Green Rives of Dinwiddie County Virginia

Transcribed from book written by John R. T. Rives


At the beginning of the 19th Century there was a considerable movement of population from eastern Virginia to Tennessee, a movement particularly marked amongst Dinwiddie County families. Abram and Adam Wells, brothers of Belaam Wells, of Dinwiddie, the Gills and the Rogers who had intermarried with the family of Green Rives' uncle, Robert Rives, and the family of Anthony Rives and his nephews (who had settled in Dinwiddie from Sussex) were amongst those who removed to Tennessee. Green Rives, presumably accompanied by some of these neighbors, moved "with a large wagon train and an overseer . . . named Jolley about the year 1829."

In October, 1906, there was published in the Fayetteville (Tenn.) Observer in a series of sketches entitled "Pioneers of Lincoln County", an account of Green Rives and his family by the Hon. John M. Bright, who represented Tennessee several terms in Congress, from which account the following is taken:

"Green Rives, born September 14, 1776, came from Petersburg, Virginia, in 1829, settled near Petersburg, Tenn., on the Griffith Leonard farm. He afterwards acquired a large farm of his own and lived on it many years, pursuing the honorable avocation of farmer. From circumstances I infer that he belonged to a family of high descent and of the primitive Cavalier stock, who settled in Virginia at an early day. He was related to the distinguished statesman, William C. Rives, and the popular authoress, Amelie Rives, of Virginia. His life was without striking vissitudes or the display of great actions. He was a man of more than ordinary ability, strong attachments and devoted friendships. He perhaps was at one time an innocent victim of financial misfortune. The flush times and wild speculations and uncalculating ventures between 1836 and 1840, induced many incompetent young men to quit the fields and to embark in mercantile pursuits. Mr. Rives became the surety for one of his sons (John) and Northfleet Hays, who went into business under the firm name of Rives & Hays. At last the financial storm swept over the land and left a scene of desolation in its wake. A grim vision of bankruptcy struck Rives & Hays in the face, and sureties and endorsers saw a fearful reckoning with them. In 1842 (I think it was) I filed the petition in bankruptcy of Rives & Hays in the Federal Court at Nashville and had them discharged. But they left a large incumbency of debt which came to the shoulders of the elder Rives. Col. James Fulton received the security claimed against the old gentleman for collection, obtained judgments and had executions issued and levied on his property. He and Col. Fulton were mutual friends. Col. Fulton was the soul of generosity to a friend in need. On the day of sale he was present and bid in all the property and turned it over to the old man to keep and use and pay for it when he was able, except one old servant, Berry. It is my understanding that the old gentleman Rives recovered from the wreck of his fortune and accumulated enough for a comfortable support Extended comment on individual members of the Rives family would be impracticable.

As a summary of the large family of Rives, it may be said that they were intelligent, industrious, honest, public-spirited and highly respected citizens, and a valuable contribution to our Tennessee population by Old Virginia.

Green Rives is buried in a private graveyard on land now owned by Warren Gill, of Petersburg, Tennessee, alongside his third wife, the following inscription marking their last resting place:

BORN SEPT. 14th, 1776
DIED JULY 29, 1859
This Inscription By His Request

BORN 1804
DIED MAY 24, 1846


BORN OCT. 30, 1769

BORN 1766
DIED AUG. 20, 1865

Green Rives died at the house now owned by John Wells, a descendent of Drewry Wells.


Descendants of Green Rives

Children of Green Rives and Mary Hardaway Rives born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia.

   (1)   Thomas R.
   (2)   John (Jack)
   (3)   Mary
      b d 1882

Children of Green Rives and Frances Markham Hardaway Rives born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia.

   (4)   Henry Hardaway
      b 1817 d 1866
   (5)   Almedia
      b 1819 d 1856
   (6)   Willis Green
      b 1821 d 1860
   (7)   Frances Markham
      b about 1823 d Huntsville, Ala.

Children of Green Rives and Susan Elizabeth Woodward Rives born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia.

   (8)   Littlebury William
      b 1828 d 1911

Born in Lincoln County, Tennessee

   (9)   James Monroe
      b 1832 d 1876
  (10)   Benjamin Watkins Leigh
      b 1835 d 1913
  (11)   Robert Clay
      b 1837 d 1914
  (12)   Susan Elizabeth
      b 1839 d 1911


I. THOMAS R. RIVES—born in Virginia in Dinwiddie County, prior to 1810; married Ann Rowlett either in Virginia or Lincoln County, Tennessee. Somewhere after 1842 he is supposed to have removed to Northwest Arkansas, and that his descendants are now living in Northwest Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma.

II. JOHN (Jack) RIVES — is known to have been a member of the firm of Rives & Hays of Petersburg, Tennessee and Hays Mill, Limestone County, Alabama. Benjamin Watkins Leigh Rives told the author that as a boy he worked for his half-brother, Jack Rives and Norfleet Hays in their woolen mill at Hays Mill in Alabama. The Hon. John M. Bright, a former member of Congress, states that Rives & Hays were merchants in Petersburg Tennessee prior to 1842. John Rives is supposed to have moved to Northwest Arkansas, shortly thereafter, and we have been unable to contact any of his descendants.

III. MARY RIVES — married George Washington Blakemore of Virginia; she died at Petersburg September 1, 1882, according to the records of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church there. George Washington Blakemore was an active member of the Odd Fellows Lodge at Petersburg, Tennessee. He died there June 24, 1885, at the home of Mrs. Dabney. At one time they lived at Goodlettsville, Tennessee. They had one son, Frank Blakemore, who married and had one son, Herman Blakemore, and a daughter, Jessica Blakemore. The Roster of Company B of the 8th Tennessee Regiment, Confederate Army, lists H. A. Blakemore, a private soldier, and in the same Company with James Monroe and Robert Clay Rives. This may have been the Herman Blakemore referred to above.          



IV. HENRY HARDAWAY RIVES born August 13, 1817; was married three times: First, to Martha* Dandridge Stone, a daughter of Micajah Stone, of Oakhill, Tennessee; Second, to Nancy Buchanan; and Third, to Katherine Stark of Starkville, Mississippi, but had no children by his third wife. He was a physician and made his home at Petersburg, Tennessee,

where he died December 2, 1866, and where the inscription on his tomb recites his birth in Dinwiddie County, Virginia,  August 13, 1817; his death by Cholera, and the tribute to him of "Generous to a fault." It is not known where he obtained his medical education, which he practiced in his community and which he placed at the Service of his Country in the War for Southern Independence, CSA.

Congressman Bright states "Dr. Henry H. Rives was a man of more than ordinary ability. He was a physician of high standing and a firm Democrat in politics. He was a forceable public speaker and some times he was active in making speeches in behalf of his party and the cause of temperance."**

Henry Hardaway Rives was initiated an  Entered Apprentice, Petersburg, Tennessee, Lodge 123,

A. F. A. M., June 11th, 1849; passed to the degree of Fellow Craft July 13, 1849; and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason, August 13 1849, and was recorded as a member of Petersburg No. 123 up to 1860.

We quote the following letter from the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee. "The Grand Lodge records are incomplete for the period prior to 1866 due to the occupation of Nashville by Union troops in the 1860s."

Apparently there was little Masonic work during the War Between the States, but he is supposed to have been a Master Mason at the time of his death.

He was the father of three children by his first wife and one child by his second wife. His step-mother, Susan Elizabeth Rives, third wife of Green Rives, died May 24, 1846, and left a daughter, Susan Woodward Rives, seven years old, and Dr. Rives and his wife, Katherine Rives, raised this little girl until she married in 1858.


I. THOMAS JEFFERSON—born June 15, 1838; d June 3, 1919.

II. SARAH (RIVES) METCALF b February 28, 1842; d February 11, 1879.

III. JAMES DANDRIDGE—born March 14, 1844, died March 23, 1917.

I. THOMAS JEFFERSON RIVES—born at Petersburg, Tennessee, June 15, 1838, and died there June 3, 1919. He was a farmer and a teacher, serving as superintendent of schools of Lincoln County, T e n n., for six years; he served four years in the Confederate States Army, Higgins Company (G) 8th Tennessee Regiment. (S e e "Cheat Mountain Campaign", 1 8 8 5 .) He married September 14, 1868, Alice Peach, daughter of William and Susan (Boncome) Peach. There were seven children by their marriage:

(1) Guy Rives, was born July 4, 1869; he married May 29th, 1897, Lillie Stephenson. He was an electrical engineer until his death April, 1902. They had one child, Annie Guy, born August 21, 1902.

Annie Guy (Rives) , married James Cecil Watkins, May 5th 1923: Their first child, James Rives, born June 16th 1925 only lived two weeks.

Their second child, William Hugh, born March 9th 1927.

Her husband died March 26th 1934. She has never remarried. She is employed as a bookkeeper for J. M. McDonald Co. She resides at 404 North 13th St., Lamesa, Texas.

War Record:  Thomas Jefferson Rives enlisted May 14, 1861 as a  private of Company "G"

(also called Co. "B") Eighth Tennessee Infantry C. S. A. (which formed a part of the first consolidated Tennessee Regiment C. S. A.) He engaged in the battles of Cheat Mountain, Port Royal, Corinth, Perryville, and Murfreesboro. Assigned to post duty because of defective eyes. Was captured August 20. 1864 near Jonesboro, Ga., and was paroled February 12, 1865 at Camp Chase, Ohio, and also was paroled at Macon, Ga., April 30, 1865.

William Hugh Watkins, her son, graduated from Texas Technological College in Lubbock, Texas. He is employed as a City mail Carrier. Lives with his mother at the above address.

(2) Knox, born Nov. 9, 1870; married Sept. 20, 1897, Caddie Yates; died without issue Oct. 17, 1914.

(3) Carl, born March 8, 1873; died July 27, 1874.

(4) JESSIE, born May 26, 1876; married Nov. 10, 1901, Robert A. Holland; last address 5011 Dakota Avenue, Nashville, Tenn. Issue:

(1) Robbie Lynn, born Aug. 22, 1902, married Lacy Pigg, Fayetteville, Tenn., Sept. 8, 1927. Issue: (1) John Robert, born Aug. 1, 1928. Served in the Korean conflict. Married Shirley Jobe. Issue: (1) Sharon, born April 17, 1956. (2) Joseph, born Nov. 21, 1932-in the U. S. Air Force.

(2) Mildred, born Dec. 13, 1903, married Oscar Edmondson, July 27, 1929. Issue: (1) Joanne, born Jan. 10 ,1933. Graduate of David Lipscomb College and is a teacher at D.L.C. in the High School Department. (2) Thomas, born July 14, 1939. Student in High School.

(3) Edwina, born April 21, 1906, married Arch Lyle, June 22, 1943. No children.

(4) Hilda, born April 3, 1909, married Dudley Booth, April 8, 1933. Issue: (1) David Booth, born June 3, 1937. Junior at Vanderbilt University. (2) Emily Booth, born June 22, 1940.

(5) Annie Laura, born May 31, 1911. Died in in- fancy.

(6) Jeanette, born Oct. 9, 1914, married W. E. Nicks, June 9, 1939. Issue: (1) Larry, born Dec. 19, 1940. In High School of David Lipscomb College. (2) Richard, born June 29, 1943. Freshman in David Lipscomb College. (3) Nann, born May 17, 1951.

(7) Jessie Boyd Holland, born May 1, 1917, married March 10, 1934 to Paul Christopher, Jr., live in Seattle, Washington. Issue: (1) Albert Christopher, born Dec. 17, 1934. Served 3 years in U. S. Army. (2) Paul, III, born March 29, 1939. In high school.

(5) Faye, born Nov. 7, 1877; married April 21, 1907, Rufus C. Masengale, deceased. Last address 2832 East Admiral Court, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Issue I, Nell Rives, born May 10, 1908. II, Thomas Milton, born Nov. 30, 1911. Married Catherine Lafoon, July 1947, Issue: Kathy Ann, born Aug. 11, 1948. Resides at 4116 Albans Road, Houston 5, Texas. III, Rufus C., Jr., born Dec. 23, 1914, d.s.p.

(6) Dollie, born April 11, 1880; last address, 5011 Dakota Ave., Nashville, Tenn. Was helpful in getting this family history.

(7) Harry W., born Dec. 4, 1883; was a salesman and resided with his sister Dolly. He is now deceased.

*Martha Dandridge (Stone) Rives who died March. 1844, was descended from the ancient Dandridge family of Virginia, to which tbe wife of George Washington belonged.
**Bright, "Pioneers of Lincoln County."  


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