Marty and Karla Grant

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Graham / Grimes Genealogy - Western NC

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Graham Families Table of Contents

Graham Census and Tax List Records

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Welcome to my Graham genealogy pages. I am interested in the Graham and Grimes surname in Western North Carolina.

Although Graham and Grimes seem like different surnames, they were often used interchangeably in the 1700s and 1800s.

Graham was the 108th most common surname in the United States in 2000. By 2010 it had dropped to 120th. Grimes was the 626th most popular in 2000, and 686th by 2010.

My most recent Graham ancestor is my four times great grandmother, Phoebe Caroline Graham, born ca 1814 in Buncombe Co., NC. She married William Evans there ca 1838/39. They lived in the Avery Creek area until the 1850s when they moved to Jackson Co., NC, then moved again the 1860s to Macon Co., NC in the part that later became Swain County where they remained until their deaths, his in 1882, hers in 1899. Her parents:

Jeffrey Graham, alias Jeffrey Grimes, was born 1784 in Wilkes Co., NC. He moved to Buncombe Co., NC before ca 1808. He married Frances “Fanny” Eastridge around that same time, though whether before the move or after is not known. They both died in Buncombe in 1855, her in February, he in March.

Jeffrey’s parents are unknown, but he has a proven brother, Lewis Grimes (1789-1855) and two more siblings, John Grimes and Nancy Grimes, nothing else known of the John and Nancy.

One thing that sets our Graham family apart from others is that they were often listed as “Free Colored” or “Mulatto” on census records. They were dark complected. Their ethnicity became an issue in an extensive and notable court case in 1905/1906, Gilliland vs. Board of Education. The court records contain a great deal of interesting family history as well as providing an insight into the racial prejudices of the day.

Rev. Billy Graham (1918-2018) is often thought to be related to our Graham family as they lived in the same county and were likely acquainted. However, there is no known connection. I have researched his ancestry to some degree just to be sure.

Revised: January 19, 2023

Copyright © 1996-2023 Marvin A. Grant, Jr. All Rights Reserved.

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