Tuesday, August 26, 2014

52 ANCESTORS in 52 WEEKS, #35 : Mary "Elizabeth" GRAVES, 1700s in NC

Following the challenge from Amy Johnson Crow to write a post weekly, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, here is my 35th installment, Mary Elizabeth GRAVES. This is my ex-husband's 6th great-grandmother. I have GRAVES in my own mother's lines, but I have yet to see how - or if - they link up. Neither seem to be listed on the GRAVES Family Association, which is a very active helpful surname association. 

Known as Elizabeth, Mary Elizabeth's parents were Thomas GRAVES & Sarah TURNER.  Both seem to have been born in the late 1600s, perhaps around 1680, although it is not known where they were born, to date.  I have much research to do for this family group.

Elizabeth was born in 1706, in Craven county, North Carolina. However, Craven county was formed out of the now-extinct Bath county, in 1712 - so this date of 1706 for the birthplace is not quite accurate. Click on the link for more detailed information and maps of the area at the time of her birth.

Elizabeth married Simon BRIGHT in approx 1725. Simon was apparently born in about 1706 in Hyde Precinct  which had many boundary changes, as well.  Click on the link for a short history of these changes.

The couple had 6 children that are known, but birth dates have not been confirmed for most:  

  1. Simon Jr.; m., children
  2. James
  3. Nancy
  4. Sally
  5. Elizabeth
  6. Mary [ancestor], b. 1730 in New Hanover county, NC; m. 1750 to Benjamin HERRING, in New Bern; 5 children
There is a tall detailed memorial obelisk at Saint John Cemetery, Grifton, Pitt, North Carolina. This photo was taken by a BillionGraves volunteer, and is transcribed. On it you can read a list of a number of direct ancestors in the BRIGHT family, with their relationship to a much younger Bright descendant, who likely put up this obelisk. Clearly, this is my next step in using clues on the obelisk for more research of this family. 

Simon BRIGHT appears to have died approximately 1770 in North Carolina. However, his wife was alive at the time at his death; therefore Elizabeth must have died after 1772.  I have not yet found a probate for Mary Elizabeth GRAVES Bright.

Whoops!  I did a quick search on FamilySearch.org  for Thomas Graves, Mary Elizabeth's father, and found a detailed Probate (but no will shown) of (Major) Thomas Graves, dated 1767 with names as follows:  No.1 Mrs. Sarah Graves, No.2 Mary Bright, No.3 Ann Graves, No.4 Thomas Graves (jr?), No.5  Sarah jr. It appears to be the probate of the senior Thomas Graves. Of course, since Thomas and Sarah are common names, it is within probability of being a younger Thomas Graves, a brother or cousin to Mary who married another Sarah? 

A "John Turner" was the Administer and Co-Executor for this Will, which is another link in the TURNER-GRAVES-BRIGHT families, Thomas Graves (jr?) was the other Executor. He filed the final inventory and invoice in June 1772. Thomas Graves Sr. seems to have been quite wealthy from the many pages of goods, and of the amounts the estate received from sales of cattle and other items [including 3 Negroes - which I was so sad to see].  I've now downloaded all 27 pages, and will dig through them later on. 

This find is, of course, exactly why the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge is such a helpful challenge. Not only may others find details on my ancestors, but also, I am twigged to do more research and therefore find more as well! 

If you have further information on Mary "Elizabeth" GRAVES and her family, I would be thrilled to add to our family tree.  As well, if you see errors in this listing, don't hesitate to let me know - I am always happy to correct my details!  You may contact me via calewis at telus dot com or in the Comments below.  Thanks for visiting.

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Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis