Martin McGraw I

What I Know

Hopefully someday soon I’ll be able to provide more information about this specific Martin McGraw. I’ve dubbed him the First, I, or Senior.

1. He appears for the first time to my knowledge in the 1796 Tax List for Greenbrier County, now West Virginia.

  • Oddly enough, Martin McGraw I appears on the tax list on April 17, the same date as minister Benjamin Grigsby, second pastor of the Old Stone Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg. Grigsby lived in what is called the Manse or the Stone Manse at Caldwell, WV and it was he who presided over the nuptials of Anthony McGraw and Betsy Brian in 1796 and John McGraw and Sally Anderson in 1799. My conclusion is that the McGraws and Grigsby were likely neighbors.

2. Two of Martin McGraw I’s sons, my ancestor Martin McGraw Jr, and John McGraw who married Sally Anderson, gave their birthplaces as Pennsylvania in the 1850 Virginia Censuses in the respective counties in which they resided:

  • John McGraw, 1850 Russell County, VA *Note: I believe it is safe to say that John’s line has been confirmed via DNA.*
  • Martin McGraw, 1850 Putnam County, VA
3. His wife’s name was Margaret, spelled “merget” in the image below. This is apparent from the “permission” note he provided to the county clerk of Monroe when his daughter Mary Ann wanted to marry William Wood. Whether Margaret was a first or second wife is unknown as well as where and when on the planet they were married.
4. He died, or so it is assumed, before the 1810 Tax List because Margaret’s name appears instead. Any future appearances in the tax lists and censuses in Greenbrier and surrounding counties are for Martin McGraw Jr.
5. He is related via DNA to Thomas McGrew (see also this post) who appears first in Greenville, South Carolina then migrated to and died in Calloway County, Kentucky. In his application for a soldier’s pension (Revolutionary War), Thomas gives his birthplace as Pennsylvania. His age in the censuses and other records puts his birthdate at around the same time frame as Martin McGraw Sr. At this time, it is not known if Martin Sr and Thomas’ relationship was that of Uncle/Nephew or cousins.
6. There is no middle name or initial for Martin McGraw I. I’ve seen some trees that give his name as Martin V. McGraw; the V was misunderstood and was actually an ampersand in one of the original documents discovered by Aunt Glor in which the parents’ names were listed as Martin “v” Margaret McGraw. Be careful when you copy from other peoples’ genealogies – you’re adding their mistakes to your own.
What I Don’t Know

1. Whether Martin McGraw of Wheatfield Township, Westmoreland County, PA (1786, 1789, 1798) is my ancestor is highly speculative. I believe, without proof, that he is the same Martin McGraw of Hopewell Township, Bedford County, PA (1775-1786) who found himself in the newly formed Westmoreland County after it was formed in 1773 from part of Bedford. Then there is the issue of him appearing in the tax list of Westmoreland County, PA in 1798, two years after Martin McGraw I  (the bonafide ancestor) is listed in the tax list of Greenbrier County, West Virginia.

However, one of the Tax documents shows that Martin McGraw/McGrew of Westmoreland County, PA was “not in” and that the taxes were uncollected. I’m unable to locate further information on the Westmoreland County Martin McGraw after 1798 and quite, frankly, I’m not sure what to make of this.

2. Whether or not Martin McGraw in the 1790 Washington County, Maryland Census is my Martin McGraw I. At first glance, it appears that the enumerated individual’s ages in that list fit the family profile. But there is one exception: There are only 4 males, including the head of household, when there should be five, the fifth male being William born about 1788. So, this individual is also speculative. According to genealogist Peggy Bledsoe of the Historical Society in Hagerstown, who I contacted way back in the 90s, was unable to dig up any other information on this Martin McGraw in the county records after 1790.

Taken with the fact that Pennsylvania and Maryland disputed the boundaries between the two states before and around this timeframe makes me wonder if our ancestors were actually born in Maryland.

3. Whether Martin McGraw of Dock Ward, Philadelphia, PA 1774 is my ancestor. I believe this is the same Martin McGraw of Whitpain, Philadelphia County, PA in 1780 thereby creating the reality that this Martin McGraw and that of Northumberland – Bedford – Westmoreland Counties are not the same man.

I don’t care who you are, you can’t be in two places at the same time.

4. Then there is Martin McGraw of Bedford County, PA 1779-1788. Is it possible that they are all the same Martin McGraw?

Will the real Martin McGraw please stand up?

UPDATE: Due to Y-DNA Matching at and the generous contributions of several individuals surnamed “McGraw,” I may very well have pinned down Martin McGraw of Bedford County, PA as our “real Martin McGraw.” That post is DNA & the Quest for Martin McGraw.

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