THOMAS GRAVES was from Gravesend, Kent, England, born there before 1585. He and his family emigrated to America in 1629 with Gov. Endicott's Company, on the George Bonaventure, which arrived at Salem, Essex, MA. He was a member of the Council of the committee to lay out the town of Woburn, MA, and one of the first town officers there.
He and his wife, SARAH WHITING, settled in New Haven, New Haven, CT, and from there they removed to Hartford, Hartford, CT. THOMAS owned three separate pieces of real estate in Hartford, one described as being the one "whereon his house standeth". Isaac also took up his residence in Hartford, and had land there. John took up residence in adjoining Wethersfield. Nathaniel also settled in Wethersfield, where he married in 1655.
The family at Hartford and Wethersfield occupied a prominent postition and took an active part in political and religious matters. They served on juries, acted as surveyors and fence viewers, ran boundary lines between towns, and generally filled those places that stalwart, intelligent and respected citizens usually are called upon to fill. The exception was that THOMAS was exempt from "training, watching and warding" because he was over sixty, which was the age limit for that kind of service.
The family remained together as far as it is known until the removal to Hatfield, Hampshire, MA. Son, Samuel never married, and probably did not live to accompany the rest to Hatfield. Nathaniel did not move to Hatfield either, as his wife's family had substantial land interests in Wethersfield. The family was prospering in Hartford, so there must have been strong reason that induced them to give up their land and house and enter upon a new life in an undeveloped area, and suffer the hardships that accompany such a venture. It was the strong religious convictions that impelled so many early settlers in this country.
A schism had arisen in the Church at Hartford and Wethersfield, and the dissenters from the views held by the majority decided to break away and found a new settlement where their views would prevail. They left in September 1661, with their household effects loaded on carts drawn by oxen, and they took with them their domestic animals. The journey was not over fifty miles, and took about ten days. Creeks and brooks had to be crossed, and swamps and morasses had to be avoided. They reached their destination in October.
These new settlers of Hatfield were exposed to all the dangers incident to frontier life, amid the habitations of wild animals, and even wilder, the Indians who lived in their own villages just a few miles away. Foremost among these hardy emigrants were THOMAS GRAVES, his aged wife SARAH, and two sons, Isaac and JOHN, and the wife and children of each son. Newly arrived, they were without a house and winter was approaching rapidly. They at once set to work to provide homes for their families and barns for their animals. There were no saw mills, so all the planks and logs had to be sawn by hand. To saw the planks they made a pit. With a cross-cut saw, and one man in the pit and one on top, with much toil they made a few boards that would serve as tables and doors.
THOMAS, now past his 76th birthday, remained with SARAH, in Isaac's family until his death in November,
1662. Isaac administered his estate in Massachusetts, while Nathaniel performed the same service in
Connecticut. SARAH survived him by four years and died Dec. 17, 1666. Isaac administered her estate.
Views of the house of Isaac and John are represented in the 1896 book by John Card Graves.
wife Mary Church
wife MARY SMITH
wife Mary Bronson
husband Moses Ventrous
wife Martha Betts