Soon after the Mayflower landed in 1620, the name Sheriff appeared in the annals of Plymouth, MA and Portsmouth R.I. Tradition holds this is the first record of the Shreve Family (with its various spellings) on the American shores.
Thomas Sherriff appears in the legal record on December 7, 1641 at Plymouth, MA, on December 10, 1666 at Portsmouth, and posthumously when an inventory of his estate was filed in Portsmouth June 1675. He probably lived in the MA-RI area most of his 55+ years.
His wife Martha lived another sixteen years, marrying again twice as was common at the time. Her third husband took off with much of her property less than two months after their wedding. Scoundrels abound in every age! She transferred her remaining property into her son John’s name to protect herself.
Others were noted for their contributions — like inventor and steamboat captain, Henry Miller Shreve. One of a small group of owners, Henry got naming rights to Shreveport, LA after removing a daunting log jam at a Mississippi River marina.
Revolutionary War Patriot, William Shreve (a/k/a “Shrieves”), enlisted for service in 1780 in Virginia, now known as Loudon County, West Virginia. When his son James married Lidia Smith, they didn’t know their son, William James, would begin the Randolph County WV Shreve line, starting with their 14 children.
But first, W.J. had to defend his land, after he was named as a defendant in Chancery against the heirs of John Shreve. This nine-page document unearthed by the talented and tenacious researchers at the Daughters of the American Revolution confirmed the family line.
William James’ son, Perry Lewis with his wife Clara Phillips, produced six offspring, including my grandfather, Andrew Stephen Shreve. I knew him as Stephen Andrew after relatives changed his name to avoid the unfortunate A.S.S. initials! After the funeral of his wife, Bertha Mae (Riffle), the great-grandfather looked over his large clan and said, “This is all my fault!” Their children are also the reason many of us are here today!
I’ve enjoyed learning about our family history, and plan to bring fun facts and research here. Stay tuned! In the meantime, if you haven’t discovered Shrevehistory.com (by Joan and Greg Shreve), check it out for detailed information about Shreve history.