Reuben Belue—Another Patriot Found

25 May

I found a new cousin a few days ago. She read my post about John Wesley Belew and since she has Belue ancestors in her line she asked for more information and we’ve been untangling a little snarl in a branch of my tree.

Turns out we both descend from Renney Belue, Revolutionary War soldier, who lived in the area of Union, South Carolina. He’s my 6th great-grandfather. He was married to a woman named Ann who apparently left him during his illness at the end of his life. Here’s what he says about her in his will:

First I give and bequeath unto my wife Ann the sum of one dollar and whereas she has Eloped from me – and left me in my sickness and been gone some time and has formerly Trangressed in such like manner and has practised dealing Greatley to my loss and disadvantage & for other good causes me thereto moving. I do deny her being a wife to me and hereby debar her from any further claim to any part of my Estate as by Dower or Otherwise.

We don’t know if she was the mother of his children, or a second wife, but it appears she was not faithful to her husband. Renney wanted to be sure she didn’t receive any of his estate after his death.

Renney had nine children who are also named in his will.

…my Nine Children Namely Zachariah, Rubin, Susan, Renny, Sarah, Judith, Elizabeth, Jesse and William

In my previous post about John Wesley Belew I had Zachariah as next in line in my tree, but turns out my line descends from Reuben. It goes like this:

Renney Belue
Reuben Belue
Jacob Belue
William Pierce Belew
John Wesley Belew
Bessie Jane Belew m.Will Rose
Thomas Edwin Rose m. Lela Scott were my grandparents

I had Jacob Belue as son of Zachariah, and curiously I also had Jacob Belue as a son of Reuben. Previously I noticed that and while the birth dates were different, the date of death was the same. It wouldn’t be unusual to have cousins with the same name born about the same time, but dying on the same day—except in time of war—is unusual. I made a note to look into it when the answer fell into my lap this week.

Paul Belew, one of Zachariah’s descendants, has researched and written an extensive history on Renney Belew and his family. His book, Our Belew Line, lays it all out.

As for my line, I haven’t found everything laid out so neatly, but I’ll do my best to flesh out the family history and tell it here. Not in this post here and now, but eventually.

I’ve found out Reuben was a saddle maker while his brothers were farmers. Reuben also served—with his brother Zachariah—in Col.Brandon’s South Carolina Regiment during the Revolutionary War.

Jacob Belew, Reuben’s son, moved the family to Tennessee ending up in Carroll County. His son, William Pierce Belew was born in Lauderdale County, Alabama, just across the Tennessee state line but evidently lived most of his life in Tennessee. It was his son, John Wesley Belew, who would later move his family—including my great-grandmother Bessie Jane—west again to the newly opened Oklahoma Territory

Any comments or corrections?



Posted by on May 25, 2014 in Rose


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8 responses to “Reuben Belue—Another Patriot Found

  1. crowl5now

    May 25, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    So is it Rubin or Reuben?

    Sent via the Samsung GALAXY S®4, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

    • Jan

      May 26, 2014 at 7:32 am

      I have no idea! The will was written in Renney’s hand and he spelled it Rubin. But Reuben is the traditional modern spelling of the name so that’s how it’s been recorded in a lot of places. Reuben is how it’s spelled on his Revolutionary War grave marker. And somewhere along this time frame the last name was evolving from Belue to Belew. It would be nice to come across a birth certificate or a church record of birth we could use as a reference. I will keep you posted if I come across an official document with his name on it.
      Thanks for reading!

  2. BelewToo

    December 26, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    I am also descended from this line of Belew’s. My specific line descends from Zacariah who was the first Belew to move and settle in Lawrence County, TN. (That county was first open for settlement in 1815 and there are still Belews there today). All of my more recent Belew’s come from that county.

    My line is as follows:

    1) Renney Belew (~ 1730 – 1797)

    2) Zachariah Belew (1753 – 1845) Born in SC and died in Lawrence County, TN. He was the first Belew in Lawrence county. He probably got a land grant in this newly opened county (formed in 1815) because of his military service. Back then you got a pension for being a revolutionary war veteran.

    3) James Perry Belew (1785-1851) Born in SC and died in Tishomingo, MS. He had 7 boys. All but 2 of his sons ended up in Tishimingo Co, MS. The other two ended up in Lawrence County, TN where Zachariah had land.

    4) Robert Glenn Belew (1815-1890) Born in SC and ended up in Lawrence County, TN like his grandfather. According to online researchers, this man had 19 kids! I find that hard to believe and wonder if there is an error. In any case, I am sure he is my ancestor as the elders in my family confirmed it.

    5) Henderson “Bug” Belew (1853-1931) Born and died in Lawrence County, TN. He married Mollie McLaren (who had an ancestor who also fought in the Revolution).

    6) Edna Lee Belew (1881-1963) She married Millard Gibbs and spent her life in Lawrence County, TN.

    7) Helen Gibbs (Woodward) 1921-1990. Also spent her life mostly in Lawrence County, TN and lived right next to the Belews. Helen was my grandmother.

    From what research some of my close family members have done, the name was spelled “Ballew” when the family was still in SC, but was changed later. I don’t know of the veracity of this, but that’s what I was told. I do know that there are various spellings of the name in the U.S. today.

    Also, I am sure you are familiar with Paul Belew and his research on Renney. I am not sure what to believe as I have only read his account of Renney, but I do think the fact his DNA matches a modern day Pruitt indicates that Renney really was the “bastard” child of Judith Chastain and Thomas Pruit. Keep in mind that Renney himself named one of his daughters Judith. It was common back in those days to name daughters after their mothers.

    Paul is right that nothing can be definitively proven with the records we have, but I do think the evidence “suggests” that Renney might have been illegitimate. Short of finding Renney’s body and extracting DNA from it, we might never know for sure.

    • Jan

      December 26, 2014 at 11:10 pm

      It’s so fun to hear from another cousin! I have heard of Paul Belew’s research but haven’t read it so I don’t know enough to comment, but it sounds interesting. It would explain why I haven’t found anything about Renney’s family or where he came from. Some family trees on suggest his father is Abraham Ballew but I don’t know where that comes from. I haven’t found anything that confirms that.
      I’ve also found the spelling Ballew in the 1790’s or so. After looking at lots of census reports I realize they are only as accurate as the information given to the census taker. If no one in the family could write they may not have known how to spell their name. It seems the census taker probably made his best guess based on the pronunciation he heard. This would explain all the different spellings we’ve seen.
      I also have a relative with about 18 or 19 kids, but I don’t remember who right now. He did it with at least two wives, maybe three. I have another one that I think had 15 kids all with one wife. Whew! Makes me think family size would be an interesting post to write.
      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your family line.

  3. adventuresintastebuds

    February 24, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    I just Googled an ancestor of mine that I discovered through and found this post! Renney Belue was my great-grandfather, Carl Belew’s, great-great grandfather, or something like that. How funny!

    • Jan

      February 25, 2017 at 10:58 am

      So, another cousin found! Any chance you know more about where Renney’s line came from? I haven’t found much more about the Belew/Beleu/Balew…line. I’m sure the spelling changes have something to do with that.
      Thanks for getting in touch!

  4. Sheri Belew-Ballard

    September 4, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Love information about Belew history.

    • Jan

      September 5, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      Hi Sheri! Thanks for stopping by. So do you know more about the Belew back before Renny? It’s not easy to find something definitive because of the spelling variations. I see you are a Belew, with the same spelling as mine. I wonder how closely we are related.


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