New Info: William McGraw & Lucretia Withrow

As stated in a previous blog post in which I shared my doubts regarding William McGraw’s existence, I discovered documentation that proved, in fact, he truly did live, for a while, at least. Although William and wife Lucretia are not my direct ancestors, their whereabouts after their marriage in 1813 Monroe County, (West) Virginia have been a thorn in my flesh, so to speak.

It was past time I attempted to access the Monroe County and the Greenbrier County tax lists for some thorough research.

The records showed me some amazing things. For starters, our common ancestor, Martin McGraw Sr, is listed in both Greenbrier and Monroe County personal property tax lists in staggered years as are his sons George Anthony McGraw, John McGraw, Martin McGraw Jr., and William McGraw. I have a feeling the property they farmed was on the border of those two counties. But my focus here is William McGraw, son of Martin Sr.

In 1809, William is listed in the Greenbrier County tax list as is Anthony. Is Anthony his brother or his father? As we well know, Anthony’s eldest son is named William McGraw. I calculate dates of birth by subtracting 21 from the year of first marriage. It’s a rough calculation but I have found that most males in those days (with some exceptions) married at about age 21. So, Year of Marriage -minus- 21 equals Year of Birth.  YOM-21=YOB. Using that gauge, I calculated thusly:

  1. William McGraw (son of Martin Sr) married Lucretia Withrow in 1813. 1813-21 = ~1790. (That places him in the line of siblings 2 years after Elender and 2 years before Samuel).
  2. William McGraw (son of Anthony) married Elizabeth Gill in 1818. 1818-21=~1797.

Therefore, in 1809 William “1” would have been 19 years old – and taxable/tithable due to the fact he is 16 years of age and above. William “2” would have only been 12 years old and not yet of taxable age. I conclude that the individual listed in the Greenbrier County tax list in 1809 is William McGraw, son of Martin Sr and Margaret McGraw.

Thereafter, William is listed in the Monroe County tax lists as follows:

  • 12 Mar 1812 William (2 taxables), along with brothers Samuel and Martin (Jr). *The second taxable with William is most likely to be younger brother Thomas since father Martin is deceased as of about 1809-1810;
  •  5 Apr 1813 William (2 taxables), along with brothers Samuel and Martin (Jr);
  • no listing for William in 1814 but brother Thomas, now 16 years of age, is taxed individually. (Thomas was born Feb 1799. The 1814 tax was collected on 9 March therefore, he is 16 years old).

Then on 11 Apr 1815, wife Lucretia (Withrow) McGraw is listed in William’s stead on the same date as her widowed mother-in-law Margaret McGraw and widowed sister-in-law Elizabeth “Betsy” Bryant (or Brian, whichever you prefer. Recall that Anthony died in August 1814). There are no males of 16 in Lucretia’s household nor any horses but she does have 3 head of cattle.

After this date, there is no further mention of William or Lucretia in either Monroe or Greenbrier Counties’ tax lists. Don’t be confused by William McGraw who appears in Greenbrier County in the 1817 tax list: He is most likely William the son of Anthony and Elizabeth who moved to Adams County, Ohio after the 1820 Greenbrier County tax list and census. Also, William is listed either immediately preceding or following his mother Elizabeth/Betsy’s name on the tax list.

I have pondered whether William too died either serving in the War of 1812 or as a result of a disease contracted during that time like his brother (George) Anthony. Martin Jr. also served – and survived – but his widow (second wife Sarah Johnson) and Anthony’s (Elizabeth Gill, surname by a second marriage) both collected Widow’s Pensions. There is no listing for a soldier from Virginia for that war nor a Widow’s Pension for Lucretia, assuming she never remarried. So that is a dead end as of this writing.

I am dubious that he is the same William McGraw of Fairfield County, South Carolina in 1810. Bear in mind that William is listed in Greenbrier County, West Virginia in 1809 (aged ~19), and Monroe County, West Virginia in 1812 and 1813 (the year he was married); then Lucretia alone is listed in Monroe County in 1815.

Here is a snip of the 1810 Fairfield County, SC Census listing from Ancestry. Note the number of individuals in the household and their ages: There are 8 total.

1 Male under 10
2 Males aged 26-44
1 Male aged 45+
1 Female under 10
1 Female aged 16-25
1 Female aged 26-44
1 Female aged 45+

This is a combined household. Who are all of these people?

William and Lucretia would better fit the 16-26-year-old column rather than the 26-44 year-olds. Admittedly, I have seen censuses in the past in which the “wrong” columns were checked for ages and other errors appeared. But I am not convinced that the William McGraw of Fairfield County, South Carolina is the son of Martin and Margaret McGraw.

I base this on three reasons:

  1. the distance between Fairfield County, South Carolina and Monroe County, West Virginia: the lack of “highways” or trails in those days puts the mileage at about 300 miles or more going one direction only;
  2. the fact that William and Lucretia – and family – would have had to travel that distance at least twice (there and back at a conservative estimate of 540 miles round trip) in order to appear in both West Virginia and South Carolina; and
  3. the number and ages of the unidentifiable individuals in the household in the 1810 Fairfield County, SC Census.

But I am learning that many things are possible while at the same time lacking probability. Let me know your thoughts.

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