The following discussion was previously published on pages 118-120, 1995 Graves Family Newsletter.


Mr. Louis F. McDonald, 4250 Lansdowne Dr. NW, Atlanta, GA 30339, is descended from the JOSEPH GRAVES who migrated from Orange Co., VA to Rowan Co. (later Surry, now Wilkes), NC about 1763-69. His daughter, Mary Graves, b.c. 1738, married Benjamin Cleveland about 1758-60. Mr. McDonald is looking for the ancestry of Joseph Graves.

He sent a copy of pages 126-129 from the History of North Carolina, including sketches of Hon. Jesse Franklin and Hon. Jesse Franklin Graves. This state: Jesse Franklin "was a son of Bernard and Mary (Cleveland) Franklin. His mother was a sister of Col. Ben Cleveland of Wilkes Co., North Carolina." "Governor Jesse Franklin married Meeky Perkins. Their family consisted of three sons and five daughters: ... Mary Cleveland Franklin (who married Gen. Solomon Graves and was the mother of the late Judge Jesse Franklin Graves of Surry Co.)."

The ancestry of Jesse Franklin Graves is given (incorrectly) in the sketch as: Thomas1, John2, John3, John4, Barzillai5, Solomon6, Jesse Franklin7.

Because of the connection of Benjamin Cleveland with the family of Jesse Franklin Graves and Solomon Graves, who were descended from Capt. Thomas Graves, Mr. McDonald thinks that Joseph Graves may also be related to this part of the family and descended from Capt. Thomas Graves.

(ED. NOTE: The correct ancestry of Jesse Franklin Graves is: Thomas1, John2, Thomas3, John4, Thomas5 m. Ann Davenport, John6 m. Isabella Lea, Barzillai7 m. Ursula Wright, Solomon8, Jesse Franklin9 Graves.

The following chart shows some of this part of the family.

There are certainly many similarities between Joseph Graves and the family of Thomas5 Graves who married Ann Davenport. Many people, including well-known genealogist Mrs. P. W. Hiden, have thought there was a relationship. Joseph Graves appears to have been born no later than about 1718, and my guess is that he may have been born about 1700 or soon after that. Since he is too old to be a grandson of Thomas5 Graves or of his brother John5, and he is definitely not a son of either of them, he may well be a younger brother. Such a brother has never been proposed to my knowledge, but it seems reasonable that John4 would have had more than the 2 children he is presently credited with.

Comments would be appreciated.)


Mr. Brice M. Clagett, Holly Hill, P.O. Box 86, Friendship, MD 20758, is also descended from the JOSEPH GRAVES of the preceding query. He has recently had research done on the ancestry of Joseph Graves by professional genealogist Neil D. Thompson. It was very interesting to learn that Mr. Thompson arrived at the same conclusion as in the preceding query, that is, that Joseph was probably a brother of John5 Graves and of Thomas5 Graves who married Ann Davenport.

Excerpts from his report (with minor editing for clarity) follow:

"Work on this fell into two parts: (1) to verify what is known about Joseph Graves of Orange Co., Va. and Surry Co., NC and his wife Sarah; and to try to place Joseph Graves in a defensible reconstruction of this difficult family ...

... the will of Joseph Graves, dated 12 July 1774, proved Aug. 1774 [Surry County Wills 1:25, original will at NC State Archives also], from which it appears he was survived by his wife Sarah and his daughter Mary (Graves) Cleaveland... Surry County was taken out of Rowan County in 1770 ..."

Various references are then cited, showing Joseph Graves in Orange Co., VA between 1746 and 1761, including his appearance with 6 persons in his household on the Orange Co. tithable list for Feb. 1754, Nov. 1755, and Nov. 1756.

"Records of Louisa, Spotsylvania and other nearby counties have nothing on Joseph; the fact that he was set to labor on a road in 1750 would indicate that he was 35 or less, I would think, and I would place his birth at 1715-20. It is very interesting that in Feb. 1754 the other Graves tithables were John Graves (2) and Thomas Graves (4). John Graves of Spotsylvania Co. had owned land in Orange Co. since 23/24 Nov. 1737 [Orange Co. LR 1:177] and Thomas Graves since 7/8 Jan. 1742/3 [id. 2:77] so it is not surprising that they were also taxed there. There are no Graves entries at all in the early Orange Co. court order books and a Samuel Graves with four in his household who was a tithable in 1739 ... does not recur."

He then argues convincingly that Joseph could not be a son of Thomas5 Graves, nor could he be the Joseph who was son of John5 Graves and who married Frances Coleman.

"But there is nothing to say that Thomas and John Graves, sons of John Graves of King and Queen Co. in 1704 and who was set levy free as ‘ancient’ on 7 June 1737 ... could not have had any number of siblings. Thomas was born about 1691 ... Given the ages of John’s children, he was a younger brother..."

"‘Our’ Joseph Graves was buying land in 1746 and by Aug. 1756 his daughter Mary was old enough to testify for him, so 1715-20, and perhaps a few years earlier - but not much - remains a good estimate for his birth. This would fit without much difficulty in a 25 year child bearing span for the unknown wife of John Graves of King and Queen and Spotsylvania Co. But is there any evidence at all that Thomas Graves, born in 1691, had a brother named Joseph?"

"The answer is ‘Yes’, ... In the Graves Family Newsletter 6:118 (2688) is an extract from a family Bible record furnished by William T. Graves of Charlotte, NC from a Bible owned by Solomon Graves, son of (Rev.) Barzillai Graves, grandson of John Graves who came to NC - like your Joseph Graves - and who was eldest son of Thomas Graves born in 1691. That record reveals ... that Thomas Graves was twice married, but, more important for our purposes, that Thomas Graves had a brother Joseph. I see no reason to doubt this statement even though it does not mention another brother named John or other siblings.

(ED. NOTE: I had forgotten about that 1981 article. The Bible record also states that Thomas5 Graves, b. 1691, m(1) Mary Perkins and had 3 children, 2 daughters and a son. The son was John Graves who m. Isabella Lea. "He then married a second time and by this marriage he had many sons.")







The following information was previously published on pages 114, 118-119, 1981 Graves Family Newsletter.


Mr. William T. Graves (R-17) came across a record from the Bible of Solomon Graves, son of Rev. Barzillai Graves (who died 14 July 1827 in Caswell Co., NC). The Bible belonged to Mrs. Elizabeth Burke (nee Graves) of Yanceyville, NC, and was copied by the N.C. Archives in 1971. Although it is not certain, the record (at least in part) appears to be Solomon Graves’ attempt to recall his ancestry as of 1817. Someone has added notes concerning family births and deaths occurring after 1817. Mr. William T. Graves prepared the following transcription of the Bible record (with a few minor punctuation changes). There are probably errors regarding Solomon’s birth. For example, the record states that Joseph and Thomas Graves came to Virginia from England around 1700; that is unlikely.


Ancestry, family, particulars -- according to the best information

that can be at present collected --- Anno D. 1817


It seems that about the year 1700, Joseph and Thomas Graves emigrated to America from England. Being brothers, they both settled in the State of Virginia in the County of Spotsylvania. Each of them married in that State and from them a numerous connection has descended. Thomas intermarried with one Mary Perkins and had by this marriage only three children, two daughters and a son, and his wife died. He then married a second time and by this marriage he had many sons. John Graves, his son by the first marriage, removed into the State of North Carolina about the year A.D. 1755. He married a daughter of James Lea, formerly of Virginia, whose name was Isabell Lea. James Lea, her father, married a Herndon. From the marriage of John Graves and his wife has sprung an extensive family connection in the State of North Carolina. Barzillai Graves, their fifth son, intermarried with one Ursula Wright, the daughter of one William Wright the son of John Wright who intermarried one Miss ------ Parsons and who emigrated to the United States about beginning of the Seventeenth Century. William Wright intermarried with one Margaret Johnston, the daughter of a Mr. Johnston who also emigrated to this Country from England. From the marriage of B. Graves and his wife there has descended three sons and four daughters, Solomon Graves, Jeremiah Graves, and Barzillai Graves, Jun., who died without issue. The daughters were named Isabella Graves, Elizabeth Graves, Margaret Graves and Mary Graves. Isabell, the eldest daughter, intermarried with one Hosea McNeill. Elizabeth, the second daughter, intermarried with one James Lea. Mary, the fourth daughter, intermarried with one Thomas W. Graves. Solomon Graves, the eldest son, intermarried with one Mary C. Franklin who was the daughter of Jesse Franklin, late a Governor of the State of North Carolina. Jeremiah Graves intermarried with one Delilah Lea, a daughter of John Lea, called Cainbrake (sic, Canebrake) John Lea. [NOTE: The handwriting for the following is different from the handwriting for the preceding. The archivist at the N.C. Archives believes that the following text was written at a later date by someone other than the author of the preceding notes.] Margaret Graves married William Lipscomb. Her descendants are all dead. James Lea removed to West Tennessee where their descendants now reside (2510).


Register of Ages and Deaths

S. [Solomon] Graves born 14th July 1784

Mary C. [Franklin] Graves born the 24 Feby. 1794

They were married 10th April 1817

1. Micky (?) Ann Graves their first daughter born March 23th, 1819

2. Sarah Emily their second daughter born the 10th March 1821

3. Mary Ursula their third daughter born 6th April 1823

4. Elizabeth Franklin Graves their fourth daughter born 16th June 1825

5. J. Franklin their first son born the 31st day of August 1829

6. Margaret Isabella their fifth daughter born 30th day of May 1832

7. Barzillai Yancy Graves born the 10th October 1835


Mary U. who intermarried with H. M. Waugh (?) died the 24th of June 1851

Jesse Franklin, father of Mary C. Graves, born March 24th 1760, died in August 28th 1824 in the 64th year of his age.

Micky (?) Franklin, mother of Mary C. Graves, born 1765. She died the 20th of Feby. 1835 in her 69th year.

Barzillai Graves, father of S. Graves, born 1755, died 14th July 1827 in the 67th year of his age.