Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday's Stories, 52 Ancestor Weeks, Week # 31, Graves Niblett

Copyright 2014, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

This is week 31 of my participation Amy Johnson Crow's, once a week challenge to blog about one ancestor a week, tell their story, biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on that one ancestor. More about the challenge can be found at her Blog, No Story Too Small.

Graves Niblett was born, according to a Bible record, July 15, 1824, somewhere near Isle of Wight County, Virginia, possibly Sussex County, Virginia.  (The Bible record was found at the Library of Virginia, Bible printed 1828, Call Number 26261, Title: Niblett family Bible record, 1807-1824. Material: 3 leaves. System Number: 000490057.  You can see the Bible here: )

Graves is found on the 1850 census of Sussex County, Virginia, he is 26 years of age, and is in the household of William H. Niblet and Lucy Niblet.

Graves married Virginia Catherine Eley.  Marriage record, date and place are undiscovered.  SEE BELOW  Their first born son, William was born about 1851.

They had 4 children, William Exum Neblett, Walter Graves Neblett, John Robert Neblett and Solomon Thomas Niblett (yes, I am totally aware there are two spellings here, spelling don't count in genie, eh?).

The family is found on the 1860 U.S. Census, Eastern District, Isle of Wight County, Virginia, Smithfield Post Office:  Graves Niblet, age 36, farmer, value of real estate $3000., value of personal property $2000.; V. C., age 29; Wm. A., age 8; W. G., age 6; Jno R., age 4, A., age 1 (all male children).  (Note that "A" must be the child Solomon, a review of this census image is indicated.)

Graves served during the Civil War in the 16th Virginia Infantry.

From the work, "16th Virginia Infantry" by Benjamin H. Trask,
     "Niblett, Graves:  enlisted March 1, 1862 at Huger Barracks near Norfolk as a Private in CO. D, claimed to be over 35 years old, detached as a guide on the Blackwater River, returned to company, wounded, and captured August 19, 1864 at Davis Farm."  It is interesting to note that Company D is the same unit that Solomon B. Eley, Grave's brother-in-law, served in.
     Trask further tells us:
     "From May 28 to June 23, the 16th Virginia had been involved in half a dozen engagements. The constant marching and fighting made if difficult for company clerks to maintain proper records concerning casualties.. ...."
I posted a question about the Davis Farm on the Southampton County Virginia mail list and received this response:
     "The Battle of Davis Farm was one of a series of battles that took place in June of 1864 during the Petersburg Campaign. It was a part of the Weldon R.R. Operations (Jerusalem Plank Road, William's and Davis' Farm). According to the date of your man's capture, he was probably captured during the action at Globe Tavern on 18-21 August 1864 which is sometimes referred to as Weldon R.R.."
     Knox Martin
     SCV Tennessee Division Genealogist

   Reading further in the history of the 16th Virginia, Trask writes:
     "...Grant's next plan was to cut the Weldon and Petersburg Railroad south of the city.  By August 18, Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren's Fifth Corps had invested Globe Tavern and Yellow House...The infantrymen were from Heth's and Mahone's division including the 16th Virginia.
     Warren's corps faced northward and headed to Petersburg.  The day was hot, and muddy footing and the dense forestation terrain made the going slow....
     The engagement of Weldon Railroad (Globe Tavern) had mixed results.  The Confederates bagged more than 2.500 prisoners and inflicted 383 other casualties.  However, the Southerners lost prisoners, two from the 16th Virginia.  The regiment also had twenty-one wounded and one killed."

From resources on the battle, we learn:
Forces Engaged: Corps (34,300 total)
Estimated Casualties: 5,879 total (4,279 US; 1,600 CS)
     Further reading/research that may gain insight would be:
     "The destruction of the Weldon Railroad, Deep Bottom, Globe Tavern, and Reams Station, August 14-25, 1864"  by John Horn, ISBN 1561900109 9781561900107

As a follow up on Grave's war record, I pulled all "Compiled Service record cards" available at, now Fold3, 15 pages in all.  A more complete report on his record is:
     April 30, 1862, he is present an reports that he is over 35 and claims exemption.
     April 30 to October 31, 1862, Absent sick since July 3, 1862.  He was accounted for in Richmond, Virginia on July 3, 1862.
     November & December 1862, January and February 1863, March and April 1863, May and June 1863, he is reported as absent from his unit, but:  detailed by Gen. French as guide near Black Water River.
     July and August 1863, reported as absent, but detailed as a guide in Col. Claybornes Regiment.
     September and October 1863, reported as present in his unit, as he is until:
     July and August 1864, reported as absent, captured and wounded since August 19th.

No death record for Graves was found in the Isle of Wight County Virginia death records.

There is a Chancery Case concerning Graves Niblett, it is found at the Virginia Memory:Library of Virginia web site.  There are 180 pages in the case.  I have copied 132 to my hard drive.  For the most part this resource has not been utilized, the documents are not transcribed, nor even linked to the data base, YET!

So far, the earliest date on the documents reviewed in the Chancery case would seem to indicate that Graves had died sometime before the 27th of March 1866.  I have glanced at many of these pages and have yet to find a death date indicated, always just a reference to Graves Niblett, deceased.  (Yes, you hear a long sigh from me, in 180 pages, no one thought to include the death date??)

This document, a promissory note, dated 1859, seems to have his signature:

Wish list for Graves, find marriage, death and burial information.  Process the Chancery Case documents (which I just know will lead to further research on his clan, siblings, children, etc.)

I have written about Virginia, his wife, three times here on Reflections, Tombstone Tuesday, Virginia C. WatkinsLet One Brick Wall Crack, and most recently, Oh, V.C. Or, How I Hate Initials.  

* Additional source data can be obtained by contacting me, see the right hand column for a yahoo email address.

** 52 Ancestors Weeks Button courtesy of Amy Johnson Crow.

*** I use many resources to research, is a free site. is a pay site for which I pay, no discounts, etc.  Fold3, is another site I subscribe to and pay for.  None of these sites have asked me to review them, or use them.  See my Disclaimers page for further details.

**** Thanks to genie angel and friend AM, the marriage data has come to light, this is from the Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940 data base at, available on film # 31998, reference number: p 523.


1 comment:

Barbara DiMunno said...

I wrote about my Confederate 3X Great Grandfather from Augusta County, VA this week too. You provide wonderful details about Graves' time with the Confederate Army.I hope you find out what happened to him.