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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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REV. JOSEPH S. GRAVES. Fifty years have come and gone since this gentleman entered the ministry of the Congregational Church. During nearly all these years he proclaimed the Gospel story, and told it with a simplicity and a power that were irresistible, as thousands still living can testify. He was well fitted in mind and body for pioneer service in the cause of religion, blazing the way for others and enduring hardships as a true soldier of Jesus Christ. His sermons were full of an unction that stirred his hearers to the depths of their souls. His appeals were often overpowering in their earnestness. Though he has now retired from the ministry, his life speaks, more eloquently in behalf of Christianity than even his words could do, powerful and beautiful as they were.

It cannot be out of place in this connection to mention facts of interest in the life of this pioneer preacher. He was born at Hartford, Conn., in 1814. His parents were Jeremiah and Mary N. (Spencer) Graves, natives respectively of Massachusetts and Hartford, Conn. Prior to the age of sixteen he resided in Connecticut, where he received a common-school education in the primitive “temples of learning” common in that day. In 1831 he accompanied his parents to Illinois, and three years later he entered the Illinois College, located at Jacksonville, graduating from that institution in 1839. Later he became a student in the Lane Theological Seminary at Cincinnati, Ohio, studying under the famous Lyman Beecher, and graduating from the seminary in 1842.

After having been ordained a minister of the Gospel in 1843, the Rev. Mr. Graves accepted the pastorate of the Congregational Church at Woodburn, Ill. Five years later he became pastor of a church in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he remained for two years. Thence he removed to Aurora, Portage County, Ohio, and for sixteen years he occupied a prominent position among the clergy of that city. In 1866 he located in Roscoe, Ill., where he remained for six years. His next home was in Jackson County, Iowa, where he resided for three years. While in that place he retired from active connection with the ministry, to which his entire active life had previously been devoted. In 1875 he came to Niles and has since resided in this city. Since coming here, he has held the same devoted attachment to the city, and whatever contributes to her growth he is ready to espouse. Politically, he is a Republican, but is not active in the party. In 1842 Rev. Mr. Graves married Miss Frances Kemper, of Cincinnati, Ohio, who died in 1853. They were the parents of three children, viz.: Mary E., wife of Charles Osborne, of Niles; Anna Belle, and Frank K., deceased. The second marriage of Rev. Mr. Graves occurred in 1854, and united him with Miss Anna Boyce, a native of Massachusetts. This union has been blessed by two children: Henry D. and Hattie L., the latter being the wife of Frank Morris, of Niles.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Berrien County, Michigan family biographies here: Berrien County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Berrien County, Michigan here: Berrien County Michigan Map

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