William GRAVES

M, b. 9 July 1755, d. 24 February 1836
4th great-grandfather of John Kennedy BROWN Jr.
Area Maps
Autauga County and Vicinity Map
Author's Pedigree Chart
     William GRAVES was born on 9 July 1755 in Caroline County, Virginia, son of William GRAVES and Dorothy STERN.1,2
     While living in Henry County, Virginia William enlisted as a private, conductor of wagons, in the American Continental Line. He served in the quartermaster corps of John Fontain's company of Henry County Militia, which on 11 May 1783 was ordered from Henry County to Gen. Greene at Hillsborough, North Carolina. He was`in command of wagon trains under William McGraw, acting Quartermaster at Petersburg, Virginia. In 1784 he received a land grant for 287 1/2 acres in Oglethorpe County, Georgia in recognition of his military service.3,2
     William married Sarah SMITH, daughter of Charles SMITH and Nancy Burks, on 5 November 1782 in Bedford County, Virginia.4,5
     William GRAVES of Oglethorpe County, Georgia and Peyton GRAVES of Franklin County, Virginia on 17 October 1812 sold for $500 to Timothy and Stephen Pate of Smith County and Willoughby(?) Pate of Jackson County, Tennessee, 426 acres in Smith County and Jackson counties, Tennessee, being part of a grant to Francis Graves from the State of North Carolina, and conveyed by William and Peyton Graves, heirs of Francis Graves. Witnesses: William Low, Thomas Draper. Proved and recorded March 1813. [Smith County Deed Book D, pg. 209-10]
     William GRAVES and Sarah SMITH moved from Oglethorpe County, Georgia to Montgomery County, Mississippi Territory, in the winter of 1817 along with Rev. Britton Capel and settled a few miles below the town of Washington at Manack Station in the upper northeast corner of what is now Lowndes County, Alabama. He established a ferry there across the Alabama River. At that time Alabama was part of the Mississippi Territory. Autauga county wasn't created until 1818 and Lowndes County in 1830. Alabama gained statehood in 1819.3,6
     John Hardy, in an 1867 newspaper article on the history of Autauga County, mentioned the first camp meeting held in Autauga County: "In 1819 or 1820, the Methodists held a camp meeting a few miles west of Washington, which is a memorable epoch in their history in the county. Large numbers were added to the church, and many are living yet who refer to that meeting with lively interest." Rev. Anson West in his book on early Methodists adds that "the first campground established in Autauga County was at or near Graves' Ferry, a few miles from the town of Washington, down the Alabama River, and known as Graves Campground, so called for William Graves who had a ferry on the river. Camp meetings were held there for many years..." This meeting was also mentioned by Shadrack Mims in his county history, and refers to William as "Billy Graves." According to West the preachers at the event were Rev. Thomas Nixon, Rev. Thomas Clinton, Rev. Eli Terry, and Rev. Peyton Bibb. Among those who there "received the regenerating power of the Holy Ghost" where two men who would become ministers themselves, Peyton S. Graves and William Alexander.7,8,9
     William owned extensive lands on the Alabama River at Graves Landing where he established a plantation and lived until his death in 1836. In 1821 he was appointed together with Edward Moseley, Benjamin Davis, John Hughes, and William Laprade to select a site for the Montgomery county courthouse. When Lowndes county was established by an act of the legislature approved 20 January 1830, his plantation fell within the Lowndes limits, not far from the Montgomery county line.3
     William GRAVES purchased a government land patent 14 April 1825 in Montgomery County, Alabama. At the Cahaba Land Office he bought 78.75 acres of the east half of the northeast quarter of section 10 of township 13-N, range 19-E.10
     Before 1828 William Graves and Warren Stone were the primary members of the first Methodist Episcopal in Manack, Montgomery (now Lowndes) county. It was the first Methodist church in Montgomery county and one of the oldest churches in the state.11
     William GRAVES appeared as head of household on a census enumerated 1830 in Lowndes County, Alabama. The household was listed as Two males under 5, one male 10-15, one male 15-20, one male 50-60 [William], three females under 5, one female 5-10, one female 15-20, and one female 30-40.
     William GRAVES, Sarah GRAVES, Charles GRAVES, Mrs. Louisa Jane GRAVES, Stephen SHELTON and Martha SHELTON, John M. McLeans and Elizabeth McLeans sold a tract of land to James Huie on 5 December 1832 in Autauga County. The deed proclaimed that John M. McLeans and Elizabeth McLeans, his wife, and Charles Graves and Louisa, his wife, and William Graves and Sarah, his wife, and Stephen Shelton and Martha, his wife, for $2100 paid by James Huie sold him the east half of fractional section 24 on the Alabama River, township 16, range 15, being the land where Stephen Shelton now lives, except for the part of the said fractional section as lies on the south side of Long Pond, also part of the said fractional section 24 lying in the North half of said fractional section and on the sorth side from the middle of the Long Pond being part of the section in the possession of William Graves and afterwasrds in the possession of Stephen Shelton, containing 303 acres. Signed by Charles Graves, Louisa J. Graves, Stephne Shelton, Martha Shelton, William Graves, Sarah Graves, John M. McLean and Elizabeth McLean.12
     William GRAVES sold the following parcels of land to his son, Charles GRAVES, on 20 February 1835 in Autauga County, Alabama. It was described as fractional section 26 in township 16, range 15, lying north of the Alabama River. Also the northeast quarter of section 22 in the same township and range, and fractional section 25 north of the Alabama River containing 150 acres together with all property belonging with the rights of the ferry landing including the landing on both sides of the Alabama River. However William Graves and Sarah Graves, his wife, were to retain use of said lands, tenements and outbuildings during their natural lives. The deed was signed by William Graves and Charles Graves, and witnessed by Warren Stone, George Clark, John D. Hall, and Robert Russell.13
     William GRAVES died on 24 February 1836 in Manack Station, Lowndes County, Alabama, at age 80.14 He was buried in the Graves Burying Ground. The cemetery is located a short way south and west of the old Manack Station on the old road from Montgomery to Selma. The cemetery is now on property owned by GE Plastics.
     William GRAVES left a will that was written on 23 February 1836 in Autauga County, Alabama. Recorded in Reports Book C, 1834-1838, on page 347, his inhertors were: his grandson, Young William Graves; his wife, Sarah, and his "children and their heirs as follows, viz. to the heirs of the body of Mary Alexander; the heirs of the body of Susan Clark; to Sally Vaner and the heirs of her body; to Dorothy Fitzpatrick and heirs of her body; to Martha Shelton and the heirs of her body; William Graves, jr. and his heirs; to Charles Graves and his heirs; to David Graves and his heirs; to P. S. Graves and his heirs... that William Graves, Jr. and David Graves... be my executors..."
Last Edited=12 May 2016

Children of William GRAVES and Sarah SMITH


  1. [S72] Abney Hintgen Brewer. "Abney Family History", (Unpublished manuscript), 1993 Author's Personal Collection.
  2. [S759] Larry W. Nobles, Old Autauga: Portrait of a Deep South County, pg.223-224.
  3. [S651] Lowndes County Heritage Book Committee, Heritage of Lowndes County, William Graves, Pioneer submitted by Robert H. Graves, Ft. Worth, TX.
  4. [S53] Bud Graves, "Graves Family Newsletter (1995), p. 22," e-mail to Jr. John K. Brown, 29 Jan 1997.
  5. [S242] Carrie Scales Evans, "Abney Family Research," e-mail to Jr. John K. Brown, 28 Nov 1998.
  6. [S883] Rev. Anson West, History of Methodism in Alabama, pg. 185-186.
  7. [S754] Daniel S. Gray, Autauga: First 100 Yrs., pg. 90.
  8. [S253] Shadrack Mims, History of Autauga County, Alabama.
  9. [S883] Rev. Anson West, History of Methodism in Alabama, pg. 176.
  10. [S232] Bureau of Land Management, online http://www.glorecords.blm.gov, Cahaba Land Office, #1665, AL0160_272.
  11. [S905] W. G. Robertson, Early Settlers of Montgomery, pg. 147.
  12. [S857] Autauga County Deeds and Mortgages, Book D, Volume 4-B: Book C, page 505.
  13. [S857] Autauga County Deeds and Mortgages, Book D, Volume 4-B: Deed Book D, pg. 406. Note that the township and range are mistakenly reversed in the deed. It shows township 15, range 16 would be well south of the river and so would not match at all the land as discribed in the deed.
  14. [S11] Surveyed 31 Jan 2009, Tombstone Inscription, Author's Personal Collection, Prattville, Alabama.

Information on this site has been gathered over many years from many sources. Although great care has been taken, inaccuracies may exist.