John Graves (4)
B: abt. 1667
Father: Thomas Graves
Our Child: Thomas Graves (5)

John Graves-4

[Circa 1667]

King & Queen County Virginia

Captain Thomas Graves-1; John-2; Thomas-3; John-4; Thomas-5; John-6; Ann-7

This generation is as far back as can be absolutely proven in the ascendancy to this line of GRAVES, except by a “preponderance of evidence.” “In every question of pedigree as is well known to genealogists, one of the greatest difficulties is the proving of identity of persons of the same name belonging to a particular line…J. P. Earwaker, MA, FSA: [Stevenson, Genealogical Evidence, page 121.]

In compiling a preponderance-of-evidence case, bits and pieces, that are taken together to show that a “reasonable man” would decide that the evidence proved the case with a reasonable certainty. The term means “great weight.” Each case must be taken on its own merits and each piece of evidence weighed against the probability of its validity vs. the probability of its falsehood.

The JOHN GRAVES-4, of King and Queen County, who deeded 100 acres in King William County to his son is, however, the only logical John Graves to be the father of THOMAS-5 and John, Jr.-5." [Graves, pg. 49.]

...there is reasonable certainty that they descended from the old captain, however the exact line of descent may run. There is no evidence to indicate that Thomas Graves[5] of Spotsylvania belonged to any other Graves family unrelated to the Captain.: [Graves, pg. 50.]

There were several men named John Graves in this generation. There is contention about which John Graves-4th generation was the father of THOMAS GRAVES-5. The Graves Family Association, and Louise Graves, both think that “John-4, of King and Queen, Straton Major Parish,” is the winning candidate, and that there is a reasonable certainty, due to JOHN-4's son, THOMAS-5 naming his nephew, Joseph-6, as administrator of his estate. Joseph-6 has been proven by deeds to be the son of John-5, who has been proven to be a son of JOHN-4 by deeds, therefore if A=B and C=B then A=B=C...thus proving that John-5 and THOMAS-5 were brothers; since John-5 was a son of JOHN-4, then his brother, THOMAS-5, was a son of JOHN-4 of King and Queen County.

JOHN GRAVES-4 of King and Queen County, [later King William County] has been proven to be the father of THOMAS-5 by a deed recorded June 1, 1704, from John Clayborne of the Parish of St. John, King William County, to JOHN GRAVES-4 for 100 acres of land for 3,500 pounds of tobacco. In March 1706/7 JOHN-4 signed over right to this same land to "My son John Graves Jr.-5"

This same John Graves-5, with his wife, Frances, gave his son, Joseph-6, a deed of gift for this land.

Later THOMAS GRAVES-5, in his will, names this same Joseph-6, his nephew, as executor. This proves, beyond reasonable doubt, that THOMAS-5 and John-5 were brothers and that both are the sons of JOHN-4.

We are fortunate that THOMAS-5 named Joseph-6 executor. We are also fortunate that he stated the relationship in his will. Without this single reference, we might never have unraveled the connection between "our" JOHN-4 and THOMAS-5.

The Quit Rent rolls of 1704 Virginia list two men named John Graves. Either of these could, of course, be the John-4 we are seeking. Robert Graves, probably the son of Thomas-3, of Glocester, also lived in King and Queen County, close to the two Johns. One of the Johns is probably the grandson of Ralph, who lived in York, but owned land in King and Queen.

Our JOHN-4 of King and Queen County apparently didn't leave a will, but deeds can be pieced together to tell us the names of at least two of his sons.

Little else is known about these men except the records of their land transactions. They were probably successful planters with moderate estates, but not part of the ruling elite. Graves Family Association Newsletter gives JOHN-4’s date of death as circa 1737 but, in any case, we know it is after 1704 when he is found on the Quit Rent Rolls. We do know that John Graves-5, brother of THOMAS-5, had sons Thomas-6, James-6, John-6, and Joseph-6. John-5 didn't leave a will, but deeded them property up until at least 1772, so we know that he lived to be an old man and probably outlived THOMAS-5 by a few years. John-5 was referred to in records as "Jr." which may have meant "son of" or may have meant "the younger of two."