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Howard Graves, 1839-1913


Posted By: Emmet County IAGenWeb Coordinator (email)
Date: 2/13/2011 at 20:27:19

Howard Graves, who for fifty-three years remained one of the distinguished and eminent citizens of Emmet county, honored by all who knew him, took active part in promoting public progress and improvement along many lines from the period of pioneer development down to the time of present-day progress and prosperity. So closely was he connected with the county that his life history will be of the deepest interest to many of our readers. He was a native of St. Lawrence county, New York, and son of Gaylord Graves, who removed with his family to Wisconsin, where he took active part in public affairs, becoming a member of the territorial legislature and afterward serving as a member of the state legislature. In the early days of Emmet county, Iowa, he cam here with his son, Howard Graves, and was one of the grantors of the original plat of Estherville.

When the work of progress and improvement had scarcely been begun in Emmet county, Howard Graves took up his abode here. From that time forward the part which he played in the development of the county was a very important one. For twenty years he served as postmaster of Estherville and he was also a member of the city council, in which connection he gave earnest consideration to the questions that came up for settlement regarding municipal welfare. He also filled most of the county offices and in 1866 he was elected to represent his district in the Iowa general assembly. His was indeed a useful career and at all times he was found fearless in conduct and stainless in reputation.

Mr. Graves was closely connected with business interests in Emmet county as a banker. In 1871 he founded the first banking house within the borders of the county. This was originally a private bank and afterward became the Estherville State Bank, of which Mr. Graves was chosen president so continuing until the year of his death--1913. He was actively engaged in its conduct and management from the time of its establishment until his demise.

Mr. Graves was united in marriage to Miss Mary Louise Blackman, a native of Connecticut. She cam to Emmet count with him an together they endured the hardships of pioneer life. She was a woman of strong character and kindly spirit and her benevolence and hospitality were noteworthy. Her activity in church and social circles was continue until her death in 1902. Mr. Graves was characterized as a man of kindly disposition and of simple life and tastes. He possessed keen judgment and was always governed by the most rigid honesty ad integrity. His generosity and charity were well known to all those with whom he came in contact. The familiar face and figure of Howard Graves will never be forgotten by those who have resided here nor by those who have come and gone in the long period during which Emmet county has developed from an unpeopled prairie into a prosperous and populous section of the state.

Source: History of Emmet County and Dickinson County Iowa: A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement, The Pioneer Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1917.


Emmet Biographies maintained by Lynn Diemer-Mathews.
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