Updated: Jul 23, 2019
My mother's family has always silently acknowledged that Henry Major Graves (1817-1894) was most likely my 3rd Great Grandfather. Henry was a white slave owner and owned my 3rd Great Grandmother Susan Desnoozes Graves. But the story gets more complex.
After the Civil War I discovered that Henry and Susan continued to live literally next door to each other. Susan would birth him at least 4 children together before and after the war and later Henry would provide all the land to create Graves Chapel Baptist Church in Yanceyville, NC for the African American community. He also evidently supported financially my 2nd Great Grandfather William Henry Graves, his son.
Henry would never officially marry anyone, but their behavior, according to the local historical association is now described as a common law marriage. It was illegal for black and white people to marry until 1967.
Either way, my recent DNA results confirmed that he was in fact my 3rd Great Grandfather.