Why am I certain that Anthony McGraw is the son of Martin McGraw, Sr.?
Anthony McGraw was a soldier during the War of 1812 so I ordered his papers from the National Archives, specifically his Widow’s Pension Papers. While there is a lot of info in those documents, there’s still a lot of unanswered questions.
Such as, “who’s yer daddy?” As it turns out, there’s an affidavit signed by none other than Samuel McGraw. I’ve transcribed it below:
“Elizabeth Gill is the widow of Anthony McGraw, deceased, who was a Private in the company commanded by Captain John McClung in the Fourth Regiment of Militia in the Service of the United States commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Elisha Boyd in the Service of the United States.
That the said Elizabeth Gill was married to the said Anthony McGraw deceased, at Greenbrier in the ___ on the ___ day of ___ A. D. by one ______, that the name of the said Elizabeth Gill before her marriage aforesaid was Elizabeth Bryant, that her husband Anthony McGraw died at Hampton on or about the last day of August, A. D. 1814 and that she is still a widow. That the said Anthony McGraw was this affiants eldest brother (my emphasis) and was married to Elizabeth Briant when he was small and that they lived together as man and wife and he has no doubt of their being (truly) married And they swear they are disinterested witnesses. Samuel McGraw.”
The affidavit was submitted to the Fayette County Court in 1852 to assist Elizabeth Gill in obtaining a Bounty Land Claim. The key phrase is “Anthony McGraw was this affiants eldest brother.” It goes without saying they shared the same father and the most probable individual is Martin McGraw Sr, one of three McGraws in Greenbrier County in 1799, the other two being Anthony himself and [son] John who disappears from the Greenbrier records around the same time (moved to Russell Co, VA).
Several affidavits were submitted on behalf of Elizabeth’s claim. One, in particular, dated March 22, 1853, was submitted to the Fayette County Court by affiant Martin McGraw. This is Martin McGraw Jr, newly returned from Putnam County. He stated that Anthony and Elizabeth were married in 1796; verified their children’s names (provided further below); and the other usual statements regarding Anthony’s demise but, blast it all, it provides no evidence as to his relationship with Anthony. We’re left to presume they were brothers.
I’m of the opinion that Anthony had the dubious distinction of being named for General Anthony Wayne rather than Martin McGraw Sr’s father. It was common to name the first-born son after the paternal grandfather but it’s likely that the naming convention fell to the second son, John. Again, I’ve no proof to substantiate my opinion; in fact, there’s more lack of proof than anything. A search on “Anthony McGraw” in states other than West Virginia prior to 1796 yields no results. These searches were performed in both Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. It doesn’t mean another Anthony McGraw didn’t exist, it simply means no records in the most likely places in the proper time frame have turned up.
Anthony McGraw’s children were listed in the Pension Files / Widow’s Claim for bounty Land:
- George A McGraw, aged 47
- William McGraw, aged 56
- Andrew McGraw aged 54
- Margaret (m. Gunno) aged 52
- Elizabeth (m. Price) aged 50
- Mary (m. Gill) aged 41
Then, there are the ThruLines that Ancestry.com provides IF you’ve taken its DNA test AND connected the results to your tree. So far, I am a DNA match to 16 individuals who claim to be descendants of Anthony McGraw. Twenty-odd years ago, it was a hopeful guess.
For details about what I have on Anthony and his children, visit his page my family tree on Ancestry.com. Bear in mind I don’t pretend to know everything there is about this line and my tree is subject to change in light of new documentary evidence.
UPDATE: I have determined that “Anthony” was this man’s middle name. He is listed in the 1810 Greenbrier County Tax list as GEORGE A. McGraw. Since his son George A. McGraw was only born in 1806 and would only have been 4 years old at the time this tax was due, it stands to reason this is the elder George Anthony McGraw. If one uses the Irish Naming Convention in which the eldest son is named for the paternal grandfather, it is possible that the father of Martin McGraw I (or Sr, if you prefer) was named George.