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Monday, May 17, 2010

Traves Rees

Traves Rees had a son named...
...Thomas Rees who married Polly Smith and they had a son named...
.....William Rees who married Mary Jane Freeman and they had a son named...
.......Green Hill Reese who married Telitha Jane Freeman and they had a son named...
.........William Hanes Reese who married Nancy Rebecca Lunsford and they had a son named...
...........Bailey Bright Reese who married Lillian Vianna Conner and they had a son named...
.............Wilford William Reese who married Geneva Margaret Lamb and they had a daughter named...
...............Eleanor Elaine Reese who married William Avery Huneycutt and they had ME!

Traves Rees had a lot of variations on his name:
Travas Rees
Travas Reese
Travas Reece
Travis Rees
Travis Reese
Travis Reece
Travis Rhys
Travis Rease
Traves Rees
Traves Reese
Traves Reece
Travace Rees
Travace Reese
Travace Reece

Travers Rees
Travers Reese
Travers Reece
Traverse Rees
Traverse Reese
Traverse Reece
Traverse Rhese

Traves Rees
was probably born between 1740-1745 in North Carolina. We have a good paper trail on him.

NC State Archives - Tax Lists, LP 46.1, 1782 Tax List , Capt. Hardin's District, Traverse Rhese, 250 acres valued at 30, 1 Negro from 7016 and 40-50 yrs old valued at 409, 1 Horses & Mules valued at 15, 5 Cattle valued at 5, Total of Each One Property 90. (I assume these amounts are equivalent British pounds although our nation was brand new. I don't know when we went with the American dollars and cents.)

Traves Rees fought as a Patriot in the Revolutionary War.
Index to Revolutionary War Army Accounts, Volumes I-XII, Volume I, Pages 55-56, "Travers Rees-Volume XII, Pg 75, Folio 2".
Actual Text (spelling intact):
State of North Carolina, N5293
Salisbury District, L13, 5, 6
This may certify that Travers Rees was allowed thirteen pounds, five shillings and six pence
Special - Board of 1784
The Claims by - Deton the 25
Paper - Day of Sept 1784
By order: James Hunter and Traugott (sic) Bagge
Sam Henderson CB
Back:
Pd into the Entry Tahern (sic) office by Dan Carland
Traves Reece (endorsed by Traves in his own hand as Traves Reece)

-and-

The Treasurers & Comptroller's Records, Military Papers, Volumes 40-66,
Actual Text:
Special Certificates Paid Into the Comptroller
No. 5293, By Whom Granted: Bagge & Hunter, To Whom Granted: Travas Rees, Date Sept, 1782, Sum 13 pounds, 5 shillings, 6 pence, Int. - , To What Time 25 May 1784, Total Amount Principal & Interest: 13 pounds, 5 shillings, 6 pence, Remarks - No Check

During the Revolutionary War, State Militia soldiers were paid in case and Continental Line soldiers were paid in land grants. On the back of the certificate is "Paid into the entry" indicating that the certificate was used as payment on a land entry. The certificate is endorsed in Travis' own hand. It may have been used as payment on 250 acres of land that Travis owned in Wilkes County, NC as early as 1782.

Some deeds in Greenville County, SC


This property was "on Peter's Creek waters on Enoree River" I don't know exactly where on Peter's Creek but here is a link to where Peter's Creek crosses Hwy 417 (Woodruff Rd). This is the nearest road to where Peter's Creek empties into the Enoree River.
>http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ei=MXnxS4S_NsXflgfVqNi0CA&ved=0CAYQ_AU&msa=0&msid=111351779250962832819.000486ce7c3cf77be175e&ll=34.796008,-82.169023&spn=0.019594,0.035877&t=p&z=15&iwloc=000486ce7c3f502b34568>

His Will

This will lists these children: Thomas, Henry, John, Jesse, Mary and Sarah. Mary married a Rogers and moved to Gainesboro, TN. Sarah married Isom Snow. Thomas moved to Western NC in 1809. It seems that John Rees was either physically or mentally handicapped as his father assigns his friend, David Vaughn, as John's Guardian. Traves had some slaves. In his first bequest he gives his son, Thomas, "one Negro woman named Zilpah and her child, James." The rest were to be sold as part of his estate and the money divided between his children. This may sound harsh but it may have been his way of keeping a mother and son together. They could have been sold separately so it may have been a kindness on his part to keep them together and in the family. His last bequest is, "My will & desire is my old Negro woman named Betty shall be set free and that David Vaughn shall also act as her Guardian." Again, this seems like a kindness on his part back for those days. She was set free but she was given a guardian to make sure she is taken care of. If he just set her free, an elderly black woman wouldn't have been able to fend or provide for herself in those days. She would have been helpless. I do know that Traves' grandson, William Rees, (son of Thomas Rees who went to Western NC), and his family, was very anti-slavery. When William Rees got married his father-in-law offered them a slave woman for a wedding present but William Rees refused. They never owned slaves. All of William Rees' sons fought in the Civil War. The ones that joined the Confederate Army deserted and they all went over the mountains and joined the Union Army to finish the War. So I'm pretty sure that this would indicate a lot of thought on the slavery question. I think Traves Rees' will indicates a care for his slaves that was unusual for the times.


An Inventory of his Estate Sale

As you can see from this list, the 4 slaves that were sold were more valuable than all of his possessions including his land. This shows us how valuable they were considered. Before farm tractors, appliances, electricity and running water, etc. having a family and living & cultivating a farm was a very labor intensive enterprise. You needed many hands to keep everything moving along. Just imagine taking 1 acre of woods and making it into a field and planting a crop and harvesting that crop. You have to:
Cut down the trees with hand tools (no chainsaws)
Pull up the roots with a horse and chain
Pick up and move all the rocks
Plow it with a horse and plow
Plant the seeds
Keep it hoed so the weeds don't choke it out
Keep it watered
Harvest it
Gather the harvest
Take it to the barn or the market
When you think about how many hands it takes just to do that one acre from start to finish you begin to see how slavery became an easy fix. That doesn't take into account the household stuff either like washing clothes, gathering firewood, splitting firewood, toting water, cooking over a wood stove or in a fireplace, making cloth and sewing clothes for the family, preserving food, etc, etc. And most families had many children which increases the hands, as far as chores go, but it also increases the amount of chores needed. Don't misunderstand me, I do not condone slavery in any way! It was awful and, as a Christian, the abuses to fellow human beings is totally indefensible. But, as I've learned in studying history, it's not cut and dried. There are usually reasons why things happen, right or wrong. Unfortunately, to many slave owners, their slaves were considered more or less "tools" to accomplish all the jobs that needed to be done. But even if you look at them as tools, why would you pay so much for a tool and then mistreat it to where they cannot work? Cutting off a hand, an ear, beating them, whipping them... you are destroying the "tool" you paid so much for. So abusing slaves went beyond practical and into evil. Evil human nature and that was nothing to be proud of. Any time a human being has power over another human being there is the very good chance of our evil human nature coming out and abusing those we have authority over. On the other hand, we can't forget that there were good men and women who owned slaves but they were caught in their times and it was not practical to just "set them free". Setting free a healthy black person in the South would have made them a target. Someone would pick them up and force them back into slavery thinking they had gotten themselves a bargain. Also, setting them free in a hostile environment with no way to make a living, most were illiterate, was making more of a problem for them than solving. Then you say that the government should have set them free. That is also a very simplistic solution. There are 2 reasons: 1) As you can see from Traves Rees' Estate Sale, the slaves were valued more than all the other possessions combined including land. Now how would you feel if you've invested a lot of years, work and planning for your retirement and then the government comes in and takes away 70% of your estate value? Oh, wait a minute, they already do that with taxes don't they? LOL. But you see what I mean? 2) In some Southern states there were more blacks than whites, almost 2 or 3 for every 1 white person. Now set them all free and these ex-slaves flood the area with no way to make a living, homeless, desperate. You could have had violence in the streets. You can imagine if today the government suddenly stopped all welfare and tossed everyone out of public housing. We would be flooded with desperate, angry people and it could get scary.

So, by the time of Traves Rees, you basically had 3 choices: 1) don't own slaves at all, 2) own slaves but treat them as fellow human beings and take care of them, 3) own slaves and treat them as an objects. It seems to me that Traves Rees chose option #2.

If it had just never started! But it did and it became deeply entrenched and was not going to be an easy fix. It took a horrible War to finally break up the "slavery" log jam. That is the one good thing that came from it.

I will be adding more as I go through the Rees Genealogy newsletters. I'm not through by far.

Sources: Rees Genealogy newsletters (Editors: David E. Reese, David H. Reece, Joanne Reese Thompson, Christine Hall) from 1970's-1980's. I have the original newsletters.

For more information on the Reese family check out my postings at:
http://sharonscrapbook.blogspot.com/search/label/Reese?updated-max=2009-06-01T19%3A37%3A00-04%3A00&max-results=20

If you have any comments, corrections or additonal information, please email me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com.

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