Rev. 19 June 2008, Gen. 26







Henry Winfrey Graves (1) was born about 1794-1797 in VA, probably in Petersburg, Fauquier Co., and died 22 June 1872 in Dalton, Whitfield Co., GA.  He married Alcey (or Ailsey) Ann Soule, daughter of Rufus Soule, on 22 June (or 10 Dec.[1]) 1822 in Abington, Washington Co., VA.  She was born 19 Aug. 1804, possibly in Abington, Washington Co., VA, and died 7 July 1876 in Dalton, GA.


The following discussion was revised in 1972, was submitted by Charles E. Graves, Jr. (R‑1), and was published in The Graves Family Newsletter, Nov. 1980, pages 138-140.

It was not until after all of his own children and most of his relatives had died that some of the grandchildren of Henry Winfrey Graves began to try to learn about his ancestry.  The search has been tedious and frustrating, and still remains largely unsolved.  The work we did accomplish is now being set down by his granddaughters, Lauretta Winfrey Graves and Helen Clay Graves, Stillwater, Oklahoma, with the hope that some younger descendant may want to pick up the task and would be glad to have the story of what has been done so far.

For a number of years, summer vacation trips were spent in visiting Petersburg, Richmond, and Abingdon, VA., Charleston and Cleveland, and Nashville, Tenn.  In addition, countless letters of inquiry were sent to genealogical magazines and to correspondents all over the land, with little data obtained to show anything about him prior to 1822 when he was married on Dec. 10 of that year in Abingdon, Va., to Alcey Ann Soule, daughter of Rufus Soule, of Abingdon.  U.S. census records for Charleston, Bradley Co., Tenn. In both 1840 and 1850, and the 1870 census for Dalton, Whitfield Co., Georgia, show that Henry Winfrey Graves was born in Virginia in 1794/95.

The next clue to his birthplace was found in the brief biography of his eldest son, Rufus Lafayette Graves, a merchant of Charleston, Tenn., written up in a book, “History of Tennessee, East Tennessee Edition”, and was published in 1887 by Goodspeed of Chicago and Nashville.  In this brief sketch, Rufus L. Graves, speaking of his father, Henry Winfrey Graves, is quoted as saying he was a native of Virginia, born about 1800 at Petersburg.  He said his father and mother, Alcey Soule, were married in Abingdon, Va. In about 1823, the mother being a Virginian also, and born at Abingdon in about 1805, the daughter of Rufus Soule.  His father (Henry Winfrey Graves and family) emigrated to Tennessee in 1840 and for 25 years lived at Charleston, Bradley Co.  About 1866 he moved to Dalton, Whitfield Co., Ga., where he died about 1880.  (All of the dates preceded by the word about are not completely accurate, but they vary only a few years from what they actually should be.)  (Alcey Ann could not have been born in Abingdon in 1803, since there is no record there for Rufus, her father, prior to 1811.)

Now the birthplace mentioned as Petersburg could be correct, for as yet there has been no verification for any other place.  To add interest, the 1790 U.S. listing of heads of Virginia families shows a number of Graves and Winfrey-Winfree families living in an area containing the present Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, and Henrico counties, with records showing marriages between the families.

There is even one Henry Winfrey there!  Could this man be the one for whom a pair of Graves parents named a son, who has become our elusive ancestor, Henry Winfrey Graves?  There are so many, many families by the name of Graves in that area (as well as all over Virginia) that it has not been possible for us to name the actual parents of our Henry Winfrey Graves as yet.

A few family tales passed around among the late descendants said that one of HWG’s sons, when filling out some lodge information, stated that HWG, his father showed that he was of Irish extraction, while another version was that the father was of Welsh blood!  Also, it was said that Henry Winfrey Graves had a brother who left home as a young man, to “make his fortune”, but that the family never heard from him again, and never knew whether the young man was killed by Indians, lost his life in some other way, or survived to marry and establish his own family, and we don’t know the name of this lost brother.

Now the foregoing is all we have to go on, prior to the year 1822, when Henry Winfrey Graves showed up for the first time in the marriage register of the Washington County Courthouse at Abingdon, Va.  Since his young wife’s father, Rufus Soule, had been so active in recruiting and enlisting men to serve in the War of 1812, we thought perhaps Henry Winfrey Graves might have been one of the young men so recruited.  We wrote to Richmond, Va. to ask if the roster of soldiers serving from Virginia in that war (1812-1814), might not contain the name of this young man.  (If born in 1794/5 he would have been about 19 or 20 years old at the time.  Just a ripe age for service.)  The reply was that no such name could be found in the roster of Virginia soldiers for the war.  One last little item we turned up about Henry Winfrey Graves prior to his marriage in December 1822 in Abingdon was a memo from the Land Records Coordinator of Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville.  In reply to an inquiry to know if HWG had ever applied for a land grant in Tennessee, as we thought he might have registered for Cherokee Indian Lands when in 1839-1840 he moved from Abingdon to Bradley County, Tenn.  Imagine our surprise to find that he had two grants, for 10 acres each, both for Knox County (E. Tenn. Grants) numbered 6795, dated Aug. 31, 1821, and 8111, dated Aug. 19, 1822.  The name listed was for Henry Graves, and not shown as Henry Winfrey Graves.  If this man was our own HWG, what was he doing in Tennessee in 1821 and early 1822?  What did he do with those grants?

In closing this part of the account, I might add that I wrote to the Director of the Presbyterian Historical Museum, Montreat, N.C., to inquire if the old records of the Abingdon Presbyterian Church were on file there for years 1820-1824.  The reply was that though there were many very old records on file they had none for as early as 1822.  I thought I might get the names of bondsmen, etc.  Also, I wrote to the University of Va. about their old file of Virginia newspapers in the hope that they might have a file for Abingdon for the 1820-1830 period, since Abingdon was a thriving town situated in a gap of the mountains through which the trail led from S.W. Virginia into Tennessee.  This effort too was a failure.

The forgoing pages show how futile have been our efforts to learn anything about the first 25 to 27 years of his life, prior to his marriage in Abingdon.  Could his father have been a resident by the name of William Graves, of the Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Henrico area, as once suggested by Mrs. P. W. Hiden of Richmond, a well-known Graves genealogist?  If Henry Winfrey Graves originated in that area, when did he come to S.W. Virginia to Washington County?  Why did he come?  Did his father serve in the Revolutionary War, and receive land in S.W. Virginia as a grant for his services?  To date, we have no answers!


In an earlier query in The Graves Family Newsletter, June 1980, p. 61, Charles E. Graves, Jr., wrote: “Some of my ancestors mentioned that the father of my great-grandfather Henry W. Graves owned a fishery.  Genealogists have said it would be unlikely for this type of business to be inland as far as Petersburg (Va.), and the business could have been in York Co. which is near the coast, because there were Graves families there.”


The 1830 census for Jeffersonville, Washington Co., VA, page 301, listed 1 male under 5, 1 male 5-10, 1 male 30-40, 1 female under 5, and 1 female 20-30.  Henry was in the 1840 census for Bradley Co., TN, page 61.  They were in the 1850 census for Charleston, Bradley Co., TN, dwelling 1068, page 215, with Henry Graves, 53, cabinet maker, Alesey, 44, John, 17, cabinet maker, Charles, 14, Samuel, 11, Larrana, 9, Henry, 6, and Loretta, 2, the first 5 born in VA and the last 3 in TN.  The 1860 census for District 8, Bradley Co., TN, dwelling 384, page 227, listed H. W. Graves, 60, cabinet maker, Ailsey A., 55, John B., 27, Charles, 24, Samuel, 22, Larance W., 19, Henry, 16, and Eretta, 12.  The 1870 census for Dalton, Whitfield Co., GA, dwelling 278, page 79, listed Henry W., 76, works in cabinet shop, Alcey A., 63, Henry C., 25, cabinet maker shop, Laurette E., 20.  Charles, Samuel and Lawrence have not been located anywhere in the 1870 census.  (R‑2)

Their children through Samuel were born in VA, and the ones after that were born in TN.  Since they were in TN for the 1840 census, they must have moved from VA in 1839 or early 1840.  (R‑1, R‑2)

Children - Graves

+2.  Rufus Lafayette Graves, b. 19 Sept. 1825, m(1) Amanda Weir, 13 May 1856, m(2) Helena Brazelton, 7 March 1867.

  3.  daughter, b.c. 1825-1830.  In 1840 census but not 1850 census.

  4.  son, possibly b.c. 1825-1830.

  5.  John B. Graves, b.c. 1833, m. Jane S. ‑‑‑‑‑‑.  They don’t seem to have had any children, since they were in the 1870 and 1880 censuses for Dalton, Whitfield Co., GA with no children.  She was prob. born about 1831 in TN.  He was a cabinet maker and a merchant, and she was a milliner.

  6.  Charles Graves, b.c. 1836.

+7.  Samuel G. Graves, b.c. 1839, m. Martha A. Brotherton, 12 Dec. 1867.

  8.  Lawrence W. Graves (M.D.), b. 7 Jan. 1841, m. Mary E. Bourland, 7 Jan. 1873 (Hunt Co., TX), d. 15 Sept. 1885.  Bur. in Old Grounds, Blue Ridge, Collin Co., TX.  She was b.c. 1855 in TX.  Her parents were Benjamin F. Bourland, Jr., b. 1818 in Hopkins Co., KY, and Nancy Epps Chisholm, b. 1822 in TN.  Lawrence was a physician and opened the first pharmacy in Blue Ridge in 1874.  They were in the 1880 census for Precinct 8, Collin Co., TX, ED 29, dwelling 205, page 295C.

+9.  Henry Clay Graves, b. 14 Aug. 1844, m(1) Julia Elizabeth Bilbro, May 1874, m(2) Mary A. ‑‑‑‑‑‑, c. 1889, d. 3 July 1916.

  10.  child; based on statement that there were 10 children.

+11.  Laura Ernest Graves, b. 30 Jan. 1848, m. William Alexander Moyers, 1 April 1880, d. 21 Aug. 1888.






Rufus Lafayette Graves (2) was born 19 Sept. 1825 in Abingdon, Washington Co., VA.  He first married Amanda Weir on 13 May 1856.  He married second Helena Brazelton, daughter of Isaac Brazelton and Sarah Bates, on 7 March 1867 in Bradley Co., TN.  She was born in Nov. 1843 in TN.

A biographical sketch for him was published in Goodspeed Biographies, Bradley Co., TN, and is in the next paragraph.

Rufus L. GRAVES, an enterprising merchant of Charleston, was born September 19, 1825 at Abingdon, Washington Co., Va., the eldest of ten children of Henry W. and Alcey (SOULE) GRAVES. Both parents were natives of Virginia; the father was born at Petersburg about 1800. He immigrated to Tennessee in 1840, and for twenty-five years lived at Charleston. About 1866 he moved to Dalton, Ga., where he died about 1880. He was a cabinet-maker, a Whig and a worthy citizen. His wife was born at Abingdon about 1805, and married at same place in 1823. She died at Dalton, Ga., in 1882. Both were earnest members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Rufus L. GRAVES worked in his father's shop until his twentieth year, when he engaged as salesman in the store of L. W. EARNEST, of Dalton. In 1850 he went to California, where for two years he was in the trading and mining business. In 1852 he returned to Tennessee. In 1854 he went to Charleston, S. C., and for two years was employed in the wholesale house of Chamberlain, Miller & Co. After his return to Bradley County, Tenn., he was for some time in partnership with G. W. ALEXANDER in agricultural, grain and commission business at Charleston. In 1859, with J. M. and T. J. KNOX, he established a general merchandise store, which he continued two years. After farming one year, he returned to Charleston, and again became interested in merchandising; since which time he has been in same business, but with different firms. His partner is now Mr. James McKAMY. May 13, 1856, he married Miss Amanda WEIR, who died January 12, 1866. To their union three children were born, two of whom are living. March 7, 1867, he wedded Miss Helena BRAZELTON, who has borne him three sons and two daughters. Our subject is a firm Democrat and liberal contributor to all charitable and public institutions. Mr. and Mrs. GRAVES are consistent members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Rufus, Helena and their children were in the 1870, 1880 and 1900 censuses for Bradley Co., TN.  He was a retail merchant.  All his children were born in TN.

Children - Graves, by Amanda Weir

  12.  Samuel Graves, b.c. 1858.

  13.  Leona (or Diana) Graves, b.c. 1860.

  14.  Sallie Graves, b.c. 1863.

Children - Graves, by Helena Brazelton

  15.  Charles Graves, b.c. 1869.

  16.  Henry B. Graves, b. March 1872.

  17.  Anna (“Annie”) L. Graves, b. Feb. 1874.

  18.  Clyde Graves, b.c. 1878.

  19.  Rufus L. Graves, b. Sept. 1881.


Samuel G Graves(7) was born about 1839 in VA.  He married Martha A. Brotherton on 12 Dec. 1867 in Whitfield Co., GA[2].  She was born about 1847 in GA.  They were in the 1880 census for Fort Worth, Tarrant Co., TX.  At that time, all their children were born in GA.

Children - Graves

  20.  John H. Graves, b.c. 1868.

  21.  Lena G. Graves, b.c. 1872.

  22.  James A. Graves, b.c. 1874.

  23.  Charley Graves, b.c. 1877.


Henry Clay Graves (9) was born 14 Aug. 1844 in Charleston, Bradley Co., TN, and died 3 July 1916 in Hugo, OK.  He first married Julia Elizabeth Bilbro, daughter of Dr. Charles Dawson Bilbro and Juliana Hudson, in May 1874.  She was born in 1847 in AL, and died 23 March 1881 in Fort Worth, Tarrant Co., TX.  He married second Mary A. (“Mamie”) ‑‑‑‑‑‑ about 1889.  She was born about 1868 in LA.  He and Julia were in the 1880 census for Fort Worth, Tarrant Co., TX, when he was a carpenter.  He and Mamie were in the 1910 census for Shawnee, Ward 2, Pottawatomie Co., OK, when he was a house contractor.  Mamie was in the 1920 census for Stillwater, Payne Co., OK, widow, dressmaker.  All his children were born in TX.  (R‑1)

Children - Graves, by Julia E. Bilbro

+24.  Charles Edwin Graves, b. 28 March 1876, m. Myrtle Lee McCoy, 8 May 1900, d. 7 Jan. 1961.

  25.  Susan Graves, b.c. 1878.

Children - Graves, by Mary A. ------

  26.  Lauretta W. Graves, b.c. 1891.

  27.  Helen C. Graves, b.c. 1898.

  28.  Estelle G. (or F.) Graves, b.c. 1902.

  29.  Mildred P. (or S.) Graves, b.c. 1906.


Laura (or Lauretta) Ernest Graves (10) was born 30 Jan. 1848 in TN[3], died 21 Aug. 1888, and was buried at Old Grounds, Blue Ridge, Collin Co., TX.  She married William Alexander Moyers, son of Jacob Moyers and Lettice Coulter, on 1 April 1880 in Blue Ridge, TX.  He was born 9 April 1844 in Cane Hill, AR, and died 13 June 1903 in Blue Ridge, Collin Co., TX.  At least their first 2 children were born in Blue Ridge, Collin Co., TX.  After Laura died, William married again and had other children.  (R‑2)

Children - Moyers

  30.  Mary Katherine Moyers, b. 3 May 1881, d. McKinney, Collin Co., TX.

  31.  Lillian Camille Moyers, b. 5 Nov. 1882, m. Samuel Russell Dickenson, 18 July 1905 (Anna, TX), d. 24 Aug. 1918.

  32.  Sallie Graves Moyers, b. 17 Nov. 1884.






Charles Edwin Graves (24) was born 28 March 1876 in Fort Worth, Tarrant Co., TX, and died 7 Jan. 1961 in McKinney, Collin Co., TX.  He married Myrtle Lee McCoy, daughter of George C. McCoy and Alice Jerusha Dotson, on 8 May 1900.  She was born 25 Nov. 1884 in TN, and died 1 Jan. 1976.  They were in the 1920 and 1930 censuses for Collin Co., TX.  In 1920 he may have been a bat maker (census hard to read), and in 1930 he was secretary of the retail merchant association.  All their children were born in TX, probably in Collin Co.  (R‑1)

Children - Graves

  33.  Arlin O. (or Arlyn I.) Graves, b.c. 1901.  Teacher in 1930.

  34.  Melba C. Graves, b.c. 1907.  Teacher in 1930.

+35.  Charles Edwin Graves, Jr., b. 5 June 1914, m. Eugenia Gilson Dowdy, 4 April 1941.

  36.  Paul M. Graves, b.c. 1920.


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[1] R‑1 gave the marriage date as 22 June, and R‑2 gave 10 Dec. 1822.

[2] Her surname and date and place of marriage from IGI.

[3] A FamilyTreeMaker file stated that she was born in Dalton, GA.