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Below is a family biography included in the book, Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published by Chapman Publishing Company in 1895.  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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JOHN S. GRAVES, a wealthy and influential farmer of Johnson County, owns a valuable homestead on section 4, township 44, range 28. He is one of the early settlers of this county, and experienced many vicissitudes of fortune, especially during the war. While he was absent at the front, his house, barns and fences were burned to the ground, and even the bricks which composed the chimney were hauled away. When he reached home he found a scene of desolation indeed, for nothing remained of his years of toil save the bare ground.

Mr. Graves was born in Mercer County, Ky., September 30, 1830, and went to Hendricks County, Ind., when he was about twelve years of age. He grew to manhood on a farm and received a district-school education. When he was eighteen years of age he commenced learning the carpenter’s trade, serving an apprenticeship of three years and receiving $7 per month for part of his time. April 30, 1854, he married Jane A. Bailey, of Hendricks County, who was born in Nicholas County, Ky., August 22, 1834, and moved with her parents to the Hoosier State in 1853. The latter, Elisha and Nancy (Pollock) Bailey, were natives of Nicholas County, Ky. In 1855 Mr. Graves placed his wife and one child in a wagon with a few household effects and drove across the country to this county. He possessed about $250 in money, and this he soon invested in two hundred and forty acres of land at seventy-five cents an acre. He improved the place, traded off a tract of eighty acres for another farm, and has since purchased more, for the last paying $40 per acre. His homestead comprises four hundred and four acres of desirable property, all lying in one body.

One child alone survives of the eight sons and daughters who came to bless the union of John S. Graves and his wife. Etta May, born in this county May 6, 1869, received a good education and for three years attended Holden College. She was married, October 5, 1892, to F. D. Ball, who was born in Bloomingburg, Fayette County, Ohio, October 14, 1866. He moved from his native state to Nebraska, and from there to Kansas City, attending commercial college at Omaha, Neb. Mr. and Mrs. Ball have a little son, named in honor of his grandfather, John Graves, and the date of his birth was December 30, 1893.

While her husband was absent fighting for the Southern side, Mrs. Graves remained on the farm until her house was burned down over her head, this being on Christmas Day, 1862, after which she went to Henry County, Mo., where an uncle of Mr. Graves lived. The uncle, however, was away from home during the war, and his daughters, with Mrs. Graves’ help, carried on the farm, doing all kinds of heavy work, such as plowing, cutting and hauling the wood, etc. Owing to the industrious efforts of Mrs. Graves, she had a few cattle and a horse with which to stock the farm when the husband returned to his ruined home. The parents have been members of the Christian Church for many years, and their daughter is also identified with the same. Mr. Graves has served as a Deacon and has taken an active part in all departments of church activity. His father, Living Graves, a native of Virginia, died in 1884, at the home of his son in Johnson County. His wife was a Miss Mary Munday, and their family comprised four children, three of whom were daughters.

In 1852 J. S. Graves cast his first Presidential ballot for Franklin Pierce. He has since supported the Democracy and has often served as a delegate to party conventions. August 16, 1862, he enlisted in Company D, Sixteenth Missouri Infantry, under Colonel Caldwell and Captain Raker. His first brigade commander was General Hindman, and later he served under Price. He was in the battle of Prairie Grove, Ark., where they had a hot fight, afterward was in one on the Red River, at Pleasant Hill, La., and was next at Helena, Ark., where he was shot through both thighs. He was carried off the field to a hospital about five miles away and after only six weeks rejoined his regiment, participating in the battle of Little Saline, and was at Shreveport when his branch of the service surrendered, in 1865. He was sent to St. Louis and returned home by way of Warrensburg.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Johnson County, Missouri portion of the book,  Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published in 1895 by Chapman Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Johnson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Johnson County, Missouri family biographies here: Johnson County, Missouri Biographies

View a map of 1904 Johnson County, Missouri here: Johnson County, Missouri Map

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