Caswell County Genealogy
 

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Lea, Anne Wright

Lea, Anne Wright

Female 1841 - 1940  (98 years)

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  • Name Lea, Anne Wright  [1
    Birth 1 Nov 1841  Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Reference Number 2282 
    Death 15 Oct 1940  Delila, Halifax County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Burial First Baptist Church of Yanceyville, Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I2253  Caswell County
    Last Modified 16 Apr 2024 

    Father Lea, Thomas L.,   b. Abt 1806, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 1867 (Age ~ 61 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Wright, Ann Blount,   b. Abt 1815, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 1874 (Age ~ 59 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Marriage 16 Apr 1833  Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Reference Number 18674 
    Notes 
    • North Carolina Marriage Bonds
      Name: Ann B Wright
      Gender: Female
      Spouse: Thomas L Lea
      Spouse Gender: Male
      Bond date: 16 Apr 1833
      Bond #: 000016499
      Level Info: North Carolina Marriage Bonds, 1741-1868
      ImageNum: 008926
      County: Caswell
      Record #: 01 172
      Bondsman: Willia Lea
      Witness: Paul A Haralson
      Household Members
      Name Age
      Thomas L Lea
      Ann B Wright
    Family ID F1231  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Graves, Captain William Griffin,   b. 6 May 1838   d. 7 Nov 1927, Halifax County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 89 years) 
    Marriage 11 Dec 1865  Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Reference Number 18580 
    Notes 
    • Source: Heritage of Caswell County at 354 (Article No. 441). The marriage was performed by the Reverend Solomon Lea.

      North Carolina Marriage Records
      Name: Anna R. Lea
      Gender: Female
      Spouse: William Graves
      Spouse Gender: Male
      Marriage Date: 11 Dec 1865
      Marriage County: Caswell
      Marriage State: North Carolina
    Children 
    +1. Graves, Betty Lea,   b. 1 Oct 1866, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 2 Jan 1956 (Age 89 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     2. Graves, Graham,   b. Abt 1869, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 22 Dec 1893, Danville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location (Age ~ 24 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    +3. Graves, Ann Wright,   b. 1872   d. 1963 (Age 91 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     4. Graves, Mary Eliza,   b. 27 Apr 1873, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 3 Nov 1968, South Boston, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 95 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    +5. Graves, Felix Williamson,   b. 5 Jan 1879, Hamer, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 21 Jan 1965 (Age 86 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     6. Graves, Rufus Y.,   b. 7 Jul 1880   d. 10 Jul 1880 (Age 0 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     7. Graves, Irene Yancey,   b. 1882, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. Mar 1972 (Age 90 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     8. Graves, Nannie Thomas,   b. 1884, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     9. Graves, W. Pinckney,   b. Jan 1884, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    +10. Graves, Tallulah,   b. 22 Aug 1886   d. 17 Mar 1971 (Age 84 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    Family ID F1230  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 16 Apr 2024 

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 1 Nov 1841 - Caswell County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - 11 Dec 1865 - Caswell County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBurial - - First Baptist Church of Yanceyville, Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Anne Wright Lea Graves
    Anne Lea Graves Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, VA), 29 December 1940

    Documents
    Graves Pension Application
    Graves Pension Application

    Headstones
    Anne Wright Lea Grave Marker First Baptist Church of Yanceyville
    Anne Wright Lea Grave Marker First Baptist Church of Yanceyville

    Newspapers
    Ann of the Ku Klux Klan. Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, VA), 29 December 1940
    Ann of the Ku Klux Klan. Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, VA), 29 December 1940

  • Notes 
    • Anne Wright Lea (1841-1940)

      annwrightleagsrs

      Capt. William Griffin Graves and Anne Lea Graves

      William Griffin Graves Pension Application

      (click on photograph for larger image)
      _______________

      Note that her name is spelled Anne on her grave marker. Also note that her death day is a bit uncertain due to the erosion of the gravestone. It could be 15 October or 18 October. Family records use 15 October, and that is the date shown here. Name also seen as Ann Wright Lea and Rebecca Anne Lea.
      _______________

      The only daughter in a family of eleven children. Ann Wright Lea married William Griffin (Billy Griffin) Graves, and they lived just west of Leahurst and west of Route 62 near Rattlesnake Creek. The home had been built about 1840 by General William Lea an Uncle of William Griffin Graves. In the 1850 US Census the nephew was residing with his aunt and uncle who had no children. After the death of William Griffin Graves the home was sold to Thomas Jones. Ann Graves lastly resided with her daughter Irene Brandon at "Brandon on the Dan." Ann was an accomplished pianist and her piano solos were a delight to visitors. She is believed to have been the only female member of the Caswell County Ku Klux Klan, which her brother John G. Lea headed.

      References

      Ann of the Ku Klux Klan by Thomas Henderson.

      The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 354 (Article #441 "Thomas L. Lea" by Katharine Kerr Kendall).
      _______________

      The owners of the homes in which Thomas Day's architectural woodwork is found constituted some of the wealthiest and most powerful individuals in the Dan River region: physician John Tab Garland, M.D., at one time the richest man in Caswell County (1850s and 1860s); banker and civic leader Thomas Donoho Johnston; machine shop, foundry, and sawmill owner Caleb Richmond; state senator James Kerr; merchant and tobacco factory owner John Wilson; planters William Long (also the owner of a sawmill and gristmill), Sidney Lea, George Williamson, Haywood Williams, Thomas Mumford McGehee, and William H. Holderness.

      Family relationships among the planters enhanced the demand for Thomas-Day-made architectural trimwork. Thomas Donoho Johnston built Clarendon Hall in 1842 and tapped Day to embellish the interior; when his sister and brother-in-law, Sarah and William Long, built the Long House in 1856, they, too, turned to Day. Day provided the architectural woodwork for the house of Captain Carter Powell around 1848 and that of his son Henry Alexander Powell less than a decade later. Thomas L. Lea and his siblings Sidney S. Lea and Rebecca Lea (Mrs. George Williamson), his niece Elizabeth Lea (Mrs. Calvin Graves), and his daughter Ann Lea (Mrs. William Griffin Graves) provided Day the opportunity to do the woodwork on a law office and four of their five houses between 1840 and 1850.

      The woodwork suggests the Carter Powell house was built around 1848 rather than the more often cited 1850. Day's machine-cut newels with tendrils date Henry Powell's house to 1853-1855. Day's work for Elizabeth Lea and Calvin Graves was not on their house, as it was built several years earlier, but on Calvin's law office, for which Day supplied the mantel. For a discussion of this family, see Whitlow, "Thomas L. Lea," in Heritage of Caswell County, 354.

      Source: Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color, Patricia Phillips Marshall and Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll (2010) at 134-135 and 246 (footnote 10).
      _______________

      "Ann of the Ku Klux Klan" Held the Secret of the Yanceyville Incident Even to Death"

      By Elizabeth L. Farmer

      When several years ago, the magazine section of a newspaper carried these headlines: "Danville Man, 91, May Be Last Survivor of Reconstruction Epic," an aged lady of Halifax County, living peacefully at her countryside home, knew that he was not the last survivor, but kept her story -- a story in which she was the real "Ann of the Ku Klux Klan," as she was once called.

      Just 15 days before November 1, which would have been her 100th birthday, Mrs. Ann Lea Graves of Brandon-On-Dan, went quietly into her last sleep. She had outlived the "Danville Man, 91" who was her own brother, Captain John G. Lea, but she had no desire to share in the glamor which surrounded him as organizer and leader of the Klan.

      It was true that she had made the hooded white robes that covered the forms of the Klansmen on a certain dark night, when oaths were sealed with a fiery cross, burning late before a morning when tragedy walked the streets of Yanceyville and demanded the life of John Walter Stephens, viewed a public enemy and so-called spy in the service of Governor Holden. As a close companion of her brothers, who were members of the Klan, Ann Lea shared the secrets unrevealed to others and is said to have known who killed Stephens when all others were guessing. Whatever she knew was guarded closely for three-quarters of a century.

      Only Girl in Family of Nine

      Mrs. Graves, who was 20 years old when the War Between the States began, grew to womanhood at Leahurst, the family estate near Leasburg in Caswell County, N. C. She was the only girl in a family of eight boys, four of whom were in the Confederate Army, two having the rank of captain. They were Captain John G. Lea, Captain Thomas Lea, Dr. Calvin Lea and Sid, Nat, Billie and George Lea, four of the boys having been too young to enlist in the Confederate service.

      Shortly after the war ended Ann Lea married Captain William Griffin Graves, an officer in the Confederate Army who died a few years ago in his ninety-second year. When Caswell County was declared by Governor Holden to be in a state of insurrection, after that memorable date, May 21, 1897, 100 Democrats were arrested and imprisoned for a week in Yanceyville courthouse and finally removed to Raleigh for trial. Among these were he husband and brother, Captain Graves and Captain John Lea. Ann Lea Graves, then a young mother with babies, was left at Leahurst without protection save that of two faithful servants, Jeff McGhee and his wife, Liney. The two are said to have slept at night outside the young mother's door with an ax beside them. With that same ax Jeff quelled an uprising of the Negroes about to make a raid on the smokehouse. But Jeff brandishing aloft his ax, left no uncertainty of his threat to "kill the fust nigger to put his foot on dat do' step."

      At Brandon live two daughters of Mrs. Graves, Mrs. Irene G. Brandon, owner of the estate, and Miss Mamie Graves. Other children are Mrs. Bettie Lee Powell of Blanch, Mrs. James A. Seegar of Danville, Felix Graves of Mebane and Mrs. George A. Clarke of Vicar's Hill, Lymington, England. Another daughter, Nannie, died in girlhood and a son, Pinkney, was drowned in the waters of the Dan when crossing the river in a boat at Brandon-on-Dan.

      In her late nineties, Mrs. Graves, still retaining the lines of early beauty, was keenly alive to all life about her. She played the piano and sang old Southern songs that many a ballad lover would be eager to know. Even to the end of her life she would claim no rendezvous with death and her last spoken words were: "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of life. It was life, she said, and not death."

      Grandsons in England

      Gallantly is that spirit shown in the lives of three grandsons in England: William Graves Clarke, oldest instructor in the Royal Flying Corps; Thomas Graves Clarke, on a destroyer, and George Lea Clarke, a graduate of Cambridge with highest honors, speaking nine languages, and employed abroad in the secret intelligence diplomatic service.

      Mrs. Graves was the oldest citizen of Halifax County, the last alumnae of the old Greensboro Female College, now North Carolina College for Women, and the last intimate associate of that band of men in old Yanceyville organized for a desperate need, in times when men seemed to have lost all reason, and protection for the helpless had to be found at any cost.

      Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, VA), 29 December 1940.
      _______________

      1850 United States Federal Census
      Name: Rebecca A Lea
      Age: 9
      Birth Year: abt 1841
      Birthplace: North Carolina
      Home in 1850: Milton, Caswell, North Carolina, USA
      Gender: Female
      Family Number: 324
      Household Members:
      Name Age
      Thomas Lea 44
      Ann B Lea 35
      Calvin G Lea 16
      James W Lea 14
      Sarah J Lea 11
      Rebecca A Lea 9
      John G Lea 6
      Thos S Lea 3
      Nathl Lea 1

      1860 US Census
      Name: R A Lea
      Age in 1860: 19
      Birth Year: abt 1841
      Birthplace: North Carolina
      Home in 1860: Yanceyville, Caswell, North Carolina
      Gender: Female
      Post Office: Yanceyville
      Household Members: Name Age
      Thos L Lea 54
      A B Lea 45
      J W Lea 24
      R A Lea 19
      A G Lea 16
      T L Lea 13
      M P Lea 11
      Sidney Lea 8
      Wm Lea 6
      Geo A Lea 3

      1870 US Census
      Name: Ann Graves
      Estimated Birth Year: abt 1844
      Age in 1870: 26
      Birthplace: North Carolina
      Home in 1870: Milton, Caswell, North Carolina
      Race: White
      Gender: Female
      Post Office: Milton

      1870 United States Federal Census
      Name: Ann Graves
      Age in 1870: 26
      Birth Year: abt 1844
      Birthplace: North Carolina
      Dwelling Number: 245
      Home in 1870: Milton, Caswell, North Carolina
      Race: White
      Gender: Female
      Post Office: Milton
      Occupation: Keeping House
      Inferred Spouse: Griffin Graves
      Inferred Children: Bettie Graves, Graham Graves
      Household Members:
      Name Age
      Griffin Graves 32
      Ann Graves 26
      Bettie Graves 3
      Graham Graves 1
      John Lea 25
      George Lea 13

      U.S., Confederate Pensions, 1884-1958
      Name: Cabb [Capt.] William Griffin Graves
      Application Date: 31 Dec 1928
      Application Place: Halifax, Virginia
      Spouse: Mrs Annie Lea Graves
      Marriage Date: 1866
      Married By: Reverend Solomon Graves
      Marriage Place: Caswell Co W Carolina
      Death Date: 7 Nov 1927
      Military Service: 13th North Carolina Regiment
      Superior Officer: Colonel John A. Graves
      Death Place: Halifax Co Delila, VA
      Application Type: Widow

  • Sources 
    1. Details: The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 354 (Article #441 "Thomas L. Lea" by Katharine Kerr Kendall).