Benjamin H. Reeves Correspondence,1812-1846

Descriptive Summary

Title
Benjamin H. Reeves Correspondence,1812-1846
Creator
Reeves, Benjamin H.
Extent
3 items
Subjects
Reeves, Benjamin H.--Archives
Farmers--Kentucky--Franklin County
Legislators--Kentucky
United States--History--War of 1812
Slavery--Kentucky
Abolitionists--Ohio
Medicine--Practice--Kentucky--19th century
Finding Aid Author
Staff
Repository
Kentucky Historical Society

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Reeves served in the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1815, 1816, and 1817, representing Christian County. He then moved to Missouri where he served as state auditor, state senator, and lieutenant governor successively. He resigned the lieutenant governorship. Reeves was named a commissioner to mark the Santa Fe Trail in 1825 and returned to the Missouri Senate in the 1830s. In the late 1830s, Reeves moved back to Kentucky to farm.
Scope and Content
This collection contains correspondence of B.H. [Benjamin H. Reeves, who served in the Kentucky General Assembly, as Missouri lieutenant governor, and as a Missouri state legislator and official.
The earliest of the three letters in this collection was written to Reeves when he was in the Kentucky General Assembly. The letter was written to Reeves, identifying him as a captain, December 30, 1812, by Maxwell Sharp in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Sharp's letter concerned the return of a company of soldiers in an army commanded by General Samuel Hopkins from battle in the War of 1812. Sharp reported the loss of eighteen or twenty men from the company. The remainder of the letter discussed politics.
The second letter, dated January 9, 1839, was written by Reeves in Frankfort to Abiel Leonard, of Fayette, Missouri. Leonard was the husband of Reeves' daughter. The letter was delivered by a "Mr. Hughes," who was Leonard's neighbor. The letter concerned Reeves' efforts to purchase an African-American woman slave "such as I thought would suit you." Reeves wrote the price of a woman slave of high quality, aged eighteen to twenty-five, ranged from $800 to $1000. "Ordinary" females of the same age were priced from $600 to $800. Reeves also described the discord between Kentucky and Ohio citizens over the issue of fugitive slaves. Reeves reported that it was alleged that abolitionists enticed slaves to cross the Ohio River and provided them with money and transportation for flight to Canada. Reeves repeated a current claim that an unnamed Kentucky county located on the river had lost "some twenty thousand dollars worth of slaves," and referred to a legal case, the Mahan case, then being investigated.
Reeves noted that resolutions were offered in the current session of the Kentucky legislature to send commissioners to Ohio to negotiate and urge passage of laws in Ohio to restrain citizens of that state from "interfering with the rights of their neighbors." Reeves wrote of his worries for the fate of the Union in reference to this issue.
The third letter, dated August 22, 1846, was also written by Reeves to Leonard, who is not named in the letter. It described his departure from Leonard's home, where he had visited his daughter and son-in-law, to Rocheport, Missouri, where he waited three days for a boat for St. Louis. Reeves finally took a stagecoach to St. Louis where he boarded a riverboat for his home in Frankfort. Reeves fell seriously ill on the journey and related details of the illness and his treatment by an unidentified Louisville physician who was also a passenger on Reeves' boat. Reeves mentioned stops in Smithland and Clarksville [Indiana?]. Reeves stated he was recovering and described weather conditions at his home. A sheet separated from the letter bearing Leonard's address and unrelated scribbled notes is also present.
A letter pertaining to the provenance of this collection and Reeves' career is also present.
Arrangement: Chronological
Creator's occupation: Kentucky legislator, Missouri lieutenant governor, Missouri legislator.
County: Franklin; Warren; Livingston.