Elizabeth McGraw: (Probable) Daughter of Martin McGraw Jr. and Nancy Wood

After posting a recent misguided post about Martha P. Boalt, I met a very distant relative through our common ancestor Martin McGraw Jr, who, if I understand correctly, descended from Martha Pauline McGraw Boalt. Betty thoroughly disagreed with my conclusions of Martha being a daughter of Martin and his second wife Sarah Jane Johnson. She successfully led me to believe that Martha, and her older sister Minerva (b. 1843) were instead daughters of Elizabeth McGraw, who she believes was the daughter of Martin and first wife Nancy Wood. The evidence is circumstantial but convincing. I’m inclined to agree.

Here’s the evidence to which I am referring:

  1. In the 1850 Putnam County Census, there is an Elizabeth McGraw in the household of John Martin and what appears to be his nine year old daughter. There is no “profession, occupation or trade” signifying Elizabeth’s position in the household but then, it is the 1850 Putnam Census, notorious for having been taken by Thomas Hope, a stranger to the area and the people, who collected all the names of everyone in the entire county in just under 30 days, collected his pay and headed West to join the Gold Rush. The household (HH) of John Martin was all of 18 “doors” from the household of Martin McGraw, and near to Thomas Harmon, a prominent minister, therefore most likely in the Red House area of Putnam County;
  2. Also in the 1850 Putnam Census, was Martin McGraw’s household in which we find several individuals, including Martha P and Minerva as well as my ancestor Mary E. McGraw. In the original Census (available at FamilySearch.org), there are no ages given for all of the individuals in the household as well as the other households listed on the page. Where the ages I was given came from is beyond me; perhaps there is a second Census that I need to lay eyes on.
  3. Martin moved his family (minus at least Ida B. McGraw) back to Fayette County, possibly soon after the birth of his last child, Samuel Harvey, in 1851, but definitely before 1855: Jan 1855 is when Martin’s daughter, Ida B. McGraw, was married to James W. Duncan at the home of Martin’s brother, Thomas McGraw in Putnam County, who I should add, is my direct McGraw-McGrew ancestor. BUT Martin’s daughter Nancy McGraw, his last child by Nancy Wood, was married to Theophilus O’Hara in Fayette County in July 1855.
  4. Martha P and Minerva both married in Fayette County in 1869: Martha P to Harvey G. Boalt, Minerva to James H. Taylor. In the 1870 Census of Fayette, living in the HH of Harvey and Martha P is one “Elizabeth McGraw” aged 50. Her occupation, trade or profession is simply listed as “at home.” In the 1880 Census of Fayette, living in the HH of James and Minerva Taylor is, again, “Elizabeth McGraw,” aged 63, this time listed as “Mother-in-Law” (of James Taylor, head of household).

**UPDATED 4/26/2024**

After diligent research, I learned that my issue was having included Martha A. McGraw as a daughter of Martin McGraw and Nancy Wood; I now believe that Martha A was a daughter of Martin’s younger brother Thomas McGraw thereby resolving my own personal dilemma. The censuses below have been modified to include Elizabeth but not Martha A.

Case in point:

6 Aug 1810 Monroe Co, WV USA
– Males – 26 thru 44: 1 Martin McGraw Jr
– Females – Under 10: 2 Malinda, Sarah
– Females – 26 thru 44: 1  Nancy Wood

7 Aug 1820 Nicholas Co, WV Census
– Males – Under 10: 2 unknown
– Males – 10 thru 15: 1 unknown
– Males – 26 thru 44: 1 Martin McGraw
– Females – Under 10: 2 Sarah b. 1811, Elizabeth. b. 1820
– Females – 10 thru 15: 1 Malinda b.1808
– Females – 26 thru 44: 1 w1. Nancy Wood

1830 Fayette Co, WV Census
– Males – 15 thru 19: 1 – unknown male – or – another mis-ticked box on the census;
– Males – 20 thru 29: 1 – wrong box for Martin “McGuire”;
– Females – Under 5: 2 – Ida B. b. 1826 m. J. Duncan 14 Jan 1855 Putnam; and Nancy b. 1828 m. T. Harrah _Jul 1855 Fayette;
– Females – 5 thru 9: 1 –  Susannah b. 1821 m. N. Vaughn 3 Aug 1837 Fayette
– Females – 10 thru 14: 1 – Elizabeth b. 1820
– Females – 15 thru 19: 1 – Sarah b. 1811 m. H. Hays 19 Jan 1832 Fayette
– Females – 20 thru 29: 1 – Malinda, b. 1808 m. R. Milby 16 Feb 1836 Fayette
– Females – 40 thru 49: 1 – w1: Nancy Wood, d. ~1833/34 Fayette

1840 Fayette Co, WV Census
– Males – 50 thru 59: 1 – Martin b. 1785 PA
– Females – Under 5: 2 – Lucretia b. 1837 Fayette, Mary E b. 1839 Fayette
– Females – 5 thru 9: 1 – probably Nancy Jr, b. 1828 Fayette
– Females – 10 thru 14: 1 – Elizabeth b. 1820, Ida B. b. 1826
– Females – 20 thru 29: 1 – w2: Sarah J. Johnson
* Daughters Malinda, Sarah, and Susanna are married by 1840.

1843-B Kanawha Tax List, IMG 428. “Familysearch: Sign In”. 2022. Familysearch.Org. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQK-PSK6-2?i=825&cat=776502.

Note that “Sam” in the Kanawha Tax List above is Thomas’ eldest son.

It is my understanding that Elizabeth McGraw never married. She gave birth to Minerva in 1843, the same year her father Martin appears in the Kanawha County Tax List (in an area that became Putnam County in 1848). Martha P however was born about 1846. So, if Elizabeth accompanied the family from the Chimney Corner area to the Red House vicinity prior to 17 May 1843, (which I believe she did) she may have already been pregnant with Minerva; of course, the father is unknown at this time, other than the unknown “Alex’n” listed on the marriage records. The same is true about Martha P but this means Elizabeth became pregnant with and gave birth to her while living in the Red House, WV area.

Would it be prudent to point out the distance from Chimney Corner in Fayette County, WV to Red House in Putnam County, WV is roughly 66 miles: a trek of 3 days or so by horse or on foot along Rt. 60 (the old James River – Kanawha Turnpike/aka Midland Trail) through Charleston then Rt. 34 from Nitro through Poca going toward Buffalo? My point: Not a quick walk.

I hope this helps in your research though doubtless not entirely resolved.


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