Mary (Oliver) Reaves was born in Tennessee, likely as a slave, sometime between 1837 and 1840. Her father’s name was Carter Oliver. By 1880, Mary was married and living with husband James Reaves in Hart Township, Wright County, Missouri. James died before 1900, and Mary moved in with her only surviving son, Harvey, and his family. In 1900, they were living outside Ash Grove, Missouri. It appears that, for at least part of 1900, Mary was also living in the household of Ash Grove physician and druggist David S. Watts and working as his servant. Mary died in Ash Grove on May 9, 1919 (Russel 2012). According to her death certificate, the cause of death was "nephritis" and Mary was buried in "Ash Grove" on May 10, 1919.