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Two Men Named Caleb Reed

The name Caleb occurs often in my Reed family. One must be careful not to confuse them in the genealogical record. Several such men who lived in Kentucky and Indiana during the early 1800s appear as one in the online record and need to be separated into their individual identities.

Caleb C. Reed

  1. He was born, say, 1788 although the 1820 U.S. census for Shelby County, Kentucky gives his age as over 45 (born by 1775, or prior to his parents’ marriage). The 1810 census includes a male 16-26 (born 1784-94) in his father’s household. A new 16-year-old male appeared in the father’s household in 1804 (born 1788).
  2. He married Prudence Kirkham at Harrison County, Indiana on March 18, 1812. The families were close because two of Prudence’s siblings also married two of Caleb’s. The Kirkhams had relocated to Indiana by 1812 while the Reeds remained in Kentucky. Caleb C. Reed was about 24 years old at the time of this marriage, and he took his bride back to Kentucky.
  3. Caleb C. Reed purchased land with his brothers Thomas and John in Shelby County, Kentucky in 1817.
  4. Caleb C. Reed passed away before 1829. In January of that year, his infant heirs Milbourne, Mildred, Claybourne, Sarah, Shelbourne, and Seybourne received title to their share of the land Caleb C. had owned with Thomas and John Reed.
  5. No burial place for Caleb C. Reed has been found. He was likely buried on family land in Kentucky with the location now lost.

Caleb S. Reed

  1. Caleb S. Reed, born in Harrison County, Indiana in 1793, the same year as Prudence Kirkham Reed, died in 1866. He is buried in the same Indiana cemetery as Prudence Kirkham Reed. They are linked as a married couple on the Find A Grave site. Yet we know Prudence was the widow of Caleb C. long before Caleb S. Reed’s death in 1866.
  2. The cemetery marker for Caleb S. Reed is weathered, but one reader thinks it tells that Caleb S. Reed was about 19 when he died (born abt. 1846, long after the Kirkham-Reed marriage in 1812).
  3. Caleb S. Reed is also linked on the site as the sibling of John Reed. Kentucky records naming both Caleb and John always give Caleb’s middle initial as C., not S.
  4. Find A Grave links the children of Caleb C. Reed, named in his 1829 estate papers, to Caleb S. Reed who died in 1866.

None of the contributed information on the Find A Grave memorial for Caleb S. Reed makes sense. It seems clear to me that the Caleb buried in Indiana in 1866 cannot be the same man who died in Kentucky about 1828. I believe Find A Grave has Prudence Kirkham Reed linked to the wrong husband. I cannot fix this because I do not manage the memorials for Prudence and Caleb S. Reed.

These records were conflated on the Family Search tree, too, but I believe I have managed to untangle them there.

One must be so cautious when a family regularly uses the same forename for its sons. People who have similar information are not necessarily the same person. Two different men deserve their own identities.

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