“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”
This is entry #31 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.
52 Ancestors: #31 Mary Ann McGRAW abt. 1781-1840s
You’ve got to love an ancestor who leaves evidence of who her parents were! In 1800 my 4th great-grandfather William WOOD wanted to hitch up with Mary Ann McGRAW. But Mary Ann wasn’t old enough and had to have her parents’ permission to tie the knot.
June the 2
Sir, this coms to let you now that
I Marten and Marget Mcgraw
is willing that William Wood
should have our daughter Mary Ann
To John Hutchason (Clerk)
The above was sworn to by
John Wood one of the witnesses
And so it came to be that Martin and Margaret McGRAW, my 5th great-grandparents, gave permission for their daughter, my 4th great-grandmother, Mary Ann McGRAW to marry William WOOD, my 4th great-grandfather. This took place in the newly formed county of Monroe formerly part of Greenbrier County.
Know all men by these presents that we William Wood
and John Wood are held & firmly Bound unto
James Monroe Esq. governor or Chief Majestrate of the
Commonwealth of Virg. in the Sum of one hundred and
fifty Dollars, with Condition that there is no lawful cause
to obstruct a marriage intended to be Solemnized between
the above named William Wood & Mary Anne McGraw,
Both of this County of Monroe, then this obligation to
be Void, otherwise to be & remain in full force and
Virtue – Sealed with our Seals & dated this
third day of June one thousand Eight hundred.
Attest. William Wood
John Hutchison, Clk. John Wood
John WOOD, one of the witnesses present when permission was given by Martin and Margaret McGRAW, went bond with William WOOD of Monroe on William’s marriage to Mary Ann McGRAW of Monroe on Tuesday the 3rd of June 1800 in Monroe County, Virginia.
Two weeks later on Wednesday, the 18th day of June, Rev. John ALDERSON Jr. solomnized the marriage of William and Mary Ann.
The WOOD family and Rev. John ALDERSON Jr. knew each other well. Bailey WOOD, William’s father, had been one of the original 12 Baptists who organized the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church.
On the 130th anniversary of the founding of the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church, Rev. Robert B. McDanel preached on Sunday morning, November 26, 1911, of the brave little band of twelve members with sturdy convictions whose “names are surely immortal.” He also shared the following about the membership:
In those early years the membership was scattered over a wide extent of territory. It is recorded in the minutes, July 26, 1788, that those who lived nigh were required to attend the services once a month. Those who lived within fifteen miles must come once a quarter, and those at further distance once a year.
As part of the second night of celebration of the 200th annual session of the Greenbrier Baptist Association held in Alderson, West Virginia in July 2000, Rev. Jon Jennings portrayed Rev. John Alderson Jr. in a historical overview of the establishment of the Greenbrier Baptist Association and the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church. His monologue included the following:
So, for four years I continued this struggle as a traveling preacher, until November 24, 1781, we gathered together, 12 faithful Baptists and organized the Greenbrier Baptist Church. (Let me see if I can recall the names: Myself, and my wife, Mary, and Thomas Alderson; then John Kippers, John Shepherd, then there was John, Katherine, Joseph and Lucy Scaggs, and the Woods family: Bailey and Ann, and James Woods).
Siblings of Mary Ann McGRAW
To make the following list I studied the tax lists submitted by Julie McGrew-Ayres; the early marriages in the Greenbrier, Monroe, Kanawha, Nicholas, Fayette counties area; and the pre-1850 as well as later censuses – with all persons named.
- Sib 1: Anthony (1775-1814) born abt. 1775 Pennsylvania
- Sib 2: John (1776- ) born abt. 1776 Pennsylvania
- Sib 4: Martin (1785-1858) born 1785 Pennsylvania
- Sib 5: William (1788- ) born abt. 1788
- Sib 6: Elender (1788-1845) born abt. 1788
- Sib 7: Samuel (1792-1874) born abt. 1792 (West) Virginia
- Sib 8: Henry (1797-1873) born abt. 1797 (West) Virginia
- Sib 9: Thomas M. (1799-1855) born 9 Feb 1799 (West) Virginia
The marriage of William WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW was the only one of the following which had a bond showing her parents to be Martin and Margaret McGRAW. Thomas McGRAW’s wife Catharine gave the names of his parents as Martin and Margaret McGRAW on his 1855 death record [line 68].
Parents of Mary Ann McGRAW
After studying the possible children of Martin and Margaret McGRAW I believe that the estimated years of birth seen for the couple on nearly all online gedcom files need to be revised.
Martin: He was most likely 21 or older when he married. Anthony, the oldest known child, was born abt. 1775. If he was the first child and born within a year of the marriage Martin and Margaret might have been married about 1774 or earlier. Martin would therefore have been born about 1753 or earlier. Martin was last seen on tax lists in 1805 and Margaret was first seen on them in 1810. Martin died after 1805 and before 1810.
Margaret: In 1820 and 1830 her son Henry McGRAW had an older woman living in his household. In 1820 Henry was not yet married and the woman age 45 or older must be his mother. I believe that the woman aged between 70 and 79 in 1830 is also his mother although it is possible that she could be his mother-in-law or any other older woman. But let’s assume she is Henry’s mother. This range in 1830 would put her birth at between 1751-1760. She would have been between 15-24 when her oldest child Anthony was born. Margaret would therefore have been born between 1751-1760. Margaret died most likely between 1830-1840.
Mary Ann McGRAW was born in Pennsylvania
Mary Ann McGRAW’s brother Martin McGRAW Jr. (1785-1858) married William WOOD’s sister Nancy WOOD by publication of banns on 3 May 1806 in Monroe County. The marriage was solemnized by Rev. John ALDERSON Jr. A marriage by license was more expensive than a marriage by publication of banns. This public notice of an intended marriage had to be published, verbally or by written notice, for three consecutive meetings at the churches of the bride and groom making the waiting time longer than with a license.
Was there a reason that the couple would marry “by banns” in 1806? Martin McGRAW Sr., as mentioned previously, was last seen on the Greenbrier tax lists in 1805 which may suggest that he was deceased when his son Martin Jr. married. Could he not afford a marriage license?
Martin Jr. lived long enough to be enumerated on the 1850 census. We rely on the census for valuable pieces of information concerning our ancestors however the information is only as reliable as the person who answered the enumerator’s questions. In the case of Martin Jr. no ages were listed for any of the persons in his household in 1850. However their places of birth were included; Martin Jr. was born in Pennsylvania. As Mary Ann was his older sister it is very likely that she was also born in Pennsylvania. Martin Jr.’s War of 1812 pension papers may have more information on his place of birth.
Children of Mary Ann McGRAW and William WOOD
In 1810 Mary Ann and her husband William WOOD were enumerated next door to her brother Martin McGRAW and her father-in-law Bailey WOOD. By 1810 Mary Ann had given birth to 5 children. Four would follow in the next 14 years.
- Ch 1: Enoch J. (1801-aft. 1870) born about 1801 in Monroe
- Ch 2: Margaret “Peggy” (1801-1856) born about 1801 in Monroe
- Ch 3: [–?–] (1804- ?) female born bet. 1804-1809 in Monroe
- Ch 4: Elijah (1806-1885) born about 1806 in Monroe
- Ch 5: Amos (1807-1845) born about 1807 in Monroe
- Ch 6: Allen (1814-1862) born about 1814 in Monroe
- Ch 7: Bailey (1816-?) born bet. 1816-1819 in Monroe or Nicholas
- Ch 8: [–?–] (1816-?) female born bet. 1816-1819 in Monroe or Nicholas
- Ch 9: Mary Ann “Polly” (1824-aft. 1900) born 5 Jun 1824 in Nicholas County
Following the birth of her last child Mary Ann’s children began to marry:
- Ch 4: Elijah WOOD married Rachel HONAKER (1804-1860) on 4 January 1825 in Nicholas County
- Ch 2: Margaret “Peggy” WOOD married Thomas WITHROW (1806-1880) on 12 October 1826 Nicholas County
- Ch 1: Enoch J. WOOD married Margaret JOHNSON (1800-1850) before 1827
- Ch 5: Amos WOOD married Susan PARRISH ( -1845) on 12 May 1831 in Nicholas County
- Ch 6: Allen WOOD married Elizabeth JOHNSON (1808-1881) on 14 November 1832 in Monroe County
- Ch 9: Mary Ann “Polly” WOOD married Martin HESS (1818-1900) on 1 October 1841 in Fayette County
These six children gave Mary Ann and William WOOD 47 grandchildren and close to 200 great-grandchildren. I do not have all great-grandchildren as I have only recently begun research on Peggy and Thomas WITHROW.
Mary Ann’s husband William WOOD died in September 1835 in Fayette County. Her sons Elijah and Amos were the administrators of William’s estate. It’s possible that Mary Ann was in Amos’ household in 1840. He may have taken on the responsibility of caring for his widowed mother as he hadn’t been married as long as Elijah and didn’t have as many dependents.
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
1 male 5 & under 10 yo (Felix)
1 male 20 & under 30 yo (Amos)
2 females under 5 yo (Virginia and Matilda)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Susan)
1 female 40 & under 50 yo (poss. Mary Ann Wood)
Following the 1840 census there were several deaths in the family. Amos WOOD died leaving a will dated 24 May 1845 which was presented in open court in June 1845. Although he provided for his 5 children he did not mention his wife Susan who must have predeceased him. Mary Ann’s son Bailey, who was last seen in the 1840 census, may also have died during this time period.
Mary Ann was not enumerated in the 1850 census and therefore may have died during the 1840 decade. Although many have her date and place of death as abt. 1845 in Nicholas County, I believe that she died in the 1840s in Fayette County, where she lived her married life.
On the anniversary of Mary Ann McGRAW and William WOOD’s 100th wedding anniversary only one of their children was still living. Mary Ann “Polly” WOOD and her husband Martin HESS, married 56 years, were living on the south side of Mountain Cove District in Fayette County. [line 50 and lines 51-52]
© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey