A massive potpourri of data can be found about Frederick Rivers on the internet but there are very few actual source documents available that documents his life.
You will find that Frederick supposedly married Sarah Purvis and Mary Boatwright. The fact is that – There is no known source document that names the wife of Frederick Rivers. Therefore, any named wife is just a figment of someone imagination.
Conversely, Frederick parents are also unknown due to a lack of records.
Frederick Rivers is listed in the Cheraw/Chesterfield District Census for the years 1790 though 1820.
|1790 Census1 |
Frederick RIVERS, age 16+
1 Male 16+ (Frederick)
2 Male under 16
|1800 Census2 |
Frederick RIVERS, age 46+
2 Male 16-20
1 Male 46+ (Frederick)
1 Female 10-15
1 Female 16-20
1 Female 21-45 (Wife?)
|1810 Census3 |
Frederick RIVERS, Sr. age 46+
1 Male 46+ (Frederick)
1 Female 26-45 (wife)
|1820 Census4 |
Frederick RIVERS, Sr. age 45+
1 Male 0- 101 Male 45+ (Frederick, Sr.)
1 Female 45+ (wife)
Based upon Census data Frederick was born sometime before 1754 and died between 1820 and 1830. Looking at these 4 censuses we can see that Frederick Rivers and his wife had 2 sons and 2 daughters. We can identify three of these four children: William Rivers, born 25 Feb 1776; Frederick F. Rivers, Jr. born 3 November 1779 and Sarah Rivers, born 1 Jan 1782. The other daughter has not been identified as of this writing.
Thus reconstruction of the family is:
1 Male 46+ ----------Frederick Rivers, bef. 1754; d. 1820 -1830
1 Female 21-45+----His Wife (Unknown), b. 1755-1765, aft 1820
2 Males 10-15------- William Rivers, b. 25 Feb 1776, d. 7 June 1855
---------------- Frederick F, Rivers, Jr., b. 3 Nov 1779, d. 31 May 1860
1 Female 16-20 ----- Sarah Rivers, b. 1 Jan 1782, d. July 1871
1 Female 10-15 ----- Unknown at this time, b. 1785-1790
There are on-line trees that show Nancy Rivers as Frederick’s daughter but known facts do not support this conclusion. The acceptance of this as factual is based on a affidavit by to by William Rivers, son of Frederick, where he states that “Before me personally appeared William Rivers Sr. a resident of Chesterfield District aged 76 years the 25th last month, who being first duly sworn according to law says that he was intimately and personally acquainted with Thomas and Nancy Davis. Since his first recollection, that he was raised within one fourth of a mile from the said Nancy Davis, then Nancy Rivers, deponents aunt and well recollects the time they were married but was not present at the marriage and to the best of his knowledge and belief would say they were married about the year seventeen hundred and seventy seven or eight (1787 or 1788) that the said Thomas Davis lived the year before he was married with his deponents’ father and has known them as husband and wife ever since…” 5
This statement infers that Nancy Rivers is the sister of William’s father Frederick; definitely, she is not Frederick Rivers daughter.
A timeline of Frederick’s life reveals the few documents found after 38 years of research; of which 25 years were performed on site at the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
The lines of the three known children of Frederick Rivers – William, Frederick, Jr. and Sarah - are well documented. The two boys stayed in Chesterfield County; but, Sarah Rivers married John H. Brown and migrated to Georgia, then to Lauderdale, Mississippi where John H. Brown died on 4 September 1855.8
After John H. died Sarah Rivers Brown moved to ElDorado, Union County, Arkansas to live with her son, Epps Rivers Brown. Sarah Rivers Brown died about 1871 in Union County, Arkansas. No tombstone have been found for either of them even though John’s probate file directs that his tomb be encased in concrete.
If you are a researcher of this family line be very aware of the misinformation available and steer away from it. If you haven't familiarized yourself with the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) now would be a good time to take a look at it on the Board of Certified Genealogist website.
If you read, follow and religiously document your genealogical research to this standard you can avoid these pitfalls. The 5 elements of the GPS are:
- Reasonably exhaustive search
- Complete and accurate citation of sources
- Analysis and correlation of the collected information
- Resolution of conflicting evidence.
- Soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.9
 1790 U S Census, St Thomas, Cheraws District, South Carolina, population schedule, St Thomas, Cheraws District, South Carolina, page 373, Household of Fredk. Rivers; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed January 2009); citing National Archives Microfilm M637, Roll 11.
 1800, Second Census of the United States, Chesterfield, Chesterfield County, South Carolina, population schedule, Chesterfield District, South Carolina, page 109, Household of Frederick Rivers; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed January 2000); citing National Archives Microfilm M 32, Roll 47.
 1810 U S Census, Chesterfield, Chesterfield, South Carolina, population schedule, Chesterfield, Chesterfield, South Carolina, page 555, Household of Frederick Rivers; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed February 1976); citing National Archives Microfilm M637, Roll 60.
 1820 Census of the United States, Chesterfield, Chesterfield County, South Carolina, population schedule, Chesterfield County, page 128, Line 21, about mid-page, Frederic Rivers; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 1999); citing National Archives Microfilm M 32, Roll 47.
 Affidavit of William Rivers for Thomas Davis Pension Application, compiled military record (5th Co. Capt. Thomas Hall, Marion's Regt. 1779), Rev. War Pension and Land-Bounty Application Files, (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration), NARA microfilm publication M804, Roll 766.
 Lauderdale County, Mississippi, Probate Court Estates, Filebox 31: No 253, John H. Brown.