Name: Barzillai Graves 1 2 3 4
Reference Number: 1400
Birth: 12 DEC 1759 in Caswell County, North Carolina
Occupation: Baptist Minister
Burial: Mollie Harrellson's Caswell County, North Carolina
Death: 14 JUL 1827 in Caswell County, North Carolina
LONG: W79.3357 1 4
Reverend Barzillai Graves (1759-1827)
(for larger image, click on photograph)
Benedict, David. A General History of the Baptist Denomination in America. Boston: Manning & Loring, 1813. Print.
Death date also seen as 13 July 1827.
Reverend Barzillai Graves was born 12 December 1759 and died 14 July 1827. Note, however, that the Bible of his son Solomon Graves (1784-1861) appears to state that his father Barzillai Graves was born in 1755. He married Ursula Wright, daughter of William Wright and granddaughter of John Wright who married Miss Parsons, on 10 April 1783. She was born 28 (or 26) April 1755 and died 27 November 1843. Barzillai lived and died in Caswell County, North Carolina. about three miles from Yanceyville. He was among the most distinguished Baptist clergyman of his time in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. He was in the North Carolina Senate in 1814 and 1815 (?) and in the House from 1818 to 1822. He was a taxpayer in Gloucester District of Caswell County, North Carolina in 1790.
Following are the children of Barzillai Graves and Ursula Wright as compiled by the Graves Family Association.
1. Solomon Graves, b. 14 Feb. 1784, m. Mary Cleveland Franklin, 10 April 1817, d. 28 April 1861.
2. Jeremiah Graves, b. 4 Jan. 1786, m. Delilah S. Lea, d. 23 Sept. 1868.
3. Isabella Graves, b. 18 March 1788, m. Hosea McNeill, 18 March 1807, d. 26 Dec. 1861.
4. Barzillai Graves, b. 17 Oct. 1790, never married, d. 6 Dec. 1828.
5. Elizabeth ("Betsey") Graves, b. 2 March 1793, m. James Lea, d. 1854. Moved to Tenn.
6. Margarette (or Margaret) Graves, b. 3 July 1795, m(1) William Lipscomb, m(2) J. V. Cross, d. 1853. Moved to Tenn.
7. Mary Graves, b. 15 Sept. 1798, m. Thomas Williams Graves, 17 July 1828, d. 24 Aug. 1875.
Often seen as Reverend Baraillai Graves because he was a Baptist minister
Reverend Barzillai Graves was a co-founder of Bush Arbor Primitive Baptist Church, located in southern Caswell County (established before 1806). There have been three known church buildings since the beginning. For several years the members heard their sermons from a bush arbor, hence the name Bush Arbor. The present church building was erected in 1948. There is a large cemetery still being used today with the oldest readable grave marker dated 1807. Many graves have only field rocks to mark them. Meetings are held each second Saturday and Sunday, also each fourth Sunday night. Note, however, that Reverend Barzillai Graves apparently is not buried at Bush Arbor Primitive Baptist Church.
Pastors/Elders at Bush Arbor Church:
Barzilla Graves 1806-1810
Richard Martin 1819-1834
John Stadler 1834-1860
F. L. Oakley 1863-1890
Y. I. Chandler 1890-1916
B. F. McKinney 1916-1928
W. C. King 1929-1970
It is possible that Reverend Barzillai Graves was born in Caswell County, North Carolina, and not in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, as some researchers have concluded. Louise Graves reports that the father of Reverend Barzillai Graves, John Graves, Sr., moved his wife and four children to Caswell County in the year 1753 or 1754. Thus, as Reverend Barzillai Graves was not born until 1759, he would have been born in Caswell County, and these records have been so amended.
However, where the Reverend Barzillai Graves was buried after his death in 1827 is unknown. Note that one family record (papers of Robert Sterling Graves) states that the wife of Reverend Barzillai Graves, Ursula Wright Graves (who survived him around sixteen years), was buried at Mollie Harrelson's. Mollie was a nickname for Mary and Margaret.
An article in the Caswell County Heritage Book sheds a bit more light on this Mollie Harrelson:
The death of the Rev. Graves was on 14 July 1827 and the widow died 27 November 1845. In his will his daughter Mary was to have the home and she and her husband agreed with the widow to remain there and take care of her. Mary married General Thomas Graves. The home was on south side of Country Line Creek, and was later purchased by Harrelsons with Misses Annie and Mollie Harrelson being the last to reside there. It burned about 10 years ago.
Source: The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 234 (Article #259, "(Reverend) Barzillai Graves" by Katharine Kerr Kendall).
There were two spinster Harrelson sisters who lived for many years with their widowed mother south of Yanceyville. They were Mollie and Annie Harrelson; and their mother was Aurelia Harrelson, who lived into her eighties. Mollie's name was Mary E. Harrelson. Annie was Annie M. Harrelson (Martha Ann Harrelson). The head of this family apparently was John Forbes Harrelson (1834-1912), and it could have been he who purchased the Barzillai Graves property from descendants of Barzillai Graves. Mary Sims Graves, to whom the Reverend Barzillai Graves willed the property, died in 1875. Her husband died in 1877. They did, however, have children. Thus, when the Harrelson family came into possession of the Graves property is unknown. As of the 1880 US Census the John Forbes Harrelson family was living in Dan River Township, which is north of Yanceyville. The 1910 census gives a Yanceyville Township address. Thus, the acquisition could have occurred between 1880 and 1910. Any search for the gravesite of Reverend Barzillai Graves should begin where his wife was buried -- at "Mollie Harrelson's."
It also appears that Reverend Barzillai Graves could have been associated in some manner with the Country Line Baptist Church.
For more go to Reverend Barzillai Graves.
For the article on Reverend Barzillai Graves in The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) go to Reverend Barzillai Graves (1759-1827).
Caswell County Deed Book D, Page 185: State of North Carolina Grant No. 796 - Governor Alexander Martin to Barzillai Graves 304 acres on Moon's Creek adjacent Perkins, Dixon, Pendergrass Hustin, Graves's old line. 10 November 1784. Price was 50 shillings per 100 acres. Source: Caswell County North Carolina Deed Books 1777-1817, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1989) at 73. This grant apparently was made in 1779, but not issued until 1784.
Caswell County Deed Book M, Page 146: Sallie Tait of Caswell County to the Baptist now under pastoral care of Barzillai Graves known as North Country Line Church, for love and good will, 1 acre for purpose of erecting a meeting house and carrying on public worship near the Hillsborough Road adjacent John Berry. 4 August 1801. Witnesses: John Jones, John Henslee. Source: Caswell County North Carolina Deed Books 1777-1817, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1989) at 223.
Caswell County Deed Book T, Page 102-3: Barzillai Graves Senr of Caswell County to his son Jeremiah Graves of same, for love and affection, 273 acres whereon he resides adjoining John Graves, Barzillai Graves, Azariah Graves on main road northwest of the Courthouse on Fuller's Branch adjoining Cochran. 9 July 1819. Acknowledged in open court. Source: Caswell County North Carolina Deed Books 1817-1840 Abstracts, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1992) at 31.
John Burch Blaylock (1909-1995) served for many years as the Caswell County Register of Deeds. In addition to his formal duties, Blaylock collected many additional records relating to Caswell County and its people. These included cemetery records. He assigned a number to each cemetery and entered the information in what today is called the Burch Blaylock Collection. Cemetery #69 is called the Graves Cemetery (Harrelson Road). The entries are few:
"Martin, John Henry B. 30 Aug. 1824. D. 1 July 1825, son of Geo. T. & Rachel Martin. Location: Graves Cemetery 2 miles north of Country Line Primitive Baptist Church on Hwy. #62; 1 rock had Ursula Graves on it; also B. G. died in 1818."
The foregoing is a typed formal part of the Blaylock Collection. A handwritten note on the page shows:
M - Apr. 9, 1783 To Urlsey Wright
Esa Wright, Bondsman
Thus, it appears that the gravesite of Ursula Wright Graves has been found. The reference to B. G. is less certain. However, one reasonably could conclude that both Reverend Barzillai Graves and his wife Ursula Wright Graves are buried in the Country Line Baptist Church cemetery. However, the reference to the Graves Cemetery on Harrelson Road remains confusing. However, see the above discussion with respect to Mollie Harrelson. Researchers are admonished to proceed with caution. Note also the problem with the 1818 death date. This may be the resting place of Barzillai Graves, Jr. John Card Graves (in the Moreheads of Virginia book) places the death date of Barzillai Graves, Jr., as 6 Dec 1818.
A Graves Marriage
Mr. F. M. Sammons has shown us a number of a two column folio paper, called the Dwarf, the matter in each page measuring 3½ inches by 5½, published at Ballston Spa (state not given), August 19th, 1834, N. G. Rice, brother of Wm. H. Rice, of this village, publisher. The following marriage notice was taken from its columns:
Married. -- In Caswell County, by the Rev. Barzillai Graves, Capt. Wm. Graves, son of John Graves, Esq., to Miss Nancy Graves, daughter of Gen. Azariah Graves.
The Graves, 'tis said,
Will yield their dead,
When Gabriel's trumpte shakes the skies,
But if God please,
From Graves like these,
A dozen living folks shall rise.
Source: Northern Tribune (Cheboygan, Michigan), 19 August 1882, Page 7.
Caswell County, North Carolina
Will book L, Page 244
244 Barzillai Graves Senior -- Will -- Written 25 June 1827. Wife Usalae (Ursala) to have all land and possessions during her life then same to go to two daughters, Peggy and Mary, including all land on south side of Country Line Creek, 400 acres. After wife's death, negroes to be divided among all children. Negroes already advanced to son Solomon Graves and he to have land adjacent to son Jeremiah Graves and brother John Graves, 169 acres known as the Tract place. Son Solomon to have land between that of Jeremiah and Country Line east of spring branch of son Jeremiah known as Cochran's tract. Already advanced to son Jeremiah land where he now lives; advancements also to daughter Isbell McNeill and sons-in-law Hosea McNeill and James Lea.
Witnesses: William Russell, James L. Graves.
Codicil -- Spring Branch to be dividing line between land of two sons [Jeremiah Graves and Solomon Graves]. Estate to be accountable for costs that accrue from any law suit which may be instituted in consequence of claim set up by Azariah Graves (son of John Graves) to land which I have devised to son Solomon Graves.
Solomon Graves and Jeremiah Graves qualified.
The will abstract is somewhat confusing. It appears that the wife, Ursula Wright Graves, was to have a life estate in all property (real and personal, described as "land and possessions"). After her death, all property was to go to two daughters Peggy and Mary. However, when did son Solomon Graves receive the 169-acre "Tract place" and the property known as "Cochran's tract"? Note no mention of a mill. Was this when the will was probated or after the death of Ursula Wright Graves? Did these parcels pass through daughters Peggy and Mary?
Unknown is why the codicil anticipates a lawsuit by nephew Azariah Graves (1776-1837), son of Captain John Herndon Graves (1746-1829), with respect to property devised by Reverend Barzillai Graves to his son Solomon Graves.
Note also, that the will makes no mention of son Barzillai Graves, Jr. Researchers use both 1818 and 1828 as the death year of Barzillai Graves, Jr. His absence from the will of his father suggests that 1818 may be the correct death year.
Wife: Ursula Graves
Brother: John Graves (Captain John Herndon Graves; father of Azariah Graves)
1. Peggy Graves (Margarette Graves; married (1) Joseph R. E. Lipscomb in 1833; (2) J. V. Cross)
2. Mary Graves (Mary Simms Graves; married Thomas Williams Graves in 1828)
3. Solomon Graves (married Mary Cleveland Franklin in 1817)
4. Jeremiah Graves (married Delilah S. Lea in 1816)
5. Isbell [Isabella] Graves McNeill (married Hosea McNeill in 1807)
Nephew: Azariah Graves (son of brother Captain John Herndon Graves)
1. Hosea McNeill (married daughter Isabella Graves in 1807)
2. James Lea (married daughter Elizabeth (Betsey) Graves in 1815; seen as James Lea, Jr.)
1. William Russell
2. James L. Graves
That all the following records are with respect to the Barzillai Graves of this entry has not been confirmed, and the records are placed here for research purposes only. Researchers are admonished to proceed with caution.
1790 United States Federal Census
Name: Bazillia Graves
Home in 1790 (City, County, State): Caswell, North Carolina
American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI)
Name: Barzillia Graves
Birth Date: 1750
Birthplace: North Carolina
Page Number: 230
Reference: Heads of fams. at the first U.S. census. NC. By U.S. Bureau of the Census. Washington, 1908. (292p.):80
1800 United States Federal Census
Name: Barrella Graves
Home in 1800 (City, County, State): Hillsboro [District], Caswell, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10: 1
Free White Persons - Males -10 thru 15: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 25: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 26 thru 44: 1
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10: 3
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 15: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 26 thru 44: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 45 and over: 1
Number of Slaves: 24
Number of Household Members Under 16: 6
Number of Household Members Over 25: 3
Number of Household Members: 34
1810 United States Federal Census
Name: Barzillia Graves
Home in 1810 (City, County, State): Caswell, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 25: 2
Free White Persons - Males - 26 thru 44: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 45 and over: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 15: 2
Free White Persons - Females - 16 thru 25: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 45 and over : 1
Numbers of Slaves: 28
Number of Household Members Under 16: 2
Number of Household Members Over 25: 3
Number of Household Members: 36
1820 United States Federal Census
Barzilla Graves [Barzilla Graves Genl]
Home in 1820 (City, County, State): Caswell, North Carolina
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10: 2
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 15: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 26 thru 44: 1
Slaves - Males - Under 14: 7
Slaves - Males - 14 thru 25: 4
Slaves - Males - 26 thru 44: 2
Slaves - Males - 45 and over: 1
Slaves - Females - Under 14: 3
Slaves - Females - 14 thru 25: 1
Slaves - Females - 26 thru 44: 2
Number of Persons - Engaged in Agriculture: 8
Number of Persons - Engaged in Manufactures: 2
Free White Persons - Under 16: 3
Free White Persons - Over 25: 1
Total Free White Persons: 4
Total Slaves: 20
Total All Persons - White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 24
Father: John Graves b: ABT 1715 in Virginia
Mother: Isabella Lea b: 1738 in King and Queen County, Virginia
Ursula Wright b: 28 APR 1755 in Caswell County, North Carolina
10 APR 1783
in Caswell County, North Carolina 2 3 4
Marriage Bond Record
Groom: Barzillai Graves
Bride: Ursley Wright
Bond Date: 9 April 1783
Bondsman/Witness: Esa Wright
Location: Caswell County, North Carolina
Source: Caswell County, North Carolina Marriage Bonds, 1778-1868, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1981) at 38.
- Solomon P. Graves b: 14 FEB 1784 in Caswell County, North Carolina
- Jeremiah Graves b: 4 JAN 1786 in Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina
- Isabella Graves b: 18 MAR 1788 in Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina
- Barzillai Graves Jr. b: 17 OCT 1790
- Elizabeth Graves b: 2 MAR 1793
- Margarette Graves b: 3 JUL 1795
- Mary Sims Graves b: 15 SEP 1798 in Caswell County, North Carolina
- Details: Bible of Solomon Graves (1784-1861) (1817 Entries)
- Details: The Morehead Family of North Carolina and Virginia, John Motley Morehead III (1921) at 121
- Details: Caswell County, North Carolina Marriage Bonds, 1778-1868, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1981) at 38
- Details: Graves Family Association.