Bio-Pen Pictures

of the Moreland District, must be mentioned as one of the pioneer American settlers of Santa Clara County. He was born in Claiborne County, Tennessee, February 2, 1829. When he was fourteen years of Age his father, Solomon Graves, removed the family to Buchanan County, Missouri. There the subject of this sketch gave his father the assistance of his work on the homestead, which he made his home until the gold fever filled him with its excitement. Fitting himself out with an ox team and supplies, he joined the long line of emigrants which stretched across the plains to this State. They left St. Joseph, Missouri, on the seventh of May, 1849, and after a pleasant and uneventful journey (which Mr. Graves performed entirely on foot), reached the mines on the Yuba River, September 20 of the same year. After spending one month in the mines, and the next month in Sacramento, Mr. Graves visited this valley, reaching San Jose November 20, 1849, thus enrolling his name among those of the earliest settlers of the county. The first two years were spent in the wood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains, in manufacturing lumber and making rails, posts, and shingles, all the sawing being done by hand. Lumber was worth $700 per thousand; but Mr. Graves' first winter's earnings were lost through the rascality of the agent who sold the product. However, the two years' work, on the whole, was quite remunerative.

        In 1851, in company with his brother, Sampson Graves (who came out from Missouri during the preceding year), Mr. Graves bought 160 acres out of a Spanish grant in Redwood Township. This land they improved, and in 1854 sold at a good advance in price to William Cox. Sampson Graves returned to the East in the fall of 1854, and now lives in Kansas. In 1855 Mr. Graves purchased the extensive ranch which he now owns and occupies. It contains 193 acres bounded by Saratoga Avenue and Prospect road, the residence grounds fronting the latter road.

        His brother, Sylvester Graves (whose history appears elsewhere in this volume), was associated with him in the ownership of this property until some years later. Sampson Graves and another brother, Eli, served in the Union army, the former from the State of Missouri and the latter from Kansas. Eli Graves was captured, with Colonel Mulligan, by the rebels at Lexington, Missouri. He participated in the memorable battle of Shiloh, and both brothers served with credit and won recognition for their bravery and faithfulness.

        The subject of our sketch married, on the nineteenth of August, 1855, Miss Margaret Elizabeth Statler, the daughter of Jonas and Mary Statler, who came from Missouri in 1849 and settled in this valley in the year following. Both of her parents are now deceased.  Mrs. Graves is a native of Missouri. Two children have been born by this marriage, Frank and Mamie, and both are yet at the parental home. All the members of the family are connected with the Southern Methodist Church. Mr. Graves is identified with the Democratic party, but in local politics is not tied to party nominations. Mr. Graves came to California a poor young man, and his life of industry has been well rewarded. He is now a prosperous land-owner and a man of influence. Not only this, but he has won by the uprightness of his character the confidence and esteem of all who know him. His quiet, unassuming ways cannot hide the ability and worth which have given him his high place in the judgment of his associates, and Santa Clara County may well regard him with pride as one of her representative citizens.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.

Pg. 481-482


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight