Martin McGraw II

This is about Martin McGraw II, or if you prefer, Martin McGraw, Jr. He is my 4th-great grandfather through my paternal great grandmother, Nora Belle Jacobs. It is important to note that in no document anywhere is he designated as “II” or “Jr.” I added these suffixes over 30 years ago to distinguish him from his father.

His parents – Martin McGraw I and Margaret _unknown_ – lived in Greenbrier County in an area I believe to be near present-day Caldwell, WV. This is due to the proximity of his father and brothers in the tax lists of the county to one Benjamin Grigsby, second pastor of the Old Stone Presbyterian Church at Lewisburg. Grigsby built a home on his property in Caldwell, WV known as the Stone Manse. Martin’s siblings Anthony, John, and Elender were married in Greenbrier County. However, siblings Mary Ann, William, and Samuel as well as Martin himself, were married in Monroe County. Mary Ann, Samuel, and Martin married Wood siblings, all children of Bailey and Nancy Wood Sr.  Martin’s brothers William and Thomas married sisters, daughters of William S. Withrow and Susannah Skaggs. What do the Wood and Skaggs families have in common? The Old Greenbrier Baptist Church at Alderson, WV.

Martin McGraw II married his first wife, Nancy Wood (daughter of Bailey Wood, Sr) on 3 May 1806 in Monroe County, WV “by banns.” In other words, the impending nuptials were published locally and most likely announced in Sunday church services three weeks prior to the wedding itself. None other than John Alderson, first pastor of the old Greenbrier Baptist Church, officiated the marriage. We then find through the Census records that Martin and Nancy are living in Monroe County in 1810. They are living in close proximity to William Withrow, Bailey Wood, and William Wood (brother-in-laws). In the household of the 1810 Census are one male and one female aged 26 to 44 years old; and two females under the age of 10 years old.

Martin McGraw II served in the 5th Regiment of the Virginia Militia in the War of 1812. For his service, he was granted 100 acres of bounty land on Big Creek, a branch of the New River, in what was then Nicholas County but is now situated in Fayette County, Chimney Corner, WV if you’d like to look it up on a map. [Grant Title: McGraw, Martin. Publication: 8 September 1824. Other Format Available on microfilm. Virginia State Land Office. Grants A-Z, 1-124, reels 42-190; Virginia State Land Office. Grants 125- , reels 369-.] Therefore, we find the family living in Nicholas County for the 1820 Federal Census.

The family has increased by leaps and bounds, if the census is to be taken at face value: Martin and Nancy are enumerated as between the ages of 26 and 44. They now have 3 sons and 3 daughters, or 6 children total. 2 males and 2 females under 10 years old; 1 male and 1 female between 10 and 15 years old. REVISED: The only issue is that I cannot account for them all. I believe that the male between 10 and 15 years old is John McGraw. John McGraw’s death records provide that he was born 1809 in Monroe County but his parents aren’t listed on the document. As we’ve already seen by the 1810 Census, there was no male listed in Martin and Nancy’s household but this may have been because there are two females listed, one of which should have been a male. John is found living near Martin in the 1840 Fayette County census and is referenced in at least one document written in Martin’s hand. * The teenaged male found to be living with Martin and Nancy McGraw was none other than Martin’s nephew, John. A. McGraw, son of John McGraw and Sally Anderson of Russell County, VA. The document is a hand-written note asking his representative or lawyer in charge of his pension money to give money to “the bearer of this note, John McGraw” for the purchase of coffee.

Martin McGraw 1845
December the 12th 1845 Mr Dudley Montegue Sir please to send to me by the bearer John McGraw one dollar to get me some coffee and o blidge your friend. Martin McGraw

Martin is listed in the 1820 and 1830 federal censuses in Nicholas County but in 1831, the area in which Martin’s property was situated became part of the newly formed Fayette County. Subsequently, we find him in the 1840 federal census for Fayette County. It is important to note that his first wife, Nancy Wood, died at this location about 1833 according to the Widow’s Pension Files submitted by Sarah J. Johnson, Martin’s second wife, born – I reckon – about 1810. The two were joined in marriage on 12 April 1835 at Gauley Bridge, Fayette County by minister W. C. Legon, a pastor of the Kanawha Baptist Church, now situated at Pratt, WV.

So far, the descendants of Martin and Nancy look like this in my Ancestry ThruLines. Note that the individuals shown as my “half-” relatives is because they are children of Nancy Wood: I do not descend from Nancy Wood.


The children by second wife, Sarah Jane Johnson begins with Mary E. McGraw (my ancestor) and goes through George Andrew McGraw. There is a second Martha P McGraw included in this. That is because one or more Ancestry trees give her parents as Martin McGraw and Sarah Jane Johnson when I’ve found no documentation to support it. Her father’s name on her marriage record is (William) Alexander McGraw and I know that he is the son of Samuel McGraw and Elizabeth Wood. I’ve provided the documentation and less-than-subtle suggestions to the owners of the various trees but no correction has been made therefore she still shows in my ThruLines.

I am descended through Mary E. McGraw. As you can see, some of the children are missing but that is because (1) their descendants haven’t taken the AncestryDNA test and (2) constructed a Family Tree at Ancestry. “Elizabeth McGraw” showing in green with the “Evaluate” button may not be descendants of either Martin and Nancy nor Martin and Sarah: I simply do not have information on her in order to make that call.

Martin and Sarah left Fayette County sometime after 1840 but prior to 1850 and moved to what would become Putnam County, West Virginia. Martin’s younger brother Thomas McGraw (also my 4th-Great grandfather) had moved to the area where he took up residence on 18 Mile Creek (near Buffalo). Thomas McGraw appears in the 1840 Kanawha County tax list. Remember, this part of Kanawha became Putnam in 1848.

Named in the 1850 Putnam County Census are Nancy (daughter of Martin and Nancy Wood), Lucretia, Mary E, Minerva, William H, George A, and Samuel H. McGraw, all children by Sarah Johnson. Of note, however, is the marriage record of Ida B. McGraw, one of Martin’s daughters by Nancy Wood: She married James Duncan in Putnam County on 14 Jan 1855 “at the home of Thomas McGraw.” Her cousin Samuel McGraw (son of Thomas) even provided permission for her to marry James Duncan. This is on file with the Putnam County Clerk.

You’ll also find that Martha P. McGraw, daughter of Martin and Nancy, shown in the first image above, married John Hedrick. This couple was living in Putnam County from 1850 through 1880 so it is a safe assumption that Martin’s daughters by his first wife came to Putnam about the same time as their father. This is true for Sarah (m. Harrison Hays); Malinda (m. Richard Milby); as to Elizabeth, I’ve yet been unable to trace her accurately or with surety that she is indeed a descendant. As for daughter Nancy (last child by Martin and Nancy Wood), she married in Fayette County to Theophilus O’harra or Harrah in July 1855 and the couple remained there throughout their lives.

This means that before 1855, Martin and Sarah moved back to Fayette County. Martin died in Fayette in 1858. His daughter, Mary E. McGraw, married William H. Jacobs in Fayette County in 1859.

I have not established the date or timeframe of Sarah’s return but she did indeed go back to Putnam County. Daughter Mary E. McGraw married a second time in 1864 to William J. D. Duncan. I wholly suspect that Mary and Sarah were already living in the area for a while before this time. Sarah is listed in the 1880 Census as well as the 1890 Veteran’s Schedule for Putnam. And Putnam County is where she died, most likely at the home of one of her younger sons, either William or Samuel. As you know, there is no 1890 Census to check this but the Veteran’s Schedule was taken around June 1890 and the last payment she received was 4 June 1890.

That concludes this “brain dump” of a little of what I know about Martin McGraw Jr. or II, my fourth great-grandfather as shown in this bulleted list:

  • Martin McGraw II (m. Sarah J. Johnson)
    • Mary E. McGraw (m. William H. Jacobs)
      • John William Jacobs (m. Eliza Catherine “Cate” Colwell)
        • Nora Belle Hedrick (m. Homer H. McGrew)
          • Henry McGrew
            • Jack McGrew
              • Julie McGrew

Here’s a brain twister: Homer H. McGrew is descended from Thomas McGraw, brother of Martin. My father’s grandparents were fourth cousins.

Here is the info I have about the confirmed children of Martin McGraw & Nancy Wood:

  • Malinda McGraw, b. abt. 1810 Monroe County, WV; d. 1887 Putnam County, WV; m. Richard Milby 16 Feb 1836 Fayette County, WV.
  • Sarah McGraw, b. 25 Dec 1811 Monroe County, WV; d 25 May 1886 Buffalo District, Putnam County, WV; m. John Legg.
  • Martha P. McGraw, b. abt. 1819 Nicholas County, WV; d. bef. 1890 in Putnam County, WV; m. John Hedrick.
  • Susannah McGraw, b. 27 Jun 1821 Nicholas County, WV; d. 2 July 1891 Savannah, Andrew County, MO; m. Nathaniel Vaughn 3 Aug 1837 Fayette County, WV.
  • Ida B. McGraw, b. abt. 1826 Nicholas County, WV; d. 2 Feb 1902 Buffalo, Putnam County, WV; m. James M. Duncan 14 Jan 1855 at the home of Uncle Thomas McGraw.
  • Nancy McGraw, b. abt. 1833 Fayette County, WV; d. bef. 1900 Fayette County, WV; m. Theophilus O’Harra (changed to Harrah in later years) July 1855 Fayette County, WV.

Confirmed children of Martin McGraw, Jr. and Sarah Johnson:

  • Lucretia A. McGraw, b. abt 1836 Fayette County, WV; d. abt 1873 Mason County, WV; m. David Smith 17 Feb 1864 Mason County, WV.
  • Mary E. McGraw, b. abt. 1838 Fayette County, WV; d. abt 1900 Apple Grove, Mason County, WV; m1. William H. Jacobs 21 Feb 1859 Fayette County, WV; m2. John William Duncan 25 Nov 1864 Putnam County, WV.
  • Minerva/Mary F McGraw, b. abt. 1839 Putnam County, WV; d. Aug 1912 Putnam County, WV; m. James A. Phillips 31 Aug 1864 Putnam County, WV.
  • William H. McGrew, b. 15 May 1843 Fayette County, WV; d. 8 May 1930 Dunbar, Kanawha County, WV; m. Sarah Francis Duncan 31 Aug 1863 Putnam County, WV. *surname as shown on the death record and censuses during his lifetime*
  • George Andrew McGraw, b. abt 1849 Putnam County, WV; d. abt. 1920 Madison County, OH; m. Maria J. Hedrick 31 Mar 1870 Mason County, WV.
  • Samuel Harvey McGraw, b. 16 Nov 1851 Putnam County, WV; d. 29 Jan 1923 Charleston, Kanawha Co., WV; m. Alsonia C. Dodson 19 Nov 1874 Putnam County, WV.
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