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|Size||About 500 items (1.0 linear feet)|
|Abstract||The Reaves family were prosperous planters and businessmen originally from Wayne County, N.C., who lived from around 1837 in Hardeman County, Tenn. Edmund Reaves moved to Tennessee with many of his neighbors from North Carolina. He had a plantation with land valued at $29,000 and 42 slaves in 1860, and he ran a small store in Middleton, Tenn. His son, John Rufus Reaves, also ran a store; founded and edited a newspaper, The Hardeman Free Press, served in several civic offices including the Tennessee State Senate; worked for the Cumberland Telephone and Telegraph of Bolivar, Tenn.; and was a member of fraternal organizations including the Freemasons and the Ku Klux Klan. John Rufus Reaves's three children were Ina Emma Campbell Reaves Stroupe, Stella-Dora (Teddie) Reaves Kearney, and Edmund Hugh Reaves. Edmund H. Reaves worked in telephone offices for most of his life, finally settling in Rocky Mount, N.C., where he was the district manager for the Carolina Telephone office. Edmund H. Reaves married Emily Mae Moore and had one daughter, Margaret Elizabeth Reaves McGregor Coleman. This collection documents the careers and faces of members of the Reaves family of Middleton and Bolivar, Hardeman County, Tenn., from 1834 to 1942. The papers include the will of John Reaves (d.1835), several Civil War and Reconstruction-era papers of Edmund Reaves documenting his claims against the U.S. Army in the war and claiming that he had never supported the Confederacy, and many financial papers, some correspondence, legal materials, Masonic documents and other papers of John Rufus Reaves. There are clippings taken from John R. Reaves's paper, The Hardeman Free Press of Bolivar, Tenn., and a copy of C. W. Tyler's The K.K.K., a book passed down from John R. to Edmund H. Reaves. The collection also includes sixty pictures of virtually every member of the Reaves family, including Edmund H. Reaves's siblings, Stella-Dora (Teddie) Reaves Kearney and Ina Emma Campbell Reaves Stroupe, his wife, Emily Mae Moore, and his daughter, Margaret Elizabeth Reaves McGregor Coleman, some of their friends, and the John Rufus Reaves House. Many of the images are cased ambrotypes and daguerrotypes, but tintypes and albumen prints are also represented among the nineteenth-century prints. There are a number of twentieth-century photographs as well, mainly of Edmund H. Reaves and of a John Rufus Reaves family reunion held in 1930.|
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Edmund Reaves (1810-1876) was born in Wayne County, N.C., in 1810. In 1835, he served as executor of the will of his father, John Reaves. Around 1837 Edmund Reaves moved, with several relatives and Wayne County neighbors, to Hardeman County, Tenn. In 1838 he married Charlotte Pope McKinne, also originally from Wayne County. Edmund Reaves became a successful planter, owning $29,000 in land and 42 slaves, according to the 1860 census. He also ran a store in Middleton, Tenn. Edmund and Charlotte Reaves had six children, of whom only one, John Rufus Reaves (1850-1933) survived past the age of twenty. William H. Reaves (1842-1862) and Edmund David Reaves (1844-1861) died in the Civil War; Mary Jane (Mollie) Reaves (1848-1868) died in childbirth.
John Rufus Reaves worked in his father's store in Middleton, then ran a store of his own in Bolivar, Tenn. He served as postmaster of Middleton and justice of the peace. He was also a small farmer, the founder and editor of The Hardeman Free Press and he served one term in the Tennessee state senate starting in 1899. Finally, he served as local manager for the Cumberland Telephone and Telegraph Company in Bolivar. John R. Reaves was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, the Methodist Church, the Masons and other fraternal organizations. He was married three times, to Mary L. (Mollie) Campbell, Sue Margaret Falls, and Sarah Alexander Matthews, and had three surviving children. His children were Ina Emma Campbell Reaves Stroupe (1871-1937) from his first marriage and Stella-Dora (Teddie) Reaves Kearney (1877-1955) and Edmund Hugh Reaves (1878-1950) from his second.
Edmund Hugh Reaves began his career working in his father's newspaper office, then in the Cumberland Telephone and Telegraph Company. He worked as a manager in several telephone offices, finally settling in Rocky Mount, N.C. where he was the district manager of the Carolina Telephone office. He and his family lived in Rocky Mount from 1922 until his death in 1950. Edmund H. Reaves married Emily Mae Moore (1883-1971) and had one daughter, Margaret Elizabeth Reaves (1909-1995).
(This note condensed from the biographical sketch written by John Collins Sykes, III in 1996 based on his research in Reaves family papers, the North Carolina State Archives, and in Hardeman County, Tenn. See Sykes's sketch in folder 12 of this collection.)Back to Top
The Reaves family papers contain a wide variety of material collected by members of the Reaves family beginning in 1834 and continuing until around 1900. There are newspapers, clippings, and many photographs from the twentieth century, but the majority of the written material in the collection dates from the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s, and documents the financial, legal, and business dealings of John Rufus Reaves (1850-1933).
The pictures in the collection provide at least one image of almost everyone in the Reaves family tree, including Edmund and Charlotte Pope McKinne Reaves and all five of their children who survived infancy. John Rufus Reaves, his three wives and three children are all represented, and their spouses and children. Most of the nineteenth century pictures are ambrotypes in cases of wood and leather or molded thermoplastic "union cases." There are also six tintypes, two daguerreotypes in a shared case, and a few albumen prints. There are a number of twentieth-century photographs, mainly of Edmund Hugh Reaves and of the whole family taken at a reunion of John R. Reaves and his descendants held in 1930.Back to Top
Arrangement: by type of material.
Papers containing a wide variety of materials, ranging in type and date from the will of John Reaves written in 1834 to newspapers and clippings from the 1940s. The majority of this series, however, was produced by John Rufus Reaves in the course of his career as a merchant, postmaster, newspaper editor, Mason, and landowner. The letters in the collection are mainly addressed to John R. Reaves; it includes many bills sent in letter form. Legal materials include John Reaves's will and the record of the sale of his property after his death, many documents concerning the sale of land, and two land maps showing Edmund Reaves's holdings in Arkansas. There are documents related to elections in Hardeman County, Tenn., and the bankruptcy of William Reaves.
The collection includes many financial papers, the majority of which are bills, receipts, tax records, promissory notes, and bills which John R. Reaves's store sent to others. The miscellaneous material includes documents intended to help Edmund Reaves retrieve property taken by the Union Army during the Civil War, documents intended to certify that John R. Reaves had never been a Confederate sympathizer after the Civil War, druggists' prescriptions, a couple of Masonic documents, and other papers.
There are three notebooks and one published book in the collection. Two of the notebooks were put out as promotions by businesses, B. Lowenstein & Bros. and Brown's Iron Bitters, and were used between 1889 and 1893 for the first and between 1891 and 1892 for the second for notes, lists, and calculations. The third notebook is leather bound with "Edmund Reaves 1855 - 1856" written on the cover; it contains records of the slaves belonging to various members of the McKinne family and headings such as "hire and rent for 1854." It was kept from 1854 through 1864. Only the first seven leaves were used; the rest of the book is blank except for an inscription by the book's previous owner at the end. The published book is The K.K.K. by C. W. Tyler (New York: North River Publishing House, 1903). "J.R. Reaves" is written on the first page, and "Given to me 7-4-32 by my father who was at that time one of three living members of the original KKK in Hardeman C. Tenn. E. H. Reaves" is written above it.
The remaining items in this series are newspapers or parts of newspapers and the genealogical research on the Reaves family done by John Collins Sykes III in 1996. The newspapers are one part of The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, Tenn., from 20 September 1921 containing a long story called "Ku Klux Klan of Olden Days Saved Southern Civilization. " There are four copies of The Bolivar Bulletin of Bolivar, Tenn., from 1901, 1902, 1940, and 1941. There is also one copy of the paper edited by John R. Reaves, The Hardeman Free Press of Bolivar, Tenn., from 1908. There are also a few newspaper clippings, mainly obituaries. The biographical and genealogical information provided by John Collins Sykes III includes photocopies of the birth, death, and marriage pages of the Reaves family Bible, detailed biographical information on many Reaves family members, and two family trees.
Arrangement: by subject of picture, roughly chronological.
Sixty images of members of the Reaves family, a few of their friends, the John Rufus Reaves house, and one unidentified woman. The images are arranged by the subject of the picture roughly in generation order, with parents first (and any of their family members who do not fall under them in the tree), then their children and their children's spouses, then the children's children, etc. Pictures of more than one family member are at the end. Identification of pictures comes from the pictures themselves and from the genealogical material and picture list compiled by John Collins Sykes, III; see folder 12 to consult this material. The pictures consist of one lacquer case containing two daguerreotypes, seventeen ambrotypes, all in cases of either wood and leather or molded thermoplastic material, six tintypes, and thirty-six photographs. The photographs consist of mainly 20th-century prints and a few 19th-century albumen prints.