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Treasure in the Court Order Books

My ancestor Thomas Reed (1783-1852) lived in Shelby County, Kentucky during his younger years. As I research his life there, I have been working my way through all the online county records available on the Family Search website. Shelby County Court Order books for the early 1800s are found there.

I began with 1804, the first book on the list. So far, I have not found Thomas Reed mentioned, but I have seen records of his father and his brother, both named Caleb Reed.

Many of the court orders are road entries. They tell us who was appointed to oversee the roads and the names of the landowners alongside whose property the roads pass. These are of little interest except to verify that a man resided at that place during that time.

Other court records offer more insight into a citizen’s life. I found some interesting information about Caleb Reed (1756-abt. 1832):

  1. Caleb served as Executor for a woman named Sarah White in 1806. I do not know who she was or how she was related to Caleb, but I believe she must have been a family member. Others mentioned in the record include Absalom Carr (Caleb’s wife at the time was a Carr), and Peter Van Dyke (Caleb later married Van Dyke’s widow). The Reeds, Whites, and Carrs had all migrated from Fayette County, Pennsylvania.
  2. Caleb and his son Caleb (abt. 1788-abt. 1828) both served as witnesses in an 1806 trial. The defendant Jeremiah Webb stood accused of felony stealing of corn. I do not know how the Reeds were connected to Webb.

Family Search does not have an online index to these Court Order Books. One must read them, page by page. It takes a long time.

The entries I have found about the Reeds so far will make it worth the time spent. The stories will add interesting color to my character sketches for these ancestors, and they provide clues for further research.

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