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Graves Family Association







Karen Chilton Beverly, the one who found and submitted this will, has now transcribed most of it. Her transcription and comments are below. If you can improve on this transcription or decipher the unknown words, please let us know. She wrote: "In some ways, I find this will a disappointment because no wife or children are mentioned. Some nephews are. Secondly, I could not understand all the words so I left a blank where I was doubtful, with the best guess I could come up with in parenthesis. Also, the word Dowlis is apparently dowlas which is a rough cotton fabric woven in northern England and Scotland which was subsequently replaced by calico. A great deal of fabric is given away in this will, leading me to wonder if John Grave wasn't a fabric merchant, a draper. Also, I wonder if he wasn't a Quaker because of the reference to the meeting house.

Being a lawyer was helpful in transcribing the will. I think this will was drafted by an attorney, because there are some fine points reflected in this document, including leaving no blank spaces at the end of the lines, which is part of old will practice. The phraseology is also similar. Also, there was never any reference to any Graves with an s, and there is a distinction between Grave and Grieves as you will see. Taking this in mind, my transcription follows:

I, John Grave acknowledge this to be my last Will and Testament and do make John Murrey my Executor and the twenty pound sterling obligation of Arthur Allen due to me I give out of the same to the aforesaid John Murrey four pounds and to Thomas Proud five pounds and all my books and papers and medicines and _____ (gally) pots and glass bottles and the other five pounds to the repairing of our meetinghouse on Long ______ (Neck) ______ (Fields) also out of my ________ (furnishings) in my house I give my fine ______ (linen) rolled Holland to Elizabeth Murrey and to Susan _____ (Gowessit) my gold ring and to Samuel Newton six ells of Dowlis and to John ______ (Harrison) I give twelve yards of _____ (ticking) and a pair of new blankets and six ells of Dowlis and two of my best wearing coats and to Peter Grieves I give three other cloaks and two shirts of the _____ (newest) also I do acquit all debts due to me here in Virginia ______ (either by) bill or _____ (accounts) of every person except the aforesaid Arthur Allens twenty pounds which I have given out as before mentioned also out of my money in my house I give to William ________ (Richards) ten shilling and to John ______ (Law) five shilling and to John Murrey his three sons John William and George each of them half a crown and all the remainder of my money in my house I give to my Executor John Murrey in ____( order) I give to William Richards two of my best weaving ______ (stuff) coats and six ells of Dowlis to Sara Miller I give four yards of ____ (serge) and three ells of Dowlis. I do earnestly desire of the Court that no swearing should be urged to any about _________ (concerning) things of this my will having desired. Thomas Proud to send a copy of this my will and to whom I do ____ (give) my money in England which I account to be about sixty pounds this is forty pounds to my sister's son Walter Potter and the remainder to my nephew Peter Grave, and to Peter Grieves aforesaid I give to him and his wife six ells of Dowlis and to William Lewis and his wife six ells of ________ (damask) and to their son John Lewis my dark colored serge coat (cloak) witness my hand and seal this tenth day of the tenth month 1689 John Grave witness by us Charles Cadbury, Johnathan ________ (Carroll) Edward Miller (Sr.) William Wilson Thomas Proud

I could find almost no punctuation in the document. Where I though there was, I put it in. I speculate that Thomas Proud was the lawyer who drafted the will as he was entrusted to make a copy of the will and send it to England."

After transcribing this will, Karen Beverly did further research on the Virginia GenWeb site and found the following document for Isle of Wight Co., VA, Mixed Records, Vol. 1, part 2, page 406, FHLC #32021. She believes it conclusively shows that John Grave was a Quaker and lived in Isle of Wight County.

Be it knowne unto all men by these presents that I Wm Bressie of ye Upper parrish of Isle of Wight County in Virginia planter wth Susannah my wife have given granted enfeoffed From us or heires and Ass. and doe by these presents ffor ever swere give and grant and enfeofe unto Wm Yarrett John Grave ffrancis Wrenn Edward Jones Thomas Tooks and Henry Wiggs and the rest of the servts of God Frequently called Quakers, one house built by ye sd people in ye place called ye Levy Neck Ould Feilds near the Creekside to worhp and serve the liveing God, in spiritt and truth wth ground sufficient for A Graveyard and what more may be thought fitt, and shall suddenly be bounded by four Corner Trees to be planted with a free Egress and regress for ye sd people through and of the sd Bressies Land in any path that now leads to the sd House, and farther that wee Lease neither Sale nor deed of guift that Shall hereafter be made by us or either of us William and Susanna Bressie, or heires or Ass. contrary to the true intent and meaning hereof but shall be adjudged is hereby declaired by us to be Null and illegall Witness our hands and seales, and furthermore wee doe declair our intents and meaning to be, that the right freedome and liberty herein contayned shall extend to as many as hereafter shall receive and obey the Gospell and Joyn unto the said people

Signed Sealed and delivered in the William Bressie o Seal
presence of us -- Susanna Bressie o Seal
Daniell Sanborne
Walter Bartlett

This acknowledged in Open Cot by Mr William Bressie and his Wife to be their Art and Deed and Ordered to be Recorded ffeb 9th 1671