Col. William Grayson
Aged: 48.9 years
From Bateman, Grayson, Boyette, Carter & Cole Families, by Cynthia E. Snider:
William Grayson, son of Benjamin and Susanna Monroe Grayson, was born on the family plantation in Prince William County. He was a minor when his father, Benjamin, made his will 10 May 1753. Descendents and historians have given his date of birth as 1736, however, Joseph Horrell, in his NEW LIGHT ON WILLIAM GRAYSON, published in Vol. 92, #4, October, 1984 Virginia Magazine of History andÂ Biography concludes that he was born in 1742. Mr. Horrell arrived at that conclusion by carefully analyzing the guardian accounts and records which showed as the date William reached his majority to be 14 June 1763. His brother, Benjamin, the only child of their father who had reached majority when his father died, was guardian for William, Spence, and Susanna.
That the Graysons were of English origin was established by a carefully researched article by James D. Evans, "Grayson Family Addenda" Tyler's Quarterly, XII, 1930-31, pages 181-89. They had been in America several generations prior to Colonel William's day. William Grayson's father, Benjamin, was a Colonel, a justice, vestryman, and militia officer as well as planter and merchant and built large estates of land and other property in Prince William County. It is of record that when Benjamin died William's share of his estate at age sixteen was larger at least by a fourth or fifth than the estate George Washington inherited at age eleven, but the two grew up in circumstances quite different as William showed no sign of adopting a career until he was grown and no expense of his upbringing was spared, whereas George from his early years earned money as a surveyor and learned to pinch pennies. William Grayson chose his brother, Benjamin for his guardian, while Spence chose William Ellzey and Susanna chose Benjamin. Anthony Russell and Charles Binns were bound to the court as securities for Benjamin. Benjamin had not made the required accounting of guardians for funds of their charges, so they petitioned the court for an accounting 12 March 1761. Benjamin returned the accounting 9 June 1761.
A few months after William's father's death, arrangements were made to send him to Philadelphia, but he did not enter into residence there until about a year later. He stayed with Charles Tyler. Benjamin's accounts of William's expenditures show that he spent lavishly forribbons, a Black Gelding, 1 pair of the best pumps, cash for the races, buttons, materials for his tailor, cash for lottery, William Linton cash, cash to Miss Suckey Grayson and Spence Grayson, and in September 1760 money in sterling since "you were in London". Thomas Harrison, husband of Benjamin #1's sister, Mary, was an administrator of Benjamin's estate. By the time the guardianship was over, the estate of William Grayson owed his brother, Benjamin, 73.10 pounds. Among the accounts is a last reference to William's sister, Susanna, as Grayson on 13 May 1760. She must have married John Orr about that time. During his guardianship of William and Susanna, Benjamin had almost demolished the estate of his brothers and sisters and himself. All who were involved with him suffered losses, but William soon began a career as an attorney and began earning his own living. Three years after the end of his guardianship, at age 24 he qualified in four Northern Virginia Counties to practice law.
Mr. Horrell points out the significance of the six year difference in prior reports of William's age and the facts he discovered from the guardian accounts. That put William seventeen years younger than George Mason, ten years younger than Richard Henry Lee, and six years younger than Patrick Henry, all of whom were intimately connected with William in political and military matters. His career as a Revolutionary War Colonel, as one of the first Senators of Virginia, and his other fame are of record in many history books so will not be repeated.