The Graves Family of Arvada, Colorado
John Card Graves wrote and published a set of books about the Graves family, Genealogy of the Graves Family in America, Three Volumes, Buffalo N.Y.: Baker, Jones & Co., 1896. He collected information about multiple branches of the Graves family by letter from family members across the country. His research took place prior to the establishment of most states’ vital record departments, so many of the specific dates are not available elsewhere. To put this monumental accomplishment in perspective, more than one hundred years ago he wrote and published three volumes filled with facts, without computers, from handwritten letters.
One of those branches was Oliver Graves, seventh generation from the original immigrant Thomas Graves.
Oliver, the third son and eighth child of Calvin Graves and Fanny (Robinson) Graves from Brookfield, Orange Co., Vermont, married twice, had two sets of children, moved to upstate New York, moved to DeWitt Co., Illinois, was involved in the California Gold Rush, lived in Bloomington, McLean Co., Illinois, was involved in the Colorado Gold Rush, and finally settled in Arvada, Jefferson Co., Colorado back when it was still known as the Kansas Territory. Basically he went from coast to coast, back to the Midwest, and on to the Rockies.
Oliver Graves was born 9 March 1813 in Brookfield, Orange Co., Vermont, died 6 May 1896, and was buried in Block 22, Lot 37, Section 6, Arvada Cemetery, Arvada, Jefferson Co., Colorado.
Oliver married (1) Emily Adams 3 December 1835 in Williamstown, Orange Co., Vermont.
They were enumerated in Barre, Washington Co., Vermont in 1840 along with two boys under ten. Brookfield, Williamstown and Barre, Vermont are contiguous, about 15 miles apart, just south of Montpelier.
Emily (Adams) Graves was born ca. 1816, died April 1844, and was buried in Webster Street Cemetery, Malone, Franklin Co., New York with a stone inscribed “Emily, wife of Oliver Graves & daughter of John & Sally [Jeffords] Adams died April 1844, AE. 28 yrs.” Franklin Co., New York is in the northeast corner of upstate New York, near Vermont and adjacent to Canada. Oliver and Emily had four children; George Linus, John, William Henry Harrison, and Emily Fidelia.
Two older brothers of Oliver Graves moved to Illinois from Vermont. David moved to Plainfield, Will Co., Illinois and Calvin moved to New Milford, Winnebago Co., Illinois. Oliver’s next youngest brother, Linus Graves was the first school teacher in Waynesville, DeWitt Co., Illinois in 1835, and he subsequently moved to Bloomington, McLean Co. Illinois, where he lived just several houses from Palmer Story, Oliver’s second father-in-law in 1855. The youngest brother, Charles Graves, had also moved to Waynesville, DeWitt Co. by the 1840 census.
After his first wife died in New York in 1844, Oliver followed Linus and Charles to Illinois. Oliver Graves married (2) Lucy Story 13 December 1845 in De Witt Co., Illinois.
Oliver and Lucy had five children; William Martin, John Palmer, Mary Palmer, Edward Oliver and Harry Harkness. In 1850 Oliver Graves a miner, lived in El Dorado, California, with Palmer Story his father-in-law, a miner and Wm. Story, while Lucy was back in McLean Co., Illinois with three children; George, William and John P.
Emily F. Graves, Oliver’s eldest child from his first marriage, lived in Williamstown, Orange Co., Vermont in the 1850 census with John C. Adams, her 61 year old maternal grandfather.
John and William, two children of his first marriage, died before the 1850 census. John, listed in the Graves book as John Palmer Graves, was born 7 February 1839, died 21 December 1847. It seems unlikely his name was John Palmer Graves. Palmer Story is the name of Oliver’s second father-in-law. It is more likely the first son named John who died young may have been named John Adams Graves as that was the child’s maternal grandfather. This first son named John may have died in Vermont with his maternal grandparents, or in Illinois with his father; so far no grave site has been located. Oliver named another son named John, John Palmer Graves, a son of Lucy Palmer (Story) Graves and a grandson of Palmer Story. This son was also listed in the Graves book as John Palmer Graves. While it was not uncommon for one child to be named after a deceased elder sibling, the middle name Palmer for the first son seems wrong. There are no indications of a Palmer connection in the early Adams or Graves lines. William Henry Harrison Graves, the third child was born 17 October 1840 and died soon after possibly in Barre, where they lived in the 1840 census or Malone, Franklin Co., New York where they lived in 1844. Oliver and his second wife Lucy lived in South Clear Creek, Arapahoe Co., Kansas Territory in 1860, along with Emily his daughter from his first marriage, and four children from his second marriage, one of whom is listed as Geo. L age 13 born in Illinois.
This child is probably William Martin Graves who was 13 born in Illinois, rather than George Linus who would have been age 22 born in Vermont. In 1860 Jefferson Co. was in Kansas Territory, in the area that became the Colorado Territory and subsequently the state of Colorado. In 1870 the Graves family was enumerated in Jefferson Co., Colorado, while Emily Fidelia (Graves) Bradley wife of William C. Bradley, and their family were in Golden. Oliver and Lucy lived in Vasquez, Jefferson Co., Colorado during the 1880 census, near Edward Graves 21 born in Illinois and Millie age 20 born in Illinois, and John Graves age 30 born in Illinois, Mary 25 born in Ohio, Frank 6, Eldro 4, Leonard 2, and Ernest 5/12 all born in Colorado.
In 1880 George L. Graves, age 42, born in New York and J. P. Graves, age 31, born in Illinois, were miners who lived in Ruby City, Gunnison Co., Colorado. In 1885 Oliver and Lucy Graves were enumerated in Jefferson Co., Colorado, however Harry Graves and his nephew Charles, Edward O. Graves and his family, Porter R. Smith, his wife Mary P. and family, and John Graves and family all lived in Arapahoe Co., and George Linus Graves was a miner in Delta Co., Colorado. Oliver had numerous descendants, including nine children; George Linus, John, William Henry Harrison, Emily Fidelia, William Martin, John Palmer, Mary Palmer, Edward Oliver, and Harry Harkness, and forty-six grandchildren.
George Linus Graves was born 15 January 1838 and died 14 June 1886. He was likely born in Vermont, though one source states New York. He was probably enumerated with his parents in 1840, one of the two boys under ten in Barre, Washington Co., Vermont. In 1850 he lived with his stepmother Lucy in McLean Co., Illinois and two younger half brothers, while his father was off mining in California. His younger sister Emily lived with their maternal grandparents back in Vermont. In 1860 George was listed with his father in Illinois, with the name George, but with his brother’s age. Either he was not with the family, or the enumerator wrote George’s name, and skipped William and added William’s age, and then went on to list the rest of the family. He has not been located yet in the 1870 census, though there is an L. S. Graves age 32 a bookkeeper in Virginia City, Nevada. He was a single man, a miner in 1880 in Ruby City, Gunnison Co., Colorado where he lived with his younger half-brother, John Palmer Graves. In 1885 George L. Graves a miner, lived in District 2, Delta Co., Colorado with Chas. Cutter. There is no indication in the Graves book that George was buried in Brookfield or anywhere in Vermont, just that his death was in 1886. It is likely he was buried in Colorado, however he does not have a gravestone in the Arvada Cemetery with his father. He may be in an unmarked grave in a cemetery in Delta.
Emily Fidelia Graves was born 16 December 1842 in New York. She died 6 September 1915 in Eastlake, Adams Co., Colorado and was buried in Arvada Cemetery, Colorado. Emily Fidelia Graves married William C. Bradley and had ten children; Laura, Walter C., George O., Charles H., Ella L., Emma F., Palmer Story, Leonard Arthur, Lula P., and William.
William Martin Graves was born 12 August 1846 in Waynesville, DeWitt Co., Illinois, and died 17 May 1912 in Arvada, Colorado. He married Elizabeth Maria Perrin 14 January 1869 in Valmont, Boulder Co., Colorado. They had eight children; Oliver Bertie, Charles William, Ruth Elizabeth, Mary Ann, Robert Otis, Ida May, Maria Louise and Nellie Pearl.
John Palmer Graves was born 8 October 1848 in Waynesville, DeWitt Co., Illinois. He died 8 January 1925 and was buried in Arvada. He married Mary Emma Wadsworth 19 January 1873 in Arvada, Colorado. She was born 10 July 1854. They had eleven children; Frank Oliver, Philip Eldro, Leonard Chase, Ernest Nelson, Kate, Bertha M., Dolly, George Wadsworth, Fred, Clarence, and Cecil.
Mary Palmer Graves was born 2 January 1854 in Bloomington, McLean Co., Illinois, died 19 March 1925 in Colorado, and was buried in Arvada Cemetery, Jefferson Co., Colorado. Mary Palmer Graves and Eber Porter Smith had eleven children; Dora, Oliver Palmer, George Saxton, Francis Samuel, Winnie R., Emily Jennett, Harry Edward, Ada Florence, Myrtle E., Homer Alfred, and Mary L.
Edward Oliver Graves was born 6 October 1858 in Waynesville, De Witt Co., Illinois. He died 15 October 1931. He married Minnie J. Raymond 20 January 1880 in Bloomington, McLean Co., Illinois. She was a daughter of Bert Raymond of Bloomington, Illinois. They had five children; Addie May, Carl Henri, Walter Raymond, Edna Rebecca, and Albert Oliver.
Harry Harkness Graves was born 17 September 1865 in Colorado, died 13 February 1922 in Los Angeles Co., California, and was buried in grave 5, Lot 223, Slumberland, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, Los Angeles Co., California. He married Florence Augusta Lindza 25 December 1887 in Colorado. They had three sons; Elmer Lindza, Lynus Oliver, and Howard Mitchell.
There are errors and omissions in both volumes by John Card Graves about this family. The information published in 1896, was obtained between Lucy’s 1895 death which is included and Oliver’s death in 1896 which is not included. It is likely the source may have been Oliver or one of his children. One error is the middle name of the first son, John Graves born in 1838. Another is the marriage date of Edward Oliver Graves listed as 1879, but shown in the McLean Co., Illinois Marriage records to be 20 January 1880. Emily (Adams) Graves burial site in New York is an omission. As each and every statement is verified or contradicted by other evidence, this family record will become more and more accurate.