Henry McGraw

Henry McGraw was the seventh son and the last child of nine children born to Martin McGraw Sr and wife Margaret. The year of his birth is estimated to be 1801 or 1802. Since his father Martin Sr. is listed in Monroe County on 14 May 1801 in the Personal Property Tax Lists, it is possible that Henry’s birthplace was Monroe County. That isn’t carved in stone: Martin Sr. was listed in Greenbrier County on 22 May 1802, so Henry could just as easily have been born in Greenbrier. As I stated in a previous post, Martin McGraw Sr appears in the PP Tax Lists of both counties leading me to believe that Martin’s property straddled the county line, somewhere near/north of Clayton, WV.

It is doubtful that Henry knew his father since Martin’s death occurred about 1806: Henry would still have been a toddler. What he knew about his family history would have been related by his mother, Margaret, and of course, the older brothers living nearby or “at home” as it were – William, Samuel, and Thomas.

Henry McGraw first appears in the PP Tax Lists on 5 Feb 1819 in Monroe County, WV. You’ll also find that his mother, Margaret McGraw, is also listed in the Tax List on the same date in the same county. Margaret has appeared on the tax lists for Monroe County for the years 1810, 1814, 1815, 1816, 1817, 1818 then finally 1819 after which she no longer appears in the Tax Lists for Monroe (or Greenbrier). Henry is about 18 years old in 1819 and is presumably, the man of the house.

We also find in 1819 that Henry McGraw was granted “100 acres on Lefthand Fork of Hungard’s Creek adjacent to property he now owns” by the State of Virginia. If you take a hard look at Hungard’s Creek on a WV Map, you’ll find that it is technically these days in Summers County which was once Monroe and Greenbrier Counties and in the vicinity of Tempa, WV – not far from the village of Clayton, previously mentioned, and north of Pence Springs – you know, the little prison town where Martha Stewart did time at “Camp Cupcake” back in the day. Its not far from Alderson, WV and up the mountain from the Greenbrier River.

Then in the 1820 Census of Monroe County (enumerated 7 Aug 1820), we find the household of Henry McGraw:

  • 1 Male aged 10-15
  • 1 Male aged 16-25 (Henry)
  • 1 female aged 45 and over (mother Margaret)
  • 1 female under 16

Yet, the total tally of All Persons (white, slaves, other) in the household is 3. So, I don’t know whether the younger male or female is in error or the total tally. By the way, the nearest Post Office is listed as Peterstown. If you drive to Talcott, cross the (Greenbrier) river thence to Barger Springs, then meet and take Rt 12 south through Red Sulphur Springs and Ballard, you’ll end up in Peterstown so it’s a drive but not that far by car. There’s a lovely 4-H Camp at Barger Springs where our church group spent a week one summer several years ago.

Henry appears in the Personal Property Tax List of Monroe County in 1820. Since his oldest son Allen was born 10 April 1821, followed by daughters Margaret (1822) and Martha (1823) I suspect that Henry married his wife Mary in Monroe or Greenbrier County. But that is only a possibility: I say that because he appears in the Nicholas County PP Tax Lists in 1824, 1825, and 1826 so he could have easily gone to his brother Martin Jr’s farm for a while after the 1820 Tax List/Census to help and met and married his wife Mary/Polly there. The area of Nicholas County in which Martin Jr lived was along the east bank of the New River Gorge (Chimney Corner) but became Fayette County in Feb 1831.

By 11 Apr 1827 however, Henry is back in Greenbrier County (PP Tax List) and there he is listed up until about 1837-38, including the 1830 Census. In 1830 he has a wife, seven children under the age of 20, and (I suspect) his mother Margaret, aged 70-79.

I suspect his mother Margaret probably passed between 1830 and 1837/38 because the next census in which Henry appears is the 1840 Fayette County Census. The elder female is gone from the household, I like to think she is buried next to her husband Martin Sr, most likely in an unmarked grave somewhere in the Clayton-Tempa vicinity.

Henry McGraw and his wife, Mary “Polly” whose surname is unknown to me and dozens of others, lived out their lives in the Horseshoe area of Fayette County, WV. For those of you who don’t know where Horseshoe is, it’s “Horseshoe Creek” – there are some riding stables near there. Go to Victor, WV and turn out Saturday Road until you come to Horseshoe Creek Road on the left. The name “Horseshoe” likely comes from that turn in the Gauley River. If you continue on Saturday Road and veer to your right, you come to the village of Ramsey but if there is a Mulvane now, it isn’t marked on the map.

Henry McGraw died 4 July 1873 in this area – “Ramsey” – and is buried in the Deitz Cemetery on Saturday Road. His wife Mary died about 1888 and is buried with Henry in the same cemetery. Henry’s Will was entered into Probate on 20 July 1873. In it he names his heirs. It is from the Will, the Censuses (1850 up) and death records on file in Fayette County that I was able to determine and list his children:

  • Allen McGraw, 1821-1897, m. Mary Susan Hendrickson
  • Margaret McGraw, 1822, m. William Todd
  • Martha McGraw, 1823, m. John McClung (?)
  • Rachel Louisa McGraw, 1825, m. Elijah Wood
  • John Wallace McGraw, 1828, m. Elizabeth H. Taylor
  • Jane E. McGraw, 1830, m. James Walker
  • William H. McGraw, 1831-1863, m. Mary Barbary Rule
  • Washington McGraw, 1838, m. Ann Susan McGraw (d/o Wm. Alex McGraw & Nancy Skaggs)
  • Thompson McGraw, 1838-1922, m. Frances Bailey
  • Mary Ann V. McGraw, 1841, m. George L. McClung
  • Emily McGraw, 1843-1913, m. Jacob R. Adkins (or Atkinson)
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