Elender McGraw Nelson

Elender is one of only two daughters recorded in either Greenbrier or Monroe Counties, West Virginia that I attributed to Martin and Margaret McGraw, the only McGraws of the proper age living in the area. “El” as she is listed – not “Elizabeth” as many of us assumed early in our research – married Solomon Nelson in Greenbrier County, West Virginia on 1 March 1810 by Josiah Osborne. Here is a snipping of that record:

Marriage of El McGraw to Solomon Nelson, Greenbrier County, WV
See: http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=10976269&Type=Marriage

The marriage occurred four years after the death of Elender’s father, Martin McGraw (Sr). Elender’s husband, Solomon Nelson, is listed in the Greenbrier County Tax Lists 1811 through 1815. Strangely, he is not listed for taxes in 1810. However, other male members of Solomon’s family are listed on the same lists as well as he: The tax lists are divided into A and B. Since Nelsons appear in both, my suspicion is that those who appear in the same list prior to and with Solomon are close family members.

In the 1810 Tax List, the following males are listed sans Solomon: Benham, John, Elijah, Benjamin, William, John (2), and Jonathan Nelson. (Citation: Tax List B, IMG 657. 2023. Accessed December 10. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQ2-3S7T-D?i=656&cat=777465).  In 1811, we find these men listed below in the Personal Property Tax List: Elijah, Solomon, John Sr, Jonathan, and John Nelson, Jr, viz:

Nelson, 1811 Greenbrier County, WV Tax List
Tax List A. IMG 672. 2023. Accessed December 10. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQ2-3S75-L?i=671&cat=777465.

In 1815, these individuals are listed along with the number of males in the household over the age of 16: Feb 25, Elijah -1, Solomon – 0, Jonathan – 1; Mar 7, John – 1. Bear in mind that in 1815, there is only one John Nelson in the list. In 1816, none of the males are listed save one named John “Nealson” with 1 male of the age of 16. Whether this is John Nelson Jr, I have not ascertained. But the conclusion I draw from this is that at least Solomon Nelson has left Greenbrier County, no doubt heading north to Ohio. FamilySearch.org lists Solomon Nelson in Gallia County, Ohio from 1826 through 1838.

Descendants of Solomon and Elender provide the burials of the couple on FindaGrave showing both died in Madison County, Indiana. There doesn’t appear to be tax lists for Indiana and although deeds exist, I would need to visit my local library to access the records online. Solomon does appear in the 1840 Census in Madison County, IN with 7 individuals in the household, including himself. This means the couple left Ohio after the tax list in 1838 en route to Indiana.

Elender McGraw was born about 1788, per my reckoning twenty-some years ago, quite possibly in Pennsylvania like her older brothers, George Anthony, John, and Martin Jr. Both Elender’s birth year and place are guesstimations, not fact although her headstone inscription certainly backs it up. It is possible – possible doesn’t mean probable – that Elender was born in Maryland, as stated in others’ family trees. I say this for the following reasons:

  1. I believe “our” Martin McGraw Sr is listed in the tax lists of Hopewell Township, Bedford County, PA from 1775 to 1785;
  2. Martin is definitely listed in the Tax Lists of Augusta County, Virginia in 1792, 1793, and 1795 – prior to arriving in Greenbrier County, WV;
  3. both Martin’s sons John and Martin McGraw Jr give their birthplaces as Pennsylvania in separate 1850 Censuses: John McGraw in Russell County, Virginia and Martin McGraw Jr. in Putnam County, West Virginia.
  4. Therefore, if Martin came south from Pennsylvania along the Great Wagon Road, he is likely listed in the 1790 Census of Washington County, Maryland. That census provides the name of a “Martin Magraw” with the correct number of individuals of the proper ages listed. Below I show what I mean:
    1. Males – 16 and over: 1 (Martin McGraw, Sr)
    2. Males – Under 16: 4
      1. George Anthony McGraw b. 1775
      2. John McGraw b. 1778 Pennsylvania
      3. Martin McGraw Jr. b. 1785 Pennsylvania
      4. William McGraw b. 1790 possibly Washington Co, MD
    3. Females: 3 (wife Margaret and two daughters)
      1. Mary Ann McGraw b. 1781
      2. Elender McGraw b. 1788

FYI: son Samuel McGraw was born about 1792 giving Augusta County, VA as his birthplace. This coincides with the PPT Lists of Augusta County. Sons Thomas (my ancestor) and Henry were born in Greenbrier County, West Virginia in 1799 and 1801 respectively.

My Ancestry Thru-Lines show that I share DNA matches with 13 centimorgans on 1 segment with 2 descendants who claim Elender McGraw Nelson as their ancestor, making us 5th cousins.

**Updated 12/11/2023**