Descendant of Two “McGraw” Brothers

I am descended from two McGraw brothers. My paternal great-grandparents, Nora B. Jacobs and Homer H. McGrew, were fourth cousins. Nora descended from Martin McGraw (II) through his daughter, Mary E. (Jacobs-Duncan); Homer descended from Thomas McGraw. Martin and Thomas McGraw were sons of the first Martin McGraw of Greenbrier County.  My great-grandparents married in Putnam County, WV, and had a sizeable family.

The two Martin McGraws are nearly indistinguishable in the early records as there is no indication of which is Junior and which is Senior until you discover that, were this one individual, he sure lived an awfully long time. Not impossible but in those days it certainly wasn’t probable. Then Martin disappears from the records in Greenbrier County only to reappear in Monroe County as a younger man.

Therefore the quest to figure out who’s who in the McGraw line.

About 1836, Thomas left Fayette County, WV and moved to an area known as Buffalo and/or 18 Mile Creek in current Putnam County. He appears in the 1840 Kanawha County tax list (an area which became part of Putnam in 1848). Martin McGraw (II), Thomas’ elder brother, came to Kanawha County after 1840. Both appear in the first census of Putnam County in 1850. It is in this census that Martin’s birthplace is provided: Pennsylvania.

Martin (II) and his second wife, Sarah Johnson, did not stay long in Putnam County. The 1860 Fayette County Census shows Sarah working in the household of James Cole in the Bell Creek area as a day laborer. Although they may have returned to this area where there were family and friends – Martin’s son John lived in this vicinity – only the younger children accompanied them. The older children, such as Ida B. McGraw, stayed behind in Putnam County. Martin died in Fayette County in 1858 according to his Widow’s Pension Application. Daughter Mary E. McGraw married William H. Jacobs in Fayette County in 1859.

1860 Fayette Co Census - Sarah Johnson
“Join Ancestry”. 2020. Ancestry.Com.

Another “familial connection” is important to point out here between Martin and Thomas McGraw. Ida B, daughter of Martin (II) and first wife Nancy Wood, married James W. Duncan at “Thomas McGraw’s” on 14 January 1855. The connection that distinguishes the two as brothers is found in the permission for Ida B McGraw to marry given by James McGraw, son of Thomas, viz:

I, James McGraw, do solemly swear that Ida McGraw my cousin, daughter of Martin McGraw, is over the age of twenty one years and that there is no lawful objection to license issuing to James W. Duncan to marry her, and which she desires should issue. So help me God, James (his X mark) McGraw.

Sworn to and subscribed before me in my office this 12th day of January 1855. H. H. Forbes, Clerk.

The document above was obtained at the Putnam County Courthouse years ago, a copy of which I made but failed to cite. The importance of it is this: James McGraw, the individual providing the permission for cousin Ida to marry, was the son of Thomas McGraw.

Thomas died of consumption (Tuberculosis) in 1855 according to his death record which includes his parents’ names: Martin & Margaret McGraw. His older brother Martin (II) or Junior outlived him by three years.

Sometime after Martin’s death, widow Sarah returned to Putnam County and lived with a son in the Winfield area. It was from that location that she applied for her Martin’s War of 1812 Widow’s Pension and it was in Putnam County that she died.

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