Updates on the Family of William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reviewing the sources for my fourth great-grandparents William WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW. The posts written in 2014 were updated with source citations and shared on social media on July 24 and 31. However, readers who follow by email don’t receive notifications of changes to posts.

While reviewing and adding sources, I try not to make significant changes to the original posts. Short update notices were added to correct small mistakes.

Some corrections and additional information need to be discussed in depth for the family of William WOOD (1777-1835) and Mary Ann McGRAW (1781-bet. 1836-1840).

Correcting a death estimate

In many GEDCOM files Mary Ann McGRAW’s date and place of death are seen as about 1845 in Nicholas County. I believe this to be incorrect. Due to changing county lines, the land owned by her deceased husband William WOOD was originally in Monroe County, fell to Nicholas County when it was formed in 1818, and then to Fayette County when formed in 1831.

In my early research into the WOOD-McGRAW couple, I found Ann WOODS (age 40 to 49) in Nicholas County on the 1840 census with a male age under 5 and a female age 5 to 9.1 At the time, I thought this might be Mary Ann with unknown younger children. However, as new records came to light, I dismissed this possibility.

Personal property tax lists (PPT) were searched in Nicholas County for WOOD and WOODS. Two distinct groups were found:

◉ William WOOD and his sons were in Nicholas County until the formation of Fayette County.

◉ Stephen, John, and Zachariah WOODS were in Nicholas County at the same time as the WOOD men and remained in Nicholas County from 1831.

Dates of visits on the PPT list also indicate the men with the surnames WOOD and WOODS didn’t live in the same area. In 1833, and only in 1833, Ann WOODS was listed.2 Would this be the same person as seen in the 1840 census?

From the PPT list, it is clear that William, his brothers Bailey and James, and his sons Enoch and Elijah lived in an area of Nicholas County that became Fayette County in 1831.

All 1840 census records for William and Mary Ann’s children were checked. None of the households include an older woman. Nor was Mary Ann listed as the head of a household in 1840.

Mary Ann McGRAW wasn’t living in Nicholas County when she died. She was not found on tax lists or census in 1840 or later.

I went looking for more records to fill in the timeline…

Court minutes

New collections have been added online in the last two years at FamilySearch including court minutes, land deeds, and tax records.

The will books of West Virginia counties have been online and searchable for quite some time. In this collection, there was no will for William WOOD but his estate was appraised and a bill of sale drawn up. Would the court minutes reveal records ordered to be recorded other than the appraisal and bill of sale?

While searching the index of the court minutes for the administrator’s bond entry for the estate of the deceased William WOOD, I found several other entries of interest.

On 18 August 1835, Elijah WOOD and Amos WOOD, sons of the deceased, entered into a bond for the letters of administration of the estate of William WOOD.3

On 15 September 1835, the appraisement bill of the estate of William WOOD, deceased, was presented in court, inspected, and ordered to be recorded.4 Another entry made the same day was more revealing.5

On motion of Amos Wood it is ordered that Miles Manser, James B. Westlake, Thomas McVay, Jacob Kious, and Joseph Paxton or any two of them do lay off and assign to Mary Wood her dower in the lands of her late husband Wm Wood deceased in this county and make report to this court.

Several months later, at a court held on 19 January 1836 Mary’s dower rights to the land were assigned. The entry included a description of the land tract.6

An assignment of the dower of Mary Wood in the lands of her late husband William Wood was this day returned and is as follows Pursuant to an order of the county court of Fayette made at the Sept Term of said court 1835) We the undersigned did go upon the land of William Wood deceased and at the request of Mary Wood wife of Wm Wood deceased we laid of her right of dower of a tract of land containing fifty acres at the lower end including the house and other buildings which is bounded as follows To wit Beginning at a poplar near the Road corner to the original survey and with a call there of N°45W 100 poles to two white oaks and maple in a flat beginning corner of said survey thence with an other call there of S°1W75 poles to two white oaks corner to same thence through the survey N°87 1/2 E75 poles to the beginning containing 16 acres and 88 poles given under our hands this 19th of November 1835.
Jacob Kious
Thomas McVey
Whereupon the same is established as the dower of the said Mary Wood in the lands of her late husband William Wood decd and it is ordered that the Mary Wood hold the said land assigned her as aforesaid as and for her dower.

At the same session of court, Elijah WOOD was assigned guardianship of his younger siblings Bailey and Mary Ann.7

The court doth assign Elijah Wood Guardian of Bailey Wood and Mary Ann Wood Children of William Wood deceased who together with J B Hamilton & John Young his securities entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of $200 conditioned according to law.

As of 19 January 1836 Mary Ann McGRAW, widow of William WOOD, had the right to occupy the dwelling place and live off the land. While her older children were married and on their own, she cared for two underage children, Bailey and Mary Ann, who were legally under the guardianship of their older brother Elijah.

No mention was found in the court minutes of Mary Ann McGRAW aka Mary WOOD’s death.

Land deeds

Assuming that her children would divide up the land or sell their interests after their mother’s death, I searched the land deeds of Fayette County.

The grantor index of Fayette County was checked for the children’s names for the years from William’s death until the mid-1840s.

On 15 July 1841 Enoch WOOD and his wife Margaret, Elijah WOOD and his wife Rachel, Bailey WOOD and his wife Lucinda, and Martin HESS and his wife Mary sold their interest in the 50 acres tract to their brother Amos WOOD.8

On 12 August 1841 Margaret and her husband Thomas WITHROW sold Margaret’s interest in the 50 acres tract to her brother Amos WOOD.9

Mary Ann McGRAW appears to have died after 19 January 1836 and before 15 July 1841 when the first of her children gave up their interest in their father’s land.

More questions came up

Question #1

The land deeds account for all of William WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW’s children except for the son Allen. Was Allen WOOD not their child? A quick review of the records showed that Amos WOOD appointed his brothers Elijah and Allen WOOD executors of his last will and testament dated 24 May 1845.10 This doesn’t explain why Allen’s interest in William’s estate isn’t documented but it shows that Allen, Elijah, and Amos were brothers and therefore Allen was a son of William WOOD and his wife Mary Ann McGRAW.

Question #2

The first land deed brings up a discrepancy in the timeline. On 15 July 1841, the date the deed was dated, it was explained to the wives apart from their husbands. They acknowledged that they had signed the deed under their own free will and not by threat or promise of reward. The deed was presented to the court and ordered to be recorded on 11 March 1842.

Martin HESS and Mary Ann WOOD were married by John JOHNSON on 1 October 1841.11 How could they be named as husband and wife in a land deed dated 15 July 1841? Is the date recorded by John JOHNSON not correct? Did they backdate the deeds to the time their mother died?

Question #3

In January 1836 Bailey WOOD was underage and in need of a guardian. In 1840 he was old enough to have his own household on the census.12 He was enumerated in the 20 thru 29 years range. Also in his household were two young ladies. The elder was in the same age range as Bailey. The younger, age 15 thru 19, could only be his sister Mary Ann who would marry Martin HESS on 1 October 1841.

No trace of Bailey had been found after the 1840 census. As I looked further in the court minutes, I found that Elijah WOOD was appointed administrator of Bailey WOOD Jr.’s estate on 10 November 1842.13 He was considered Jr. as his uncle Bailey WOOD was still living.

With this entry, I learned that Bailey WOOD had died by 10 November 1842. From the land deed dated 15 July 1841, I discovered that he had a wife named Lucinda. This was new information. They likely married before the 1840 census and the woman in the 20 thru 29 years range could be Lucinda.

I searched the West Virginia marriages. No marriage between Bailey WOOD and a lady named Lucinda was found. Marriage records for the 1840s are known to be missing in Fayette County. Could this be one of them?

A marriage between Lucinda WOOD and Archibald PARRISH took place in Fayette County on 4 July 1843. The record is a minister’s entry and includes no further information.14

I have many WOOD individuals from this area in my database. Until now, I had not come across a woman named Lucinda WOOD. Could she have been the widow of Bailey WOOD?

In 1850 A. P. Parrish, a blacksmith, was enumerated with his wife Lucinda and their three children: Median age 5, James age 3, and E. J. (female) 5 months. Lucinda was born in Vermont.15 As none of the WOOD individuals in the area at the time were born in Vermont, I suspect she was a widow, i.e. possibly the widow of Bailey WOOD. The husband and wife were both 33 in 1850, born about 1817. Lucinda’s age would have been 23 in 1840 and a match for the woman in the household of Bailey WOOD.

Interestingly, Archibald and Lucinda were living only two households away from Bailey’s brother Elijah WOOD in 1850.

Rabbit Hole

The marriage of Archibald PARRISH and Lucinda WOOD on 4 July 1843 sent me down a rabbit hole.

To prove/disprove this Lucinda WOOD was the widow of Bailey WOOD, I needed to follow her trail. And what a trail it was.

The PARRISH families have ties to many families in my family tree. I haven’t researched them to the extent that all persons with the surname PARRISH in the Fayette County area have been connected in my database.

I had information on one of the earliest family groups. William PARRISH died about the same time as William WOOD leaving a will that was ordered to be recorded at the September court term of 1835. He named children Joshua, Archibald, William, Nicholas, Rachel (Burton), Susan (Coleman), Polly (Coleman), and Nancy (Arthur).16

A man named Archibald PARRISH lived in Fayette County in 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. He was not, however, listed with a wife named Lucinda. His age during those years places his birth between 1804-1810. He would be the son of William PARRISH.

A. P. PARRISH with a wife named Lucinda on the 1850 census of Fayette County couldn’t be Archibald, son of William. He was likely the son of one of William’s sons. But I will leave it to PARRISH researchers to figure out this relationship.

I followed Lucinda’s family to Linn County, Missouri, in 1860 and to the neighboring Sullivan County, Missouri, in 1870 and 1880.17,18,19

Archibald and Lucinda had two children who survived them. A death record for the son James H. PARRISH was not found. The 1924 death record of daughter Isabelle PARRISH (seen as E. J. in 1850) showed her mother was Lucinda WITHERELL.20

From 1860 to 1880 the census listings indicated that Lucinda was born in Massachusetts. Further, in the 1900 and 1910 censuses, Isabelle’s mother (Lucinda) was noted as being born in Massachusetts.21,22 The place of birth isn’t Vermont as seen on the 1850 census but the names of the husband and children match those in the censuses from 1860 to 1880. Only the 1920 census has the places of birth for Isabelle (Missouri instead of Virginia or West Virginia), her mother Lucinda (Ohio instead of Massachusetts), and her father (Kentucky instead of Virginia or West Virginia) that conflict with the earlier records.23

WITHERELL is not a name found in Fayette County but it is a common surname in Vermont and Massachusetts. How did Lucinda WITHERELL, born in Massachusetts (or Vermont), come to be in Fayette County as early as 1843 when she married Archibald PARRISH?

Bottom Line

Although I was very tempted to burrow deeper into the PARRISH rabbit hole, I forced myself to keep on track with things that need more attention. These are the corrections and additions I’ve made to the family of William WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW.

William WOOD died shortly before 18 August 1835 when his sons filed an administrator’s bond for his estate. I had previously listed his death at about September 1835 when his estate was appraised.

His widow Mary Ann McGRAW most likely died after 19 January 1836 when her dower right to the land of her deceased husband was assigned and before 15 July 1841 when the first of her children sold their interest in this land. Her place of death was presumably Fayette County. I had previously listed her death as being between 1840 and 1850.

Bailey WOOD, son of William and Mary Ann, married a young woman named Lucinda, likely before the 1840 census. He died shortly before 10 November 1842 when his brother Elijah filed an administrator’s bond for his estate and motioned for the personal estate to be appraised. It had not been known that he was married before finding the land deed mentioning his wife Lucinda.

Looking forward to hearing from descendants…

© 2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. 1840 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8057/), citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, Roll: 571; Family History Library Film: 0029690; Nicholas, Virginia; Page: 3; Ann Woods. 
  2. “Personal property tax lists, 1818-1850,” (browse-only images), Virginia Commissioner of the Revenue (Nicholas County), FamilySearch, microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia. Personal property tax lists, 1818-1850, 19 March 1833, Ann Woods, 1 0 0 0 tax 0 cents. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKJ-W9JB-P?cat=637422 : accessed 8 August 2022). 
  3. “Court minutes and order books, 1837-1928,” browse-only images, FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Fayette County, West Virginia courthouse., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 12 of 470, August Term 1835, 18 Aug 1835, page 11, 3rd entry, Amos and Elijah Wood, bond for letters of administration. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9J7-H?i=11&cat=100698 : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  4. Ibid., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 17 of 470, September Term 1835, 15 Sep 1835, page 20, first entry, appraisement bill of the estate of William Wood presented and ordered to be recorded. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9FQ-Z?i=16&cat=100698 : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  5. Ibid., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 16 of 470, September Term 1835, 15 Sep 1835, page 19, 3rd entry, Amos Wood’s motion to assign Mary Wood her dower in the land of her deceased husband William Wood. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9FW-X?i=15&cat=100698 : accessed 31 July 2022). 
  6. Ibid., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 24 of 470, January Term 1836, 19 Jan 1836, page 34-35, Mary Wood’s dower rights. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9FB-T?i=23&cat=100698 : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  7. Ibid., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 24 of 470, January Term 1836, 19 Jan 1836, page 35, Elijah assigned as guardian of young Bailey and Mary Ann Wood, children of William Wood. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9FB-T?i=23&cat=100698 : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  8. Fayette County (West Virginia), Clerk of the County Court, “Deed book, 1831-1902; deed book index, 1831-1951” (database with images), <i>FamilySearch</i>, filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969, citing microfilm of original records at the Fayette County courthouse, Film 583734, DGS 8152866, image141 of 419, Deed book, v. C 1839-1841, pages 255-256, 15 July 1841, Enoch Wood and wife Margaret, Elijah and wife Rachel, Bailey and wife Lucinda, and Martin Hess and wife Mary to Amos Wood, 50 acres. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-FSR4-3?i=140&cat=100754 : accessed 9 August 2022) This is the 50 acres from Mary Ann McGraw’s dower rights. 
  9. Ibid., Film 583734, DGS 8152866, image 150 of 419, Deed book, v. C 1839-1841, page 274, 11 Aug 1841, Thomas Withrow and wife Margaret to Amos Wood, 50 acres. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-FSRN-3?i=149&cat=100754 : accessed 9 August 2022) This is the 50 acres from Mary Ann McGraw’s dower rights. 
  10. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch, digital images of originals housed at local county courthouse in West Virginia, Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 224 of 292 > page 66-67, Last Will and Testament of Amos Wood dated 24 May 1845, proven June term 1845. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18271-58322-39?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG:179689901,179689902 : accessed 9 August 2022). 
  11. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History, citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 201, page 23, entry 3, Martin Hess and Mary A Wood, 1 Oct 1841, married by John Johnson. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00201.jpg : accessed 30 July 2022). 
  12. 1840 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8057/), citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, Roll: 704_555; FHL Film: 0029685, Virginia, Fayette County, page 149, line 5, Bailey Wood (accessed 30 July 2014). 
  13. “Court minutes and order books, 1837-1928,” Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 287 of 470, November Term 1842, 10 Nov 1842, page 521, 1st and 2n entry, Amos and Elijah Wood, bond for letters of administration and appraisers of estate of Bailey Wood Jr. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9KW-6?i=286&cat=100698 : accessed 31July 2022). 
  14. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 206, 4 Jul 1843 Archibald Parish and Lucinda Wood married by W. Carnafix. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00206.jpg : accessed 10 August 2022). 
  15. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8054/), citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: 943, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, sheet 337A (stamped), household 92-92, lines 6-10, A.P. Parrish (accessed 3 April 2022). 
  16. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 33 of 292 > Will Book 1 page 42, 5 Oct 1831 Last Will and Testament of William Parrish, proven Fayette County Court Sept. Term 1835 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9SQ-75?cc=1909099&wc=Q816-MG7%3A179689901%2C179689902 : accessed 10 August 2022) 
  17. 1860 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/), citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_630; Family History Library Film: 803630; Township 57 Range 20, Linn, Missouri; Page: 693; Arch Parish household. 
  18. 1870 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7163/), citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_823; Duncan, Sullivan, Missouri; Page: 189A; Archibold Parish household. 
  19. 1880 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6742/), citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 738; Scottsville, Sullivan, Missouri; Enumeration District: 199; Page: 178B; Archibald Parish household. 
  20. “Missouri Death Certificates, 1910 – 1971,” database with images, Missouri Digital Heritage, citing original data: Missouri Death Certificates, Missouri State Archives; Sullivan, 1924, Certificate of Death 30822, Isabelle Bagwell  (https://www.sos.mo.gov/images/archives/deathcerts/1924/1924_00033784.PDF). 
  21. 1900 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7602/), citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, Roll: 905; FHL microfilm: 1240905; Polk, Sullivan, Missouri; Enumeration District: 0161; Page: 14; Leonard Creason household. 
  22. 1910 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7884/), citing Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls, Roll: T624_826; FHL microfilm: 1374839; Polk, Sullivan, Missouri; Enumeration District: 0172; Page: 22A; Leonard Creason household. 
  23. 1920 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6061/), citing Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls, Roll: T625_964; Milan Ward 3, Sullivan, Missouri; Enumeration District: 175; Page: 20B; Leonard Creason household.