Thomas H. Grasty
Date of Birth
Date of Death
Letters Authored in Collection
|Oct. 13, 1848||William Grasty||Brother asks brother to assist him in hiring slaves|
Thomas and William were two brothers, both of whom lived in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Little is known about the two men other than what could be deduced from census data. Each had rather extensive slave holdings until the Civil War. After the Civil War each had significant losses in the valuation of their personal property; in fact, by 1870, Thomas had moved to Baltimore, Maryland and his personal property value went from $18,000 to $700. William Grasty’s occupation is listed as Merchant in 1860, but as an Assistant in a Grocery in 1870.
The letter was written by Thomas Grasty to his brother William, and pertains to Thomas’ effort to assemble a group of slaves in order that he may fulfill a promise he made to a neighbor to supply slaves for pulling mulberry leaves; mulberry is used to feed silkworms. In the content of the letter Thomas mentions an individual named Sharshall from whom they may be able to obtain additional slaves if needed. It may be determined from the census records that there was a Sharshall B.Grasty living in Orange County who had slaves; moreover, he is likely a relative of Thomas and William. Their grandfather’s name was Sharshall Grasty and it seems “Sharshall” was used multiple times as a given name after Thomas and William’s great, great, great grandmother, Margaret Sharshall. In the slave schedules for the 1850 Census, there are 6 slaves enumerated as owned by Sharshall B. Grasty.
Thomas married Mary Garland Stone 6 April 1839 (Virginia marriage records), and from an analysis of census data it may be conjectured that they had at least 6 children born approximately in the years indicated: Samuel G. Grasty (1844), William C. Grasty (1847), John T. Grasty (1850), Ferdinand (1850), Nathaniel Grasty (1857), and Mary G. Grasty (1859). (This is simply an educated guess, since children can live and die between consecutive censuses or a child who is enumerated might be adopted, or simply be a visiting niece, nephew, or cousin of the same last name.) William C. Grasty married Letitia St. C. Stone 18 February 1839 (Virginia marriage records), and by reviewing the censuses, we may once again speculate that they had the following children born in the approximate year indicated: Samuel Grasty (1840), Jane C. Grasty (1842), Phoebe A. Grasty (1843), Mary A.Grasty (1845), Ellen O. Grasty (1847) Philip L. Grasty (1861), and Letitia S. Grasty (19 July 1860, documented). It is known that Thomas and Mary G. Grasty lost an infant daughter in 1851 as she is buried in the Grove Street Cemetery in Danville, Virginia and the gravestone is so marked. According to Virginia Directories, William had a business in Danville in 1888-1893 which bore the name P. L. Grasty, location given as 722 Wilson.
Thomas Housen and William Grasty’s parents were Philip Lightfoot Grasty (b. 1775 in Orange County, Va., d. 1827 in Orange County, Va.) and Anne Shelton. They were married 15 December 1800. According to a newspaper death notice in the Lynchburg Virginian, Philip L. Grasty (Thomas and William’s father) of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, died 21 November 1827 in Orange County.
The slave schedules for the 1840 Census notes that William C. Grasty owned the following slaves: 3 males under ten years of age, 2 males from ten to twenty-four years of age, and 1 male between the age of twenty-four and thirty-six; 5 females under ten years of age, 2 females between the ages of ten and twenty-four, 2 females between the ages of twenty-four and thirty-six, and 1 female between the ages of thirty-six and fifty-five.
In the 1850 Census, Thomas Grasty is enumerated as living in the household of Samuel, 67, and Phebe N. Stone, 67 in Danville, Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Mr. Stone’s occupation is not given, but Thomas Grasty’s occupation is noted as Lawyer and he is listed as 40 years old; also living in the household is Mary G. Grasty, 32, Samuel G. Grasty, 6, William C. Grasty, 3, John T. Grasty, 5 months. The slave schedules for the 1850 Census lists Thomas as having 10 slaves. Five of the slaves were enumerated in Orange County, Virginia, amongst them were: two females whose ages were given as 45 and 35; there were three males whose ages were given as 18, 9, and 6. The other five slaves were enumerated in Pittsylvania County, Virginia and were noted to be three males ages 60, 48, and 48 and two females noted to be 45 and 11 years of age.
William C. Grasty, 32, is enumerated in the 1850 Census and living in The Southern District, Pittsylvania County, Virginia with the following listed in the household: Letitia Grasty, 29, Samuel, 10, Jane 8, Phebe, 7, Mary, 5, Ella, 3, and Beverly B. Walker, 17, noted as a clerk. William C. Grasty’s occupation is listed as Merchant. William Grasty is also noted in the 1850 Census as owning 20 slaves.
Thomas Grasty, 50, is enumerated in the 1860 Census and living in The Southern District, Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Members of his household include: Mary G. Grasty, 41, Samuel G, 16, William C, 13, John L, 10, Ferdinand, 10, Nat G, 3, Mary G, 8 months, and J. D. Farmer, 35, whose occupation is given as Farmer. Thomas Grasty’s occupation is listed as Lawyer, his real estate value noted as $1,000, and his personal property $18,000. Thomas Grasty is noted to have owned 20 slaves in the slave schedules for the 1860 Census: One female 50 years of age was enumerated in Orange County, Virginia. The other 19 slaves were enumerated in the Census as living in Pittsylvania County, Virginia: There were 11 male slaves ages 60, 37, 35, 25, 21, 15, 11, 9, 6, 1, and 1; there were 8 female slaves: 68, 50, 20, 19, 18, 18, 6, and 3 years of age.
William Grasty, 42, is enumerated in the 1860 Census living in Danville, Pittsylvania County, Virginia with the following members in his household: Letitia, 39, Samuel L, 20, Jane C, 18, Phebe A, 16, Mary A, 14, Ellen O, 12, Phillip L, 9, and Lettie S, 6 months. William Grasty’s occupation is listed as Merchant, his real estate value noted as $8,000 and personal property value $6,200.
Thomas Grasty, 60, is enumerated in the 1870 Census living in Baltimore, Maryland with the following members of his household: Mary G, 51, Samuel G, 27, noted as a “Boat Agent”, Douglas C, 24, noted as “(illegible) Dealer”, John L, 20, noted as a “Drugstore Clerk”, Mary G, 11, Nathaniel, 6, and Mary Duff, 50, noted as a Mulatto servant. Thomas Grasty’s occupation is listed as Lawyer, his real estate value $10,000 and his personal property value $700.
William C. Grasty is enumerated in the 1870 Census living in Danville, Pittsylvania County, Virginia with the following members of his household: Letitia St. C, 47, Jane C, 25, Phoebe A, 22, Philip L, 19, Lettie S, 10, Joseph A. Hobson, 25 and noted as a clerk, Ella O. Hobson, 20, and Willie C. Hobson, 1. William C. Grasty’s occupation is listed as “Assistant in Grocery” and Philip L. Grasty’s occupation is listed as “Clerk in Grocery.” William C. Grasty’s real estate value is $11,200 and his personal property value is $500.
Thomas Grasty, 70, is enumerated in the 1880 Census living in Baltimore, Maryland with the following members of his household: Mary G, 59, J. Thomas, 30, noted as a “Retail Tobacco Dealer”, Ferdinand, 27, noted as a “Telegraph Operator”, Mary G, 19, Nathaniel Grasty, 15, and Ann Williams, 30, noted as Black and a servant.
William C. Grasty, 62, is enumerated in the 1880 Census living in Danville, Pittsylvania County, Virginia with the following in his household: Letitia S, 58, Jennis C, 37, listed as daughter, Fay, 35, listed as daughter, Ellen O. Hobson, 33, listed as daughter, Lettie S Grasty, 19, listed as daughter, Wm. C. Hobson, 11, listed as grandson, Roland H. Hobson, 9, listed as grandson, Lightfoot Y, 7, listed as granddaughter, Railey Walton, 49, noted as Black and a servant, Mary Walker, 40, noted as Black and a servant. William C. Grasty’s occupation is listed as “Grocer.”