(12 Oct 1800 - 20 Sep 1840)
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Our earliest source of information on this family was compiled over a period from the 1930s to 1950s by Mrs. Tress May Francis of Prestonsburg, Kentucky.
Reuben May was born on 12 Oct 1800, soon after his parents arrived on Shelby Creek in Eastern Kentucky. He was only twelve years old when his father died in January 1813, and lived to manhood in the home of his brother Thomas on Robinson Creek. Reuben's mother also lived with Thomas, his wife Dorcas Patton and their young family. We have no record showing if Reuben ever spent any time living in the home of his brother Samuel in Prestonsburg.
Reuben in Maytown, Kentucky
Reuben purchased a nearby water mill that had been erected years earlier by John Wireman, who was half-Indian. Early settlers on or near Beaver Creek followed forest trails for many miles to have their corn ground into meal at the mill. We know that Reuben's father, John, also operated a mill on his farm on Shelby Creek prior to his death in 1813. Family traditions says that the mill at Maytown had been erected before 1792, the year the Commonwealth was formed from the mother state of Virginia.
This tradition was presented as fact by John May, Reuben's son, in defence of retaining the mill dam on the creek. Right Beaver had been declared a navigable stream by the State Legislature and the dam prevented the transport of goods on the stream. John May won his point, either by logic or bluff, by contending that the State had no authority to remove the dam, since it was built before the State came into existence, and the only recourse was to buy the picturesque landmark. The old mill was maintained into the mid-Twentieth Century with its ancient red beech logs and a set of rocks that were used when it was first erected. George A. May, Jr. was the last of the family to operate the mill before it was razed.
When Reuben died in Maytown in 1840, he was only forty years of age. At the time, his nine children ranged in age from to one to eleven, and his tenth child, Reuben Ann, was born about two months after his death. This turn of events obviously placed a great burden on his young wife Sarah, who was only about twenty five. Many of the Mays in Eastern Kentucky are descended from Reuben and Sarah.