William McGraw & Lucretia Withrow

Honestly, I know very little about this couple. They “disappear” from the records after their marriage which occurred 11 March 1813 in Monroe County, West Virginia. Yes, it was the State of Virginia in those days but I double-dog dare you to go hunting for a copy of the marriage record in Virginia.

William was a son of Martin McGraw Sr and Margaret (surname unknown. No, her surname was not Gallagher Shores.) I believe this because, throughout the last 30-plus years of research, I’ve yet to find another McGraw family in either Greenbrier or Monroe to which to tie William. Martin and Margaret lived out their lives in Greenbrier County as far as I can ascertain. And no, we’re no relation to the McGary/McGaraugh family of Greenbrier.

William’s younger brother Thomas McGraw, my direct ancestor, married Catherine Withrow who I once believed to be a younger sister of Lucretia: I’ve yet to run across which Withrow family Lucretia descended.

William’s older brother Martin McGraw Jr (ALSO my ancestor) married his first wife Nancy Wood in Monroe County (1806) and younger brother Samuel McGraw also married in Monroe County to Elizabeth Wood (1812), sister of Nancy Wood aforementioned. Note that Samuel’s marriage to Elizabeth Wood (first) is listed on the same page as William’s to Lucretia (last) in the Minister’s Returns of John Alderson, found here: http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369509&Type=Marriage and shown below:

Marriage Records of Two McGraws in Monroe County, WV
Samuel McGraw & Elizabeth Wood’s marriage is the first line in the image; William McGraw & Lucretia Withrow’s marriage is listed in the second line from the bottom.

The McGraw family spent a good deal of time in both Monroe County and Greenbrier County. I am of the opinion that Martin Sr’s farm lay across the border between the two counties since Martin paid taxes in Greenbrier one year; the following year he paid taxes in Monroe. It is likely that the sons at least were probably attending services at the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church at which John Alderson was pastor (and who officiated these said marriages) and at which the Wood and Skaggs families were founding members. That’s my theory.

Since the advent of DNA testing and DNA Matches through Ancestry, MyHeritage, et. al., I have only ONE match to an alleged descendant of  William McGraw & Lucretia Withrow. I am confused by the research associated with the various trees with William and Lucretia are listed: The birthplaces for both are listed as South Carolina, the marriage in Monroe County, WV, residence back in SC again ending with Lucretia McGraw dying in Jasper, Mississippi. Let’s be real: No one can be in two places at the same time.

I say that because William McGraw appears in the Monroe County, WV Tax Lists in 1812 and 1813. However, in 1814, there is no listing for William McGraw. Lucretia is listed along with her mother-in-law Margaret and her sister-in-law Elizabeth (Betsy Brian) McGraw, both widowed on 11 April:

11 April 1815 tax list of Monroe County, WV showing widow Margaret McGraw, daughters-in-law Elizabeth "Betsy Brian" McGraw and Lucretia Withrow McGraw.

The “researchers” of William McGraw have him confused with his brother Henry McGraw who came of age and appears in Greenbrier County in both 1820 and 1830 with his aged mother in the household. Henry, now married, moved with his wife Mary/Polly (no last name) to Nicholas before 1840 which became Fayette County, WV. He could not possibly be his brother William – there’s an eleven-year age difference between the two men.

Further, I don’t believe William McGraw, son of Martin and Margaret, and William McGraw, son of George Anthony McGraw, are the same person. The older William married in 1813; he would have had to be at least 21 years of age (placing his birth year between 1788 and 1792). The latter William would only have been about 16 years old. And brother Samuel was born about 1792. From the ages of the births of the siblings, each was born approximately three years apart.

So, I am, as of this writing, under the assumption that William McGraw died before 11 April 1814. At some time thereafter, Lucretia likely remarried. Any children, if there were any, that she may have borne to William may have assumed the new husband’s surname. I cannot explain the one DNA Match to me and Cathy Meder Dempsey in Ancestry except to say that I’ve no doubt there is a McGraw connection – but their family tree is going to need to be worked on and evidence presented to convince me that the ancestors were William McGraw and Lucretia Withrow.

Meanwhile, write to me or leave a comment below if this is of interest to you or you have a theory and supporting evidence. And if I am horribly wrong, I’ll eat my words.

**UPDATED: 12/30/2022***

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