Martha P(auline) McGraw Bolt, Part II

**UPDATE: 4/23/2024**

I recently connected with a distant cousin through the Fayette County West Virginia Genealogy forum on Facebook that makes the info below “off” to some extent. I won’t rewrite it because the research and citations are still accurate; the conclusion to which I arrived is not.

For the update please read Elizabeth McGraw: (Probable) Daughter of Martin McGraw Jr. and Nancy Wood

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For Part I on Martha Pauline McGraw Boalt, see

In Part I, I vehemently denied that Martha P Bolt was the daughter of Martin McGraw Jr and his second wife, Sarah J. Johnson. That is based on the fact that her father’s name provided on her marriage record to Harvey G. Bolt is given as “Alex” McGraw or whom I believe to be William Alexander McGraw who married Nancy Skaggs and lived in the Gauley Bridge vicinity. Alexander, I should state, was the son of Samuel McGraw and his first wife, Elizabeth Wood.

I “beat the bushes” quite thoroughly when it came to researching both Martha P and William Alexander McGraw. William Alexander and his wife Nancy had a daughter named Martha but she was born about 1856 whereas Martha P McGraw was born about ten years earlier in 1846. If she is indeed the daughter of Martin McGraw Jr and Sarah J. Johnson, Martha P would have been born in Kanawha County (prior to part of it becoming Putnam County in 1848) – that’s where the families of both Martin Jr and his brother Thomas had moved when they left Big Creek in Fayette County.

Martin, Sarah, and their younger children left Putnam County roughly about 1854 and returned to Fayette County. I make that allegation for three reasons:

  1. Martin’s daughter Nancy, the last child born to wife Nancy Wood, married Theophilus Harrah or O’Harra, in Fayette County in July 1855; Nancy and Theo are in the Fayette Census up until 1880 where they were living at the Falls of Kanawha. Proof of that marriage is cited and found here:
    1. “Familysearch: Sign In”. 2020. Familysearch.Org. Vital statistics, 1853-1860 of West Virginia, Calhoun-Harrison. Film # 007499353. Img 135, Line 21.
  2. Martin and Sarah’s daughter Mary E. McGraw, my lineage through Martin Jr, married William H. Jacobs in Fayette County on 20 Feb 1859. Proof of that is cited and found here:
    1. “Familysearch: Sign In”. 2020. Familysearch.Org. “Vital statistics, 1853-1860 of West Virginia, Calhoun-Harrison. Film # 007499353.” IMG 141, Line 30.
  3. Martin McGraw, Jr died in Fayette County on 25 October 1858 according to a note in his widow Sarah’s pension file available from the NARA. Where the family was living or where Martin died and is buried precisely is anyone’s guess. Just be aware that he’d sold his property on Big Creek (Chimney Corner) before the move to Kanawha County (prior to 17 May 1843 when he appears on the tax list).

Just so you are aware, I resided in and spent the first 24 years of my life in Putnam, Kanawha, Fayette, Greenbrier, and Raleigh Counties of West Virginia. With a father who had an avid interest in his own family history, I became familiar with the areas whereof I speak, including Monroe and Summers Counties. So, when I make the statement, “none of these individuals travelled from the Buffalo vicinity to the Gauley Bridge area just to get married or die,” – a distance of about 72 miles or 3 days by horse – I hope that you are persuaded that I know what I’m talking about.

We already know that Martin’s daughter Ida McGraw by Nancy Wood stayed behind in Putnam County. I call her Ida, other’s call her “Ida Mae Bell” was married to James W. Duncan in Putnam County on 14 Jan 1855 “at the home of Thomas McGraw.” Thomas of course was Ida’s uncle, her father Martin’s younger brother (my direct ancestor to the McGraw family). Thomas’ son James McGraw provided permission for Ida to marry to the Putnam Court: Her father wasn’t in the area, and even though Ida was about 29 years old the court apparently wanted proof of consent. Thomas died that summer from consumption – that’s tuberculosis to you and me – so he was unable to give consent. Therefore the job fell to his son James. Once upon a time, this permission slip was stored in an envelope of the card files within the Putnam County Clerk’s office. I’ve no idea if it still is. I made a copy of it but have packed it away someplace safe from myself.

Also remaining in Putnam County were Martin’s daughters Malinda Milby/Milbee (Richard), Sarah Hays (Harrison) -Legg (John), and Martha A. Hedrick (John). So, Ida McGraw Duncan had her sisters and cousins living nearby when she put married and down roots. If you study the 1850 Census of Putnam County, you find the following list of individuals living in Martin McGraw Jr’s household – no ages or relation are given; the info in parentheses is mine as are the presumed dates of birth. The list is not in chronological order which leads me to believe the info was provided by a neighbor to the census taker:

  • Sarah (Johnson, wife)
  • Nancy McGraw (Harrah, m. Fayette Co, WV, listed above; b. ~ 1828)
  • Lucretia McGraw (m. David Smith in Mason Co, WV 17 Feb 1864);
  • Mary McGraw (m. William H. Jacobs in Fayette Co, WV listed above);
  • William McGraw (b. ~ 1843);
  • George A McGraw (b. ~ 1849);
  • Minerva McGraw (b. ~ 1845);
  • Martha P McGraw (b. ~ 1846);

The only child not listed of course is Samuel Harvey McGraw. He was born 6 November 1851 in (presumably) Putnam County not long before Martin and Sarah moved back to Fayette County. Harvey or Harve’s death record is on file with and is digitally available through Vital Records.

So, I’ve established the move TO Fayette County between 1850 and 1855; what I have been unable to ascertain is WHEN Martin’s widow Sarah Johnson moved BACK to Putnam County and what happened to daughters Minerva and Martha P. Due to the fact that 3 individuals claiming to be descendants of Martha Pauline McGraw Bolt/Boalt match me via DNA with 8-13 centimorgans – that’s a 4th Cousin level – its difficult to deny the probability that “their” Martha P is the “lost” daughter of Martin and Sarah McGraw.

So why is her father listed as “Alex” McGraw on her marriage record to Harvey G. Bolt? My assumption is that, if Ida Mae McGraw at age 29 needed a male relative to give consent to her marriage in Putnam County, then 30 year old Martha P. McGraw must have required the consent of a male relative to marry in Fayette County. Her nearest male relative would have been her cousin, William Alexander McGraw. Therefore Alex was listed as Martha’s father on the marriage record.

I had to scour through the 1860 Census of Fayette County at If you recall, all counties in WV were still part of Virginia so if you’re looking for the 1860 Census, you have to search there – even though most WV county censuses up to 1860 and from 1870 on – are listed under West Virginia. Through much digging, I found a Martha McGraw, a servant, listed in the Campbell Settle household in District 1 of Fayette County, Gauley Bridge PO, on page (what appears to be handwritten) #333. Note the date: 20 June 1860.

Martha’s age is given as 16. That puts her birth at about 1846. Her marriage to Harvey Bolt took place in Fayette County in 1869 so that the two are listed in the Fayette County Census of 1870. However, a 50 year-old Elizabeth McGraw is listed in the household along with Harvey, Martha, and 3 month-old female Minnie (Minerva Bolt). Who is Elizabeth McGraw? You’ll also note that Martha has become 5 years younger since her marriage to Harvey: She is listed as 30 years old on the marriage record but 25 years old in 1870. So, I hope you forgive me for questioning the information discovered and my doubts when there is still a lot of mystery surrounding Martha Pauline McGraw Bolt.

As for Martin’s widow, Sarah Johnson McGraw, I believe she is listed in the household of James Cole as a Day Laborer in the 1860 Census. This info is listed on what appears to be page 299 but still in District 1, Gauley Bridge PO but on a different date: 2 Aug 1860. I cannot explain the page numbers and why the dates of this census don’t “jive” for me:

Bear in mind, I am not saying this IS Sarah Johnson McGraw: I’m saying it very well could be her. That is because I have absolutely no clue as to where son William, daughters Minerva, Mary E., and son-in-law William H. Jacobs are in 1860. But here is what I do know: Two of Martin and Sarah’s 3 children are in Putnam County, more precisely the Mouth of Poca River. Son (Samuel) Harvey and daughter Lucretia “J” are living with their half-sister, Malinda Milby – that’s dwelling number 1091:

On the same page but at the top (Dwelling #1088 continued from the previous page) in the household of “J.” Lanham, we find what appears to be 11 year-old George Andrew McGraw:

I don’t know who the census taker was for Putnam County that year but his handwriting was atrocious. It is difficult to determine his “Gs” from his “Fs, Ts, and sometimes Hs.” His “Ss and Ls” are also difficult to decipher. Add to the fact that the pages are often faded to near obscurity and you can understand the pains taken to decipher the information.

The fact is most of Martin’s children returned to Putnam County about 1860-ish. Three we’ve established were already in Poca (George A, Harvey, and Lucretia). I recently learned that William H. Jacobs, first husband of Mary E. McGraw, joined the Union Army at Point Pleasant on 18 August 1861, meaning wherever the family was living it was likely a closer walk to Point Pleasant (Mason County) from their location, i.e. Buffalo vicinity. Daughter Lucretia of course married David Smith in Mason County in 1864. Sons William H and Samuel Harvey married in the Kanawha Valley both dying in Dunbar and Charleston respectively. George Andrew married twice, his first wife in Mason County, the second wife in Putnam but I have yet to determine precisely where all he lived and died. What I can say is that the McGraw’s in and around Monroe to Fayette County retained the surname McGraw.

The McGraw’s of Putnam County assumed the surname McGrew after the Civil War. The exceptions are the children of George Andrew McGraw who appears listed under both surnames. The final record that we have on Sarah Jane Johnson McGraw is the 1890 Veteran’s Schedule (because there is no 1890 Census), collecting Martin’s Soldier’s Pension, listed as living in the Buffalo District of Putnam County along with her son William, a Civil War Veteran.

To date, everything I know about Martha P McGraw Bolt is revealed here along with quite a bit of other information on her immediate family. As for her sister Minerva, I have no data, no information, no clues, no DNA Matches claiming her as an ancestor – which may mean she died at a young age.

Please know that I update my blog as new information is discovered.

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