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Isham Reavis-Multiple

A SHOCKING STORY, ISHAM T REAVIS KILLED IN DUEL AUG 12, 1861..taken from The Greenville Advocate, Greenville, Illinois

On Monday afternoon, the 12th, a quarrel occurred in the street south of the public square between two citizens of the town, Isham T. Reavis and John P. Shields, which resulted in the former being fatally stabbed, followed by his immediate death.

The cause of the difficulty is not known. It appears from what took place between them that a previous misunderstanding had existed by its nature, or when it took place has not been ascertained..

The tragedy was witnessed by several persons, the street being thronged at the time by the Calvary Volunteers and Citizens generally, but as usual in such cases, the eyewitnesses do not entirely agree to the details. They generally agree, however, in regard to the following particulars; Shields had been drinking deeply and was much under the influence of liquor. They met in the street and passed a few sharp words after which Shields walked a short distance. Reavis was soon heard to call Shields a liar, when the same compliment was returned by the latter. This was followed by a blow from Reavis which knocked Shields down. He immediately sprang to his feet and darted at Reavis with a cane in his hand. Reavis had a heavy cane in his hand and immediately put himself in an attitide to strike with it, but about the same time stumbled or stepped backward against a buggy nearby.** The cane in Shields' hand had a dagger in it about eleven inches long, which became unsheathed in a manner not known to witnesses; some think Reavis catching the cane and pulling it off, others think by Shields himself. With this dagger Shields struck two blows. When the first blow was struck they both went down together, after Reavis struck three blows on the head of Shields with his heavy cane and as about the thrid blow was given, Shields made the second thrust with the dagger, which penetrated the left side near the heart. At this time the parties were separated by persons surrounding them. Shields was led away bleeding profusely from wounds on the head, Reavis fell back gasping in the agonies of death, and expired very soon. He was carried into Esq. Phelp's office where a coroner's inquest was held over the body, and a verdict rendered in accordance with the facts. The corpse was taken charge of by his relatives and buried on Tuesday afternoon. The first blow struck by Shields went through one of the lower ribs on the left side. This is the first instance we believe of one person being killed in Greenville by another, and it is hoped it will also be the last.

It is truly a lamentable affair and heart-rendering to the relatives and friends of both parties. Shields has been bound for his appearance at court in bond of fifteen hundred dollars.

ISHAM REAVIS-3 1748-1829


Indenture records for Isham Reavis

Patience Nov 1809, Lucy Nov 1809, Ginger Nov 1809 Thomas Dec 1810


Know all men by these presents, that I, Isham Reavis of Saline County, in the state of Missouri, do by these presents, for and in consideration the hitherto faithful servitude of my servant woman, Patience, about the age of 36 years, and for the further consideration of the sum of sixty dollars to me in hand paid, in receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, have this day liberated, emancipated and set free and at liberty the said Negro woman, Patience, and her young child, named Elizabeth Jane about 18 months old, and also all her future increase; and the said woman and child are hereby set free and emancipated from myself and my heirs; and from all persons claiming title to them under me. In testimoney whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal, this 15th day of December, 1827. s/Isham Reavis-witnesses: Jas. Stevens, Wm. Gleason, Geo. Chapman

"HEAVENLY EVENT FREED A SLAVE", frm The Standard-Times by James J. Fisher, Boonville, Mo.

Like many slaves back in the early 1830's, the young black man belonging to the Isham Reavis estate had but a single name--"Sant". Sant, as it turned out, was a man who could "thank his lucky stars" and literally mean it. Sant's story, put down later by a newspaperman here named W.f. Switzler, began in 1816 when Reavis adn his family emigrated from Kentucky to Missouri. The moved slaves included Sant, then a child; his mother; and Sant's brothers and sisters. Their destination was the rich land of the so-called "Bourbon counties" along the Missouri River. Reavis was a prudent man. Halfway to Missouri he learned of Indian trouble in the territory. So he paused in Illinois. After six months, Reavis, his kin and his slaves resumed their trek, eventually settling in Saline County, where they lived and worked until the late 1820's. The the elder Reavis died. The slaves (Sant's mother had apparently died by then) were parceled out like any other property. Sant went to one of the sons. But an odd think happened. In those years, well before the Civil War, there were those who preached abolition. It was mostly furtive, useless talk. Missouri was a slave state. But among the Reavis blacks, abolitionists found something more slaves who weren't slaves any longer. Because of their six months' residence in Illinois--a free state the Reavis chattels were technically free. What to do" Sant somehow--perhaps the abolitionists helped--found a lawyer named Peyton Hayden. Sant sued for his freedom. It was a big case. The Reavis family hired its own defense counsels, including Austin A. King, lateral governor of Missouri and Abiel Leonard, who would distinguish himself as a judge of the State Supreme Court. The trial was held in columbia in 1833. Judge David Todd presided. "In spite of bitter prejudice," wrote Switzler, "the Negro received a fair trial". In its verdict, the court freed Sant, saying the time in Illinois had made him free and there was nothing Missouri could do about it. Not unexpectedly, some found the verdict wanting. A plot was hatched to seize Sant and "run the Negro south," meaning return him to bondage. Ned Camplin, a slaver,paid $1,200 for the young man. Thereupon Sant was seized, tied hand and foot, and whisked to a landing to catch the next steamboat heading for St. Louis and points south. Sant and his guards waited until the small hours of the morning. Then, as the steamboat pulled abreast, the sky lighted up. It was a meteor shower. "Terror struck every hear," wrote Switzler. "The white men were good farmers but their astronomical teaching had been neglected. They believed Judgement Day had come aas they were engaged in the questionable business of "running south" a miserable Negro whom the courts had declared free." The guilt worked. Sant was freed from his bonds. He headed one way, his captors another. Those who had let Sant go were soon the laughingstock of the community. Strong men scared by some falling stars? Sant? He headed down the Santa Fe Trail, eventually becoming a successful freighter and a well-to-do new Mexican. His brothers and sisters weren't so lucky. Within days of Sant's dash to freedom, and before any court could act, they were "run south."


Hon. Isham Reavis (x/o Isham-5, Chas-4, Isham-3) of Reavis & Saxon, Attorney-at-Law, was born in Cass County, Ill., January 28, 1836. He entered the Academy at Virginia, Cass County, but on account of the death of his mother, was obliged to leave in 1855, before graduating, Ib August, 1855, commenced reading law in Beardstown, under the supervision of ABRAHAM LINCOLN, our late President, though not in his office, President Lincoln was an old friend of his father's, was admitted to the bar in 1857. In 1858 he removed to Nebraska, settled in Falls City and engaged in the practice of his profession. Was elected District Attorney in 1867, and in 1868, to the State Senate. In April, 1869, Judge Reavis was appointed by President GRANT, Associate Justice of Supreme Court of Territory of Arizona. In 1873 he resigned his position and returned to Falls City and resumed practice. He was married in Falls City, Nebraska, May 19, 1864, to Miss. Anna M. Dorrington, daughter of David Dorrington, Esq. They have four children: David D., C. Frank and Burton (and Annie). Judge R. is a member of the State Bar Association, and of Falls City Lodge #9 AF& AM.


Excerpts from St Louis Post-Dispatch by Christine Bertelson

For the last 40 years, she, a retired French teacher, has on Flora Place with the American soldier she met in a cafe in Poland during World War II.

She was born a countess in a 15th centruy castle in the village of Lesko, Poland. Bisha, as her friends call her, was the younget of seven children of Count August and Countess Isabella Krasicki.

She studied music, art, languages and literature with private turors. Servants polished the crystal and china, dusted the portraits of ancestral poets adn statesman, cooker her mals and tended the gardens.

The idyll of childhood came to an abrupt end in 1939, when war swept across Europe. One evening, German tanks and artillery appeared in the castle courtyard. Hitler's army, advancing fromthe west, commandeered her father's two automobiles (the only two in the village), took every horse in his stable and set up a gun emplacement.

The family scattered, setting eventually in Warsaw and Krakow. At 17, Bisha joined the Polish udnerground to fight the Germans who crushed Poland. Bisha and her brothers were conscripted into the Russian forces adn sent to the front to fight the Germans. She decided to desert. On her way back from the front, she met and married Isham Reavis.

Reavis was evacuated with other Allied troops in March of 1945. It would take Bisha another ten months to get out of Poland-lying on her belly on top of a box car frm Krakow to the Polish-Czech border; using forged papers to sneak past Russian border guards, working as a translator for the Third Army in Nuremburg; crossing the Atlantic in stormy winter seas on a Belgian cargo ship.

After teh war, the castle in Lesko and its surrounding landholding became property of the Polish communist government. The Krasicki family and its branches were banned from coming within 50 miles of Lesko. In the early 1050's the castle was turned over to a government-owned coal company, which used it as a hotel and resort for its employees.

In 1990, Reavis, her daughter and grandchildren went back to Lesko to visit. Her joy at being home was tempered by despair at the condition of some of the building and land. Most of her family's possessions were taken by the Germans or the communists, what remained is in a museum near Lesko.

Bisha and a sister, brother and uncle in Poland are pursuing a claim to the castle throught the country's byzantine legal system. It has been slow, costly and frustrating.

Bisha knows it would be difficult to maintain the castle as a private family residence. But the strength of the emotional tie will not permit her to abandon her claim.