September 8-10, 2016 in Historic Bardstown, KY



A gathering will be held for Graves family members whose ancestors of the 1700s hailed from Virginia and went on to other states including the site of this gathering -Bardstown, Kentucky -America’s Most Beautiful Small Town (by Rand McNally/USA Today in 2012). Bardstown is a 45 min. drive south of Louisville. The dates are the weekend prior to the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival so the town will be at peak for touring (minus the thousands in the festival mob).

Following in succession from a 2015 gathering in Harrisonburg Virginia that brought together 2nd cousins and close Y-DNA matches, this Kentucky event is being planned by two previous participants, Deb Lowe (Danville, KY) and Michael “Mike” D. Graves (Humble, TX).

The focus is on participants who are in Graves Family Association (GFA) generations numbered 77, 94, 118, 150, 152, 215, and 511 since Family Tree DNA testing in Houston indicates that these generations “Graves family tree branches” have shared common “recent” ancestors dating back to the mid-1700s in Virginia and originally to Francis Graves (Gen. 220), son of Capt. Thomas Graves (1580-1635) who was among the early settlers who founded Jamestown in Virginia. All Graves descendants welcome!

While we don’t yet know exactly through whom or when these branches connect, this gathering looks into interesting bits of Graves family history while in the company of closely related cousins with hopes of figuring out our historical connection. After all, none of us are as smart as all of us working together!

Schedule – is being developed by Deb and Mike, so far we know that/ Wed. Sept. 7 – travel in day, dinner together for those in at that time Thurs. to Sat. Sept. 8-10 – a tour of local and Graves family historical sites Lunch and dinners together. Sun. Sept. 11 – travel out day (check final schedule for any group activities early on Sunday).


Lodging designate – Hampton Inn Bardstown

Hampton Inn Bardstown is our central lodging spot from which touring will begin and end each day ­985 Chambers Blvd, Bardstown, KY 40004 Phone: (502) 349-0100. A special block of rooms has been saved (group code: GGP) at discounted rate of $109/night plus tax for any days Sept. 7 through Sept. 11, 2016. Call the hotel directly or Hampton national reservations at 1-800-Hampton with the GGP code or reserve online at with the same discount code. Reserve early and tell of/use the GGP discount code. You are free to stay at Hampton Inn or wherever you like.

Historical Visit Possibilities – some of these would be included on our tour

1               Mackville Graves Cemetery and Homestead

2               Mackville City Cemetery (New Peter Cemetery)

3               Old Peter Cemetery

4               Lincoln Homestead

5               Bardstown main street & old Heaven Hill Homestead bought by Thomas Bushrod Graves & Graves Stable

6               Old Methodist Cemetery, High View Cemetery, Thomas S. Graves Homestead and Victorian mansion of the Houchins Brothers also Bloomfield Baptist Church Cemetery (other half of the Beauchamp Tragedy and Lawson (Rev. War Gravesite)

7               Cave Hill Cemetery (Louisville), Churchill Downs, Filson Club

8               Graves Tavern Stand, Woodford County Historical Society (tour by Donna Wilson) and Pisgah Church (lot of Rev War gravesites)

9               Black Horse Tavern (Richard Cole Jr.) and the Cole Family Cemetery and Out Kitchen (Zerelda Cole and Robert Sallee James lived here)

10            Preachersville many Graves family buried at Old Drakes Creek (William Graves Rev. Soldier) Gr Gr Gr Grandfather of James Graves

11            Lexington National Cemetery and UK Special Archives

12            KY Historical Society and KY Archives (Frankfort)

13            Frankfort Cemetery, War memorial to Benjamin F Graves (Battle of River Raisin), Daniel Boone Gravesite, John Winston Coleman (Author) Beauchamp Tragedy (Gravesite of the attorney that was murdered).


Fun Sight Seeing Possibilities some included on the tour

1               Old KY Dinner train at Bardstown (about $70 per person). Reservations required.

2               Tour of Bourbon Heritage Center at Heavenhill Distillery (largest bourbon distillery and tour also there is a Heavenhill Family Cemetery on the grounds.

3               Downtown Bardstown and the old Courthouse, My Old KY Home Park (Stephen Foster Musical Place)

4               Museums in Bardstown (Oscar Getz Bourbon Museum, Wickland House (home of three KY governors), Historical Society, Old County Jail, Old Bardstown village and fort, Civil War museum, RR museum, and tour by former Mayor Dixie Hibbs). Also hear from Donna Wilson of the Woodford Co. Historical Society. Hibbs and Wilson – great local historians talking with us.


Please share your thoughts on any of this with Deb & Mike and advise of your interest in participating.

Deb Lowe and Michael “Mike” D. Graves

Communication assistant for this gathering: Steve Graves