Notes for Davis Clark Reeves

A Wilson Family Tree

Notes for Davis Clark Reeves

Several sources list his birth place as Lincoln County, KY. Christian County seems more likely, but it is possible that Martha went to be with her mother in Lincoln County.

There is something of a tradition of using the mother's maiden last name for first names in this extended family -- Davis Reeves, Stockton Donley, Donley Ewin, Reeves Leonard, Leonard Everett, Edwards Wilson, and many more. (For Davis and Edwards, it is pretty common to find records mistakenly show their names as David and Edward.)

A letter from D.C. Reeves to Mrs. J.E. Leonard, dated 20 Mar 1837, Memphis, TN (from the Abiel Leonard Papers in the State Historical Society of Missouri Manuscript Collection, obtained from John Wanamaker):

Dear Sister

Yesterday, when passing by the mouth of the Ohio River, my mind was brought to bear on years that are past, when we were all under the protection of a father and mother, and to contrast this period of our existence with that exhibits how great the changes a few fleeting seasons have made in our family. I feel my dear sister that I have given you good grounds to consider me unkind and unbrotherly in not writing to you, but were you to ask me the cause of my long silence I am sure that I would but speak the true feelings of my nature when I would say that it is owing only to our never being in the habit of writing to each other. But when I reflect upon the great changes which our Creator has wrought amongst us, I feel that my plea for my silence is very unsatisfactory even to myself. In the month of December, I went to Mississippi with the intention to settle there, but the sickness of that climate and the dissipation of the community were so great that I have abandoned all idea of living there. In the month of February, Mrs. Phillips and myself left Clinton, Miss., for Texas, but I was attacked with sickness in Vicksburg, which prevented me from taking the trip. I got on a boat and returned immediately to Kentucky. I am now returning to Clinton, but do not intend to remain in south but a week or two. Mrs. Phillips and Ellen are in Mississippi and I presume they will return with me. I have not seen my father or any of his family since December, but understood that they were all well, and that himself and Lady intended to visit you in May. I am pleased with the companion our father has chosen. She is sensible, prudent, and affectionate. Mary has been unwell the most of this winter. Her constitution is very frail. When I left, her health was something better than it had been. It is probable that I will move out to Missouri in the course of this season. The motion of the boat is so great that I have written you a rough letter; you must excuse it. Tender my love to Grandmother, and to all my connection.

Your brother truly and affectionately,
D.C. Reeves

[Mary, who was unwell, would be Clark's wife, Mary Jane Phillips Reeves. Mrs. Phillips was presumably Mary’s mother. Mary Jane had a younger sister named Ellen, who was still young at the time of the letter (in fact, she would later die when she was only about 15), and who was presumably the Ellen traveling with Mrs. Phillips. Davis Clark and Mary Jane also had a daughter named Ellen, but she wasn’t born yet at the time of this letter. She was probably named for Mary’s sister Ellen after she died. Their father’s new companion would have been Virginia Garth Cross Reeves, whom B.H. Reeves had married about half a year earlier. Grandmother, mentioned at the end, would be Martha Davis Reeves, who stayed in Missouri with the Leonards when B.H. moved back to Kentucky.]

A letter from B.H. Reeves to A. [Abiel] Leonard, dated 30 Sep 1841, Todd Co., KY (from the Abiel Leonard Papers in the State Historical Society of Missouri Manuscript Collection, obtained from John Wanamaker):

Dear Sir,

It is with the deepest feelings of sorrow that I now write you. Last night I returned home from paying the last sad melancholy duties to my child. Clark Reeves departed this life just before 5 in the morning of the 28th Inst. He was taken sick in July, was quite ill for some weeks - recovered so far as to be able with his family to visit me. About four weeks ago, himself and friends thought he was in a fair way to recover. A few days after his return home, I was sent for. His malady increased. No human skill could stay or arrest it. He died easy, like a child going to sleep, but rejoicing in the confident hope of a happy immortality. Oh that my life, but above all that my death could be like his. Yea [?] of certainty of the future. But he is gone, gone from me. The stroke you can not feel as I feel it, & I pray God that you may never feel such pangs as now wring my heart. But why should I mourn, 'tis the lot of man to die & altho, one of the props of my declining years have been wrested from under me, 'tis his gain. An eternity of glory to him, but a world of pain to me. I write to you to communicate the sad intelligence to his Sister and Brother as prudence may direct. Heaven bless you & them.

B. H. Reeves

Note: Some of the information in these pages is uncertain. Please let me know of errors or omissions using the email link above.    ...Mike Wilson

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