Samuel McGraw

Samuel McGraw was no doubt born in Augusta County, Virginia, probably in 1792, the fifth son of Martin McGraw Sr. and Margaret (last name unknown). Since birth records were not kept that far back (unless you were Catholic) there are two (possibly three) ways of substantiating this claim:

  1. The Fayette County Voter’s list of 1866 in which Samuel’s birthplace is listed as Augusta County
    County Clerk, Register of the Names of Voters in Fayette County, West Virginia 1866, FamilySearch Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1958 (Microfilm of originals at the West Virginia University Library, Morgantown), Names of persons voting and tally of votes, Item 7, Mountain Cove, image 130 of 154, last line.
  2. The presence of his father, Martin McGraw (Senior) in the Personal Property Tax List of Augusta County, VA in the years 1792 to 1795:
    – 18 Jun 1792, Augusta County, Virginia, USA; PP Tax List A. “Familysearch: Sign In”. 2022. Familysearch.Org. (Img 420)
    – 16 May 1793, Augusta County, Virginia, USA; PP Tax List B. “Familysearch: Sign In”. 2022. Familysearch.Org. (img 456).
    – 1795, Augusta County, Virginia, USA; PP Tax List A. “Familysearch: Sign In”. 2022. Familysearch.Org. (3 titheables). Img 530. *Note there are three tithables in the household aged 16 and up: Martin Sr, and sons George Anthony and John.
  3. Samuel also served as an affiant in the Widow’s Pension Application for Elizabeth Bryan – McGraw – Gill, his brother Anthony’s widow. He states in the affidavit that he was “a small boy” when his brother married Elizabeth in Greenbrier County: Their marriage occurred on 3 October 1796, making Samuel about 4 years old.

Martin and Margaret McGraw next appear in Greenbrier County (West) Virginia (Personal Property Tax Lists) the following year with family in tow on 17 April 1796 (where the husband is, it is presumed that the wife is also, especially since she is of child bearing age).

Beginning in Monroe County in 1811, we begin to find Samuel in the Personal Property Tax Lists of that county prior to his marriage. He is at least 16 years old in order to appear in the Tax Lists and his father had died about or before 1806. On 28 May 1812 in Monroe County, Samuel married Elizabeth Wood who is believed to be one of the daughters of Bailey Wood (one of the 12 founding members of the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church of Alderson, WV) as well as a sister to Nancy Wood, the first wife of my ancestor, Martin McGraw, Jr and a brother to William Wood, husband of Mary Ann McGraw (sister of the aforementioned Martin McGraw, Jr.). Yes, the Wood children and the McGraw children intermarried heavily.

Four children were born to Samuel and Elizabeth McGraw that I have discovered:

  • Nancy M. McGraw 1815-1855 (here’s where the endogamy goes a little nuts. Nancy married her first cousin, John A. McGraw – the son of John McGraw and Sarah Anderson– who came from Russell County, VA about the age of 15 and lived with his Uncle, Martin McGraw, Jr. You can read more about this here.
  • William Alexander McGraw 1818-1876, m. Nancy Skaggs 1838 Fayette County, WV
  • _unnamed McGraw 1821 (apparently deceased at or near the time of birth)
  • Irvin Henry McGraw 1828 (to date, the 1850 Census in the HH of father Samuel and his father’s Will are the only records in which I have located Irvin).

To my knowledge, there is no death record for Elizabeth Wood. So how did I arrive at an approximate date of death of 1828 for her?

  1. Irvin Henry McGraw’s age in the 1850 Census of Fayette County (living in the household of father Samuel at 22 years of age). By the way, the supposed wife of Samuel McGraw in this census  is aged 33 and named Nancy – meaning she isn’t Irvin’s mother since she’d only have been 11 years old at the time of his birth and her name isn’t Elizabeth;
  2. On 24 July 1840 in Fayette County, WV, Samuel married Nancy Coleman. Did he possibly marry another woman between 1828 and 1840? Possibly. Its also possible that Elizabeth Wood lived beyond 1828 but I’ve no documents at this point to prove her date of death.
  3. Therefore, Elizabeth died after Irvin Henry’s birth in 1828 and prior to his father Samuel’s marriage to Nancy Coleman in 1840.

Samuel McGraw and his second wife Nancy Coleman proceeded to have seven more children, most, if not all of whom, are listed in Samuel’s Last Will and Testament:

  • Rebecca C. McGraw 1841-1925, m. John A. Zimmerman
  • Samuel E. McGraw, 1842 – no documentation found other than his father’s Will
  • Virginia E. McGraw 1844, m. David Newton Burdette
  • Francina McGraw 1845 – 1922, m. Abel Holliday
  • James Henry (?) McGraw 1848 – 1885, m. Nancy C Holliday
  • Mary Elizabeth McGraw 1851-
  • Icybrilla McGraw 1854-1855 – listed in death records at Fayette County Courthouse.

According to Sims’ Index to Land Grants in WV, Samuel first obtained a grant of 90 Acres on Honey Creek in 1842. Unless the maps or places have changed their names in the last 181 years, which is possible, Honey Creek may now be Honey Branch: The property description states (in Fayette County) “…on Honey Creek waters of New River…” which is over the mountain toward Beckwith from Chimney Corner.

As you’ve read from other blog posts I’ve written, this is down the mountain from Martin McGraw Jr’s property “on Big Creek” – making the two brothers neighbors, more or less – and explains how closely John A. McGraw lived to his first cousin, Nancy M. McGraw.

The 50 acres that Samuel was granted in 1856 “…on Pine Creek waters of New River and adjoining his own land and George Viney…” is not a location that I can pinpoint. Pine Creek has either had its name changed or it dried up. The only “Pine Creek” in the whole of West Virginia is listed in Logan County, too far to be considered “adjacent to” Sam’s own land on Honey Creek/Branch.

Samuel McGraw lived to be about 80 years old. His Last Will and Testament was entered into Probate in Fayette County in March 1872 so his death, of course, occurred prior to that date. At this point, I have ceased tracing his descendants – unless someone turns up with matching Y-DNA and I dive in to see how we’re related.

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