There has been much controversy and confusion over the line of descent discussed here. In an attempt to resolve the uncertainty, two articles have been published by two researchers in The Graves Family Newsletter. The first, by Mrs. Sue Davis, was published on pp. 125-135, 1980 GFNL, and the second, by Mr. Theron L. Smith, was published on pp. 99-101, 1992 GFNL.

Both articles came to the same conclusion regarding the lineage of Thomas and John Graves of Spotsylvania Co., VA. Therefore, the lineage presented here is believed to be correct, and is substantiated by the sources discussed in the second article. Both articles follow.

Send comments, criticism, and further evidence to Kenneth V. Graves, 20 Binney Circle, Wrentham, MA 02093.





Compiled by Mrs. Sue Davis, formerly of Benton, AR, died 1996.




Two John Graves (father and son) appear in records of King and Queen and King William Counties, Va. These were adjoining counties and King William was formed from King and Queen 1701-1702. In 1721 Spotsylvania Co. was formed from King and Queen, King William and Essex. Two brothers, John who married Frances and Thomas who married Ann, appear in Spotsylvania records. Their land in Spots. is in the area of the North Anna and Pamunkey Rivers which would be the area originally in King William-King and Queen Cos.


Controversy has developed over the parentage of this John and Thomas. The accepted line has been Thomas1 , Thomas2, Thomas3 and wife Mary of Abingdon Parish, John4 born Abingdon Parish, 1670, he being the father of John and Thomas of Spotsylvania. However, I believe an honest assesment of the Abingdon Parish Register will make this line impossible. Even though the register was destroyed in 1916, two copies were made prior to its destruction. The dates were missing from the first three pages of the old record. The first date is 1680. By studying the pages following 1680, it is obvious that each page covers approximately one year. It is reasonable to assume the first three pages are similar. I think this makes a 1670 birthdate for John, son of Thomas and Mary, an impossibility. It also makes it impossible for him to be the father of John Graves Jr.5 of Spotsylvania.


I believe I can present a much more likely line of descent for John Graves Jr.5 and Thomas Graves5. The records of King William and Spotsylvania give proof that John and Thomas were the sons of John Graves Sr. of King and Queen and King William. The parentage of this John Graves Sr. is unproven, but he is very likely a descendant of Capt. Thomas Graves. I feel it is highly unlikely that Capt. Thomas had any undiscovered sons. No other Graves in the early records would fit this description. Therefore, John Sr.'s father must have been a grandson of the Captain. Thomas2 and Francis2 do not appear to have sons that would fit as father of John Sr. Francis quite possibly had a son John by a 1st marriages but this John died testate in 1720, Essex and did not have a son John. However, John2 did have a son Thomas whose descendants have not been traced. This is the line I will attempt to show. Much more research is needed, but this is offered as a possibility, and I think the most logical of any of the lines I have seen.


This is not written as a complete record of this Graves line, but as a presentation to those who are already familiar with already published Graves records. I have not attempted to repeat various deeds, court records, etc. unless they prove a vital point in establishing the line.




Captain Thomas Graves came to Jamestown with the second supply on the Mary and Margaret in 1608. Anyone interested in the Graves family is well aware of the records pertaining to Captain Thomas and I will not repeat them. I would like to state that in my opinion he was unmarried when he came to Jamestown. I feel he made several return trips to England between 1608 and 1622. He probably married Katherine about 1610 while in England. Most assuredly his two oldest sons, John and Thomas were born in England.




2. JOHN GRAVES2 See later.


3. Thomas Graves2 born by 1617 t died by 1674 Gloucester Co. Issue: 1. Thomas m. Mary, 2. Jeffery m. Dorothy, 3. William m. Mary.


4. Verlinda Graves2 b. ca 1618 m. William Stone.


5. Ann Graves2 b. ca 1620 m(l) Wm. Cotton, (2) Nath. Eaton, (3) Francis Doughty.


6. Katherine Graves2 b. ca 1622, m(1) Wm. Roper, (2) Thos. Sprigg.


7. Francis Graves2 b. ca 1630 m. prob. 2nd Jane Maguffey, d. by 1691. Issue: 1. possibly by a 1st marriage, John m. Hannah, d. 1720 Essex Co. By 2nd marriage 2. Thomas, 3. Richard, 4. Francis.




JOHN GRAVES2 was born in England as he did not receive land as an "Ancient Planter". All persons in Virginia prior to 1616 received an additional 50 acres. John's birth date cannot be definitely proven, but he filed suit against John Parramore 19 Feb. 1634 (Accawmacke 1, p. 26) proving he was born at least by 1614. However, by the ages of his sons he must have been born no later than 1611. He was possibly born before Capt. Thomas came to Va. or Capt Thomas may have made return trips to England. He definitely did not bring his family over until 1617.

John's wife is unknown but some Graves genealogiests believe she was a Perrin. John died between 29 May 1639 when he patented land and April 1640 when William Parry was appointed administrator of John's estate. (Northhampton 2, p. 281)




8. Ralph3 was born at least by 1629 as he witnesses a deed in 1750 York Co. He married Rachel Croshaw by 1654. He died testate 9 May 1667, York Co. Issue: Ralph4, William4, Ann4, Mary4.


9. THOMAS3 See later.


10. William3 was born by 1631 as he patented land in York Co. in 1752. His wife's name is unknown. He died before 1668 (York Bk. 4, p. 178) when Rachel Graves, wife of Ralph3, appears on behalf of her son Ralph4 as next of kin to Ann Gravesr daughter of William Graves, deceased. This proves William had no other surviving children as they would have been Ann's heirs. It also proves Ralph3 was the oldest brother of William3, and Ralph4 was oldest son of Ralph3. This follows the English inheritance laws of that time. Issue: Ann


11. Sarah3 married by 1661 Thomas Dipnall, Burgess from James City Co., 1654.


12. A daughter3 married a Mr. Grenther. (estate settlement of Ralph ). Issue: William4 died by 7 Sept. 1667.




THOMAS GRAVES3 was born by 1631. He was an adjoining land owner to his brother William in York Co., 1652. (Purse and Person, p. 189). He married Elizabeth ------. On 26 May 1684, a judgement is granted Thomas Graves (York Bk. 6, p. 580). In August 1695, Thomas and Elizabeth Graves witness a deed (York Bk. 1665-1701, p. 26). The Virginia Quit Rent Rolls of 1704 show a Thomas Graves in King William Co. with 100 ac. King William was a new county having been formed from King and Queen Co. in 1702.



13. JOHN GRAVES4 born by 1665, died after 1737 in Spotsylvania Co., Va.




JOHN GRAVES4 was born by 1665 and died after 1737. His wife's name is unknown. There is no proof that John is a son of Thomas3 and Elizabeth, but the ages are right and there are no other known Graves of the correct age to be father of this John. He is obviously too old to be one of the Johns of Abingdon Parish Register. Francis2 may possibly have had a son John by a first marriage, but this John died in Essex Co. in 1720. He was also in Essex at the same time John Sr.4 was in King and Queen and King William counties. Two John Graveses are in the 1704 Quit Rent Rolls - one in King and Queen and one in King William. The one in King and Queen might be the John baptized 1677, Abingdon Parish, but it is also quite possible that both Johns are one and the same person. As deeds will show, John Sr.4 was of King and Queen in 1704 when he purchased land in King William. Therefore, it is quite possible he is listed for both areas. The Quit Rent Rolls are obviously incomplete as only seven Graves appear on it. Thomas and John in King William, John and Robert in King and Queen, Thomas and Jeffery of Glouster, and Joseph of James City. There should be many more.

There are several deeds that are crucial to establishing this line. They substantiate the birth dates of John Sr.4 and his son, John Jr., and that this is the same family that later settled in Spotsylvania Co. King William Deed Bk. l, pp. 195-7, John Clayton of St. Johns Parish, King Wm. sells 100 ac. on north side of Pamunkey to John Graves of Stratton Major (Manor) Parish, King and Queen Co., 6 May 1704.


King William Deed Bk. l, p. 342, John Graves assigns over all rights etc. to the above 100 ac. on the Pamunkey to his son John, 20 March 1706-7.


Journal of the House of Burgess (1712-1726), p. 56. William Smith of King Wm. Co. petitions for a bill to make good the title on entailed land he sold to John Graves Jr. 16 Nov. 1713


It is obvious John Jr. was of age by 1713 and most likely either of age or very close to in 1706-7 when given the land on Pamunkey by his father. Therefore John Jr. was probably born 1685-90 and was the oldest of John Sr.'s4 known sons. By this same reasoning, John Sr. must have been born by 1670 and more likely 1665.


Although there is no record of John Sr. moving to Spotsylvania Co., it is likely he came with his sons. In Spots. Co. Order Bk. (1730-1738), p. 501, 7 June 1737, John Graves is set free of any county levies, he being very ancient and unable to labor. There is no other John in the area to whom this description would apply. It is also more appropriate for a man born 1665 than the John who was baptized 1677. John Sr. died sometime after this date.



14. John Graves Jr.5 born ca.1685, died after Frances ------. See later.

15. Thomas Graves5 born 1691,died 1768,married Ann Davenport or Clark. See later.




JOHN GRAVES, JR.5 was born 1685-90 as shown in the earlier deeds. He was probably born in either York or New Kent Cos. He married Frances ------ ca.1715. The first record of John's arrival in Spotsylvania County is found in Deed Book A, p.405. John Graves Jr. of St. Stephens Parish, King and Queen purchases 200 ac. of land in Spots. for 100 ac. of land in King William from Thomas Gambrill of St. Margaret's Parish, King William, 24 May 1729. Wit: Thomas Graves. This deed is the key to the relationships of the King William-King and Queen Graves to those who are later in Spotsylvania. It proves John Jr. of Spots. is the same John Jr. who received the 100 ac. from his father in King Wm. 1706. It also proves Thomas Graves5 is a brother of John Jr., and therefore also a son of John Graves Sr. In 1765, John and Frances deed this very same land to their son Joseph, reserving a lifetime tenancy for themselves, Spots. Deed Bk. F, p. 563. This Joseph is named by Thomas Graves5 as his nephew and an executor of his will, confirming that John Jr. and Thomas were brothers.

John Jr. owned land in several counties which he gave as gifts to his sons over the years, but he maintained his original Spots. residency as witnessed by the above deed. Frances died between 1765-72. John died sometime after 1772 when he made a final gift to his son Joseph.



16. Thomas6 see later.


17. James6 born at least by 1722, probably earlier, married Sarah ------, died testate 1781,Culpeper Co., Va. Issue: Mary m. Richard Parks, Jael m. William Jones, and John m(l) Lucy Farguson, m(2) Catherine West. Died Wilkes Co., Ga., 1824, age 77.


18. John6 born by 1725, married Mary McGehee, died 1798-99, Spots. Co. Issue: 1. Samuel, 2. John, 3. James, 4. William, 5. Susannah, 6. Mary, 7. Elizabeth.


19. Joseph6 born at least by 1726 married Frankie Coleman probably as second wife. Mrs. Hiden believed his first wife to be Sarah based on a 1752 Orange Co. deed in which a Joseph Graves and wife Sarah Graves sell land. However, I believe this is the Joseph Graves of Surrey Co., N.C. who migrated there from Orange Co. If Joseph did have an earlier marriage, it was apparently childless. Issue: 1 Nancy, 2. Benjamin, 3. John, 4. George, 5. Hawes, 6. Thomas Coleman, 7. Sally, 8. Polly, 9. Joseph, 10. Nicie.


20. Elizabeth6 born 14 Feb. 1720, married William Sandidge, lived in Albemarle Co., Va., died Jan. 1826, age 105, at home of her son John in Greene Co., Ky. Issue: 1. John, 2. William m. Susan Spencer, daughter of Rosanna Graves Spencer6, daughter of Thomas Graves5.


21. Ann6 m. by 1743 John McGehee, died by 1798. Issue: 1. William, 2. John, 3. Augustine, 4. Edward, 5 Elizabeth, 6. Mary, 7. Susannah, 8. Agnes, 9. Lucy, 10. Barbara.


22. Frances6 m. Joseph Bush, moved to Caswell Co.. N.C.


For more detailed information on the children of John and Frances Graves see Mrs. Hiden's articles in Tyler Quarterly.




I include this additional information on Thomas, son of John and Frances Graves, because Mr. Hamlin has taken their children and credited them to Thomas Graves, born 1733 m. Sarah Delaney, son of John Graves and Susannah Dickens. This is definitely an error. Also this line includes the Lewis Graves who has been incorrectly identified as the Lewis Graves of Chesterfield Co., S. C. and Georgia.

Thomas Graves6 was born by 1724 as his father, John Jr.5 gave him 200 ac. on Muddy Run, Orange Co., D. B. 10, p. 24, 1745. Thomas and his wife Elizabeth sell this land 22 April 1757. It by then had been cut into Culpeper Co., Culp. D.B. C, p. 3. Thomas died 1792, testate, in Culpeper. Elizabeth had died before this date as she is not named in the will. Incidentally, Sarah Delaney Graves, wife of the other Thomas Graves, was very much alive in 1792. Mrs. Hiden thought it possible that Elizabeth was also called Ann and a daughter of Thomas Sims who died testate 1785, Culpeper, naming a daughter Ann Graves. This seems unlikely as Thomas and Elizabeth's daughter married Zacariah Sims, son of Thomas Sims, d. 1785. If Ann were her mother she would have married her uncle.


23. Thomas Graves7 was born 1747 in Culpeper Co. and died 12 March 1834 in Lincoln Co., Mo. (Rev. Pen. appl.). He married Martha Ryan Sims, widow of William Sims. She was probably his second wife. In his pension application he states he served one time as a substitute for his younger brother, Lewis. This proves he is the son of Thomas6 who died 1792. It also shows that it would be impossible for Thomas born 1747 to be the son of Thomas m. Sarah Delaney who was born 1733.


24. Lewis7 born ca. 1750 married Rebecca Starnes, moved to Laurens Co., S. C. around 1785, died intestate, Laurens Co., 1810.


25. James Graves7 born 1765, married 1st Elizabeth Pratt, 2nd Elizabeth Parnell, died Dec. 1811, New Madrid, Mo.


26. Phillip7 married Elizabeth Jones.


27. Joseph7


28. Henrietta7 married a Hudson.


29. Mary7 married a Haynes


30. Ann7 (Nancy) married 1st Richard Wait, 2nd a Mr. Jones, lived in Abbeville Dist., S. C.


31. Elizabeth7 married 1st Zacariah Sims. He died 1789, Laurens Co., S. C. She married again to Dr. John Creecy of Laurens.


32. Frances7 married John Wait, a Rev. sol. of Culpeper. Lived in Laurens Co., S. C. (see pension appl. of John)


Mrs. Hiden credits 16. Thomas with several other children but I see no other evidence to support this. Only the above named children are named in the will and the will gives no implication of other children.




20. Elizabeth Graves Sandidge had additional children. 3. Stephen, 4. Mary m. Wm. Lane, 5. Elizabeth m. Wm. Row, 6. Ann m. Gideon Carr, 7. Milly, 8. Ann, 9. Susannah. William Sandidge died between Jan. 1776 and July 1777, Albemarle.




THOMAS GRAVES5 son of John Graves Sr. was born in 1691. In Caroline Co. Order Book 1746-54, p. 62, 10 November 1752, Thomas states he is 61 years old. There is considerable controversy concerning the wife of Thomas5. John C. Graves believed her to be a Davenport. Mrs. Hiden thought she was a Clark. Neither offered any documentation. Thomas was associated with both Davenport and Clark families. It might be of interest to note that a Martin Davenport appears in 1704 quit Rent Rolls of King William Co. He also appears frequently in Spotsylvania records. A sum of money is paid Martin Davenport by the estate of Thomas Graves in 1784. It is possible Thomas had two wives. The first being Sarah Davenport, daughter of William Davenport and Ann Woodruff. The second wife being Ann Rice Clark, a widow and daughter of Thomas and Marie Rice. I can't document this one way or another but just list it as a possibility.

It is likely that Thomas5 was already living in the area that became Spotsylvania Co. He was a resident of Spots. on Feb. 1725 when he purchased land from Lawrence Franklyn, both residents of Spotsylvania. He probably previously owned land in King and Queen which had been cut into Spots, but the loss of King and Queen records make any proofs impossible.

Thomas owned land in several counties but remained a resident of Spotsylvania with his land on the Pamunkey. He died testate 1768 in Spots., naming his son Thomas, son-in-law William Pettus, and his nephew Joseph, son of John5, his executors. Thomas did not name his children in his will, but his legatees are listed in his estate settlement. Ann died in 1782. Rice Graves6 was administrator. (A possible indication that the older sons did not belong to Ann.).


33. John6 was born ca.1715, probably in King and Queen. He married Isabella Lea, dau. of James and Ann Lea. He was probably married first to a Herndon, although the Lea family history says Ann Lea was a Herndon. If this is correct, Isabella was probably the only wife and the marriage date is in error (2398). John moved to Orange Co., N.C. (later became Caswell). He died there 1792.

Issue: John Herndon (1747-1829); 2. Mary (1754-1831) m. John Kerr; 3. Thomas b. ca 1757, d. 1799, m. Hannah Simmons; 4. Barzilla (1759-1827), m. Ursala Wright; 5. Ann m. Bartlett Yancey; 6. James born by 1760, died by 1789, unmarried; 7. Isabell m. Thomas Slade; 8. Solomon b. 1766 m. by family records Frances Lewis, but Ga. records call her Joanna, died 1830, Newton Co., Ga; 8. Azariah b. 1768 or 22 Oct. 1767, m. Elizabeth Williams, d. 1843.


34. Louisa(?) married Thomas Pulliam. They were residents of Louisa Co., Va. in 1778. (Thomas Pulliam was son of Thomas Pulliam who d. 17 Apr. 1758, Spots. Thomas the son was living in Culpeper in 1780's. This comment added by Varney Graves.) Thomas6 was born by 1721. He married Isabel Bartlett, daughter of William Bartlett. He lived in Spots., Orange and Louisa Cos. He moved to Fayette Co., Ky by 1785.

ISSUE: 1. William B. (1755-1818), m. his first cousin, Ann P. Pettus; 2. Bartlett(1766-1855) m. 1st Frances Lane, 2nd Kitty Patterson, 3rd Eliz. Leathers; 3. John m. Margaret; 4. Rosanna m. James Randolph; 5. Isabel m. John Hall: 6. Ann m. John Hall; 7. Mary, m. Samuel Beeler; 8. Sally, m. her 1st cousin Samuel Graves, son of Richard; 9. Lydia, b. 1769, m. her 1st cousin John Graves, son of Richard.

36. Elinor6 married Thomas Kimbrough between 1741 and 1747, probably closer to 1741. She died after 1777 in Caswell Co., N.C.

ISSUE: 1. John, 2. William, 3. Robert, 4. Thomas, 5. Suckey Nowell, 6. Sarah Brown, 7. Mary Bryant, 8. Betty Bruce, 9. Nancy Turner, 10. Frankey Carmon.


37. Solomon6 was born by 1723. He married Sarah ------ and moved to Surrey Co. (later became Sussex) by 1749. He died there 1785.

ISSUE: 1. John m. Sarah Parham; 2. William m. Susannah; 3. Richard m. Dolly Blunt; 4. David (1750-1821); 5. Sally m. John Pennington; 6. Rebecca m. a Chambliss; 7. Martha (Patty) m. Thomas Williamson; 8. Ann m. a Pennington.


38. William6 was born 1724. He married Mary ------ and was living in Hanover Co. by 1760. He moved to Henry Co. by 1777 and died there testate in 1791.

ISSUE: 1. William b. 1755 (this William has been thought to be the Wm. who married Sarah Smith and moved to Oglethorpe Co., Va., dying in Ala. I believe this is an error. I feel sure the Wm. of Ogle. etc. belonged to the other Wm. Graves of Pittsylvania Co.); 2. Thomas m. Elizabeth Lanier; 3. Betty m. Robert Anderson; 4. Nancy m. James Pasbury; 5. Susannah m Gen. Joseph Martin; 6. John.


39. Richard6 was born by 1725. Descendants say he married Lucy Davenport but I've seen no supporting evidence. However, a Lucy Graves appears as a witness in a 1741 lawsuit in Spots. Co. Richard spent many years in Louisa Co. and moved to Fayette Co.,Ky. by 1788.

ISSUE: 1. John (1757-1843) m. 1st cousin Lydia Graves, daughter of Thomas; 2. Samuel m. Sally Graves his 1st cousin, daughter of Thomas; 3. James b. 1760; 4. William m. Judith Harrison.


40. Rice Graves6 was born ca 1730. He married Jane (Young?). He died 1814 in Louisa Co.

ISSUE: 1. John m. Mary Ragland, d. 1843, Louisa; 2. Thomas (1763-1842) m. 2nd Marley Walthall; 3. Benjamin; 4. Elizabeth m. Enos Tate; 5. Richard m. Sarah Arnett, d. 1811, Bourbon Co., Ky.; 6. Susannah m. James Chiles; 7. Mary m. Wm. Arnett; 8. William d. 1852; 9. Lucy m. her 1st cousin Wm. Pettus Jr.; 10. Nancy; 12. Catherine.


41. David Graves6 was probably born 1730-35. He married Agnes (Holloway)? He was in Fayette Co., Ky. by 1788 and died 1808 in Shelby Co., Ky.

ISSUE: (Prob.) 1. William; 2. Richard; 3 A Edmund; 4. Betsey m. John Leatherman; 5. dau. m. a Connelly


42 ROBERT GRAVES6 see later.


43. Jonathan Graves6 died by 1768 when William Davenport was appointed guardian of William Graves, orphan of Jonathan.

ISSUE: 1. William.


44. Susannah Graves6 was born at least by 1740. She marr: William Pettus ca 1759 (Louisa Co. Deed Bk. p. 323. Thomas Graves of Spots. in consideration of my promise upon intermarriage of my daugher, Susannah to William Pettus, one negro girl named Ruby., 27 Aug. 1759. Wit: Robert Graves and John Pettus. 28 Aug. 1759 proved by both witnesses.). Mrs. Hiden quotes this deed as 1749 Spots. Co. However, I find no such record. William Pettus died testate Spots. Co. 1798.

ISSUE: 1. Barbara m. after 1772 Mr. Arnold; 2. William m. his 1st cousin Lucy Pettus; 3. Nancy m. her 1st cousin William B. Graves, son of Thomas; 4. Susanna m. a Davenport; 5. Joseph m. Lucy Graves; 6. Louisa; 7. Overton Hart m. Barbara Crosby. (There is an error somewhere in the above issue. I've used Mrs. Hiden's material for the issue of Susannah and her brother Rice. Under Desc. of Rice she shows dau. Lucy m. Wm. Pettus Jr. Under Pettus she shows Joseph Pettus m. Lucy Graves, dau. of Rice,and Wm. Pettus Jr. m. Lucy Pettus. I have not yet tried to determine which is correct).


45. Rosanna Graves6 married John Spencer and was living in Albemarle Co. by 1772 when Ann Graves deeded a slave to her granddaughter Susannah Spencer. John Spencer died 1789.

ISSUE: 1. John; 2. Sharp; 3. Abraham; 4. Thomas; 5. Elizabeth m. Dr. Melvin; 6. Anna m. Thomas Maupin; 7. Sarah m. David Maupin; 8. Rosanna m. Thomas Naylor; 9. Mary m. Chapman Maupin; 10. Susannah m. William Sandridge (Sandidge). He was son of Wm. Sandidge and Elizabeth Graves, dau. of 14. John Graves Jr. (Sources: Albemarle records and Maupin Family History).


46. Nancy Graves6 born ca 1735 married William Lea, brother of Isabella Lea. They lived in Caswell Co., N. C. in the area of Country Line Creek and Rattlesnake Creek. They moved to Wilkes Co., Ga. between 1788 and 1790, settling on Kettle Creek. William died testate in Wilkes between 3 May 1794 and July 1794. Nancy died in 1809.

ISSUE: 1. Thomas m. Sally Lea, 1801 Caswell Co., poss. 2nd marriage; 2 John m. Elizabeth Bradley, 1780, Caswell, d. 1822, Caswell; 3. Jonathan m. Mary Hightower 1786, Caswell. Moved to Wilkes; 4. Nancy; 5. Rosanna m. Jean Sherwood, 1786, Caswell; 6. Solomon moved to Wilkes; 7. Sarah m. Wm. Roper, d. before May 1794; 8 Jean.


Mrs. Hiden lists this daughter as Catherine, but states she can not document it. A William Lea did die in Caswell Co. with a wife Catherine, but there is no evident Graves connection. There were two Lea families in Caswell Co. This William Lea seems to me to be a much more logical selection for the son-in-law of Thomas Graves5. His association with the Graves family through his sister, Isabella Graves and the names of his children; Thomas, Jonathan, Solomon, and Rosanna, all Graves names, are strong circumstantial evidence.


47. Mary Graves6 m. a Campbell. She received a full share in the estate settlement of Thomas Graves. It is possible she was a daughter of an unknown child of Thomas. I've been unable to find any further record pertaining to her.


Some sources list a daughter, Jane,who married a Sandridge (Sandidge). I can find no indication of such a person. She is not listed in the estate settlement of Thomas. The only possibility might be she is the mother of Mary Campbell. I think it more likely that some descendant has confused either Elizabeth Graves Sandidge, dau. of John Graves5 or Susannah Spencer, granddaughter of Thomas5 who married William Sandidge and tried to make one of them a daughter of Thomas.








The following article has been researched and written by Mr. Theron T. Smith, 3529 Wooten Dr., Fort Worth, TX 76133. Mr. Smith has taken a fresh, independent, and thorough look at the published evidence for the descent from Capt. Thomas Graves of Thomas Graves (b.c. 1691) who married Ann Davenport and his brother John Graves (b.c. 1685-90) who married Frances ------. See the references at the end of the article, and the notes throughout.

Recently, the application of a GFNL reader for membership in a patriotic genealogical society was rejected. [See pp. 95-96, 1991 GFNL.] The application was based on an alleged descent from Capt. Thomas Graves and actually did have two erroneous generations. Although these errors were not detected by the reviewer, the basis given for rejecting the application was an abridged quote of a passage from Reference 1 that pertained to the two Graves ancestors who should have been used for the application but not to either of the two presented erroneous generations. The specifics of the rejection are clarified later.

This particular case is not highly significant except for the insight that resulted from its investigation. In the course of preparing a corrected lineage for the reader, I was surprised and delighted to discover that the most likely line of descent from Capt. Thomas Graves to brothers Thomas and John of Spotsylvania Co., VA that emerged was the same as the lineage published by Sue Davis in Reference 2 in 1980, and I had not used her charts in my initial analysis. This is an important point, since Ref. 1 may be becoming the de facto standard for evaluating claims to early Graves ancestry.

It is significant that the most commonly accepted line of descent to these Spotsylvania Co., VA lines can now be shown to be compatible with Ref. 1, the 3rd edition of Adventurers of Purse and Person. The connection between Thomas3 and John4 and that between John4 and the 5th generation has to be based on preponderance of evidence cases but, as will be seen, the cases for both connections are very supportable.

This article is primarily a review of the secondary literature discussing the most likely nature of the descent of interest. It provides cautions about published statements that appear to be erroneous. Assembling a more critical account making use of the cited primary sources and the relevant preponderance of evidence arguments will have to wait until another time and perhaps be done by another compiler. It is hoped that the comments herein will help clarify the descent of the Spotsylvania Graveses of interest-and possibly other branches. It is also hoped that an acceptable rationale has been suggested for reasonable alternatives to acceptance of Graves descent from the Captain where critical Virginia records have been destroyed.

Since the flow of proofs is more natural and perhaps easier to follow when the generations are presented from more recent to less recent, this order of presentation has been followed (same as the order in DAR and other patriotic society applications).



Two Graves men, born in the 1690's, have been located in Spotsylvania Co., VA:

Thomas5 Graves, b. about 1691; wife placed as Ann Davenport.

John5 Graves, b. about 1695, married Frances ------.

With no known challenges, these men have been placed as brothers. Specifically supporting this connection is Reference 3, especially pages 183-184, and Ref. 5. Ref. 4, pages 205-206, gives a good account of Thomas5, but as shown in the Notes, is defective in that it confuses two generations and the two lines of Graveses in Spotsylvania Co. Ref. 3 is sound for generations 6, 5, and 4, but not for earlier generations. As will be seen, Ref. 5 puts generations 6, 5, and 4 into a defendable relationship with the earlier Graveses.



1. This Thomas5 Graves is ancestor of the writer's wife and children through his son Rice6 Graves whose wife is placed as Jane Young.

2. Reference 5 states convincingly that there were 2 distinct Graves lines in Spotsylvania Co., VA.

(a) one from King and Queen Co., which included brothers Thomas5 and John5, and their father, John4 (no. 39 in Ref. 1).

(b) one from Gloucester Co., represented by the John5 (called John4 in Ref. 4) who appears to have been born in 1706 and who married Susannah Dickens. The father of this John5 can be easily identified as John4 (no. 41 in Ref. 1).

A clear distinction between these two branches has helped clarify earlier confusion about the descent of the Spotsylvania Graveses.

3. Reference 4 incorrectly identified the father of Thomas5 as the John5 who married Susannah Dickens. Actually this John5 appears to be a third cousin to the brothers John5 and Thomas5.



The father of Thomas5 and John5 is consistently placed by Ref. 3 and Ref. 5 as John4 of King and Queen Co., who came to Spotsylvania Co. and died there in 1747. Ref. 2 also provides an excellent account of this John4. From Ref. 5 we can now identify the John4 of interest as no. 39 in Ref. 1, not to be confused with no. 41, his second cousin.



1. In Reference 6, Louise Graves quotes with permission from a 1963 research report for her by John Frederick Dorman, editor of the Virginia Genealogist, recognized outstanding genealogist, and most recent reviser and editor of Ref. 1. After he had reviewed several studies, including those of Mr. Hamlin in Ref. 5, the following is his conclusion with respect to John4 (#47) and his sons John5 and Thomas5 of Spotsylvania Co.:

The John Graves of King and Queen County who deeded 100 acres in King William County to his son is ... the only logical John Graves to be the father of Thomas and John Jr. When we consider all the records that are presently available, I do not see how any other conclusion is possible.



The next earlier generation is more difficult to place, but a preponderance of evidence suggests that the father of John4 of interest(no. 39 in Ref. 1) was Thomas3 Graves of York Co., VA, person no. 10 in Ref. 1. Quoting footnote 67 on p. 331 of this book:

Although no evidence has been found that Thomas Graves (Thomas3, no. 10) had children, chronology and geography suggest that he is the most likely member of the family to be the father of John4 Graves. (Emphasis added by the current writer.)

In reaching this tentative conclusion, the compilers of Ref. 1 cited Mr. Hamlin's article in the Virginia Gazette. We have already identified no. 39 in Ref. 1 as the father of the Thomas5 of interest, and we now have a relevant statement from Ref. 1 that suggests that Thomas of York Co. (#10) is "the most likely member of the family to be the father of" #39.



1. Only the negative part of this footnote was quoted by the lineage society in rejecting the application reviewed by the writer -- "no evidence has been found that Thomas Graves had children." Also the footnote addresses a connection between Thomas3 (#10 in Ref. 1) and John4 (#39 in Ref. 1), and those were not the persons used for generations 3 and 4 by the applicant. Following Bodie (Ref. 4), he had erroneously used Thomas3 (#13) and Thomas5 (son of John4, #41) for generations 3 and 4.

2. With regard to the use of circumstantial evidence to establish genealogical connections, the following quote from Mr. Hamlin in Ref. 6 is relevant:

It should be noted in Law as well as in Genealogy, where prima facia evidence or proof does not exist or has been lost or destroyed THEN circumstantial evidence or secondary evidence or the best evidence obtainable in conjunction with logic and reasoning or the logical and reasonable deductions therefrom is considered by all experts in the fields of both LAW and GENEALOGY as having proved the contention or allegation.

3. It should also be noted that the Board for Certification of Genealogists recognizes the importance of the principle of "preponderance of evidence" and requires candidates for some certifications to present an example of their use of this kind of evidence.

4. To review, Ref. 3 placed the father of John4 (#47) as Thomas3 (#13); the correct placement is son of Thomas3 (#10). As already seen, at the time these accounts were written, it was less difficult to place John (#47) incorrectly because of the confusion that existed between the distinct Gloucester and King & Queen lines in Spotsylvania Co. before Ref. 5 appeared. Ref. 3 shows the Gloucester line correctly: John4 (#49) son of Thomas3 (#13) son of Thomas2 (#3) son of Capt. Thomas Graves (#1). The Gloucester line was accepted for many years by the writer and many others as the ancestors of the Spotsylvania line of interest.



Assuming that Thomas3 of York Co. (#10 in Ref. 1) was the father of John4 of King and Queen Co. and later of Spotsylvania Co. (#39 of Ref. 1), the remainder of the earlier lineage is covered in Ref. 1. Thomas3 is placed as son of John2 (#2 in Ref. 1). This John2 was the son of the immigrant ancestor, Capt. Thomas1 Graves (#1 in Ref. 1).



The most likely lineage from Thomas1 to Thomas5 can now be summarized as:


Capt. Thomas1 Graves

John2 Graves

Thomas3 Graves of York Co., VA

John4 Graves of King and Queen Co., VA

Thomas5 and John5 Graves of Spotsylvania Co., VA


This coincides with the lineage published by Sue Davis in 1980 in Reference 2.



1. Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia (1607-1624/5), 3rd Edition, revised and edited by Virginia M. Megeo (1874-1981) and John Frederick Dorman (1981-1987), Richmond, 1987); 1st Edition in 1956 and 2nd Edition in 1964 compiled and edited by Annie Lash Jester in collaboration with Martha Woodroof Hiden.

2. Mrs. Sue Davis, "Capt. Thomas Graves and Some of His Descendants", GFNL, Nov. 1980, pp. 129-131.

3. Mrs. P. W. Hiden, "The Graves Family of Spotsylvania Co.", Tyler's Quarterly, vol. 19, July 1938, pp. 176ff.

4. John Bennett Bodie, "Graves-Hancock of Spotsylvania", Southside Virginia Families, vol. 1, Redwood City, CA, 1955, pp. 203-206.

5. Charles Hughes Hamlin, "Genealogy of the Graves Family of Virginia", The Virginia Gazette, 28 Aug. and 4 Sept. 1959.

6. Louise Graves, compiler, Graves, Twelve Generations, Some Descendants and Kin, Dallas, 1977.