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Born (1605-S2)(1619) in England; son of John GRAVES [F14472].

John Graves (1) was born in England about 1605. It is claimed that he was christened in the Parish of Beeley in Derbyshire, and that he died in 1704 in CT; however, the evidence for both these claims is unknown or nonexistent and therefore the claims are suspect.

John Graves came to America with his wife in 1635 and settled in Concord, MA. He belonged to the church where Rev. Peter Bulkeley (sometimes spelled Bulkley) was a teacher. He was one of the signers of the petition to the General Court of Massachusetts in 1643 in favor of Ambrose Martin, and in 1644 his name was attached to a document pledging its signers, which included nearly every head of a family in Concord, to the support of the government.

It has also been said that he was master of the "Tryall”, the first ship built in America, in 1648; however, that is not correct. It was Thomas Graves of Charlestown, MA, later Rear Admiral, who was master of the Tryall.

It has been that John Graves’ wife was named Joan. Another gives her name as Joan/Ann Bird, and that her father was George Bird. These statements need to be verified.

It was stated by genealogist John Card Graves, a descendant of John Graves of Concord, that John Graves was a brother of Deacon George Graves of Hartford, CT, and that their sister Sarah married Richard Lord of New London, CT. They were related to widow Ann Graves of Great Minores St., St. Botolph Parish, Aldgate (or Olgate), London, England, who by will proven 20 March 1676 gave annuities to the children of Deacon George in case of failure of issue to her grandson Joseph Hardey.

However, there is no known evidence that John Graves of Concord was a brother of Deacon George Graves. Although it was cited as "part of the proof", the only "proof" as far as this author knows is a letter dated 27 Feb. 1675 from an aunt, Anna Graves of London, to John Graves of Guilford, CT. She wrote that she was 92 at that time and her only daughter had died Nov. 1674. Based on the present evidence, it seems likely that Anna Graves was a sister-in-law of Deacon George Graves. There is also the possibility that Anna and Ann Graves were the same person. Research needs to be done in London records to further establish the facts.

The reason this letter was cited as proof is that the date was misread as 1645. The letter is actually written to John Graves, son of Deacon George Graves, and not to John Graves of Concord. To establish this, the author examined a photocopy of the actual letter and saw the envelope which is addressed to John Graves of Guilford, CT, and not John of Concord. The brother George mentioned in the letter is not the immigrant Deacon George Graves, but the son of George. This letter and several others were stored in a bank vault in Madison, CT in 1990, and copies were in the possession of members of "The Deacon John Graves Foundation, Inc." located in Madison. The text of the letter is as follows:

"London, Febr'y the 27, 1675 Couzen John Graves in New England

My kind love to your wife and children. Hoping yt these few lines will find you well as I pray ye Lord left me, in considering my age. Couzen having an oportunity of sending caused me to write this being the sixth letter to you since I received yours yt some of those may come safe to yr hand and to inform you yt hath pleased God to take away from me unto himself my deare and only daughter which is a great greafe and heavy burden to me in my great age (93) but considering whither she has gone I am satisfied. She departed this life ye 21st day of ye last November 1674. She had a great desire to hear from you before she died and if she had she would a remembered you at her death. And now couzen I am of great age and cannot expect to live long but have made my will and have left £50 among you as a token of my remembrance after I am dead. I have left £10 to yrself, £10 to yr brother George and yr sister £10 which is £30. The £20 remainder for yr children. If it shd please ye Lord to take me out of this world before ye letter comes I have left to good bondsmen over here in trust my will.

Ye one is Mr. William Griffing, a Merchant in Austin St. and ye other is Mr. James Arbell at ye White Anchor in ye little Minery. So I close commiting you to the protection of ye almighty God who never forsakes any yt wholey put their trust in him.

Your loving Aunt till death.
Anna Graves"

It is possible that John Graves was from Kent, England, since many of the early settlers of Concord were. However, according to Concord, Climate for Freedom, by Ruth B. Wheeler, the places in England from which they came were widely scattered. Hartwell, Bulkeley, and Wheeler were from Bedfordshire; Willard, Stow and Hosmer from Kent; Flint and Wood from Derbyshire; Hunt and Heaward from Yorkshire; and Heald from Northumberland. William Butrick came from Surrey; Edward Wright from Stafford; and Thomas Brown from Lavenham, Sussex.

Concord was the first town carved out of the wilderness. Every other town in America had been close to the ocean or a tidal river, where goods could be transported by boat and natural features would mark the bounds with a minimum of exploration.

There was a constant shift in the population of Concord as newly-arrived immigrants came, stayed a while, then went to Connecticut or returned to the coastal towns, where those with a trade but no knowledge of farming could hope to make a living. Almost every deed to land in Concord listed the buyer as yeoman, except for the few gentlemen, whereas in coastal towns like Charlestown the identifying word would be that of a trade: glover, tanner, brickmaker, mason, etc.

In 1644 there was a split in the church at Concord. John Jones (the other minister in addition to Peter Bulkeley) took his family and 15 Concord men to Fairfield, CT, on Long Island Sound.

The early records of Concord (including land transactions) were largely lost. The town voted in 1664 to order a new leather-bound book and that “... what is useful in the old book be transcribed in the new.” Unfortunately, only a few items were considered worthy.

It is also said that he moved to Connecticut where he died in 1704. This is apparently in error.
He died in 1715 in Massachusetts or 19 SEP 1677 at Hatfield, Hampshire County, Massachusetts.

Possibly Joan or Ann BIRD.

CHILDREN of John GRAVES [F7236]:
  1. [F3618]. Benjamin GRAVES. Born on 3 March 1645. He married Mary HOAR [F3619] on 21 OCT 1668. He died before 23 March 1724.
  2. John GRAVES. Born in 1647 in Concord, Massachusetts. He married Mary Chamberlain, daughter of Thomas or Richard Chamberlain and Sarah Bugbee on 1 Dec. 1671. She was born 30 Jan. 1649. After the birth of their first child, the family moved from Concord to Sudbury, Massachusetts.
  3. Sarah GRAVES. Born about 1650 in Concord, Massachusetts. She married Joseph Brabrook on 23 April 1672 in Concord, Massachusetts. She died on 6 SEP 1694.
  4. Abraham GRAVES. He married Ann HAYWARD.