1811 Case Involving William Tolliver

 From John Preston Arthur, Western North Carolina: A History (from 1730 to 1913), Raleigh, NC: Edwards & Broughton, 1914, p. 376
 
The Unwritten Law in 1811

At the March term, 1811, of the Superior Court of Ashe [County, North Carolina], Samuel Lowery, judge presiding, an order was made for the removal to Wilkes court, to be held on the third Monday of March, of the case of the State v. William Tolliver, indicted for the murder of a man named Reeves; and the sheriff of Ashe was required to “procure a sufficient guard of eight men from the proper officers of the militia to convey safely the said William Tolliver to the Superior court of Wilkes county,” thus indicating either that there was danger of lynching or a rescue. Tradition says that Tolliver was acquitted at Wilkesboro on the ground that Reeves had attempted liberties with Tolliver’s wife. Robert Henry of Buncombe defended him.

See COMMENTS below.

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10 responses to “1811 Case Involving William Tolliver

  1. Pam,
    I would be interested to see what you found in the NC Archives. I had written them to see how to obtain a copy of the case but have not heard back. I too am related to Samuel and Elizabeth Reeves Phipps and also William and Susanna Reeves Tolliver. I’ve done some research on George Reeves (Sr.) on the VA side so we can compare notes.

    Sue

    • I will be at the NC Archives next week and will post any new findings on the George Reeves murder case and any other information on the Reeves/Phipps/Burton and allied lines.

      Which of Samuel and Elizabeth Reeves Phipps children are you descended from? I am through Jesse and Jane Spurlin Phipps.
      Pam in Berkeley, CA

      • Pam,
        My paternal great-great grandparents were William (son of Samuel) and Sarah Scott Phipps. Also, another of my paternal great-great grandparents were Andrew (son of William) and Hannah Ward Tolliver. I was interested in your comment that William was the son of John Tolliver since the Toliver family website says that they have been unable to trace William’s parents. I found the 2 deeds where William Tolliver sold his land in Ashe Co., NC on 26 Oct 1811 to his brother-in-law Joseph Doughton and one of the boundaries in the description of the land mentions “Moses Tolliver’s old corner”. Having land next to Moses doesn’t prove he was Moses’ son but it makes for an interesting discussion! Thanks in advance for keeping us all posted on your findings!
        Sue in Waukee, IA (~30 miles from Boone Co. where my gggrandparents ended up)

      • Pamela Brett

        Sue-
        I am busy preparing for my trip next week so I don’t have time for a long message. I just wanted you to know that I have done a lot of onsite research in Owen County, Indiana and have lots of information on the Phipps/Tollivers/Longs/Wards, etc. Which child of William and Sarah Scott Phipps are you descended from?

        More later…
        Pam in Berkeley, California

  2. Bob-
    I just saw your message above. I found the reference to “21 March 1811 State vs. William Tolliver murder John and Susannah Buryon” in “Superior Court Minutes, “Wilkes Genealogical Society Bulletin, Winter 1982 v. 16 # 4, page 21.

    Just today I did a Google search and found a book Robert Henry: A Western Carolina Patriot by Richard Russell which had a short reference to the Tolliver trial on p 73. In a footnote, the author says that the original court minutes are in the NC Archives record CR 104.311.1 I will be going to the Archives in May and will see if I can discover more.

    I am descended from George Reeves, Sr. and his first wife? through his daughter Elizabeth Reeves who married Samuel Phipps of Alleghany County, NC. I am attempting to find a link to George Reeves who had married a daughter of Joshua Epps in Halifax Virginia. I am focusing on GR’s early land records in North Carolina to find out if he is the same man who died in Grayson County, Virginia.
    Pam

    • You might want to see the other blog, Phipps Genealogy at phippsgenealogy.wordpress.com, for much more about the George Reeves/Samuel Phipps relationship (use the search box).
      Any further info would be most welcome.

  3. Pam,
    If your theory is correct, based on what is said….
    Tradition says that Tolliver was acquitted at Wilkesboro on the ground that Reeves had attempted liberties with Tolliver’s wife.
    George Reeves would have been “attemting liberties” with his sister.

  4. The murdered man was George Reeves, son of Lt. George Reeves. Father and son died ca 1810/1811 both leaving widows named Jane. Both estates were settled in the Grayson County, Virginia courts.

    The murderer may have been William Tolliver son of John who married George and Jane Burton Reeves daughter Susannah. I have researched the case in the Wilkes County Court Minutes, but have only found brief references to the case such as “21 March 1811 State vs. William Tolliver murder John and Susannah Buryon (NOTE: is this Burton???) as witnesses failed to appear; John Higgins a witness was absent.” Could this be John Burton and wife Susannah Stamper?

    Deeds in Grayson County related to the land of George Reeves Sr. over the next several decades stop mentioning William after 1811 but Susannah (Reeves) Tolliver continues to be listed alone as late as 1832.

    Does anyone know what happened to the acquitted William Tolliver?

    • Bob Burton in Perry, GA

      Pam:

      I would like to chat with you concerning what you found exactly in the Court minutes of Ashe and Wilkes counties. I recently posted a message in the Toliver Family page of Genforum.com, showing numerous citations that I have located. I would love to hear directly from you.

      Bob Burton in Perry, GA

      • Pamela Brett

        I will be at the NC Archives next week and will post any new findings on the George Reeves murder case and any other information on the Reeves/Phipps/Burton and allied lines.
        Pam in Berkeley, CA

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