Thanks for reading and commenting about my blog postings. My goal is to accurately document the genealogy of my family and allied families living in Chesterfield County, SC and Anson County, NC. If you have a Chesterfield County surname you are interested in please send me an e-mail.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mother or Grandmother

Sarah Jane Graves is my great-great-grandmother. She married William A. Purvis sometime before 1860; but, most likely in or about 1859. Sarah and William lived along the North & South Carolina borders either in Anson County, NC or Chesterfield County, SC. Not much is known about Sarah or her husband. The early records (pre-Civil War) for Chesterfield County were destroyed during the Civil War. There are very few extant records for the County. In North Carolina, The Anson County Court House had records destroyed by fire on the 2nd day of April, A.D. 1868.

For many years I have struggled to identify the parents of Sarah Jane Graves. She is either the daughter or grand-daughter of Mary Graves whose husband is also unknown.

Sarah Jane is listed in the 1850 Census [1]for Chesterfield County, South Carolina. The household composition is:

  • Mary GRAVES, age 55, born in SC;
  • David W. GRAVES, age 32, tailor, born in SC;
  • Sarah J. GRAVES, age 16, born in SC
  • Thomas GRAVES, age 14, born in SC.

1850 Census Image Chesterfield County (see footnote1)

Mary age 55 makes her birth year to be about 1795 or born about 1795 in South Carolina. Is Mary the mother of David W., Sarah J., and Thomas or is she the Mother of David and Grandmother of Sarah Jane and Thomas?

In the 1840 census [2]for Chesterfield we have this composition for Mary Graves and her family?

CENSUS: 1840 Census, Chesterfield Co. SC, Film #022508, Page 347, Chesterfield District. Mary is listed between 30-39, along with 2 sons and 2 daughters. One son (unknown) is between 5-9 years of age, the other son (Thomas) between 10-14 years of age. One daughter (unknown) is between 5-9 years of age, the other daughter (Mary Ann) between 15-19 years of age.

Those are the questions I have been asking myself for the past 35 years. Research throughout those years has revealed two additional children - Mary Ann and Thomas Graves.

Mary Ann married Andrew Jackson Wallace about 1840. I believe she married shortly after the Census was taken in 1840.

In the 1850 Census Andrew and Mary have 5 children and she is listed as age 25. This matches the female age 15-20 in the 1840 Census.

Thomas is also married by 1850 to Eliza “Mollie” Rivers. Thomas is listed as age 30 in the 1850 Census thus making his birth year as 1820. This is very close to the oldest male in the household. Thomas J. Graves died 19 Oct 1862 at Winchester, Virginia.

The male, age 5-10 listed in the household in 1840 has not been identified. There are no children matching in the 1840 Household matching the recorded birth years of Sarah Jane (b ca 1833) and William Thomas (b. ca 1836) in the 1850 Census. It is possible that the male age 5-10 in the household could be William Thomas Graves.

After an exhaustive search, no record had been found for David W. Graves, age 22, Sarah Jane, age 6 and Thomas, age 4 prior to the 1850 Census.

Mary Graves died sometime after the 1860 Census was taken in August of 1860. David W. Graves married Mary Ann Gulledge about 1872. They had 5 children; three girls and two boys. At the time of this marriage David was between 47-54 years old. I believe he was married earlier in life and that Sarah Jane and William Thomas are his children by a prior wife. David died 21 November 1898 and is buried in the (old) Saint Mary’s Presbyterian Church Cemetery.

His tombstone[3] shows his birth as 22 January 1812 though most all census shows that he was born about 1818 (1850, 1860) or 1825 (1880). They also vary on his state of birth recording both North Carolina and South Carolina as place of birth.

Now, given the available information – I want your opinion.

Is Mary Graves the Mother of David Graves and grandmother to Sarah Jane and William Thomas Graves?

Or is she the mother of all three with two unknown husbands?

[1] 1850 U. S. Census, Chesterfield County, South Carolina, population schedule, Chesterfield County, South Carolina, Page 106A, Line 8, Dwelling 110, Family 110, Household of Mary GRAVES; digital images, ( : viewed 20 November 2011); citing National Archives Microfilm M432 Roll 851.

[2] 1840 U S Census, Chesterfield County, South Carolina, population schedule, Chesterfield County, South Carolina, Page 347, Line 15, Household of Mary Graves; digital images, ( : viewed 15 January 2011); citing National Archives Microfilm M704_Roll 510.


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