Contributed by Judith Graves. 2018

Alexander and Ann Graves, my Great, Great Grandparents:

Alexander and Ann Graves arrived in Phillips County in 1840. Alexander was born in Granville County, NC 6 July, 1800. He is a lineal descendant of Capt. Thomas Graves (Graves Family Assn. Gen 169) one of the first settlers of Jamestown, VA. and the first person named Graves in the "new world".

Alexander was the son of William Graves b 10 Oct., 1762 NC and Nancy Ann Neal b 15 Mar., 1766 NC. William and Nancy Ann had nine children, 6 males and 3 females. One of Alexander's nephews, Joseph Travis Graves would eventually be the second husband of Alexander's daughter Margaret Ann.

Alexander's wife Ann's maiden name was Graves. She is part of another Graves family. She was born in Henry County, VA on 21 January 1804. This information has been taken from Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Phillips County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.

The 1850 Census for Spring Creek, Phillips Co., AR shows Alexander and Ann with six children. Mary E. 21, Nathan 17, Amanda 16, Luiza 12, Margaret 8 and Susan 6. My research shows children's names as: Mary Elizabeth b 15 Oct., 1830 TN, Nathaniel Lee b 16 Nov., 1833 TN, Amanda E. b 26 Dec., 1835 TN, Louisa Frances b 29 Aug., 1840 MS, Margaret Ann b 20 Jan., 1842 MS, and Susan Katharine b 4 Jan., 1844 TN.

Graves Family Assn. shows two other children:

Nothing more is known about them. At the time Alexander moved to Phillips County, these male children would have been about 13 and 12 respectively but were not shown on the 1850 census.

Phillips County Historical Quarterly, Vol 34 No. 3/4 states that "Alexander's daughter, Sue, married Bart Green, Sr." but 1) I found no record of that marriage 2) records do show she died in 1862 so she was only 18 when she died.

Much of the following information has been taken from Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Phillips County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.

Nathaniel Lee and Mary Elizabeth Graves, my Great Grandparents

Nathaniel Lee Graves b 16 Nov., 1833. He had married Mary Elizabeth Boone about March, 1869. Her Father, O. C. Boone, was a lineal descendant of Daniel Boone. O. C. Boone's other daughter, Alice Boone, married Thompson L. Jones, son of Judge John T. Jones. All are buried at Maple Hill Cemetery. Mary Elizabeth died in 1876. She must have been called "Mollie" since that is the name on the headstone. The headstone is at the edge of a pasture in Lexa, Arkansas, on property originally owned by N. L. Graves. Nathaniel then married Florence L. Carson 1 Apr., 1878.

Nathaniel Lee and Mary Elizabeth had two sons.

When Alexander and Ann died Nathaniel Lee took over the family plantation. The article said Mr. Graves owned "a fine farm" of 2,560 acres 13 miles west of Helena. He had 70 head of horses, 125 head of cattle and 300 sheep. There were also 58 families of laborers living and working on the plantation. He also owned and operated his own cotton gin.

Excerpt from The Arkansas Encyclopedia of History & Culture:
Lexa is a town in northern Phillips County, about halfway between Helena-West Helena (Phillips County) and Marianna (Lee County). Created as a result of the railroad, Lexa grew rapidly in the twentieth century before dwindling again around the onset of the Great Depression.

The town of Lexa is surrounded by rich farmland, regularly supplied with new soil from the overflow of the Mississippi River. Plantations were established at the site of Lexa before the Civil War, one by Charles Royal Coolidge and another by John T. Jones, who was also a circuit court judge.

Additional land near the plantations belonged to Nathaniel Lexington Graves, who gave a right-of-way to the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad in 1880. A post office was established on Graves’s property in 1880, to which he gave the name Lexington. In 1885, the name was shortened to Lexa.

As you see in the Goodspeed excerpt, Nathaniel's middle name was not Lexington. It was Lee or L. Since we will never know for sure, I would imagine that he named Lexa "Lexington" for his son. Most record searches show him as Lexa W. Graves. His grave marker shows Lex W and marriage license shows him as Lexa W. Graves.

Alexander married Julia Williams. The 1900 census shows four children. They lived in Spring Creek Township. Alexander died 3 Mar., 1929 and Julia died 26 Nov., 1940. They are both buried in Maple Hill along with their daughter, Louise Graves Allen and their Grandchild, Julia Louise Allen. Both Mother and child died in February, 1916.

Nathaniel Jones and Carrie Mae Hanly Graves, my Grandparents

Nathaniel Jones married 24 Apr., 1901 Carrie Mae Hanly b 14 Feb.,1879. She was the Granddaughter of Thomas B. Hanley and Caroline Phillips. Her parents were Robert Montgomery Hanley and Madora Williford. All were residents of Phillips County.

Nathaniel Jones Graves evidently inherited all of what was left of Nathaniel Lee's property upon his death in 1902. Since I know three of his sons continued farming property in Phillips County, they must have inherited it from their Father upon his death.

Nathaniel died 17 Sept., 1935. Carrie Mae died 17 Apr., 1956. Both are buried at Maple Hill in a large plot with the John T. Jones family.

Nathaniel and Carrie Mae had seven children:

To say the least, doing research on one's family is quite an eye opener!

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