"A History of Henry County, Virginia"

by J. P. A. Hill

Originally Published: Martinsville, Virginia, 1925

Reprinted with a New Guide to Contents Regional Publishing Company, Baltimore, 1976

Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number: 75-34716

International Standard Book Number: 0-8063-8006-3

Reprinted from a volume in North Carolina State Library, Raleigh, North Carolina

Copyright (c) 1976, Regional Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland, All rights reserved




 * Gravely Family History; Pp. 169 - 173.










"Joseph Gravely, the ancestor of the Henry county family, was born in England in 1744. He and his two brothers came to America when quite young. He settled in the county prior to the Revolutionary War, and here he lived till his death at a ripe old age of one hundred years. He belonged to the 'Landed Gentry' in early life, and continued a farmer after coming to this country. He left quite a large estate. On this he had built the first brick chimney in this section, and it attracted visitors from miles around.


"He was a noted patriot that gave both of his time and means to help establish American Independence. In the list of Henry county soldiers, his name appears in that gallant body of men from this section of the State assisting Gen. Greene at Guilford Court House. His descendants have inherited the qualities of the soldier, and have proven worthy of bearing his name in every conflict to the present time.


"He married Eleanor, the daughter of Capt. Francis Cox, Sept. 1, 1775. Of this marriage there were: Jabez, Frank, Joseph, Jefferson, Eleanor, George, Edmund, Polly, Lewis, Peyton, and Willis.








"Jabez Gravely married Judith Wells.  Issue: John W., who married Frances Marshall; Joseph married Eliza Dickerson; Judith married Ephraim Riddle; Eleanor married William Moore; Jabez Leftwich married Miss Hankins; Francis Cox married Sallie A Holman; Benjamin Franklin married Julia C. Thomas.


"Frank Gravely, the second son, was a soldier in the War of 1812, and died near Norfolk.


"Joseph Jefferson Gravely married Miss King. No issue.


"Eleanor Gravely married Maj. Arnold Walker. Issue: Logan, the father of Maj. J. A. Walker, and Betsy who married a Philpott, the father of Ben.


"George Gravely was born in 1788, married Mary Hughes. Issue: Letitia, born in 1826, and married George D. Gravely; Mary, who married Dr. Henry D. Peters, of Leatherwood. Issue: Judge George D. Peters of Franklin Co., Robert, Mrs. Alice P. Lavinder, and Hon H. G. Peters, of Bristol, Va., formerly representative from Henry county; Nancy who married William Dickerson in 1847; Eleanor never married; Lilian, and May Bud, children by second wife, Elizabeth Jones, died unmarried.


"Edmund Gravely, the twin brother of George, was born in 1788, and married Susan Robinson who was born in 1800. Issue: Mary Jane who married Elijah Richardson; Joe Morton never married; Eliza married Joseph Richardson; George, and William, neither married; Jabe married Anna Towler; Susan married John Belcher; Judith Elizabeth Gravely, the youngest child of Edmund, was born in 1844, married Capt. John Cox, of the Virginia militia, and only one child, Joanna, was the issue. The latter married Gustave A. Giles, died, and left the following issue:


"Emma who married Henry Clay Eanes; Harry who married Fairy Law; Susan married Dr. F. Paul Turner, a denist of Martinsville, Va; Elizabeth married William J. Childress; Richard married Woody Ramsey; Ruth married Alcin Fisher, of Montana; George, and Edmund, unmarried.


"Polly Gravely, another daughter of Joseph Sr., married Ben Dyer. For issue see Dyer family.


"Lewis Gravely was born about 1795, and in 1822, or 3, married Martha Dyer. Their children were: Spottswood, who married Alice Williams; Joseph Jackson Gravely, born about 1832, married Martha Marshall, a daughter of Dennis Marshall. He was elected to the legislature of Virginia over Geo. Rusty Hairston, later moved to Mo. before the Civil War, being a captain in the Union Army, elected member of Congress from that State, and also Lieutenant-Governor. His children were: Benjamin, died in infancy, Nannie, Jackson, Joseph W., Pattie, Ella, Minnie and Lutie.


"Lewis Gravely Jr., was born about 1830, moved to Mo. before the Civil War, married Sarah Sherrill. Issue: Eugenie Gravely, of Oklahoma; Eleanor married Mr. Donegan; Rachael married a Cheatham, he died, and she next married J. F. Pedigo. Issue: Edd Pedigo. Martha was the first wife of J. F. Pedigo. Issue: Dr. Lewis G. Pedigo a distinguished physician of Roanoke, Va.; Emma Pedigo, who married C. B. Gravely; Mary married Patrick Martin; Frank married Sallie Hughes Dillard; Thomas married Georgia Stultz, George D. married his cousin, Letitia Gravely.


"Peyton Gravely was married about 1830 to Matilda Thomas, a sister of C. Y. Thomas. He was a member of the Virginia legisture when the Ordinance of Secession was passed. He was a great tobacco manufacturer. He and his brother Willis made famous the Gravely plug tobacco which they produced at their Leatherwood factory.


"Willis Gravely, the youngest son of Joseph Sr., married a second time, Anne Nancy Marshall Barrow, daughter of William Barrow and Susan Marshall, who was a grandaughter of Col. Thomas Marshall of historic fame. Issue: Susan Ellen married Abner McCabe; Peyton B. married Mary Walters; William Armistead married Sarah Morrison, Julia Cassandra died in infancy, infant boy died young and Francis Marshall, never married; Joseph Henry married Francis McCabe, and next Eliza Griggs, and last married Miss Henick; Mary Elizabeth married Dr. William Allen Holman; Chester Bullard married Emma Eugenia Pedigo; Willis Lewis married 1st, Berta Treadway, 2nd, Mrs. Mattie Smith Ivy; Martha Annie married Royall Washington Morrison, Edward Bonner, and sister Matilda Jane, never married.








"Of Willis Gravely's children we record as follows:


"Capt. Peyton B. Gravely enlisted in the Confederate Army in the Danville Artillery April 9, 1861, and later became Capt. of the Company F., 42 Regiment, and served through the War.


"Joseph H. H. Gravely enlisted in the same regiment a month later than his brother, became orderly sergeant, and was a good soldier, in many battles.


"Marshall Francis Gravely was a member of the Danville Grays, entered the army in 1862, and was in the first battle of Manassas. He died in the service.


"William Armistead Gravely entered the Southern Army in 1862 from Henry county, was in the 24th, Regiment of volunteers, and died in the cause.


"Chester Bullard Gravely was in the 10th, Virginia Cavalry, went in before he was of legal age, and served till the Surrender.


"Admiral Silas Wright Terry, the well known Navy fighter, was a great-grandson of Joseph Gravely.






"Of the descendants of Lewis Gravely we note as follows:


"George D. Gravely, the oldest, was born in 1823, married Letitia Gravely in 1853, and their children reaching maturity were: Mary Hughes, George L., William H., and Albert S. He was a lawyer of wonderful natural capacity, and noted for his candor and fine judgement. He did not favor Secession, but was loyal to his state, and hoped always that the Union might be preserved. He was one of the real builders of Martinsville and lived to see it one of the most substantial Southside towns in the State. He was clerk of the Court of Henry county for two terms, and filled other positions of honor and trust. The county has produced a more brilliant type, but never a more substantial citizen, on whom every one depended knowing that they would never be deceived. He died in 1904. Of his children were reared: Mary Hughes Gravely is unmarried; George L. Gravely, a lawyer, married Minnie Walker Gregory; Hon. William H. Gravely married Caroline F. Ansen; Albert S. Gravely, editor of the Henry Bulletin, married Alice Kennon Williams, the daughter of H. S. Williams and Susan Withers who was a daughter of United States Senator, R. E. Withers, of Virginia.






"The Gravely Coat of Arms is found in the British Museum, and in the possession of the Virginia Gravelys which is: "A.M.:  Sable, A Cross pointed argent, In the dexter Chief point a mullet of the last, meaning a black shield with a silver cross and a silver spur.


"MOTTO:  'Mihi Solicitudo Futuri' ''