This page is for unusual and especially interesting stories about Graves/Greaves family members. Anyone is welcome to suggest or submit stories to be included here. When the ancestry of family members is not identified in or with the story, please tell us the ancestry if you know. All the links below take you to the story further down this page.
- Lt. James W. Graves & An Extraordinary Battle Line (unknown ancestry)
- Julius K. Graves & The Fenelon Place Elevator (gen. 168)
An Extraordinary Battle Line
On October 15, 1864, Colonel Chester Harding, Jr. of the 43rd MO (US) surrendered the federal garrison at Glasgow, MO. The following day, the 28 federal officer prisoners began a march to the Union outpost at Booneville, MO to be paroled (as required at that time by the Union side). They were escorted by Co. H, 3rd MO Mounted Infantry (CSA), which consisted of 49 men commanded by Lieutenant James W. Graves.
As any prudent officer would do, Lieutenant Graves sent out an advance guard and also flank guards. Soon he was informed by his sergeant that the advance guard had spotted a hundred men dressed as federal cavalry. The sergeant told him that they were not really federals, but guerrillas, probably belonging to the band of William ("Bloody Bill" ) Anderson.
Lieutenant Graves fully realized what would happen to his prisoners if they fell into Anderson's hands. He offered to free them and give them some weapons. The federal officers chose to remain with the Confederate soldiers and fight by their side if it came to that.
Soon some of the guerrillas approached and were met by Lieutenant Graves. They said that they were 300 strong and demanded that the prisoners be handed over to them. Lieutenant Graves indignantly refused, saying that he commanded Confederate soldiers, while Anderson's men were murderers and thieves. He told them to get out of the way or they would be fired on.
Lieutenant Graves then formed a battle line with 22 of the federal officers now armed and in the center. A Union officer produced a small company flag that he had hidden and received permission to display it next to the Confederate battle flag.
Forty-nine Confederates and 28 Union officers proceeded down the road. They met no resistance. That night their camp was guarded by both Union and Confederate sentinels.
The next day they encountered a federal cavalry patrol. Lieutenant Graves had accomplished his mission. His soldierly honor could never have allowed him any thought of giving up his prisoners, even if it meant risking his own life and those of his men.
Colonel Harding (later a brevet brigadier general) filed an official report commending Lieutenant Graves for his chivalrous behavior. The lieutenant also received the thanks of Union General William Starke Rosecrans.
The next year the war ended, but it did not end the gratitude of the Union officers whose lives were saved. They searched for the former Lieutenant Graves and found him in Texas. They arranged for him to come to St. Louis, where he was presented with a large gold medal by his former prisoners. On one side of the medal was an inscription referring to that extraordinary day when a battle line of both the blue and the gray joined together against a common enemy.
Source: Sent by Shirley Becker, from CW Weekly Fireside, probably originally from Chester Harding - Find A Grave: Chester Harding (1827-1875).
Julius K. Graves & The Fenelon Place Elevator
Julius Kingman Graves was born in Keene, New Hampshire, September 29, 1837. He was a son of Caleb S. Graves and Eliza Kingman, and was descended from immigrant Thomas Graves of Hartford, CT (genealogy 168). He received a common school education and at the age of seventeen came to Iowa, becoming a resident of Dubuque in 1854. He secured a position as cashier in a bank and in 1858 had risen to the head of the prosperous banking house of J. K. Graves & Co. It became a branch of the Iowa State Bank with Mr. Graves as manager. He engaged largely in other business enterprises among which was railroad building. He was one of the loyal capitalists who in the beginning of the Rebellion volunteered to raise the money required by Governor Kirkwood to equip and pay the first volunteers put into the field. He was one of the active promoters of the Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad. He was a radical Republican, living in a strong Democratic county but when a candidate for the State Senate in 1881 he overcame an adverse majority of nearly 3,000 and was elected. He died at Dubuque on the 9th of December, 1898.
The most interesting thing about Julius K. Graves was his part in the creation of the Fenelon Place Elevator in Dubuque, Iowa. In 1882, Dubuque was an hour and a half town - at noon everything shut down for an hour and a half when everyone went home to dinner. Mr. J. K. Graves, a former mayor, former State Senator, also promoter of mines and a banker, lived on top of the bluffs and worked at the bottom. Unfortunately, he had to spend half an hour driving his horse and buggy round the bluff to get to the top and another half an hour to return downtown, even though his bank was only two and a half blocks away.
Mr. Graves liked to take half an hour for his dinner, then a half an hour nap, but this was impossible because of the long buggy ride. As a traveler he had seen incline railways in Europe and decided that a cable car would solve his problem. He petitioned the city for the right to build. The franchise was granted on June 5, 1882. John Bell, a local engineer, was hired to design and to build a one-car cable modeled after those in the Alps.
The original cable car, which was built for Mr. Graves' private use, had a plain wood building, that housed a coal-fired steam engine boiler and winch. A wooden Swiss-style car was hauled up and down on two rails by a hemp rope. Mr. Graves' cable car operated for the first time on July 25, 1882. After that, he had his gardener let him down in the morning, bring him up at noon, down after dinner and nap, and up again at the end of the work day. Before long, the neighbors began meeting him at the elevator asking for rides.
After a couple of fires that required rebuilding, ten neighbors banded together and formed the Fenelon Place Elevator Co. Mr. Graves gave them the franchise for the right of way for the track. This group traveled to the 1893 Colombian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, to look for new ideas. They brought back a streetcar motor to run the elevator, the turnstile, and steel cable for the cars. They had remembered that each time the elevator house burned, the fire also burned through the hemp rope that held the car and sent it crashing down the hill destroying it and the little house at the bottom. Then they installed three rails with a fourth bypass in the middle to allow for the operation of two (funicular) counterbalanced cars. In 1977, the cable cars were completely rebuilt. After 84 years the original gear drive was replaced by a modern gear box with a DC motor. The movie F.I.S.T. included a scene that was filmed at the elevator.
(Source of information about the Fenelon Place Elevator: http://www.dbq.com/fenplco/)