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Rev. Joel Rivers


Patriot, Pioneer, Preacher in the Methodist Espicopal Church.
Furnished a gun for the Southern Expedition Militia

Father Mother
Richard Rivers Mary Nann

Support to the Revolutionary War

In 1780/81, Greensville County, Va. was created from Brunswick and Sussex Counties. Greensville County Court records show that on 13 August, 1783, the Greensville County Court paid one Joel Rivers 3 (3 pounds) for a gun which he had furnished for the Southern Expedition Militia (Greensville County Court Commissioner's Book 1, pg. 342/3). This service qualifies for Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution.

Joel Rivers is listed in .


Methodist Episcopal Church

Joel was a lay preacher in the newly formed Methodist Episcopal Church (DAR Patriot Index, Vol. II).

While in Franklin, North Carolina, Joel wrote a pamplet docmenting his ministering to a young lady overcome with comsumption. "The Power and Excellence of Religion, Exemplified in the Happy Conversion and Triumphant Death of Miss Ruina J. Williams" by Joel Rivers, published for the Tract Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, New York, 1809, with a silhouette of Miss Williams. (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, archives) (The copy I have is from the Library of Asbury Seminary in Kentucky and it was published in 1828.)

The first Methodist Episcopal church in Claiborne had been built by Reverend Joel Rivers at his own expense in 1817. When this church became inadequate, a new structure was built on the same lot which was ultimately paid for by his son-in-law, Stephen Steelee, out of his own funds. The Deed for this lot which was retained by Stephen (probably inherited or handed down to him from Joel Rivers) was lost or destroyed during the Civil War. (History of Methodism in Alabama; Rev. Anson West, D.D.; Methodist Episcopal Church, South; Barbee and Smith, Agents; Nashville, Tennessee; 1893; pages 573 and 574. )


Joel Rivers, No. 194, Oct., 1817 Alabama State Petition

Joel (No 194) and his son Mason Rivers (No 104) were signatories to the Oct, 1817 petition to Congress to prevent Mississippi from extending its boundary into the Alabama territory. This petition started the process for Alabama to become a state in 1819.


General LaFayette visits Claiborne

When General LaFayette visited Claiborne, Alabama, on April 6, 1825, Rev. Joel Rivers was a member of the Committee for his Reception.

According to a family tradition, General LaFayette became the godfather of the second son of Stephen Steele and Elizabeth J. Rivers, naming the son after himself, "LaFayette" and after a deceased close friend of the Revolution, "DeKalb". Indeed, the child's name was LaFayette Dekalb Steele.

A letter dated 1 October 1885 to Lavinia Jehu Scott Wilson, only daughter of Hannah Rivers Scott and granddaughter of Joel and Rhoda Harwell Rivers, from Lafayette Steele, son of Hannah's sister Elizabeth Rivers Steele (wife of Stephen Steele) states that he once had a book which gave much information about the Rivers family in England but,

"in perigrimations, I have lost it and forgotten its name. I remember this, however, there is little doubt that we are of royal origina. What a consolation this is in the era of "mugwumps, snobs, etc"..."

Elizabeth J. Rivers was the youngest daughter of Rev. Joel Rivers.


Joel Rivers Burial

A letter dated 16 June 1961 from Mrs W. E. Deer, Claiborne, Alabama, whose husband bought the old Dellet Mansion in Monroe County, states that the grave of Joel Rivers is in the woods on the Cobb Cammack place. This place is on the western side of the Alabama River, but still in Monroe County. Mrs Deer further states:
"His grave is on a lonely bluff overlooking the valley about two miles from the Alabama River, looking towards Claiborne. Joel Rivers was an affluent man, yet his marker was carved out of limestone and quite crude, which does not reflect the circumstances of him or the members of his family."

Kay Rivers Paul: "Rev. Joel Rivers grave is located on a bluff overlooking the Alabama River near Claiborne on property now owned by Palmer Bedsole. "


Reference:
Rev. Anson West, D.D.; History of Methodism in Alabama;
Robbie Lee Gillis Ross; Your Inheritance, Part X - Chapter 1, "Early Rivers Notes"
Family Record for Joel Rivers, prepared by W. E. Kirkpatrick, 1990
Laura Adele Rivers family chart
Personal Papers of Laura Adele Rivers
Personal correspondence with Sam Rivers
Personal correspondence with Gerald R. Alena
Personal Correspondence with Kay Rivers Paul