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The Myth of Fortune Rhodes


Malachi Reeves, son of James Reeves of Guilford NC, married Fortune Burton in Guilford County, NC. After his death in 1784, Fortune Reeves, his widow, married John Rhodes (the owner of neighboring property in Guilford County) on August 20, 1788.

In John Rhodes' will probated in Guilford County in November of 1792, he named his "son-in-law" William Reeves as an executor. John Rhodes' will only named one daughter, Sarah, who later married Joseph Whitley in Rockingham County NC so there was no daughter named Fortune to have married this William Reeves. The only Fortune Rhodes mentioned in this will is his "beloved wife Fortune Rhodes" who John Rhodes specifies should inherit "the effects that did belong to the estate of her former husband Malachi Reeves".

This is apparently where the compilers of the Reeves Review became confused and decided that the Fortune named in this will was also the wife of William Reeves named as executor. The only William Reeves who could have been the son-in-law of John Rhodes was William the son of James. Although William's wife Hannah is not named in this will she is very likely another daughter of John Rhodes. It was not uncommon for legacies to be given to a daughter at her marriage, then receive nothing in the will. Sarah, the one daughter John Rhodes named was unmarried when his will was written.

A minimal amount of personal research of the records of Guilford County will prove that there is no record of any such person as Fortune Rhodes married to a William Reeves.

See A Reeves Fiction - Fortune Rhodes

Guilford County court records below name Fortune Reeves along with other heirs of James Reeves as well as John Rhodes.

North Carolina §
Guilford County §

At a County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions begun and held for the County aforesaid the third Monday in November, 15, AD 1784.

The administration of the Estate of Malachiah Reeves, Deceased, is granted to Fortune Reeves the widow and Relut(?) of the Deceased and her son Jesse Reeves who entered into Bond in the sum of one thousand pounds for the faithful discharge of their duty with William Howlet and William Reeves their Bail and qualified accordingly.
1782 - July 22, Malachia Reeves of Guilford County to John Rhodes Junr. of same 112 & 13/16 acres for 50 pounds in Guilford County on the north side of the Haw River (part of a tract surveyed for said Malachi Reeves)...William Reeves corner...John Rodes Junrs line...Malachia Reeves line...Signed Malachia Reeves Witness: Arthur Parr, Henry Work. May Court 1783. Test Tho Henderson CC (Guilford County, NC Bk 2 Pg 279)

1784 - December 2, Arthur Parr of Rowan County to Fortune Reeves of Guilford County 320 acres for 300 pounds in Guilford County on both sides of Mares fork on the Haw River it being half a tract containing 640 acres granted to Arthur Parr by deed from Earl Granville and resurveyed December 28, 1782...Jacob Brazells line...Campbells line...Jeremiah Reeves line...Richard Burtons line...Hugh Robinsons line...Thomas Lindsays line. Signed: Arthur Parr. Witness: John Campbell, William (mark) Howlet. May Term 1785. Test Tho Henderson CC (Guilford County, NC Bk 3 Pg 212)

1785 - March 23, Fortune Reeves Admtrx & Jesse Reeves Admr of Malachi Reeves Decd of Guilford County to James Hunt of Granville County 200 acres for 130 pounds in Guilford County on north side of Haw River...Peter Perkins corner...John Borrows line...John Rhodes corner. Signed: Fortune (mark) Reeves, Jess Reeves. Witness: John Campbell, Archibald Campbell. Proved by Archibald Campbell. May Term 1785 Test Tho Henderson CC (Guilford County, NC Bk 3 Pg 209)

1785 - October 1, William Reeves of Guilford County to Thomas Moore of same 320 acres for 100 pounds in Guilford County (part of a survey dated January 31, 1781 the said William Reeves now possesseth) on the north side of the Haw River...William Reeves corner...Richland Branch...Rhodes...Malachiah Reeves corner...Signed: William Reeves. Witness: John Warner, Benjamin Rhodes. February Ct. 1786 Test Tho Searcy CC (Guilford County, NC Bk 4 Pg 93)

1787 - December 12, Fortune Reeves of Guilford Co., NC to Thomas Reeves of same 55 acres for 25 pounds in Guilford County both sides of Mars fork on Haw River...Richard Burtons line...Jesse Reeves line...Hugh Robinsons line...Signed: Fortune (mark) Reeves. Witness: Jno Campbell, James Campbell. May Term 1789. Test T Searcy (Guilford County, NC Bk 5 Pg 89)

1788 - February 21, Fortune Reeves of Guilford County to Jesse Reeves of same 55 acres for 80 pounds in Guilford County on Mairs fork on Haw River...corner of Thomas Reeves land...Jesse Reeves south west corner...along Jesse & Fortune Reeves lines...Richard Bortons line...Signed: Fortan (mark) Reeves Witness: John (mark) Winchester, Colman Winchester. Proved by Coalman Winchester. November Term 1788. Test T Searcy (Guilford County, NC Bk 5 Pg 33-34)

1788 - May 13, Fortune Reeves of Guilford County to Jonathan Reeves & Malachi Reeves of same 110 acres in Guilford County for 20 Shillings in hand by James Meloy in behalf of Jonathan Reeves & Malachi Reeves on Mears fork of Haw River...Campbells line...corner to the original tract...along Joseph Irvins & Richard Bortons lines...Jesse Reeves corner...Signed: Fortune (mark) Reeves Witness: Jas Muloy, Jesse Reeves, Nancy Muloy. Proved by James Muloy. February Term 1789 Test T Searcy (Guilford County, NC Bk 5 Pg 66)

1788 - May 20, Fortune Reeves of Guilford County to Jesse Reeves of same 100 pounds for 100 acres on the waters of Mairs fork of Haw River along Jeese Reeves line...Campbells line...Signed: Fortune (mark) Reeves Witness: Jas (mark) Mulloy, Nathaniel Tattem. Proved by Jas Malloy. February Term 1789. Test T Searcy (Guilford County, NC Bk 5 Pg 67-68).