THE TENNESSEE CONNECTIONS
Of WREN GRAYSON, Sr.
Richard R. Grayson, M.D.
Written March 18, 1974
A letter written by Wren Grayson, Sr., dated April 6, 1847, has been discovered which proves that one of his brothers was Joseph Grayson of Marion County, Tenn. A second letter written by the sons of Wren Grayson, Sr., Wren Grayson, Jr., Henry Grayson, and Sanford Grayson - to "Dear Cousins" and kept in the family of Henry Grayson, the son of the Joseph Grayson above, corroborates that the Wren Grayson, Sr., above, was the Wren Grayson of Decatur county, Indiana. Furthermore, both letters state that they were written at "Westport" (Ind.) The second letter is dated May 1, 1842.
Letter number one above written by Wren Grayson, Sr., is directed to "Dear Nephew". The letter was in the hands of Henry Grayson, born Nov, 2, 1799, in Anderson country, Tennessee, the son of Joseph Grayson and Patsy Braizealle. Henry's son, Anderson Cheek Grayson, passed these and other letters down to his daughter, Myna Grayson, who is alive and lives with her daughter, Miss Bobbie Dykes, at 107 Brentwood Drive, Chattanooga, Tennessee. Miss Dykes owns the family Bible of henry Grayson that lists the birthdates of Henry and Nancy plus their nine children. She has transmitted this information to me.
Wren Grayson Sr., wrote the 1847 letter to his nephew, Henry, and, therefore, since Henry was the son of Joseph, Wren was the brother of Joseph. The letter by the sons of Wren, Sr., written to Joseph's son, Henry (and others), as cousins further substantiates the conclusion that Wren and Joseph were brothers.
When Joseph married Patty (Patsy, Elizabeth) Brazeale on Dec. 10, 1798, the bondsman was Henry Brazeale (Knox county, Tenn. marriages, p. 415). Joseph Grayson paid $500.00 to Henry Brazeale for 400 acres of land in Knox county, Tenn. on July(?) 20, 1801. (From copy of deed). Joseph Grayson also bought 400 acres of land from Stockley Donelson for $400.00 on April 24, 1801. (From copy of deed).
Joseph Grayson was appointed one of the commissioners to select a place on the north bank of the Clinch River, between Isaac Ford and Samuel Worthington's home, for a court house, prison, and stocks for the use of Anderson county, which was created out of Knox county.
The town was named Burrville, later changed to Clinton. The six other commissioners were William Lea, Kenza Johnson, William Standifer, William Robertson, Solomon Massengale, and Hugh Montgomery. The first court of pleas met in June, 1802, in the house of John Lieb, it continued to meet until the completion of the courthouse the following year. (from History of Anderson county, Tenn.).
Joseph and Patsy Grayson came to Bledsoe county during their son Henry's childhood, locating in the neighborhood of Stephen's chapel. Later the family moved to Marion county. Marion county was created out of the southern part of Bledsoe county in 1817 (Compendium of Biography, pub. by Ogle Co., 1898).
Joseph Grayson, Sr., was said to be a blacksmith and a farmer and of English descent. (Biography of William H. Grayson, p. 341 in the compendium above). He had two sons in addition to Henry (according to the History of North and West Texas, p. 105). They were Benjamin and Joseph Grayson, Jr. A land grant is recorded. (Tenn. Archives) #22329, made to a Joseph Grayson for 70 acres of land in Marion county, Tenn., on Aug. 5, 1824. This must be Joseph, Jr., as the father apparently died in 1822-23. His will was probated in 1823 and is in the hands of Miss Dykes. The 1830 census furthermore places his death before that census in that Patsy Grayson was listed as a widow and as the head of the household in Marion county age 50-59, with one man 20-29, one boy, three girls, and six slaves.
A Benjamin Grayson on April 5, 1824, claimed 90 acres of land in Marion county, the Sequatchie River next to the farm of Scott Terry. Was he the brother of Joseph Grayson, Sr.? There was a Benjamin Grayson in the 1830 Marion county census, possibly a brother to Joseph Grayson, Sr.: "Benjamin Grayson, oldest 15-19 (father away?); five boys under 20, one woman 40-49, two girls under eight slaves."
The two sons of Joseph Grayson, Sr., Benjamin and Joseph, Jr., "removed to where Joseph and his wife died, leaving a family of small children without support. Henry then went to that state and took the children back to Tennessee with him, caring for them until they were able to care for themselves." History of North and West Texas, p. 105).
Another Grayson was in the 1830 census in Marion county: Jessie Grayson, age 50-59,; three men over 19, three boys; one woman 50-59; three girls; ten slaves.
This undoubtedly is the same Jesse Grayson who signed the 1822-23 will of Joseph Grayson, as a witness, making it certain that they were related.
Since Jesse was born 1770-1780, and Joseph was born before 1777, the probability is that they were brothers.
Therefore, Wren Grayson, Sr., Joseph, Jesse, and probably Benjamin, all of Bledsoe and Marion county, were brothers; the first two proven, the last probably other brothers and two sisters of this group are suspected and are currently being traced through census and other records.
The father of Joseph and Wren Grayson, Sr. is not known. It is stated in the biography of James M. Grayson, one of the sons of Henry, that his grandfather was a Henry Grayson who came from England to Virginia. However, in this account an error is obvious, naming another Henry Grayson as the father of Henry Grayson who married Nancy Hixon, whereas we know conclusively that the father was Joseph. The suspicion remains, however, that if part of this account is correct we should look for a Henry Grayson as the father or grandfather of Joseph and Wren.
Henry Grayson was married Sept. 11, 1820, to Nancy Hixon of Bledsoe county. She was born in Green county, Tenn., July 22, 1799, died Nov. 10, 1881. Henry died Nov. 9, 1879. They had nine children:
1. Pleasant Grayson, b. Aug. 3, 1821.
2. Louiza Grayson, Aug. 3, 1823.
3. William H. Grayson, April 12, 1826.
4. Patrick H. Grayson, Sept. 4, 1828.
5. James M. Grayson, May 16, 1831.
6. Sarah C. Grayson, Jan. 24, 1834.
7. Houston Grayson, June 8, 1837.
8. Joseph A. Grayson April 24, 1839, d. July 1, 1840.
9. Anderson C. Grayson, Dec. 23. 1841.
(from the Henry Grayson family Bible through Miss Dykes).
Another piece of evidence linking Wren Grayson, St., to Joseph Grayson of Marion county, Tenn., and his descendants and other relations lies in an affidavit made by Wren Grayson in 1850 when he filed for bounty land due him for serving in the war of 1812. Part of the document is quoted below, and was obtained from the National Archives, in Washington, D.C.:
"State of Indiana, County of Decatur: On this 2nd day of November 1850 personally appeared before me a Justice of the Peace within and for the county and state aforesaid. Wren Grayson aged sixty year, a resident of the county and state aforesaid who being duly sworn according to law declare that he is the identical Wren Grayson who was a private in the company commanded by Captain James Tunnel in the Tennessee Regiment of Militia commanded by Colonel John Anderson in the war with Great Britain declared by the United States on the 18th day of June, 1812. That he was drafted at Knoxville in Knox county in the State of Tennessee on or about the first of September in the year of our Lord 1814 for the term of six months and continued in actual service in said war for the term of six months and was honorably discharged at Mobile in fort Charlotte, state of Alabama on or about the 20th of March, in the year of our Lord 1815. As will appear by the muster rolls of his company, the said Wren Grayson further states that he has lost his discharge above referred to by putting it in the hands of his brother Joseph Grayson who died shortly afterwards and never returned said discharge to the applicant which discharge is not now to be procured."
(Wren's brother Joseph Grayson died in either 1822 or 1823 as his will was probated in 1823. Wren Grayson left for Scott county Kentucky from Tennessee sometime during the decade 1820-1829. Possibly, he left before Joseph died, thus making it difficult for him to recover the discharge paper.)
The age of Wren Grayson was not 60 years in 1850 and is in error in the above document. Many other documents are at hand indicating that Wren was born sometime between 1780 and 1782. Therefore, he was 68-70 years old when he applied for his land bounty in 1850.
Descendents of these Graysons with whom the author of this paper has spoken or corresponded so far (in early 1974) include:
1. Miss Bobbie Dykes, grand-daughter of Anderson Cheek Grayson, through Anderson's daughter Myna Grayson Dykes.
2. Hallie Grayson Barker (m. Paul Barker), the daughter of Joseph Grayson, the grand-daughter of William H. Grayson. Address 3613 Redding Road, Chattanooga, Tenn.
3. Miss Olive Grayson, Whitwell, Tenn., has brothers Roy and Oren Grayson; she is the daughter of William Grayson whose father was Marion Francis Grayson who was the son of William H. Grayson.
4. Otto P. Grayson, age 68, retired, in the field of public education and agriculture, son of James Moore Grayson, who was a son of Patrick H. Grayson. Address is Rt. 1, Whitwell, Tenn.
5. Frank W. Morrison, POB 462, Jasper, Tenn., states that E. Louisa Grayson, who married Joseph Burnette, is his grandmother four times removed.
6. Mrs. Lee Grayson, age 62, Rt. 1, Whitwell, Tenn. Her husband, Lee Grayson died age 81 in 1966 and they had no children. Lee was the eldest and only son of Joseph Anderson Grayson, who was the son of William H. Grayson.
7. Mrs. Walter C. Grayson, Rt. 1, Whitwell, Tenn. Her husband is deceased, was the son of William Grayson who was the son of Houston Grayson. They have 3 sons and 4 daughters.
8. Miss Mary Elizabeth Rogers, Rte 3, Box 21, Whitwell, Tenn. Her mother was Edith Hudson who married Mr. Shirley Rogers. Edith was the daughter of Nancy Elizabeth Grayson who married Eliza H. Hudson. Nancy was a daughter of Houston Grayson. Miss Rogers wrote the "Houston Grayson Family Tree" of Marion county, Tenn.
Miss Rogers further stated that Henry Grayson (b. 1799) had two sisters: Patsy Grayson married Joe Rogers and they had one son, James Anderson Rogers. Jane Grayson married John Bailey.