Thursday, August 20, 2009

Do you know Delphia Ophelia Reed?

This week I have been communicating with several descendants of Delphia Ophelia Reed. She married James Jefferson Nevils in Barnwell County. According to her tombstone, she died October 26, 1882, and is buried in the Nevils Cemetery. (Click here for a link to that cemetery.)

One of these contacts wrote to me saying that he had seen somewhere the assertion that Delphia Ophelia’s parents were Samuel and Elizabeth Boylston Reed. He said he had been unable to find any documentation supporting that and asked if I had any. That set me to searching ... and searching ... and I ultimately came up with … zero.

A quick check again this morning found 28 trees on with the name “Delphia Ophelia Reed.” Of those 28 trees, nine have Samuel and Elizabeth Boylston Reed listed as Delphia’s parents. None of these trees show a source for this detail.

What I did find was information that leads me to believe Samuel & Elizabeth Boylston Reed were NOT her parents. (You all know that I keep saying it pays to verify, verify, verify; sometimes I need to be reminded of that myself!)

In Elizabeth Boylston Reed's will, she does not name a Delphia or an Ophelia. (See this will below and click to enlarge, or click here to see it at the SCDAH website). Elizabeth does name her daughters Mary and Ann Alice and makes reference to Georgianna, a daughter who predeceased her who had married W. W. Culler. (This image came from the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and is used with permission.)

I checked trees done by two of my Reed 5th cousins whose (extensive) research I trust highly, and they do not have her listed, either.

I have a copy of the Reed section in the Manning Files (which I never take as primary info); she is not listed there as Samuel & Elizabeth's daughter.

Of course, I employed one of our most powerful genealogical research tools: Extensive Googling found no documentation as to her parentage.

At this point, I am led to conclude that Delphia Ophelia was not a daughter of Samuel Reed and Elizabeth Boylston. However, I am not saying that evidence won't turn up proving that she is.

Do you have any primary evidence of who Delphia Ophelia Reed’s parents were? Please let us know by leaving a comment to this post or e-mailing me at

EDITED March 10, 2011 TO ADD:  According to "North and South Carolina Marriage Records" (compiled and edited by William Montgomery Clemens, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD, 1927, p. 231), Samuel Reed and Elizabeth "Boilston" were married on 31 Dec 1823 in Barnwell District, SC.  

Recently I have found that a William O. Reed born in 1815 is also listed often as a son of Samuel and Elizabeth Boylston Reed.  To my knowledge, Samuel and Elizabeth did not have a son named William or a daughter named Delphia Ophelia. 

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