It has been a year or more since I posted much on this Forum hoping that a then newly created website: http://www.myfamily.com/group/87795589/ focused on a common ancestor, Gilbert Seagraves (1797-1887) would generate interest and renewed research on him and his family. To date we have been able to accumulate information on over 850 of his descendants and learn a bit about his life.
My purpose here is to post what we do know about him and ask for help in finding out more. We have been attempting to find clues about Gilbert and other Seagraves in the dark of western NC's early years where he lived until about 1840. He seems to have been a bit of a character so I hope someone has found records of pieces of his life in NC so we can place him in the right family.
Essentially all members of the Seagraves family [any spelling variation] in America descend from one of three branches begun by early colonists: 1. The NORTH CAROLINA BRANCH, 2. The MASSACHUSETTS BRANCH, and 3. The NEW JERSEY BRANCH. Each branch produced a significant line of descendants, some well documented. The Massachusetts Branch was chronicled in “The Genealogy of the Seagrave Family from 1725-1881” by Daniel Seagrave, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1881. The New Jersey Branch is covered by the first and second editions of “Genealogy of Seagraves Sampson and Kindred Lines” by Faye S. Seagraves, Coeur D’ Alene, Idaho, 1969 & 1983.
Likewise, The North Carolina Branch has had excellent published research for specific portions of that branch. The most significant being: 1. “The Reverend William Segraves and his Descendants” by Savannah Segraves Day, Blacksburg, Virginia, 1989; Reverend William lived in Wilkes County, North Carolina; 2. “Segraves/Seagraves; and Related Families of Northeast Georgia” by Myra C. Manley Watkins, privately published, 1993 tracing William Isaac “Buck” Segraves and his descendants from North Carolina to Madison County, Georgia by about 1820; and 3. “Descendants of Sherrod Segraves (1808-1893)” by Johnny D. Walker, privately published, Paris, Tennessee, 1983 detailing the descendants of Sherrod Seagraves of Wake and Wilkes counties, North Carolina. We are trying to add one more family study to the North Carolina Branch - the Gilbert Seagraves Family.
Each of these North Carolina Seagraves Families is almost certainly [but not proven to be] descended from Francis and Lucretia Segraves of Isle of Wight County, Virginia. Francis and Lucretia and their family first appear in the records of Isle of Wight County, Virginia in 1694, and then they moved into northeastern North Carolina in 1696 where they lived for some years before returning to Virginia. Francis died in Isle of Wight County probably in late 1726 and left a recorded will dated 9 October 1725. However, despite this and other bits of early documentation, serious researchers have found it impossible to accurately document the connection between Francis and those Seagraves born in the early 19th Century in Virginia and North Carolina. As a result studies such as ours are forced to take the earliest known ancestor in a family line, typically from the early 19th Century and trace that ancestor’s descendants though the generations and migrations that followed. No one as yet has published any credible analysis of the descendants of Francis and Lucretia that cites confirmed sources.
Starting with Francis & Lucretia Segraves we have tried to follow each of their male descendant's lines (Thomas, Francis, & William), plus John, the bastard son of daughter, Susannah. But the lack of good records except for William and John, who seem to have settled in North Carolina but left only a sketchy trail of records, has not made this approach fruitful.
Below I have posted a list of all Seagraves entries that I have found in the early NC and VA records to try to help find patterns and sort out the various players by name, age, and location. Somewhere on that list is Gilbert’s father. I think that approach can help in combination with other data but the list is currently too short. More research in that area can only help.
I think we have tried to find every record that mentions Gilbry/Gilbra/Gilbert/etc. and have a pretty good understanding of his life except his early years. The censuses say he was born in NC (only his son, John Henderson Seegraves' self-written biography in the 1889 Goodspeed History of NE Arkansas says Gilbert was born in VA). The censuses are generally consistent that he was born about 1800- except the 1850 census which shows 1797. John Henderson said that Gilbert married Sarah Wilson in Ashe Co., NC, but no record of that survives; besides John was wrong about several other details. They must have married (if they actually did) about 1815/1816 since child #1, William, was born in 1817. Gilbert must have been in or close to Wake Co., NC in 1820, at least long enough to have fathered Charlotte Hamilton's bastard child (born in May 1821), but even though he was a husband with three children in 1820: William (1817), Martha (1818), & Lewis L. (10 Dec 1819), he does not appear on the census. True, the 1820 census for Wake is lost, but the 1820 Tax List for Wake exists but does not show him (he might have been residing with his father's family or another, the Hamiltons?). Between 1821 and 1822 a Wake County Court dealing with the bastardy case determined that he was a resident of Anson Co., NC. In 1830 and 1840 he was recorded on the censuses in Surry Co., NC in spite of John Henderson's claim that Gilbert immigrated to Macon Co., TN in 1839. A set of Ashe Co. land transactions confirms he was a resident of Surry through the late 1820s and middle 1830s. We know his son, William, preceded him to the area that became Macon Co. in about 1835/36 when he married there. Much of the rest of Gilbert’s life story is well known through his move to Clay Co., Arkansas in about 1874 to his death there on 27 May 1887, but the early years (outlined above) are murky at best.
No one has offered any proof of who Gilbert’s parents were. Savannah Segraves Day speculated in her book that Gilbert may have been a brother to Melinda Segraves the single mother of the Reverend William Segraves, born 15 May 1819 in Wilkes Co., NC and died there 5 Jul 1899. Other speculations place him as a son of William Segraves, born about 1760, and Polly who are on the 1790 census in Hillsborough District, Wake Co., NC, but, while feasible, it has not yet been substantiated with proof.
Anyone with notes on early records that can help us place him would be very much appreciated.
NAME DOB POB FATHER COMMENTS
Francis ~1685 VA Francis Based on travel writ in “NC Colonial Records” Vol I
William ~1698 VA Francis Based on will of Francis Segrave, eldest son
John, Sr. 1738 NC From “DAR Patriot Index”
Samuel 1745 VA William From “Botetourt Co., VA Early Settlers to 1795”
William 1740 VA William Lived in Botetourt Co., VA
Jacob 1753 NC “DAR Patriot Index” & “Rev War Soldiers Buried in Clinton Co., IL”
John 1761 NC Based on pension application
John, Jr. 1765 NC John, Sr.On 1850 census in Wake Co., NC as 85, born in NC
Stephen 1765 NC Based on average age on 1800 census for Wake Co., NC
Randolph 1770 NC Based on “Abstracts of Vital Records from Raleigh Newspapers 1799-1819”
Joseph 1774 VA Based on letter from Mary Ann Seagraves, 8 Aug 1997
William 1776 NC John, Sr.On 1850 census in Montgomery Co., NC as 74, born in NC
Kinchen 1776 NC On 1850 census in Lawrence Co., TN as 74, born in NC
Solomon 1776 NC From tombstone in Chambers Co., AL
William 1780 NC On 1850 census in Madison Co., GA as 70, born in NC
Thomas 1782 VA On Register of Enlistments in the US Army, 1798-1914
Britain 1783 NC On 1850 census in Bledsoe Co., TN as 67, born in NC
Isaac 1785 NC Jacob On 1850 census in Lincoln Co., TN as 65, born in NC
John 1785 NC Estimated based on marriage to Polly Barker in 1810
Wilbur 1787 NC On 1850 census in Weakly Co., TN as 63, born in NC
William 1787 NC Based on Forum posting by Eugenie Balentine in 1999
Vincent 1788 NC Jacob “Maury Co, TN Wills & Settlements 1807-1824”
Jonathan 1790 VA On 1850 census in Allen Co., KY as 60, born in VA
Isaac 1793 NC On 1850 census in Greene Co., AR as 57, born in NC
Charles 1794 NC On 1850 census in Chatham Co., NC as 56, born in NC
Stephen 1794 NC William 1999 Seagraves Forum posting by Eugenie Balentine
Isham 1795 NC William 1999 Seagraves Forum posting by Eugenie Balentine
Gilbert 1797 NC On 1850 census in Macon Co, TN as 53, born in NC
John 1798 NC William 1999 Seagraves Forum posting by Eugenie Balentine
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