George Webster Reeves

(January 28, 1863 — 1916)

Allie Elizabeth Price

(June 17, 1865 — June 3, 1924)

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George Webster Reeves

On January 28, 1863, the Civil War was raging. The Eighth Kentucky Calvary, organized in part in Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky, joined battle that day in Nashville, Tennessee. Back home in Warren County, George Webster Reeves was born.

Less than a month before, President Abraham Lincoln has issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all the slaves in the confederate territories. Kentucky was one of four states that proclaimed themselves as neutral in the war. That meant little except that Kentucky was a battleground and that everyone knew people fighting on both sides of the dispute. Bowling Green, the county seat of Warren County, had been the confederate capitol of Kentucky during the early years of the war.

His future wife, Allie Elizabeth Price, was born a little over two years later, on June 17, 1865, two months after Lincoln was assassinated and as the war was winding down. She was born to a Christian Church minister in Shelby County, Kentucky, a little east of Louisville, a little over a hundred miles away.

Webb grew up on his father’s farm in the Greencastle area of northern Warren County. There is no indication when Allie moved to the area.

Webb Reeves wrote a letter to Allie before they married that Allie saved. It was dated October 8th (year unknown) and was mailed from Greencastle, Warren County, Kentucky. Allie apparently was leaving home soon to attend school. Webb was suffering anxiety and conflict over her impending departure. The letter demonstrated both the formality and the creative spelling of the era. It was addressed to Miss Allie S. Price and began,

My Dear Friend, your kind letter was received in dew time. I was truley glad to get your letter.

The pleasantries having been expressed, Webb turned quickly to his concerns about her impending absence:

You said that my letter does you so much good. I know that you was not as glad to get my letter as I was to get your good letter. Miss Allie I told you that the happiest moments that I ever spent was with you a you said that I did not mean that. Oh yes I do if I did not mean it I would not tell you that I hope that you will believe me you said I would be glad when you are gone. Oh Miss Allie why do you think that.

I will be so lonely when you start to school I rather you would not go. You will be so far away and I will not get to see you but I want to see you be for you start to school. Oh when the time comes for us to part what will be my feelings. I can not tell when I see you start down the river to return no more for along time. I said that may be the last time that I ever will get to see you.

He apparently enclosed a photograph:

I went to Bowling Green and had that ugly picture taken but it will be so ugly I am ashame for you to see it. It will be down on the boat Oct the 13, but I know that you don't want it.

And then there was the matter of a competing suitor:

You said that you want a letter from Mr. E.E. Taylor. I am all most ashame to write to you since you received a letter from him. He can write so well and I can not and I guess you had rather get all a letter from him than to get one from me.

Having expressed his concerns about his competition, Webb made it clear his loyalties were undivided when he closed his letter by saying:

I love you better than I do any one. Please remember this.

After expressing these warm feelings, he returned to formality when he signed his letter as “your true and loving friend, G. W. Reeves.”

Either Allie wound up not going away, or their relationship survived the separation, for they married on December 15, 1884 in Warren County. Webb was then twenty-one and Allie nineteen. Their marriage lasted for thirty-two years, until Webb’s death. By that time, the Reeves family consisted of eight children: Ethel, Hubert, Yandel, Eula, Doile (D.D.), Bruce, Bertie and Ray.

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Webb Reeves home and family. He is sitting at the left center of picture.

In a conversation on July, 1975, Doile Dennis Reeves, talking about the Reeves family, spoke of Webb—his father. He said that Webb worked on his own farm for a number of years, employing a couple of dozen pickers each year when his strawberries ripened. A packet of postcards was sold at the time in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which had a picture of Webb and his pickers in a strawberry patch at harvest time. There is a picture of Webb, Doile, two of Doile’s sisters and others in the strawberry patch.

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Doile related how they laid out the strawberry rows with plows pulled by mule. He was proud that he could plow in a straight line. The trick, he said, was to keep your eyes focused on the end of the field, where you wanted the row to go, rather than on the ground in front of you. By doing that, you would plow straight.


The L&N Railroad bought land and constructed the block-long loading station shown above to load strawberries.  It was located along the railroad tracks between Tenth and Eleventh Streets.  The sheds allowed farmers to bring strawberries to both sides of the sheds and unload onto the platform and then quickly into the refrigerator cars.

As a farmer, Webb needed land. During his life, he bought and sold several tracts, all farmland. He sold two of these farms to his son-in-law, John Runner. He both bought land from, and sold land to, Obediah Milam. And he sold land in ____ to the Ayer & Lord Tie Co.

In 1901, he bought a small farm from Jo and Melissie Rone. The original of this deed was included in the Doile’s papers. It was dated October 17, 1901 and transferred ownership of 25 acres of land near Green River and Barren River. Webb paid $200 for the land, $125 down the remainder through a promissory note.

Click on the above thumbnails images to see the larger ones.

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Allie Elizabeth Price and George Webster Reeves

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Sarah Price (left), George Webster Reeves
and Allie Elizabeth Price

A promissory note with the papers of Doile Dennis Reeves dated January 9, 1909, show that G.W. Reeves, along with Jas C. Beals and James H. Reeves (another son-in-law), committed themselves to paying $190 to J.H. Alexander within 6 months, with interest at 6%. Their payments were noted on the reverse side of the note.

A promissory note with the papers of Doile Dennis Reeves dated January 9, 1909, show that G.W. Reeves, along with Jas C. Beals and James H. Reeves (another son-in-law), committed themselves to paying $190 to J.H. Alexander within 6 months, with interest at 6%. Their payments were noted on the reverse side of the note.A promissory note with the papers of Doile Dennis Reeves dated January 9, 1909, show that G.W. Reeves, along with Jas C. Beals and James H. Reeves (another son-in-law), committed themselves to paying $190 to J.H. Alexander within 6 months, with interest at 6%. Their payments were noted on the reverse side of the note.[1]

According to Doile, in 1916, at the age of fifty-three, Webb came from northern Warren County into Bowling Green to begin working on the L&N Railroad. While working there, he drank some contaminated water from a well and contracted typhoid fever. He died soon thereafter. He is buried in the Fairview Cemetery in Bowling Green.

His will[2] says:

I, G.W. Reeves, of Warren County, State of Ky., make and declare the following to be my last will and testament, revoking all other wills made by me (if any), to-wit: After my death, I direct that all my debts, including funeral expenses, be paid as soon as practicable and the remainder of my property, both real, personal and mixed, I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife, Allie L. Reeves, for own use, comfort and support for and during her life or widowhood, and if she should remarry, then and in that event, I give and bequeath to her one third (1/3) of any said estate for any during her life and the remainder of my estate after the death of my said wife or her marriage shall descend to my legal heirs as the present laws of the State of Ky. direct.

I name and appoint my said wife as the executrix of this my last will and request that she shall not be required to give surety on any bond now required by law. In testimony whereof, I hereunto subscribe my name in the presence of C.V. Phelps and Chas. Drake, who are request to witness the same, this July 2nd., 1915.

Chas. Drake. G.W. Reeves.

C.V. Phelps.

State of Kentucky, Sct.

Warren County Court. August Term, 1916.

The foregoing will of G.W. Reeves was this day produced in open Court and offered for probate and proved by the oaths of Chas. Drake and C.V. Phelps, subscribing witnesses, and ordered to be recorded, which is done.

Given under my hand, this 28 day of August, 1916.

E.C. Smith, Clerk.[3]

Though the Reeves family was diminished by Webb’s death, Allie carried on. In 1922, Allie and her children signed a deed to Eugene Miller covering 50 acres on Barren River in Warren County, Kentucky.[4] Thaddus Ray Reeves was only fifteen when his father died. As a minor, he was unable legally to handle his own share of his inheritance. Papers filed in the Warren County Clerk’s office showed that his mother was appointed to handle his funds until he reached adulthood.[5]

They also signed another deed that same year, to Alfred McNall, covering seventy-five acres on the north side of the Barren River. A copy is below.

Click on the above thumbnails images to see the larger ones.

Once the land was sold, Allie used part of the proceeds a year later to buy a car in her name, a 1921 Model T Ford 5-passenger touring car.[6]

Unfortunately, she did not have long to enjoy her new car. A year after buying it, she died of a stroke.[7] A newspaper clipping reporting her death reads as follows:

Mrs. Allie E. Reeves - Special to the Courier-Journal. Bowling Green, Ky., June 4 - Mrs Allie Elizabeth Reeves, 59 years old, widow of G. Webb Reeves, died last night. She is survived by her mother, Mrs. Sarah Reeves, and eight children.[8]

There was, in the papers of Doile Dennis Reeves, a statement from John M. Gerard, Dr., Funeral Director and Embalmer" dated October 27, 1925, for the funeral services for "Mrs. Allie Reeves Estate." The total bill was $220. Of that amount, $60 was paid immediately and additional payments totaling $50 had been received. The outstanding balance was $110.[9]

Reeves, George Webster 011 Oil Rig on Webb Reeves' farm Wife on right and daughter Eula next

The above pictures is of an oil well on the George Webster Reeves farm in northern Warren County, Kentucky.  Allie Elizabeth Price stands on the right.  Oil had been discovered in commercial levels in adjacent Allen County and, in 1919, the discovery spread to Warren County.  At the height of the oil boom, as many as 250 rigs and three refineries operated in the county.