Tuesday, October 28, 2008

John Azariah Graves (c.1823-1874)

(click on photograph for larger image)

The photograph shown above is believed to be of a portrait that once hung in the John A. Graves Chapter of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons (Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina).

While no factual basis has been found, some have assumed that the John A. Graves Masonic Lodge Chapter in Yanceyville was named for Lt. Col. John Azariah Graves (c.1823-1864) to honor his Civil War service. This had been the Clinton Lodge (No. 107, chartered in 1842), and John A. Graves was a member. The charter of this Clinton Lodge was surrendered around 1887, and the John A. Graves Lodge (No. 494) was chartered in 1898.

John Azariah Graves was a Yanceyville lawyer, became a Confederate lieutenant colonel, and died at Johnson's Island Prison.

If one assumes (of course without any basis therefor) that the image dates from before the war, Graves would have been no older than around 38-40. Remove the moustache, and the image seems that of a reasonably young man, and certainly could be John Azariah Graves.

It is believed that John Azariah Graves at one time had his law office in the Graves-Florance-Gatewood House.

He married Catherine M. Dodson as her second husband, and they had two known children. John Azariah Graves is buried at the First Baptist Church of Yanceyville. His gravestone has the following inscription:

"My Brother; John A. Graves; Born Nove. 18, 1822;
Died at Johnson's Island; March 2, 1864"

One daughter, Mary John Graves (1849-1925), married DeBerniere Yancey Mebane (son of Giles Mebane and Catherine Yancey). Their descendants include many well-known Alamance and Caswell families.