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Below is a family biography from the book, History of Kentucky, Edition 7 by J. H. Battle, W. H. Perrin and G. C. Kniffin and published by F. A. Battey Publishing Company in 1887.  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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THE GRAVES FAMILY,* of Kenton. Bartlett Graves, the ancestor of the Graves family, of Kenton County, Ky., and one of the early pioneers of Kentucky, was born in Louisa County, Va., in the year 1766. He was the son of Thomas and Susan (Bartlett) Graves, who moved from Virginia to Kentucky as early as 1785, settling near Bryant’s Station, and whose descendants are still numerous in Scott and Fayette Counties. As far as we can trace the lineage of the family, Bartlett Graves was a grandson of Thomas Graves, who came from England to Virginia, and settled on a grant of land he had obtained, in what was afterward Louisa County. Another son of the Thomas Graves who came from England was David, the ancestor of the late William J. Graves, so long an eminent lawyer and politician of Louisville. Majs. Benjamin and Coleman Graves, who fell at the battle of the River Raisin, were also of this family. Bartlett first married Miss Frances Lane, of Virginia, The children of this marriage were Bartlett, Henry and Polly. Bartlett was a lawyer and lived in Barren County, near Glasgow. Henry, whose home was at the place now owned by Rev. Edward Stephens, near Erlanger depot, afterward moved to Missouri. Polly married the late William Grant, of Petersburg, Boone County. Mr. Graves came to Campbell County, then including Kenton, early in this century. His wife dying, he married Miss Patterson, who had no children, but was a faithful mother to her step-children, whom she brought up, Left again a widower, he married Miss Betsey Leathers, daughter of John Leathers, ancestor of the Leathers family, of Kenton County. In the year 1807 they settled on the farm where the town of Erlanger has recently been laid out. He gave his home the name of “Walnut Grove,” from the prevailing growth of timber on it. On that place their large family of ten children — five sons and five daughters — were born and brought up. In 1819 he built the brick house in which Mr. George M. Bedinger now lives. After his death “Walnut Grove” passed into the hands of Dr. B. F. Bedinger, about the year 1865, and the ground for Erlanger depot is on this old Graves farm, and was the generous gift of the late excellent Mrs. Sarah Bedinger. Mr. Graves was a man of vigorous mind and energetic character. He was social, generous and brave. In 1805 he was a member of the Legislature, and in 1814 and 1815 he was high sheriff of Campbell County, then including Kenton, and unaided by deputies he did all the business himself. He died in 1858, having passed his ninety-second year. Mrs. Graves survived him nine years, and died in 1867, in the eighty-sixth year of her life. This excellent woman, in sound judgment, fortitude and energy, was well fitted to be the wife of a pioneer. She brought up her large family under all the difficulties of pioneer life, and did it well. There were no factories in those days, and, assisted by her female servants, she manufactured all the clothing for her large household, from the wool and flax produced on the farm. In after years she often spoke of the delight of the “settlers’’ when they heard that a carding machine was established at Limestone (now Maysville), sixty miles off. The scream of the car whistle was not then heard in the land, and two or three neighbors would gather all the wool in the “settlement,” and take it in wagons to Limestone to be carded. There are those still living who have used and enjoyed, and now preserve as heirlooms, some of the beautiful cloth made by loving hands long since laid to rest. Mrs. Graves’ children, who greatly revered her, have passed away except her two eldest sons, aged respectively seventy-eight and eighty years. The daughters married, respectively, Benjamin Dulaney, Nathaniel Winn, George Winn, Blakey Bush and Dr. James Graves. Their descendants are numerous, mostly in Kentucky and Missouri. Of the sons, the two youngest, Thomas and Benjamin, young men of fine promise, died in early manhood, unmarried. Thomas had but a short time before returned from Centre College.

John L. Graves, the eldest son, so long a well known citizen in Kenton and Boone Counties, now lives near Middleton, Ohio, surrounded by an interesting family, the children of his second marriage. His second wife was Miss Martha Lucas, of Ohio. His first wife was Miss Maria Graves, of Boone County, Ky. The late Mrs. William Duncan, of Burlington, was one of the daughters of this marriage. Milton W. Graves, the second son of Bartlett and Elizabeth Graves, married Miss Catherine A. Osborne. This excellent lady died in 1879, leaving six sons and one daughter. Mr. Graves still lives on his farm, a few miles from his father’s old homestead, a well preserved man in his seventy-eighth year, surrounded by “children and children’s children.”

Joseph Addison Graves was the third son of Bartlett and Elizabeth Graves. He died in 1867 in the prime of a noble and useful life, at the age of fifty-two. He married Miss Anna C. Harrison, of Boone County, who with their three children still survives him. While we forbear to praise the living, it is but right to dwell on the virtues of the dead. Mr. Graves was almost entirely a self-made man; with few early advantages, and almost without assistance, by sheer force of character, sound judgment and untiring industry he carved his way to success and independence. He is remembered in Boone County where he lived so long as the faithful officer of the law, the model farmer, a man of thorough business qualifications and habits, and of strict integrity in his dealings with his fellow-men, and also as a kind neighbor and faithful friend. He was, we believe, the first farmer in northern Kentucky who introduced improved machinery, so far as it had then been invented, into his farming operations. From there he removed to the city of Louisville, where for years he was successfully engaged in business. He made a valuable addition to that city known as “Graves’ subdivision,” comprising many acres in the “west end” of the city. He was a man of superior mind and great depth of feeling. His mind was enriched, especially during the latter years of his life, by reading, until he became one of the best historians of his time. He was forgetful of self, earnest of purpose, and with gentle, unobtrusive manners. In presence he was attractive and commanding, in manner reserved, yet gentle and unobtrusive, and he unconsciously inspired confidence. He was also forbearing to enemies, and generous to all who needed his help.

Not many men to a greater degree exemplified in their lives the Scriptural precept — “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Warm in his attachments to family and friends, his tender forethought and unceasing efforts for those he loved were life-long indications of a nature wholly unselfish. No one who trusted him was ever betrayed or disappointed. He bore affliction, pecuniary losses and years of failing health with the fortitude and firmness of a martyr. But of all his noble qualities, he was preeminently just. Prominent among the grandsons of Bartlett Graves, now living, are Dr. Elijah Grant, of Petersburg; Dr. J. J. Dulaney, of Covington; Dr. B. A. and R. Dulaney, Alonzo Graves, John B. Graves, Joseph H. Graves and Charles A. Graves; also the Winns of Missouri. Among his great-grandsons are Dr. J. M. Grant, Dr. Woods, Dr. Duncan and Rev. William Woods. (See sketch of Rev. J. C. Harrison.)

*The notes of the Graves family were furnished mainly by John L. Graves, Milton W. Graves and Mrs. Anna C. Graves, the three oldest representatives of the name in this branch of the family.

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This family biography is one of 150 biographies included in the Kenton County, Kentucky section of the book, The History of Kentucky, Edition 7 published in 1887 by F. A. Battey Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: History of Kentucky, Edition 7

View additional Kenton County, Kentucky family biographies here: Kenton County, Kentucky Biographies

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