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Milam County, Texas

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Thomas H. Graves

SOURCE: History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson Counties. (Chicago, IL: Lewis, 1893), p. 556-558.

Thomas H. Graves - The true heroes of America are those who, from time to time, have left the comforts of civilized life and planted the seeds of new States deep in the wilderness. Of this number were Dr. John H. Graves and wife, who were for many years residents of Milam county and who though now deceased have left lasting monuments to their memory in the lives and character of their descendants. They had six children, five of whom became grown and four of whom are now citizens of this county, sketches of three of them appearing in this volume. Dr. Graves and wife were natives of North Carolina, where they were born now nearly a century ago. They married there and moved thence in 1852 to Texas, settling in Independence, Washington county. After a residence at that place of six years they came to Milam county, where they spent the remainder of their lives, he dying here in April 1888, at the ripe old age of eighty-two, and his wife in November, 1890, at the age of seventy-six.

In earlier life he was devoted to the practice of his profession--that of dentistry--but later engaged in farming and stock raising. He was a prominent Mason and both he and his wife were life-long members of the Baptist Church. Both were diligent in the discharge of their duties as parents and as members of society, as is fully evidenced not only by the testimony of those who knew them, but also by the industrious, exemplary Christian live which their sons and daughters are leading. Their six children are Hattie Graves, who is now the wife of S. M. Dunlap of Ballinger, Runnels county; Thomas H. Graves, the subject of this sketch; Preston Graves, who died young; Fred A. Graves, of Milam county; Julia Graves, the wife of D. Davis of this county; George S. Graves, also of this county.

Thomas H. Graves was born in Caswell county, North Carolina, February 16, 1842. He was just ten years old when his parents moved to Texas and settled in Washington county and sixteen when they came to Milam county. He received such educational advantages as were offered in the localities where he grew up. At the age of nineteen he entered the Confederate army, enlisting in 1861, in Company D, Fourth Texas Cavalry, Green's brigade, with which he served during the first year of the war in New Mexico and Arizona. His command then returning, he joined the forces operating west of the Mississippi river, from which time on until the close of hostilities he served in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. He took part in all the engagements in which his regiment participated, these including the recapture of Galveston in 1863, but was never wounded nor taken prisoner.

At the close of the war he returned to Milam county, where he scraped together sufficient means to buy a small pair of mules and engage in farming. He followed this and worked for others as a farm and stock hand at $15 a month, his wages being increased as his services became more valuable, until he saved a few hundred dollars, which he invested in lands. At length he began trading in stock and branched out in his farming operations until he now owns about 2,500 acres of valuable land, about 400 acres of which is in cultivation, on which he raises an abundance of Texas staple products, cotton and corn. His land is divided into farms, which he leases to tenants, giving his personal attention to buying, feeding and marketing cattle for beef. He feeds from 600 to 800 head annually, which he generally succeeds in disposing of to good advantage.

Mr. Graves has succeeded admirably in life, and his success and talent for business might justify him in aspiring to a higher career if he chose to do so; but he has never sought distinction of any kind nor exhibited an undue desire for wealth. His wish seems to be to live up to the full measure of his responsibilities as a man and a citizen, and leave the glamour and tinsel, the glory of wealth and fame to others. He interests himself actively in everything of importance relating to the welfare of the community where he resides, being a staunch supporter of the school and churches. He and his brothers, Fred A. Graves and George S. Graves, donated the land and erected at their own expense a good school building in their neighborhood; where they have conducted for eight months in the year as good a country school as can be found in Milam county.

In 1880 Mr. Graves married Miss Addie Tribble, daughter of George C. and Rebecca Tribble, who moved from Mississippi to Texas in 1875 and settled in Milam county, where the mother died in 1880 and the father in 1891. Mrs. Graves was born in Mississippi, October 1858, and was a young lady when her parents moved to this State.

Mr. and Mrs. Graves have had six children born to them, five of whom are living: George Graves, born January 1881; Henry Graves, born October 1883; Lura Graves, born October 1885; Paul Graves, born January 1888; and Estell Graves, born January 1890.

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.

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Created on 20 July 2004 and last revised on ____________