SOURCE: History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson Counties. (Chicago, IL: Lewis, 1893), p. 566 & 567.
Fred A. Graves - "seest thou a man diligent in business, he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men." This observation of the author of the Book of Proverbs has formed the text for a greater number of learned sermons than it has found exemplars in the actual affairs of life. But illustrations are not lacking, and in the somewhat long list of thrifty and successful men whose personal records appear in this volume, probably none more fully justifies a reference to these words of wisdom spoken by the poet and philosopher than the subject of this brief sketch.
Fred A. Graves, son of John and Julia Graves, was born in Walton county, Georgia, May 17, 1847. His parents coming to this State five years later, his childhood and early youth were passed in Washington county, where they first settled, and in Milam county, to which they moved five years later. At the age of fifteen - 1862 - he entered the Confederate army, enlisting in the Fourth Texas cavalry, Sibley's brigade, with which he served in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, taking part in all the engagements in which his command participated, being in active service until the close of the war. When hostilities had ceased he returned home; worked awhile on his father's farm; attended school one session, and then took work in the stock business at $15 per month.
He was so employed, receiving an increase of wages from time to time and investing his earnings in land and stock, until 1871, at which date he married and began farming and stock-raising on a small scale for himself. He prospered steadily from the beginning, and at this writing, 1893, he owns three different farms, aggregating 5,300 acres, 900 of which is in cultivation and yielding in accordance with the well-known productiveness of the black, waxy belt in which it lies.
Mr. Graves farms largely by tenants, for whom he has made full provision, and with whom he gets along most satisfactorily. He runs in connection with his farming operations and for neighborhood patronage, a large steam gin, which is kept busy during the ginning season. He is also engaged extensively in the stock business, and has been for a number of years, buying feeding and marketing, from 800 to 1,500 head of cattle annually. He is a stockholder in the oil mill at Rockdale, and is always ready to invest his money in any local enterprise that promises legitimate private returns or permanent public good.
The educational, religious and moral interests of the community find in him a particularly warm supporter, it being well understood that his name stands pledged at all times for the maintenance of these. He and his brothers, Thomas H. Graves and George S. Graves, have donated the land and erected a school building in their neighborhood, where a good school is conducted nine months in the year. He also gave to the Methodist Church, of which he is a zealous member, ten acres of land, on which he erected sheds and other equipments necessary for holding meetings, and where meetings are held for several weeks in each year, resulting in much good to the people of that vicinity.
As stated above, Mr. Graves married in 1871, the lady on whom his choice fell for a companion being Miss Alice Shinault, a daughter of J. L. and Penelope W. Shinault, of Mississippi, in which state Mrs. Graves was born February 26, 1853, and there reared. Her father died in that State in 1855, and her widowed mother moved to Texas in 1871, settling in Milam county, where she died in 1878.
Mr. and Mrs. Graves have had born to them four children, as follows: Preston S. Graves, born October 10, 1872; Fred H. Graves, born April 8, 1884; Rufus W. Graves, born August 6, 1886; and Alice E. Graves, born July 18, 1891. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Church, and he affiliates in politics with the Democratic party.
Mr. Graves has been remarkably successful in the last fifteen or twenty years. He came out of the war without a dollar, an having entered it before he had received even the rudiments of an education, his start was made under the most adverse circumstances. He has succeeded by merit, by industry, economy and method.
Mr. Graves' ancestral history will be found in the sketch of his brother, Thomas H. Graves which appears elsewhere in this volume.
We must say a special thank you to Sylvia Thomas of Georgetown, Texas, for typing the above biographical sketch for use on the Milam County TXGenWeb site.
Created on 19 July 2004 and last revised on ____________