John McGraw

John McGraw is whom I have always presumed to be the second son of Martin and Margaret McGraw because he is listed in a few tax lists for Greenbrier on the same dates as Martin Sr and (George) Anthony:

  • Martin McGraw Sr and Anthony appear in the Greenbrier County Tax list for 1796 on April 17,
  • John “Mcgra” appears all by himself in the tax list the following year on April 12, 1797, as owing tax for 1 white titheable (himself) and 1 horse.
  • Then on May 4, 1798, and again on April 19, 1799, John appears on the same dates in the tax list with Anthony and Martin McGraw Sr.

The last time John appears in the Greenbrier County tax list is May 21, 1800.

He may have been named for Martin McGraw Sr’s father. That’s pure speculation.

John married Sally or Sarah Anderson in Greenbrier County on 15 February 1799, officiated by Benjamin Grigsby, the second pastor of the Old Stone Church (Presbyterian) in Lewisburg. I suspect, but cannot confirm, that Sally/Sarah was a daughter of James R. Anderson, who appeared in the Greenbrier County 1796 tax list on April 16, the day before Martin McGraw Sr and Anthony McGraw were visited, putting the three families – the Andersons, the Grigsbys, and the McGraws – in proximity to one another. Grigsby built a house in 1796 known now as the Stone Manse near Caldwell, WV.

It is likely that John and Sally (Sarah) Anderson moved from Greenbrier to Russell County, VA about 1800. Having searched for likely prospects, John McGraw of Russell County, VA is highly suitable. He first appears in the 1802 tax list there (the only McGraw) and remains there through the 1850 Census for the county. In the 1850 Census of Russell County, John’s birthplace is listed as Pennsylvania, not too surprising for the area yet, there are no “local” parents to which to tie him. His children’s names are similar to those of his brothers¬† – namely William and Thomas – not that similar names are definitive but are clues of a sort –¬† and there is the name of one son, “Anderson.”

Last, but certainly not least: my DNA matches several individuals who claim John McGraw of Russell County as their ancestor. So after all of these years of “assuming” that John McGraw was the son of Martin and Margaret McGraw of Greenbrier County, I believe we can change “assumed” to proved.

Children of Martin & Margaret McGraw


These are images of the alleged descendants of Martin and Margaret McGraw and the number with whom I match via DNA. (Ancestry recently deleted distant cousins so I no longer have the same number of matches for Martin that I do for Margaret. Shrug!)

Thru-Lines A
I am also descended from Martin McGraw via my paternal grandfather’s mother.
Thru-Lines b
Elizabeth should, in fact, be Elender McGraw who married Soloman Nelson.
Thru-Lines c; My direct ancestor.
My direct ancestor via my paternal grandfather.

Update Feb 2, 2020:

I failed to add the names of John McGraw’s children whether by Sarah/Sally Anderson or a second wife. I can confirm that Thomas is a son: Recent Y-DNA tests performed on three of my male cousins reveal a match (whose tree I worked due to the absence of a complete tree provided) that show that these four males’ Y-DNA match identically on 37 out of 37 markers. In my book, that makes John McGraw a son of Martin McGraw Sr.

As to the children of John McGraw, here is a list I was able to gather (as of Sep 2022): What I can confirm is John A. McGraw born 1813, who I will discuss in a separate blog, and Thomas McGraw born 1810.

Children of John McGraw and Sarah "Sally" Anderson.


Thomas McGraw born circa 1810 is the ancestor of the Y-DNA Match mentioned above. Although I’ve sent email to him, I’ve not received a reply so I can’t in good conscience reveal his name without his consent. Now lets move on to John A. McGraw.

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