WILLIAMS family (Caswell Co., NC)

Last week I combed through some more WILLIAMS family entries in Katherine Kerr Kendall’s Abstract of Caswell County, NC Will Books, 1777-1843 that is posted online at ancestry.com. I found some correlations between my Henry Williams and his brother James Williams. Henry Williams administered the estate of James Williams who wrote his will in 1780 in Caswell Co., NC, having sought refuge from his home town of 96th District, SC.
Evidently this James Williams was a pretty famous Colonel in the Revolutionary War. Colonel James Williams died at the battle of King’s Mountain, Oct 1780 and is buried in Gaffney, SC.
I ordered the book “James Williams: An American Patriot in the Carolina Backcountry” by William Graves hoping to learn more about his family to see if he really was a brother to my Henry Williams.

GRAVES family of Caswell County, NC

Last week I subscribed to the North Carolina Caswell County Historical Association yahoo group hoping to learn more about the History of Caswell Co., NC. An email came through the group about the History of Graves Mill. This caught my attention as I recently started investigating (again) the history of Mary Graves’ (married John Kerr) family.

I printed off the article which was entitled “A Brief History of Graves Mill: An Archaelogical site on Country Line Creek, Caswell Co., NC” which was written by Jerry L. Cross, February 24, 1982. It described the history of the Graves Mill which was originally built by my ancestor, John Graves who came to NC about 1755 and who was married to Isabella Lea, the daughter of James Lea. The mill survived several generations of Graves families and many of John’s descendants were outlined in this article. I copied a lot of this information into my family tree file to be used as a reference. The author referenced William S. Powell’s “A History of Caswell County” which I had borrowed from the library but did not get to finish reading because it was requested by another reader. (I have since purchased my own personal copy of this title).

I got stumped on the children of John Graves because I could not locate a will for him. I did have an inventory report abstracted by Katherine Kerr Kendall from Caswell Co., NC will book B, p. 459, (see below), but I cannot find a copy of his original will. There is a will filed in Granville Co., NC by John W. Graves, 1789 listed in Mitchell’s Will Index – This is for John Williams Graves, son of Henry White Graves of Granville Co., NC.

Today I posted messages regarding the will of John Graves of Caswell County. I also browsed several rootsweb files to see if anyone had a copy of the transcribed will; but did not find any.

Caswell County, NC Will Book B, p. 459, March court 1792, Inventory of the estate of John Graves Sen. taken at his dwelling house 20 Mar 1792. A riding chair and horse were given to the widow by consent of all legatees; also one smiths anville and bellows given Bazilla Graves by consent of legatees. Legatees: Isbell Graves, Azariah Graves, Thomas Graves, Bazilla Graves, John Kerr, Ann Yancey, John Graves, Thomas Slade, Solomon Graves. Inventory of that part of estate left to widow and of part not yet divided. By Azariah, Solomon, John and Thomas Graves. (Source: Caswell County, NC Will Books 1777-1814 (Abstracts) by Katherine Kerr Kendall, p. 39)

It cannot be determined for certain, if these “legatees” are children or grandchildren. In the mill article, Cross wrote that John Graves had 8 children, 5 sons and 3 daughters, however, 9 legatees were mentioned in the will book inventory entry. The first legatee mentioned, Isbell Graves, could be either a daughter or his wife; I need his will to know for sure.

In summary, I spent most of my free time this weekend (when I wasn’t doing home improvement) reading and investigating the family of John Graves, a gristmill owner in Caswell Co., NC. I also looked through the Graves Family Association website (http://www.gravesfa.org/) to see who were the ancestors of this John Graves. I hope to be able to get back to working on my Brooks and Williams lines soon.

The Parentage of Christopher Williams BROOKS

There are Revolutionary Land records that give 1,000 acres to Christopher Williams Brooks, “heir of Sgt. George Brooks”; This has led researchers to believe that Christopher Williams Brooks was the son of this George Brooks. However, I am trying to prove that this is not the case, that Christopher Williams Brooks is the son of Christopher Brooks and Susannah Williams (dau of Colonel Henry Williams). It is possible that C. W. Brooks was a nephew, and George and Christopher Brooks Sr were brothers. My goal is to find the original land grants to see 1) if it really says “George” and 2) if it indicates a better relationship between George and Christopher Williams Brooks.The TN archives charges $20 to photocopy and mail the land grants. I pinged the TN mailing lists and got some responses – one poster said that the records are microfilmed and are very hard to read. I would hate to pay $20 for something that I could not even read.

Continue to Part 2
Continue to Part 3

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