1, pages 41-2. Sale of land to Alexander: (1786) Book 1, page 92; (1793) Book 3, page 65. Frederlick Sale of land to George (1800): Book 4, page 55; >power of attorney to George (1803): Book 4, page 421.

Page 6: Mr. Cundiff is the "life-long resident." Date and builder of the John S. Burwell residence are from Bicentennial Reflections, page 89.

Some marriage records were obtained from the office of the county clerk of Franklin County. They are given also in Worrell's Over the Mountain Men.

Page 7: Alexander's Revolutionary War service: Virginia Soldiers of 1776 (Burgess), vol. 3, page 1277 (DPL G973.3455/A2 bu v.3). Partial pay roll, apparently from Col. Commandant Holt Richeson. "This is to certify that the within mentioned officers and soldiers are hereby discharged after having performed a Tower of Duty." Signed, In Camp at Malven Hills, 26 July, 1781. Part of a letter with the list: "Camp Malborne. Sir: I have enclosed to you a list--came from your country--" Name of addressee not given, but neighborhood names show it to be the Rives home neighborhood: Jesse Kerbey, Alex. Rives, Abennego Hodges, Hez. Clay.

Biographical sketch of John Cook Rives appears in volume 15, Dictionary of American Biography, (c1923) page 635.

Power of attorney, George to Burwell, is recorded in Franklin Co. Deed Book 5, page 169.

Activities of Burwell and Joseph Rives in Union County, Ky., are mentioned pages 71-2 of the history of that county and in Union County Past and Present, page 12. Will of Burwell Rives recorded Union Co., Kentucky, Will Book A, page 3.

Gifts of slaves recorded Franklin Co. Deed Book 7, pp.74-77; gift of land to daughters, ibid., pages 95-96. Deed of daughters' inheritance to John Brown, ibid., page 474.

Accounts of the estate settlement: Franklin County Will Book 3 pages 12-20. Will of Joseph Rives: Franklin Co, Will Book 15 p 29.

(Divided into categories by LMG)

Article Price Buyer

COTTON (prices ranging from 25 cents to 38 cents per pound)
60 lb.  $16.02 David Law
16 1/2 lb. 4.62 William Sherrum?
38 lb. 9.50 William Tanner
11 lb. 3.30 Charles Atkins

Hogshead, less carriage $59.50 Daniel Brown
Two hogsheads, less $12.21 carriage 159.76 1/2 John Raskee
Net profit crop put in with Potter 14.19
Net profit crop put in with Simonis 3.29

Five barrels @ $3.25 $ 16.25 Leroy Brizendine
Five barrels @ $3.50 16.50 William Amos
Three barrels @ $3.29 9.87 William Amos
200 [flitches?] @ 15 cents $ 30.00 Joel Muse
200 @ 16 cents  32.00 Archibald Clardy
222 "bal 16" 35.52 William Tanner
20 at 14 cents  $ 2.80 Frederick Iler
42 balance lard and firkin 5.46 Frederick Iler
2 gallons  $ 2.40 Andrew Patterson
1 beestand 3.76 Anthony Street
1 beestand 2.55 Richard Dale
1 beestand 2.62 Richard Dale
1 beestand 4.02 Leroy Brizendine
50-gallon still  $ 53.25 Hezekiah Gill
5 casks (inv. says for cider) 3.00 Andrew Patterson
2 casks " " " " " "  1.75 Joel Muse
4 raw hides  $ 6.00 William Bozewell
Two cotton wheels:  1.28 Isaiah White
1.08 James Bottom
Three flax wheels: 2.25 Josiah Hodges
1.00 Jesse Bailey, jr.
4.55 David Houseman
1 clock reel 1.07 Samuel Dillun
19 spools .75 Andrew Patterson
Cards 1 pr. cotton, 1 pr. wool .90 John Zeigler
1 loom 1.25 John Brown


1 bay horse (Jack)  $ 33.05 Henry Law, jr.
1 bay mare (Trim) 20.00 John Clay
1 bay horse (Bird) 37.75 John Coleman
1 bay mare (Filly) 45.27 Robert Prunty
1 bay colt 6.08 Joseph Smith
Pied cow red and white  $ 9.75 John Callaway
Red cow and yearling 10.50 William Clay
Black cow and yearling 11.01 Joel Hodges
Brindled cow and yearling 9.07 David Houseman
White-tailed cow 14.50 Meredith Dillun
Brindled white-tailed cow 12.01 Josiah Hodges
White-faced red cow 9.01 Benjamin Hancock
Bob-tailed cow 10.00 John Arthur
Old brindled cow 8.12 Robert Prunty
White-backed cow 14.53 Joel Hodges
White-faced bull  $ 5.75 James Bottom
Brindled heifer  $ 9.01 George Hughes
" " 13.06 Josiah Hodges
" " 9.31 Ezekiel Clay
" " 7.01 Josiah Hodges
" " 5.81 William Clay
" " 4.25 Josiah Hodges
Dark brindled heifer 8.38 Robert Prunty
Small white-faced steer  $ 2.50 William Dillun
Small brindled steer 5.10 John Arthur
Brindled steer with white tail 4.01 Samuel Dillun
Brindled steer 4.03 Samuel Dillun
Small steer 3.00 James Bailey
Steer 11.13 Joseph W. Townes
1 "boor" $ 2.01 William Brooks
2 sows and 10 pigs 13.00 John Callaway
2 sows and 7 pigs 11.75 William Clay
3 sows and 17 pigs 14.00 Joseph Rives
7 hogs, first choice 17.00 Joseph Rives
7 hogs, second choice 15.25 Joseph Rives
3 sheep, first choice  $ 7.30 David Graves
3 sheep, second choice 4.59 John Simonies
3 sheep, third choice 3.51 Ashford Hodges
1 Waggon and Geer  $ 39.01 Lewis Potter, jr.
1 pair cart wheels 6.50 Leroy Brizendine
1 slay .91 John W. Childress
1 slay .50 John Brown
1 slay .15 Charles Lumsden
Plow hoe, etc. .77 William Stegall
Plow hoe frow etc.  .80 Lankford Brizendine
Coulter axe etc. 1.18 George Hughes
Coulter hoe etc. .65 George Hughes
Grubbing hoe, hilling hoe, etc. .62 George Hughes
(Inv.: 7 hilling hoes, 3 grubbing hoes, $5.00)
Sythe and cradle 2.31 Leroy Brizendine
3.01 Leroy Brizendine
3.65 Leroy Brizendine
4.52 Hezekiah Gill
Four reaping hooks 1.50 Jesse Chandler
One Cotton Jin 1.25 Isaiah White
One flax hackle 1.66 2/3 John Brown
Axes: 1.33 John Brown
1.42 Joseph Rives
1.30 Anthony Street
1.01 John Childress
.75 Joel Muse
.42 John Brown
One hatchet .44 John Brown
" " .60 John Brown
One X-cut saw 3.75 Hezekiah Gill
One hand saw 2.25 Henry Law, jr.
One whip saw 5.00 Charles Lumsden
One claw hammer .36 Henry Law
One foot adze 1.00 John Childress
One cutting knife and box 2.00 Joseph H. Townes
One drawing knife .35 Frederick Oyler
One pair of steelyaards 1.25 David Houseman
One jointer, crows, trowel, and
taper bit 1.00 Joseph Rives
One grind stone 7.01 John Lacy
Two iron wedges 1.00 John Choice
One iron wedge .51 Joseph Smith
4 chizzles 1.25 Joel Muse
1 sand sive 2.30 Joel Muse
1 log chain 1.30 Gabriel Mattox
1 clevice chain &c. .52 Gabriel Mattox 
1 horse .75 John W. Childress 
1 lot of old tools 1.13 Josiah Hodges
" " " " " " 1.00 Lankford Brizendine
1 pair hames, coulter & Bell, etc. 2.06 1/4 George Hughes
1 bell and collar 1.61 Dr. Peerson
Harnesses .12 1/2 Charles Lumsden
1 tin watering pot 1.07 Josiah Hodges
1 pr. sheep sheers .30 John Brown
2 pr. sheep sheers 1.00 James Bailey
" " " " 1.00 Andrew Patterson
1 ea. stack blades $3.17, $2.75, $3.11 John S. Burwell
One top stack 2.60 John S. Burwell
1 ea. stack blades 3.90 Burwell Law
2.26 James Bailey
11 hogsheads  7.26 William F. Smith
1 shot gun 4.00 Richard Dale 
1 man's saddle 7.00 Jesse Chandler
1 saddle .36 John Clay


(No household linens, clothing, or hand arms such as pistol or saber appear in the sale records.)
Bed, bedstead and furniture  $ 25.25 Joseph Rives
Small bed, bedstead and furniture 11.00 Joseph Rives
Bed, bedstead and furniture 35.35 Ransom Sutherland
Bed, bedstead and furniture 25.00 John Zeigler
(Another bed, etc., appraised at $20 appeared in inv., not in sale.)
1 feather bed 32.00 Joseph H. Townes
Large corner cupboard 29.51 Robert Prunty jr.
Small "cubbeard" 6.00 James Bottom
1 pine chest .35 John Zeigler
1 pine chest .30 John Brown
1 pine chest .17 1/2 William Amos
1 desk 20.02 Henry Law jr.
1 "arm cheer" 2.51 Robert Prunty jr.
6 cheers 2.02 John Brown
6 cheers (painted) 2.00 Joseph Rives
3 cheers .90 Anthony Street
1 folding table 7.01 Isaiah White
1 X-legged table .54 William Sherrum
1 candlestand, two candlesticks .25 Charles Lumsden
1 looking glass 2.08 James Bottom
1 clock wooden (inv.: "Yankee clock") 8.00 William Brooks
Money scales and weights 1.00 Joseph Rives
1 pockett book .35 John Zeigler
1 razor, Gimblet &c. .37 John Potter
1 pr. table butts &c. .20 David Law
1 Bible  $ .81 Charles Lumsden
1 Dictionary 1.00 Charles Lumsden
1 Gazetteer 1.13 Frederick Isler
1 Prayer Book .78 Frederick Isler
Old books .37 1/2 John Potter
1 sett pewter plates  $ 3.01 William Sherrum
1 sett do. 2.61 John Coleman
1 putor dish 1.41 William Sherrum
1 Do. 2.02 William Sherrum
1 Do. 1.51 1/2 Frederick Iler
1 Caster 1.35 George W. Clement
Knives and forks .81 Edward Jones
6 pewter spoons  $ 1.07 William Sherrum
6 earthenware plates .36 Edward Jones
2 W E dishes .53 Anthony Street
1 E dish [earthenware] .26 Anthony Street
1 " " .54 Joseph Smith
1 " " 1.10 Burwell Law
1 " " 1.01 David Law
1 Sauce tureen .50 John Potter
Saucers cups and spoons .41 John Childress
1 Tea pott .31 Anthony Street
2 Tea potts .50 David Law
3 E basons .65 Anthony Street
1 puter tankard qt. .76 Ransom Sutherland
1 pewter pint .90 Ransom Sutherland
1 decanter .82 George W. Clements
1 tumbler .12 1/2 William Bozwell
1 tickler .26 John Potter
1 Iron pot and hooks 1.15 Joseph Rives
1 Small oven and hooks .81 Burwell Law
1 oven and lid 1.04 James Bottom
1 oven and lid 2.00 James Bottom
1 oven (broke) .17 Archibald Clardy
1 large pot 2.00 James Bottom
1 Pott 2.50 William Sherrum
1 Skillet .37 Charles Lumsden
1 Skillet .40 Lankford Brizendine
1 Frying pan .69 " "
1 pr. tongs and shovel 1.55 Joel Muse
1 brass kettle 4.52 Edward Jones
1 iron bowl .40 Charles Lumsden
1 " " .39 John Clay
2 Coffee pots strainer & funnel .30 John Ziegler
1 Crock .26 Lankford Brizendine
1 "chearn" .16 Joseph Rives
1 Stone butter pot 1.00 Lankford Brizendine
1 " " " 1.28 William Sherrum
1 " " " 1.10 John Brown
1 Crock .26 Richard Dale
Bowl .12 1/2 John Potter
1 E bowl and 2 pepper boxes .12 1/2 John W. Childress
1 E bowl .13 Anthony Street
1 wire sifter .15 Joseph Rives
1 spice mortar and pessell 1.25 John Brown
1 jug 1.53 William Sherrum
1 jug 1.64 Andrew Patterson
1 brass cocks 1.00 " "
1 case bottles (?) .51 Samuel Young
1 water can .25 John Brown
1 Bason 1.81 Charles Lumsden
1 Do 1.80 Charles Atkins
1 Do 1.61 William Sherrum
1 Do 1.26 Joseph Rives
1 Do 1.80 Charles Atkins
1 Do (s.mall) 1.25 Charles Atkins
1 washing tub .07 Burwell Law
1 Pale .12 1/2 John Clay
1 pr Bus and can (?) .73 Benjamin Hancock
1 smoothing iron 1.03 William Sherrum
1 pr. sheers .42 James Smith
1 old case .73 William Sherrum
Candle moles .76 James Bottom
1 knife box .75 James Bottom
1 lantern .32 Charles Lumsden
1 pr. sheers .42 John Brown

SLAVES Appraised Sale Buyer
value Price

1. James (Jim), man $333.33 1/3 $506.00 William Swanson jr

2. Dick, man 100.00 141.00 Isaiah White

3. Murphey, man 366.66 2/3 434.00 John Smith jr

4. Isaac, man 450.00 700.02 Frances Lacy

5. Obey (Obadiah) boy 250.00 405.00 Samuel A. Muse

6. Abraham, boy 150.00 210.00 Joseph Rives

7. Solomon, boy 170.00 256.00 Robert Prunty jr

8. Phyllis, woman 40.00 40.00 Joseph Rives

9. Cresse/Creece,wo. 150.00 211.00 William McCaul

10. Dorcas, woman 200.00 281.00 John Smith

11. Lyda, girl 300.00 442.00 William Swanson jr

12. Lucinda, girl 130.00 151.00 William McCaul

Clerk of the sale on January 21 was John G. Newbill; Hezekiah Gill served on February 27. The subsequent accounts current filed by Doctor Joseph Rives, administrator, give an idea of the intricacy of his father's farming arrangements:

1815 Jany 21 To amount sales property this day &

per Inventory 428.48 1/4

Feby 27 " amt sales as per Inventory 4529.82 1/2

" amt. sale Hogshead of Tobo to

Daniel Brown after deducting $6:50

for Carriage 8 Tobo note 59.50

Apl 10 To amt. Sale 2 Hhds Tobo to John

Kaskee say 2293 at $750 per hundred

after deducting $12.21 for carriage 159.76 1/2

To amt net profits Tobo put in

with Potter 14.19

" amt. net profits Tobo put in

with Simonies (?) 3.29

" Amt negro James's higher to

Robert N. Dickman (?) 5.00

To Amt. negro Dicks hire to John Brown 2.33

" Amt. of Cash found in desk that was not

Inventoryed 2.93 3/4

" Amt. Judgment obtained against

William Hall 2.00

" Amt of an acct. collected of

Richard Dale 3.83

$ 5219.15

Apl 10 Amt due from Robert Prunty to

F. Lives and paid to me by

said Prunty 1.56

To Amt of acct against William Clay

paid to me 1.00

Cr by amt credits Brot over 3620.83 1/2

Cr by J Rives's interest in Estate equal

with the other legatees 500.00


Jany 21st By Cash John G. Newbill as Clerk of Sale 2.00

By 1 quire paper furnished to take bonds, etc. 0.25

By Cash paid Dr R M Taleaferro as per

acct No 1st 37.50

By amt. paid Wm Calhoun for Srowd etc as

acct No 2 20.37 1/2

By amt. paid Crier of property say 4 days

per act. No. 3 8.00

By amt paid Clerk sale say 3 Days 6.00

By amt paid Shff for 1815 Tax as per receipt No. 5 8.41 1/2

By amt paid B Law ballance blacksmith work

as per acct No. 6 2.25

By Cash paid Clerk Franklin for letters of administra-

tion & Recording Inventory as per acct. No. 7 5.07

By Cash paid P. R. Gilmer two Lawyers fees in suit

Bottom agt. Rivess adm as per 2 act 8 & 9 10.00

By Cash paid George Tucker same case No. 10 and 11 10.00

By Whiskey furnished for the 4 days selling property 11.25

By Cash paid Joseph Pedigo for preaching funeral 5.00

By Cash paid John Brown one of the Heirs as per his
receipt No 12 500.00
By Cash paid James Quarles as per receipt No. 13 500.00
By Cash paid James Cowden per receipt No. 14 500.00
By Cash paid Ditto as per receipt No. 15 60.00
By Cash paid in favour Charles Lumsden
order No. 15 (?) 500.00
By Cash paid James Bottom as per receipt No 17 285.00
By Cash paid Ditto as per receipt No 18 120.00
By Cash paid Murphey D. Still as per receipt No 19 500.00
By Cash paid Thomas Prunty as per receipt 20 56.00
By Cash paid Matilda Rives per receipt No 21 64.00
By Cash paid Aron Waller per receipt No 22 64.00
By amt the admr acct here filed No 23 91.62 1/2
By Commission on the amt Estate of $5211.72
at 5 Per Cent 260.58


In Obediance to an order from the worshipful Court of the County of Franklin to us directed and first being sworn, we the undersigned have this day proceed to Settle the account current with Joseph Rives admr of Frederick Rives Decd agreeable to said order of Court which said settlement is hereunto am _____________(?) Given under our hands this 10' day of March 1825 This account current of the Estate of Frederick Rives Decd. with Joseph Rives the administrator was returned and ordered to be recorded.

Teste, Caleb Tate, C.F.C. (17)

Identification of heirs mentioned in record (by L.M.W.G.)

BOTTOM, James son-in-law of Frederick Rives; married daughter Mary.
BROWN, John son-in-law; married daughter Sarah (Sally).
COWDEN, James son-in-law; married daughter Lucy.
LUMSDEN, Charles son-in-law; married daughter Patsey.
PRUNTY, Thomas (son of Robert sr.) grandson-in-law; married Sarah/Sally, daughter of Frederick's son Burwell (decd.)
QUARLES, James son-in-law; married daughter Elizabeth.
RIVES, Joseph youngest son; married Mary Frances Prunty, daughter of Robert sr.
RIVES, Matilda grand-daughter; daughter of Burwell Rives, dec.
STILL, Murphy son-in-law; married Phoebe.
WALLER, Aaron grandson-in-law; married Elizabeth, daughter of Burwell Rives, decd.


Deed of Gift - Frederick Rives to daughters Franklin County, Va.

13 April 1812 Deed Book 7, pages 95-ff.

...for and in consideration of the natural love and affection which I bear to my beloved Daughters...also for the further sum of one Dollar to me in hand paid...500 acres...Beginning at Pig River at the mouth of a branch opposite the Plantation of Burwell Rives and with the line of Joseph Rives' Land and up the said Branch with Jos. Rives' line to the head cornering on a White Oak thence with Joseph Rives' line to the limestone Road cornering on a Post Oak the South Side of the Road, thence down the limestone Road to Lewis Hancock's line, thence South to Brown's line to the dividing order line, to a corner Post Oak, with brown's line South along the dividing order line to a corner white oak, thence down the branch as it meanders to a corner maple, thence a Northard course to the second hollow below the waggon Road crossing Place on Pig River to Robert Prunty's and down the said hollow to the river and down Pig River to the Beginning...

1719 deposition of George Rives

Prince George Co., Virginia Deeds, 1713-28, page 350

George Rives, age 59 years or thereabouts Deposeth that some time in the month of April Last while he was trading in the Province of South Carolina, he did both see and oftentimes did converse with a runaway Malatta [sic] man slave named Jack, belonging to Samuel Harwood, the younger, of Charles City County, that the said Slave came into that Province in the company of Mr. Robert Hix, and other traders, as the s'd Traders informed this Deponant that the said Malatta man slave there goes by the name of John Bunch, and would have returned home to his said master, but was forcibly detained in the Province by one Capt. How and other traders there. This Deponent further saith that he very well knows that said runaway Slave to belong to the said Harwood and for some years past did Live upon the Plantation on the Poplar Swamp under him, and further saith not. This 8th day of Sept. 1719.


At a Court held at Merchants Hope for the County of Prince George on the Second Tuesday in September, being the Eighth day of the s'd month Anno Dom. 1719. The above written Deposition of George Rives was taken in Court and on the motion of Samuel Harwood Jun'r. the same was ordered to be recorded, and accordingly is truly recorded.

Test Wm. Hamlin ClCur