Submitted by James G. Faulconer
One of the early families of Madison County, Kentucky, is that of the Reyburns. The name is spelled in many different ways, but I am choosing the one that seemed more common in the early days.
The Reyburn family has been researched by several persons. We have seen the work of Parke Jones and John T. Roberts, descendants of Henry Rayburn. Earle H. Morris and John T. Roberts wrote more about the descendants of Edward Reaburn. No doubt there are others also who have made attempts to make family conncections. The task is not easy for the records are quite limited. What follows here is an effort to trace one line of the family.
The first Reyburn of this line thus far identified is Joseph Reyburn, born about 1682 in Waser, Staffordshire, England. He migrated to this country, first to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on August 27, 1698. He was listed as a “shoemaker apprenticed to Bryan Blundell for Virginia - 5 years, emigrant from Liverpool.” (Passengers to America, Michael Tepper, p. 176) Sometime after his apprenticeship ended in 1703, he settled on Moffett’s Creek in Augusta County, Virginia. This is where he lived and died. Some say that Joseph’s wife was Margaret Courtney, but thus far I have not seen the evidence.
It is generally accepted that one of the children of Joseph and Margaret was James Reyburn. He was born between 1705 and 1710, possibly in Lancaster County, and came to Virginia with his parents. On March 21, 1753, Alexander Gibson sold 79 1/2 acres on Moffett’s Creek, of Cathey’s River, to James Reyburn (Deed Book 5, p. 122) On March 24, 1755, “Joseph Reburn” and “James Reburn” were involved in the settling of the estate of John Nichel. (Will Book 5, p. 265) James’ wife was Elizabeth, last name unknown, and they lived on their farm on Moffett’s Creek. We do not know when they died, for we have not found records regarding the settling of their estate. Likewise, we do not know their heirs for sure. Here are possibilities:
1. Edward Reyburn. Earle H. Morris and John T. Roberts speculate that Edward was the son of Joseph. Possibly so. However, we hypothesize that Edward was born about 1728, married before 1747, and died by May 17, 1754, for on that date his widow, Margaret, posted bond as Administratrix of Edward Reburn. (W.B. 2, p. 45) In 1756 the court orders noted that she had married Robert McMahan. Then, on August 16, 1758, Margaret Reyburn, widow and administrix of her deceased husband, was summonded to court to show cause why her children shall not be bound out. The record again noted that she married Robert McMahon. (Court Order Book)
A known son of Edward and Margaret Reyburn was Henry Reyburn. On April 20, 1763, James Reyburn complained that William McMullen “does not provide clothes nor teach trade to his apprentice, Henry Reyburn.” (COB) Then on June 25, 1763, James Reyburn again complained to the court about William McMullen “ill using his apprentice, Henry Reyburn.” The complaint was dismissed as frivolous. At the same time, however, Henry Reyburn, aged 16, orphan of Edward Reyburn, chose James Reyburn as his guardian. (COB) Then, James Reyburn posted bond, with John Nickel, as guardian (chosen) to Henry Reyburn, orphan of Edward Reyburn. (WB 3, p. 274)
On October 21, 1765, Robert McMahon and Margaret sold 300 acres to Hugh Doneghe on a draft of North River of the Shenado. Among the witnesses was John Reyburn. (DB 12, p. 493)
2. Henry Reburn, possible son of James and Elizabeth, was born about 1730 in Augusta County. On May 21, 1757, he took part in the settling of an estate for Bryan McDonald. (WB 2, 195) On November 18, 1760, Henry Reyburn bought 100 acres from George Crawford. This was land previously patented to Josh Hickman on April 5, 1748, and was on “North River Shenadore, below the fork.” (DB 9, p. 39)
This may have been the same Henry Reyburn involved in a land transfer in Augusta County on October 16, 1773. William and Ann Christal transferred 320 acres of land on Jennings Creek to Henry and Margaret Reyburn and Charles and Jean Harris. This was land that William Christal had patented. Then the Reyburns and Harrises conveyed the land to James Campbell. However, a “privy examination” was made of Margaret, wife of Henry Reaburn, and Jean, wife of Charles Harris. (DB 20, p. 199-202) We assume that Margaret and Jean were daughters of William Christal, and needed to give their per- mission to sell. This assumption is supported by a Circuit Court entry in march 1774: “Thomas Madison vs. Henry Reaburn - Petition Writ dated 22 Sept 1773. Defendant is son-in-law to William Christal, and now lives in Botetourt. (Wife Ann)” (Abstract from Chalkley, Vol. I)
A Henry Reyburn died in Montgomery County in 1792, and the appraisal of his estate was returned on June 29. We wonder if this was the same Henry Reyburn.
3. Joseph Reyburn was born about 1732 in Augusta County. He married Margaret (Woods?) about 1753. On November 19, 1760, James and Elizabeth Reyburn deeded over to “son Joseph Reyburn” 93 acres on Moffett’s Branch of Middle River, part of 130 acres of land, also a small part of a Virginia survey of -- acres on which said James now lives. (DB9, p. 84) On December 29, 1770, Joseph and Margaret Reyburn sold 100 acres to William Robertson. (DB 17, p. 256) On February 1, 1781, a patent was granted Joseph Reyburn of Botetourt for land on a branch of Mossy Creek, called Pudding Spring. Joseph and Joseph Jr. appeared on the Botetourt Tax List of 1785. Joseph Sr. died about 1807 in Montgomery County, Virginia. Here are their known or suspected children:
A. Joseph Reyburn, Jr., was born in 1755 in Augusta County. He married (1) Frances Wallace in 1779 in Montgomery County, and (2) Catherine Bryan about 1821 in Washington County, Missouri. On August 31, 1782, Joseph Raeburn of Capt. Henry Watterson’s Company was considered to be in the 18th district. (Rev. War Records in theFincastle Courthouse) He died on March 15, 1838, in Caldonia, Washington County. Their children were Virginia Jane “Jenny,” Margaret “Peggy,” James, John, Joseph Nicholas, Agnes Woods, Samuel Wallace, Mary and Elizabeth.
B. James Reyburn was born about 1756. He married (Frances Wallace about 1775, and (2) Nancy Woods Shanklin on February 29, 1792, in Montgomery County. On August 31, 1782, Ensign James Raeburn and John Raeburn of Capt. Barnett’s Company were to be considered as the 6th district. (Rev. War Records in Fincastle Courthouse) He was on the tax list for Botetourt County in 1785. The took his oath as “ensign” on March 13, 1787. In 1791 he was a deputy sheriff. Presumably the children are by his first wife: Jane “Jenny,” William Wallace, Margaret, James Jr., Mary Martha “Patsy,” and Rebecca.
C. Elizabeth Reyburn ws born about 1759. She married Robert King.
D. Thomas Reyburn was born on July 7, 1767, in Botetourt County. He married (1) Mary Woods in that county on May 13, 1789; and (2) Margaret Dryden on August 2, 1803, in Rockbridge County.
E. Margaret Reyburn was born about 1769. (IGI) She married Samuel Samuels on March 19, 1785, in Augusta County.
F. Nancy Reyburn was born about 1771. She married James Woods.
4. Robert Reyburn, possible son of James and Elizabeth, sold 380 acres to Hugh Donachy (Donaghe) on November 25, 1761. On November 21, 1768, the Court acted on the “committal of Robert McMahan upon the suspicion of murdering Robert Reburn. Recognizance as witnesses and signatures of Jean Reburn, John Reburn, Thomas McMahon, Robert Patterson, James O. Murray, Robert R. Craig.” (Chalkley) As seen above, Robert McMahan was the second husband of Margaret, whose first husband was Edward Reyburn.
5. John Reyburn, probable son of James and Elizabeth Reyburn, is of special interest to this study. He was born about 1734. (IGI says 1737) He appeared in the appraisal of an estate on May 19, 1755, so apparently he was an adult at that time. He got his marriage license in Augusta County on February 16, 1762; but unfortunately the bride’s name was not given. From other records we know her first name was Jean.
On August 19, 1766, John and Jean Reaborn sold 317 acres on Buffalo Draft, a branch of North River of Shenandoah, to Jacob Campbell. Henry Reaburn was a witness. (DB 12, p. 522)
During the Revolutionary War farmers and others sold supplies to the government and then put in claims for the items sold. On February 14, 1782, “John Rayburne” put in a claim for 375 pounds of beef for 3 pounds, six shillings and 8 pence. He put another claim in for 425 pounds of beef for 3-10-10. Other claims for “John Reaburn” were for 762 1/2 # beef for militia ord. agst. Indians; for 1 man & horse collecting beeves 2 days 8s; 1 quire paper for publick 3s; for 27 days service as issuing commissary Quarter Master 6-18; by sundries sold of publick property 10-10-10. Since these claims were made in Botetourt County, we assume that John and his family were living there at the time. Botetourt County was created from Augusta County in 1769. On August 31, 1782, John Raeburn was an ensign in Capt. Barnett’s Company, a part of the 6th district. (Rev. War Records, Fincastle Courthouse) John was on the Botetourt 1785 tax list, in Watterson’s District. Also, two daughters were married there in 1789.
John wrote his will in Augusta County on June 30, 1797. Here is a copy from Will Book 8, pp. 298-299: (some punctuation added for clarity)
In the name of God amen I John Reburn being weak in body but being sound in Mind and Memory this day I do ordain and appoint this my last will and testament. First I leave my soul to God who gave it and my body to the dust to be buried in a decent Christian manner. Secondly all my lawful debts to be paid. Thirdly I leave and bequeath to my daughter Isabella six shillings, and to my daughter Sarah I leave and bequeath six shillings, and to my son Robert I leave and bequeath the one half of all my land to him and his heirs forever, and to my daughter Margaret I leave and bequeath six shillings. Also I leave and bequeath to my daughter Isabella’s oldest son the one fourth part of the other half of my lands, and to my daughter Sarah’s oldest son I leave and bequeath one fourth part of the half of the aforesaid mentioned land, & to my son Robert’s son which has his leg cut off I leave and bequeath one other fourth part of the above mentioned one half of the land, and to my daughter Margaret’s oldest son I leave and bequeath the other fourth part of the one half of said lands to them and their heirs forever; but should my son Robert choose to keep the whole lands he is to pay sd. children the value of the one half of the whole lands and should he choose to do so then the whole lands is to be my son Robert & his heirs forever but should he not do so then my son Robert is to have the lower half of the lands next to Rankinses land and the children the upper half which is to be divided into four equal parts when they arrive at the age of twenty-one and should any of the above mentioned children die before they come of age the next oldest male child of said family is to have his part and if there be no male child of sd. family it is to be divided equally amongst the females of sd. family and their heirs forever. Also I leave and bequeath to Robert Campbell the one half of my moveable property. I also leave and bequeath to John Donaghe the other half of my moveable property to them and their heirs forever. I also do appoint and constitute my trusty friends Robert Campbell & John Donaghe my lawful executors of this my last will & testament. Given under my hand and seal this thirtyeth day of June one thousand seven hundred and Ninety seven.
Signed & Sealed
In Presence of John Reburn
Margaret (x) Donaghe
The will of John Reaburn, dec’d was produced by executors and recorded on February 20, 1798.
(Note: John and Margaret Reburn Donaghe, who witnessed the above will, were married in Botetourt County on February 18, 1785. James Reyburn signed their surety bond. Our subject, John Reyburn, had a son named Robert, possibly named for John’s brother. John’s wife was not mentioned in the will, so probably she had died by this time).
The heirs of John Reyburn had a dispute regarding the settling of the estate. This is fortunate for us, for it tells us more about the descendants. Consider these abstracts from Chalkley:
Reyburn & Frame vs Campbell--John, James, John Reburn Ready, Thomas Brooks and Robert Reburn, infants, and devisees, under the will of John Reburn, deceased. (September 1803)
Reed vs Walker--O.S. 258; N.S. 90--Bill, 26th March, 1812. Complainants are Robert Reed and James Reburn. Settlement of will in Augusta of John Reburn. Orator James, Oldest son of Isabella Reburn, is now of age; also is Robert, son of Robert Reburn, who had a leg cut off; also Thomas Brooks, oldest son of Margaret Brooks, late Reaburn; John Ready, eldest son of Sarah Ready, late Reaburn, is under age, now being about 19. John Walker, in 1798, bought interest of devisee Robert Reburn. Power of attorney by Thomas Brooks of Madison County, Ky., to Robert Reid. Is grandson of John Reaburn.
Here, then, are the children of John and Jean Reyburn:
1. Mary Reyburn was not listed in the will, but is listed in the marriage records of Botetourt County as a daughter of John. She married Samuel Shanklin on July 14, 1789.
2. Margaret Reyburn was born on April 30, 1767. She married on October 20, 1789, in Botetourt County. More later.
3. Isabella Reyburn may have married another Reyburn, or had a child without benefit of marriage, for her son was named James Reyburn. (See court record above).
4. Sarah Reyburn married Patrick Ready in Augusta County on November 18, 1791. Her first son, John Reburn Ready, was born in 1793. (See court record above)
5. Robert Reyburn settled in Madison County, Kentucky, by 1789, when he appears on the tax list there. On August 29, 1798, he witnessed the will of Nathaniel Tevis, Sr. (Proved on October 2, 1798) From this it is assumed but not proved that Robert’s wife was Susanna Tevis, daughter of Nathaniel Tevis, Sr.
Robert was listed in the 1800 census. He wrote his will on December 27, 1805; and it was proved on July 6, 1806. (WB A, p. 331) The will mentioned his wife Susanna; children John, William, Polly, Elizabeth, Susanna, Peggy, Rebecca, and Mary; and his land in Augusta County Virginia. (Probably this was the land being contested in a suit) The wife Susanna was named Executor of the estate. Witnesses were Robert Tevis, William Blockined and John Bennett.
The suit noted above had not yet been resolved. The case was brought up again in Augusta County, and here is Chalkley’s abstract: (No date, but apparently after 1812)
Walker vs. Reburn’s executors--O.S.241; N.S. 65--John Walker of Augusta County, in 1798, bought land from Robert Reyburn of Kentucky, son of John Reyburn of Augusta. Robert Campbell set up claim and is dead, leaving heirs, viz: Hugh Campbell, James, John, Robert, William, Wilson, Stephen, Sally Campbell, Jane, wife of William Stephenson: Elizabeth, wife of Samuel Rochester. Robert Reyburn is also dead, leaving, viz: John, William, Robert, James, Polly, Betsy, Susan, Rebecca and Sally Reyburn.
We notice a difference in some of the children’s names. Perhaps the communication between Kentucky and Virginia caused the confusion. We trust the Robert’s will more than the lawsuit in Virginia.
Susannah Reyburn remarried on march 24, 1814, this time to Jesse Winburn. The marriage bond indicates it was the second marriage for both.
Here, then, are the children of Robert and Susanna Reyburn:
A. Robert Reyburn, Jr., the boy who had “his leg cut off,” apparently died before the father wrote his will.
B. John Reyburn was born in 1783. He married Nancy Bennett in Madison County on January 7, 1812. William Bennett was bondsman.
C. William Reyburn married Nancy Tevis on October 30, 1808. Thomas Tevis was bondsman. William later married Elizabeth Kerr. William died about October 20, 1818.
D. Mary “Polly” Reyburn was born on January 11, 1789. She married William Igo on December 24, 1805. Robert Reyburn signed as father of the bride, and John Raborn was bondsman. Later Polly married Pleasant Haggard. She died on August 24, 1854.
E. Elizabeth “Betsy” Reyburn married Jeremiah Powell on October 31, 1808. Susanna, mother of the bride, signed. Betsy apparently died a few years later, for Jeremiah married Nancy Brooks on October 19, 1819. Nancy was Betsy’s first cousin, daughter of Jonathan and Margaret Reyburn Brooks.
F. Susanna Reyburn.
G. Margaret “Peggy” Reyburn married George Hanline on December 18, 1817. William Rayburn, guardian, signed consent.
H. Rebecca Reyburn.
I. James Reyburn was born in 1800. He married Polly Spence on May 22, 1819. Jeremiah Powell was bondsman. Mabbikiah Spence signed as father of the bride. Susannah Winburn signed as mother of the groom.
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Margaret “Peggy” Reyburn, daughter of John and Jean Reyburn, was born on April 30, 1767, according to family records passed on to this writer. She married Jonathan Brooks in Botetourt County on October 20, 1789. Following her brother, they settled in Madison County, Kentucky, by 1796, for that is when they appear in the tax list. They had five children: Thomas, Jane “Jenny,” Nancy, Polly and Charlotte. This writer is a descendant of Jenny Brooks, who married William Brock of Clark County, Kentucky. (For more, see this writer’s work on the Brooks and Brocks).
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Compiled by James G. Faulconer, 5200 Oakbrooke Drive, Kettering, OH 45440, June 12, 2004. (JFaulconer@aol.com) My thanks to Nita and Jesse Raybourn of Newark, Delaware, for sharing their information on the family of Robert and Susanna Raybourn.