Facts and Events
John Reynolds was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia
Records in Botetourt County, VA
- Botetourt County, Virginia
- Deed Book: 21
- Proved: Partly at April Court 1817 & final, January 12, 1835.
- Page 43-44: Reynolds Heirs to William Reynolds - This Indenture made this twenty fourth day of August in the year of Christ one thousand eight hundred and sixteen between James Reynolds and Susanna his wife, Thomas Reynolds and Sarah his wife, John Reynolds and Susanna his wife, Joseph Givens & Anna his wife, Joseph Taylor and Frances his wife heirs and heiress of John Reynolds dec'd of the one part and William Reynolds of Botetourt County & State of Virginia of the other part. Witnesseth that the said James Reynolds and Susanna his wife, Thomas Reynolds and Sarah his wife, John Reynolds and Susanna his wife, Joseph Givens and Anna his wife and Joseph Taylor and Frances his wife heirs and heiress of John Reynolds dec'd in consequence of a title bond executed by the above mentioned John Reynolds in his life time to his son William Reynolds for part of a tract of land whereon the said John Reynolds lived in his life time which his heirs was bound to convey to said William Reynolds at the death of said John Reynolds & Magdaline his wife, notwithstanding the said Magdaline is still alive, we are willing to make the Conveyance agreeably to said title bond: Witnesseth that the above mentioned heirs and heiress for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar to us in hand paid by the said William Reynolds at or before the ensealing and delivery of these presents, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged hath granted bargained and sold and by these presents doth grant bargain and sell unto the said William Reynolds his heirs & assigns part of a Certain tract or parcel of Land patented in the name of John Reynolds by Survey bearing date the 29th December 1796 and patent dated the 28th day of May 1798 for 320 acres of land lying and being in the County of Botetourt on the head of Sinking Creek a branch of New river and bounded as follows. Beginning at two white oaks on the south side of the Waggon Road, near the houses of s'd John Reynolds dec'd from thence along the waggon Road to the end of the lane towards Joseph Givens land, thence up the hill with the old fence as it now stands to the outside line towards the little mountain, thence with the lines of said Survey of 320 acres to the Beginning, Containing (blank) acres, together with all and singular appurtenances & To have and to hold the said land to the only proper use and behoof of him the said William Reynolds his heirs and assigns forever and the said James Reynolds and Susanna his wife, Thomas Reynolds and Sarah his wife, John Reynolds and Susanna his wife, Joseph Givens and Anna his wife, and Joseph Taylor and Frances his wife the said land contained within the limits above mentioned with all and singular the appurtenances unto the said William Reynolds his heirs and assigns free from the Claim or Claims of them the said James Reynolds and Susanna his wife, Thomas Reynolds and Sarah his wife, John Reynolds and Susanna his wife, Joseph Givens and Anna his wife, and Joseph Taylor and Frances his wife, heirs and heiress and representatives of the Estate of John Reynolds Dec'd or any person or persons claiming under them Shall and will warrant & forever defend by these presents. In testimony whereof we have here unto Set our hand and Seals the day and year above written. The word "part of" in the 30th line from the beginning interlined before Signing.
- Signed, Sealed and delivered
- James Reynolds
- Thomas Reynolds
- Sarah X Reynolds (her mark)
- John Reynolds
- Susanna X Reynolds (her mark)
- Joseph Givens
- Anna X Givens (her mark)
- in presence of
- Js Trenor as to Js Reynolds
- Thomas Reynolds, Sarah Reynolds
- John Reynolds, Susanna Reynolds
- and Joseph Givens
- John McIver as to Same
- George H. Trenor as to Same
- The first record of John Reynolds in Botetourt County is found in the Will of his father-in-law, Lodowick Thomas. Lodowick's Will was written August 15, 1775, and states: "...I do hereby appoint my trusty and well beloved friend John Runnels Executor of this my last will and testament ...." Lodowick left all of his land in Botetourt County to his daughter, Magdalin Runnills (wife of John Reynolds). This property consisted of two tracts, one about 200 acres where he formerly lived adjacent to John Caldwell and one about 100 acres located on the north fork of Johns Creek near Gasper Sarver. The survey of one of these tracts of land, probably the one on Johns Creek, wasn't properly returned to the Land Office to be recorded. John Reynolds initiated this final transaction in Lodowick's name, and Governor Thomas Jefferson signed the grant on February 1, 1781. This survey, dated September 9, 1772, contained 185 acres. John and Magdalin sold the 185 acres on October 12, 1802, to Archibald Caldwell. John's signature was on the deed and Magdalin signed with her (X) mark.
- [Source: http://files.usgwarchives.net/va/craig/bios/renlds06.txt]
- Tate, J.R. Craig County (Virginia) Archives.
Biographical Sketches - John Reynolds, b. ca 1751, d. ca 1814
A Biographical Narrative of John Reynolds
Botetourt County (now Craig County), Virginia
Wife: Magdalin Thomas, d/o Lodowick & (-?-) Thomas
Parents: Thomas & Ann (-?-) Reynolds
John Reynolds was the oldest son and possibly the oldest child of Thomas
Reynolds and Ann -?- of Caroline, Madison and Botetourt Counties, Virginia.
No records have been found for John Reynolds prior to his appearance in
Botetourt County ca 1772/73. As a child, he would have lived with his
parents in Caroline County and possibly Essex County, although no proof of a
residence in Essex has been located. His approximate birth date is 1751,
and he was probably born in either Caroline or Essex County, Virginia.
The first record of John Reynolds in Botetourt County is found in the Will
of his father-in-law, Lodowick Thomas. Lodowick's Will was written August
15, 1775, and states: "...I do hereby appoint my trusty and well beloved
friend John Runnels Executor of this my last will and testament ...."
Lodowick left all of his land in Botetourt County to his daughter, Magdalin
Runnills (wife of John Reynolds). This property consisted of two tracts,
one about 200 acres where he formerly lived adjacent to John Caldwell and
one about 100 acres located on the north fork of Johns Creek near Gasper
Sarver. The survey of one of these tracts of land, probably the one on
Johns Creek, wasn't properly returned to the Land Office to be recorded.
John Reynolds initiated this final transaction in Lodowick's name, and
Governor Thomas Jefferson signed the grant on February 1, 1781. This
survey, dated September 9, 1772, contained 185 acres. John and Magdalin
sold the 185 acres on October 12, 1802, to Archibald Caldwell. John's
signature was on the deed and Magdalin signed with her (X) mark.
Magdalin's father, Lodowick Thomas, was an early resident of the Sinking
Creek/Johns Creek area. He is known to have been in that area of Botetourt
(then Augusta County) when he was a drummer in Capt. William Christian's
1764 Militia Company which was organized to protect the frontier from Indian
attack. He probably had lived there for some years prior to that date.
Lodowick may have been the Ludwick Thomas, age 34, who arrived at
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the ship Queen Elizabeth, September 16, 1738.
This possibility has not been proven, but if true, Magdalin and some of her
siblings could have been born in Pennsylvania prior to the family's
relocation to Virginia.
A marriage record for John Reynolds and Magdalin Thomas has not been found.
It is likely John and Magdalin were married in the area where her family
resided in Botetourt County. Their marriage is estimated to have been
between 1771 and 1775.
John Reynolds was a member of the local militia. He is found on the list of
officers recommended or appointed by the County in July 1780. Botetourt County
Court Order Book 5A, page 42: "Joseph Loony is appointed Capt in Capt
McMurtrays Co. John Reynolds Leut, and Abraham Looney Ensign." This militia
company consisted of men who lived in the Sinking Creek Valley area of
Botetourt. Capt. Joseph Looney was made commander of this unit the same year.
Capt. Looney's militia company was quite active during the Revolutionary War;
it is known to have served at the Lead Mines on the New River, Guilford Court
House and Yorktown. Lt. John Reynolds is also listed on the 1782 muster roll
for Looney's company. No record of John Reynolds' militia service at any
specific time or place has been found, even though it is likely that he was
with the company during most of their tours of duty. No known DAR or SAR
membership have been granted using Lt. John Reynolds' service record.
John Reynolds compiled the list of tithables in his District for the year
1785. He was appointed Constable in Botetourt County on September 13, 1791,
an appointment he held until his death.
In 1813 John gave a title bond for part of a tract of land where he then lived
to his son, William. John's home tract was located on the headwaters of
Sinking Creek, a branch of New River probably between the head waters of
Sinking and Meadow Creek, a branch of Craig Creek, a branch of the James
River. Another description states that it was located on the Sinking Creek
side of Johns Creek Mountain. A deed was made for this tract August 24, 1816
and partly proved at April Court 1817 & finally proved and recorded January
12, 1835. This deed names all of John and Magdalin's children:
1. James Reynolds and Susanna his wife.
2. Thomas Reynolds and Sarah his Wife.
3. John Reynolds and Susanna his wife.
4. Joseph Givens and Anna his wife.
5. Joseph Taylor and Frances his wife.
6. William Reynolds (Wife was Sarah "Sally").
John Reynolds died intestate, probably at his home in Botetourt County, in
the late fall of 1814, but his death might have occurred in early January
1815. There is a reference to this fact in court papers. At the Thursday,
January 10, 1815, Botetourt Court, his son-in-law, Joseph Givens, was "...
appointed Constable in this county in the room of John Reynolds dec'd." At
Botetourt County Court, Thursday, March 14, 1815, administration of John
Reynolds' estate was granted to his wife, Magdalin Reynolds, and son-in-law,
Joseph Givens. An inventory of the estate was ordered. Listed with the
estate were the following slaves:
1 Negro Woman, Milly, age 50
1 Mulatto Woman, Zellah, age 19
1 Mulatto Woman, Happy, age 17
1 Negro girl, Mahaly, age 12
1 Negro girl Eliza, age 9
1 Negro girl Franky, age 7
1 Negro boy Jerry, age 14.
Magdalin Reynolds' Dower share of the estate was allotted to her at the
April 1815 Court. Her share consisted of land and three female slaves:
Milly, Negro, age 50, Zillack/Zellah, Mulatto, age 19 and Franky, Negro, age
7. These slaves and others who had originally belonged to the Reynolds
family would attempt to gain their freedom in a court case initiated by
Milly in 1815. This case would span about 25 years before its final
resolution in 1840. Many participants in this suit would be dead before the
final outcome was decided.
In April 1817, Joseph Givens traveled to Madison County, Virginia, while
settling John Reynolds' estate. He claimed $8.22 for his expenses incurred
during the trip. The exact purpose of this visit is unknown. John
Reynolds' brother, Henry "Harry" Byne Reynolds, is known to have lived in
Madison County as well as his mother, Ann Reynolds, before her death ca
1810. The Reynolds family slaves were probably the reason for the visit,
and Henry Reynolds would be the only known person in Madison County with an
interest in their disposition. Joseph Given died ca 1831 and the last known
administrator of the John Reynolds estate was John T. Anderson.
Several inventories were made of John Reynolds' estate. One, in 1831,
includes the following list of the slaves belonging to the estate:
Negro woman, Happy, age about 32
Negro boy Davy, age 10
Negro girl Mary, age 6
Negro boy Roland, age 3
Negro woman Mahalah, age 28
Negro woman Eliza, age 27
Negro girl Lucinda, age 5
Negro girl Matilda, age 3
Negro girl Mahalah, age 7 mo.
Negro boy, Daniel, age 5.
Another inventory, conducted in 1841, included the names of the following
Happy, age 42
Two children age 2 & 4.
David, age 20
Mary, age 18
Maria, age 16
Rowland, age 13
Mahala, age 38
Eliza, age 37
Lucinda, age 15
Matilda, age 13
Mahala, age 10
Daniel, age 15,
Samuel, age 9
Wm. (William), age 7
Lunceford, age 6
Almina, age 4
Juby, age 2
Magdalin Reynolds died testate at Botetourt County ca Fall of 1821. Her
will, dated August 30, 1821, was probated at the 1821 November Court. In
it, she named the following children and grandchildren:
Anna Reynolds d/o son William
Jane Reynolds d/o son -?- (probably James)
1. James Reynolds
2. Thomas Reynolds
3. John Reynolds
4. Ann Givens
5. Fanny Taylor
6. William Reynolds.
The names and number of children in this will agree with the 1816 deed and
appear to be listed in the order of birth.
There were three court cases filed against John Reynolds and his estate from
which most of the details of his family are drawn. Two against his estate
were initiated in Botetourt County, Virginia. His mother initiated the
third case in Madison County, Virginia, prior to 1808. Details of the
Madison County case have not been located. The case was probably tried in
Madison County, but no attempt has been made to locate Court records of the
Madison County (Ann Rennolds/Reynolds') Case:
John Reynolds' mother, Ann Rennolds/Reynolds, wrote her last will and
testament on May 17, 1808, in Madison County, Virginia. In this will, she
referenced an active District Court case against her son, John Reynolds, by
"My son John Rennolds haveing a parcel of Negrows now in his percession
which his Father (Thomas Reynolds) let him remove to his Hous & at the death
of his Father he willed them to certain other persons which records will
shoe & he the said John Rennolds refuseing to give up said Negrows & a suit
is commeced & now depending in the District Cort and undetermed now if he
the said John Rennolds shuld by virtue of Law obtain & keep the Negrows now
at law for then he the said John Rennolds is by this my will to have no part
of my Estate, but if he the said John Rennolds shuld by virtue of law be
forst to give the said Negrows up then he the said John Rennolds his heirs
shall inherit an equal moite with the rest of my Children."
John Reynolds' father, Thomas Reynolds, was born abt. 1725 in either
Caroline or Essex County, Virginia. His occupation was School Master. He
was married ca 1750 to Ann -?-. (There is a possibility that Ann was the
d/o Maj. Simon Miller of Essex County, but this is only speculation at this
time.) Thomas' actual birth date is unknown but 1725 is estimated based on
a probable marriage to Ann ca 1750. Records from Caroline County indicate
that they were living in that county in 1772. In 1782, Thomas resided at
Port Royal where he lived and held classes at the home of a Mr. Frawner.
The only land Thomas is known to have owned in Caroline County was 50 acres
that he purchased from the Ship family in 1782. His ownership of this land
was later in dispute. Thomas and Ann were slave owners and probably most of
the slaves were hired out to others for income. Thomas and Ann Reynolds
continued to live in Caroline County until about 1786/87 when they
separated. Thomas moved to Botetourt County to live with their oldest son,
John. Ann moved to Madison County where she purchased two tracts of land.
She lived on one of these and she loaned the other to her youngest son,
Henry "Harry" Byne Reynolds. The reason Thomas and Ann lived apart is
unknown. Thomas was living in Botetourt County by about 1786. He continued
to live there until his death except for a period when he, according to a
neighbor, Daniel Givens, "went down county." He was probably with Ann in
Madison County during this time. Thomas died testate in 1804 in Botetourt
County, and Ann died testate in 1810 in Madison County.
Thomas & Ann Reynolds' Children:
(Birth order of children has been interpreted from Ann Reynolds' listing of
her children in her Will of 1808; only Martha's birth date, ca 1757, has
been found to date.)
1. John Reynolds, b. ca 1751 (subject of this narrative)
2. Bettie (Elizabeth?) Reynolds, m. Samuel McGee and probably lived in
Caroline County, Virginia.
3. Sarah Reynolds, m. Thomas Loyd/Lloyd.
4. James Reynolds
5. Martha "Patsy" Reynolds, b. ca 1757; m. John Pettis, a Revolutionary War
veteran. They were wed at Port Royal, Caroline County, Virginia, in 1786
and later lived in Spotsylvania County. Patsy removed to Orange County,
Virginia, to live with one of her sons after John's death.
6. William Reynolds
7. Thomas Reynolds removed to Kentucky by 1804.
8. Reuben Reynolds
9. Henry "Harry" Byne Reynolds, m. prob. Polly Zachary, 1796 in Madison
Thomas Reynolds brought a Negro woman slave along with him when he came to
live with his oldest son, John, in Botetourt County ca 1786/87. Thomas had
moved to Botetourt from either Caroline or Madison County, Virginia. This
slave was named Milly, the same Milly, age 50, listed on the 1815 inventory
of John Reynolds' estate, part of Magdalin's Dower, and the one freed by
Thomas's Deed of Emancipation (see below). (The slaves referenced in Ann
Reynolds' Will would have been Milly and her children, who were born in
Botetourt between Thomas' arrival ca 1786/87 and his death in 1804.) John
was still in possession of Milly and her descendants when he died in the
Fall of 1814, thus, it is apparent that Ann's suit (cited above) to regain
the slaves failed. (Details of that court case, when found, could give
valuable clues as to how Thomas and Ann obtained ownership of Milly and
their other slaves.) Since Thomas was a School Master, it is unlikely that
he purchased slaves himself. There is a possibility that Ann may have
inherited the slaves from another person or perhaps from her father.
Sometime after Thomas arrived in Botetourt County, he sold Milly and one or
more of her children to his son John for 200#. (The number of Milly's
children depends on when the sale was made.) Part of this agreement appears
to have been that John was to take care of his father. In 1797, Thomas told
one of his neighbors, Ammy Handly, that John was not properly caring for
him. Another neighbor, _____ Givens, stated that he had heard Thomas
Reynolds say: "... that he had sold to John Reynolds or let him have the
negroes & that said John was to keep him & furnish him with suitable
clothing, which he had failed to do ..." Thomas must have thought that John
had broken the promise he had made to care for him when he had sold him the
slaves. Whatever the circumstances and apparently without telling anyone,
in the Fall of 1797, Thomas journeyed to Sweet Springs, where the District
Court was located, and initiated a Deed of Emancipation freeing all of the
slaves that he thought were or should be his property. What evidence he
used (if any) to prove his ownership is not known. The "for certain good
causes" he refers to in the Deed (see the following) was probably his
dissatisfaction with how he thought his son was treating him. Note the name
and age of the slaves given in the Deed. Milly was the mother of the
children. Isaac, age 10, was Milly's first born after she arrived in
Botetourt County. This would indicate that Thomas and Milly arrived in
Botetourt about 10 or 11 years prior to 1797 (1786/87). The source for this
information was John Reynolds' neighbor, Daniel Givens, father-in-law of his
Thomas Reynolds' Deed of Emancipation, 1797:
"Be it Remembered to all whom it may concern - that for certain good causes
but especially that it is contrary to the commands of Christ to keep my
fellow creatures in bondage, I do hereby liberate all my slaves and
relinguish all my rights, tittle & interest in them, to wit, Milly Man,
Isaac Man, Jacob Man, Minny Man, Ester Man, Sally Man, Frances Man,
reserving to myself the guardian care of (Isaac aged ten, Jacob aged eight,
Minny aged six, Ester aged four, Sally aged two, Frances aged one month)
untill they arrive at the age of twenty one, In witness whereof I do
hereunto set my hand & seal this 18th day of October 1797.
Signed - Thomas Reynolds (Seal)
Test-Saml Mitchell, Mitchell Porter
At a district court held at the Sweet Springs the 19th day of October 1797
this instrument of writing from Thomas Reynolds for liberating the slaves
within mentioned was acknowledged by the said Thomas Reynolds and ordered to
be recorded. Teste Samuel Dew CDC"
Thomas had a short memory or he was getting senile, because in his Will he
left these same slaves to his children and grandchildren.
Botetourt County (Milly Mann's Case) (Case No 1):
It is not clear when John found out about the Deed of Emancipation. It might
have been after Thomas died in 1804. John made several inquiries about the
validity of the Bill of Sale he had gotten from Thomas when he had purchased
the slaves from him. He was assured that it was good and any other action
taken concerning the ownership of the slaves was not valid. Thomas must have
told Milly about the deed, but, in any case, after John's death in 1814, she
must have seen her chance to use that knowledge. She contacted several
lawyers, and, on her behalf, they initiated a case at the Botetourt County
August 1815 Court to gain the freedom for herself and her children that Thomas
had granted them in his Deed of Emancipation. The eventual result of the
trial was that they were found to be free based on Thomas' Deed and the lack
of proof that Thomas had ever sold the slaves to his son, John. The bill of
sale had vanished. Upon and during a lengthy appeal of the verdict, Milly,
her children and grandchildren, remained enslaved. After years of legal
maneuvering, the original trial was set aside and the one case broken up into
five separate ones. On Tuesday, Sept. 8, 1840 a new jury trial of all five
cases was held with the following results: "We the Jury find that the
Plaintiffs are slaves as the Defendants in the pleading have alleged. We
therefore find for the Defendants."
Botetourt County (Ann Givens') Case (Case No 2):
Joseph Givens married John Reynolds' daughter, Anna. Joseph was co-
administrator, along with the Widow, Magdalin, of John's estate. Joseph died
ca 1831. After the completion of the above slave trial in Sept 1840, Anna
initiated a Chancery suit in late 1840 or early 1841 for a final division of
John Reynolds' estate among the heirs. The court records of this case include
a list of all of John and Magdalin's children and grandchildren who were
included in this suit. The case was decided in April 1842, and the Court
ordered the remainder of the John's estate be sold and the money divided among
the heirs. Actual amounts for each heir to be determined according to what
they had already received from the estate. The sale was to include the slaves
and two tracts of land remaining in the estate.
Heirs of John Reynolds listed in Givens Vs Reynolds Heirs and
Representatives 1841/1842 (Botetourt County Case No.2):
The heirs of John Reynolds' deceased children were made a party to the case
and are named in the Court papers. Some spouses named in the suit are known
to have been from a second marriage and so could others. Some of the names
are confused and it is difficult to place them with the proper parent. All
need to be verified. Residence ca 1841 are given in the records
when the location was known.
1. James Reynolds, deceased, his children are named.
(First wife: deceased (probably Susanna Hughes)
(Second wife: deceased (Susanna Trout) Proved by others.
b. Jacob (Jefferson County, Illinois)
c. John (Vermilion County, Illinois)
d. William H.(Vermilion County, Illinois)
e. Andrew (Vermilion County, Illinois)
f. Calvin (Vermilion County, Illinois)
g. Lewis B. (Henry County, Indiana)
h. Senia/Cenia/Seney m. George W. Pate (Vermilion County, Illinois)
i. Nancy m. William Cassell/Cassel/Castle (Vermilion County, Illinois)
j. Frances Ann "Fanny" m. Jefferson Ward (Henry County, Indiana)
k. Hannah Magdalene m. William Stephens/Stevens (Henry County, Indiana)
2. Thomas J. Reynolds, deceased, his wife and children are named.
Wife: Sarah -?- (probably Sarah Caldwell)
e. Margaret m. William Stokes/Starkes
f. Mary m. Martin Moody
g. Ruth m. John Caldwell
h. Alexander, infant - (William Kile, guardian)
i. Breckenridge, infant - (William Kile, guardian
3. John Reynolds, living, (Giles County, Va.), wife from other sources.
Wife: Susanna Taylor (John and Susanna's children and their spouses are
from other sources and not verified unless noted):
a. James m. "Katie" Caldwell
d. John m. Elizabeth Wallace
e. Andrew m. Amanda Lucas
b. Joseph m. Elean Lucas
f. Mary "Polly" m. George Stafford Williams (verified)
g. Nancy m. William Givens
h. Alexander m. Elizabeth Williams
i. William m. Ann Givens
4. Anna, living, (Botetourt County, Va.)
Husband: Joseph Givens, deceased. (Children are from this case & a
separate Chancery cause by John Givens infant of Joel, deceased vs. Widow &
children of Joseph Givens, deceased. Givens vs. Givens case was transferred
to Craig County after formation in 1852, final outcome unknown.)
d. James H.
e. Patsey m. John Sarver
f. Mary m. William Leffel
g. Frances m. Boston (Sebastian) Rowan
h. Joel, deceased, had an infant son John, John Givens guardian.
5. Frances "Fanny", living (Carroll County, Indiana)
Husband: Joseph C. Taylor
6. William Reynolds, deceased, his wife and children are named.
Wife: Sarah Ferrier
a. Lewis (Warren County, Indiana)
b. Margaret/Margaretta m. -?- Wells (May have first m. -?- Trenor)
c. Ann m. Elias Smith
e. James (infant) - (William Kile, guardian)
f. Trenor (infant) - (William Kile, guardian)
g. Joel (infant) - (William Kile, guardian)
Note: Guardians for the various infant children were appointed by the Court
to represent them in the Chancery suit. Some of these children may not
actually be infants. The existing records are not clear.