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GRAVES, Elliot (1820-1912)


Posted By: Kathy Weaver (email)
Date: 7/17/2017 at 12:13:15

Malvern Leader
Malvern, Mills County, Iowa
Thursday, March 14, 1912

Another Mills County Pioneer Passes To Great Beyond.

The subject of this sketch was born of Henry and Betsy Graves, Feb. 22, 1820, in Knox county, Tenn. of a family of seven children - five sons and two daughters. He passed out of this life in to the life beyond the grave Sunday night March 10, 1912 at ten o’clock. Aged 92 years and 18 days.

He was converted in early life and united with the Methodist church. For many years he was a Sunday school superintendent. In young manhood he was for some time a teacher in the public schools. He was an unusually well educated man in his time and day, but being of a reticent disposition, one would not discover it unless he became quite intimate by acquaintance with him. No one ever heard him speak of himself, or his attainments, or accomplishments; and even his children knew of these only as they witnessed them, were told of them by their mother or others, or drew the same from him by volley after volley of questions, which he usually answered as briefly as possible.

After some years spent in the schoolroom he turned his attention to trades of carpenter and millwright at which he spent the prime of his life.

He married Alice Jackson Center (Senter) July 24, 1845, at the old Center plantation in Roan county, Tenn., on which now is located the city of Harriman with a population of over 4000.

To this union were born eleven children, seven sons and four daughters. Two of the sons died in childhood; the oldest son and child, S.V. Graves, died in matured manhood some years since in Omaha. The four living sons are W.T. Graves of Whiting, Iowa; Markis D. Graves of Colorado; U.R. Graves of Malvern, Iowa and E.C. Graves of Portland, Oregon. All the daughters are living, who are, Mrs. Joann M. Crow of Malvern, Iowa; Miss Laura B. Graves of Malvern, Iowa; Mrs. Tennessee M. Byers of Portland, Oregon and Mrs. Adeline L. Adams of Council Bluffs, Iowa.

At time of his death, Mr. Graves had 71 living descendants; four sons, four daughters, 30 grandchildren and 33 great grandchildren.

Mrs. Alice Jackson Graves, wife of the deceased, died May 18, 1897, nearly fifteen years ago, they having had the companionship of each other for over 51 years. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary July 24, 1895.

At the time of the breaking out of the Civil War he was a foundryman owning and operating a large foundry in Kingston, the county seat of Roan county, Tenn. Being on the Mason and Dixon line and being a patriot of the truest and firmest type, he espoused the cause of his county and flag and stood with the North, although his wife’s folks were slave owners. Because he cast his influence with the North, the Rebels destroyed his foundry, broke the molds, dies, and threw them into the river. This financially wrecked a prosperous and well-to-do business man. But who ever heard him complain about it?

His religious life was of the same quiet unostentatious character as his business life. He was a constant reader of the Bible, having read it through many times; for years prior to his death he kept it lying on the floor near his chair by the window, and regularly every morning and often at other times would peruse its pages. The writer found it in the usual place where he kept it and from it secured the data for this sketch.

It can be said of him what can be said of very few men, none of his children or family ever heard him swear or use a by-word, and he stated that he never swore in all his life. He was of a strict religious family, having an older brother, who began preaching at the age of sixteen and lived to the ripe age of eighty-eight, having preached for seventy years.

He was ever willing to help any one in trouble and need and was so open hearted and handed in this respect he was sometimes imposed upon.

At the breaking out of the Civil War he entered the Government employ in the army and was blacksmith and wheelwright, shoeing the horses and mules, and keeping the artillery and munition trains in repair.

He had one characteristic among others; he was a great pedestrian always preferring to walk than ride, and often he would start out and walk for miles to town or elsewhere, when by waiting a little he might have had conveyance.

He first came to Iowa from Tennessee with his family in November 1854, nearly fifty-eight years ago. They came by ox-team traveling the 1000 miles in just six weeks to a day. They crossed the Ohio river at Caving Rock, then through southern Illinois; crossed the Missouri river at St. Charles, Mo., and the Nishnabotna River in Northwest Missouri and camped at the foot of the high-pointed bluff that marks the junction of the Missouri and Nishnabotna valleys about two miles southeast of Hamburg, Iowa. At that time there was only one house in all that region which was near the high pointed bluff mentioned. All the rivers were crossed in ferries. Much of the way the only guide they had from town to town was a furrow turned across the prairie. Then there was not even a trail. The end of the long journey was found at the home of his brother-in-law, Wm. McPherron, who lived two or three miles northwest of where Tabor now stands. Near there they made their home for two years, when they returned to Tennessee where he was engaged as above stated until 1875, when he with his family again returned to Mills County, where he has lived successively near Tabor, near Balfour, where he farmed, and for the last 23 years has been a resident of Malvern.

He ever had a host of friends, wherever he went, had no enemies, was respected by all, and while he lived a moral life, lived a far better life than a moral life, namely a quiet consistent christian life.

He was a man of marvelous constitution as he was not sick in all his long life so as to require the ministrations of a physician until within the last three years. This constitution was proven by the struggle that came with disease and old age as it was drawn out in the last two years of his life in which he suffered severely, especially during the last three months, and the agony endured in the last days no one can know, for he died as he had lived, with little complaint and with calm trust in God. He suffered until just before he died, when he seemed to have ease and life just seemed to quit, to go out. He was conscious to the last.

His life has been well spent and he has faithfully served his God. He was a regular church attendant until his hearing became defective and his feebleness shut him in.

The word “faithful” best states the character of his christian life. His constant prayer during the closing week of his life was that the Lord would quickly take him home. The facts of his journey to this country from Tenn., was given by Mr. Graves to the writer about two years ago.

The funeral was held from the Methodist church Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 and was largely attended by the old friends and neighbors of the deceased. The services were conducted by the pastor Rev. E.W.F. ReQua. Interment was made in the Malvern cemetery.


Mills Obituaries maintained by Karyn Techau.
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