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Genealogical information for the family members before Eli Graves came from the Graves Family website (

The information for Eli Graves and those following came from the family bible (at left) and other documents, as noted. There is a place in the bible for photographs (at right), and many pictures survived because people put them in the family bible and wrote names in the margin so we would know who they were. Some of the pictures are shown below.

Johann Sebastian Graff (1703-1804) emigrated to America at the age of 27 from the German Palatinate (see note) as part of the Pennsylvania Dutch settlers, departing from the port of Rotterdam, Netherlands on the ship, Alexander and Anne, William Clymer - Master. They arrived in the city of New York on 5 September 1730. He is on list 12B of the ship's manifest. [Note: The German Palatinate (a.k.a. Rhine Valley from Zweibrucken and Kaiserslautern to Mannheim and Heidelberg. Joel has been to Germany seven times (6 with the Army) and visited all of these cities, and Heidelberg is his favorite city in all of Germany.)

He settled in Greenwich Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania and was a member of the German Reformed church. Johann married Catherine Maria Magdalena Fuchs, daughter of Joh Nicklass Fuchs in 1740 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. She was born about 1705 in Germany, baptized on 25 August 1720 in Prussia, and died in Orange County, North Carolina. [Or, did he marry Anna Cartharina Korben, 7 Nov 1730 in Evangelisch, Kusel, Pfalz, Bayera, Germany?].

They had 17 children with names for the following: William B, Barbara (b. 1745), John Jacob (b. 8 Mar 1746), Sebastian "Boston" (b. 1 Oct 1747 :: Boston being a play on the name Sebastian), John Peter or just Peter (b. 13 Nov 1753), John Jr (b. 1754?), Maria Philippina, John Gunrodt?, George, Elizabeth, Sopia, Catherine, and Boston. Jacob (John Jacob) and Boston were born in Berks County, Pennsylvania, 1746 and 1747, respectively, based on the Dunkel Church baptismal records of Greenwich Township in Berks County, PA, on file with the Library of Congress. His son, Peter, was killed by Indians in 1794 at Fort Sharps in Tennessee. Note: John Jacob is intermittently called John and Jacob depending on who is relating the record of events. Perhaps, John Jacob was called Jacob at times to distinguish him from what appears to be a John Junior b.1754. Confusing.

It is believed that about 1756 he moved his family to North Carolina with other Pennsylvania Dutch who were leaving that state (he appears for the first time on the tax list of 1757). They settled on Stinking Quarter Creek, a branch of the Alamance River, in Alamance County (previously Orange County) near present day Burlington, North Carolina. Along this same creek was the Graves Church, a Pennsylvania Dutch German Reformed church, where services were held until about 1800. In time, he became known as Old John of Stinking Quarter, and apparently he lived near the church. He might've even helped start the church when they moved to the area.

At about that same time they moved to North Carolina, they changed his family name from Graff (pronounced Grav) to Graves, so his name became John Sebastian Graves. Apparently his son and grandson changed their names also. He died on the family farm in 1804 at the age of 101and was buried near the old Presbyterian Church in Big Valley, Claiborne County, Tennessee. [I found a source recently that says Johann was born 23 Feb 1702 in Neustadt, Palatine, Rhineland, Germany, and died at the age of 102 and is buried in the New Loyston Cemetery, Union County, Tennessee.]

He had to swear an oath to King George III in Superior Court for Salisbury District of Orange County, North Carolina in 1763 to become a naturalized citizen.

Born in Germany and christened as Johann Sebastian Graff, sailing from Rotterdam on the Alexander and Ann, arriving at Philadelphia September 5, 1730. He settled in Berks County, Pennsylvania and moved to Orange (now Almance) County, North Carolina about 1757. Being a member of the Regulators, he fought at the Battle of Alamance in 1771. He moved to what is now Union County, Tennessee about 1800. His remains were removed by the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) to this site in 1935. (Picture of grave marker provided by Ken Ditto, cousin to Curt Graves). The reason the marker was moved by the TVA is that the Norris Dam was built in 1935 and flooded the valley.
John Jacob Graff/John Jacob Graves (8 Mar 1746 – 1 or 10 Apr 1820) married Turley Coble (1748- ). Known first as John Jacob Graff in Pennsylvania, then John Jacob Graves in North Carolina. But from court records from March 1763, he is listed as John Graves, and apparently was listed as John Graves in 1763 naturalization records (It can get confusing because he often listed as Jacob). They had 11 children, the oldest being, John "Clinch John" Graves. John Jacob was a member of the Moravian (German Reformed) church. He moved to Knox County, Tennessee before 1797 but is buried in Stoner Cemetery, Alamance County, NC.
The following was taken from a book written by Roy Stockwell on the history of the Graves family, but I believe it is in error. This must be John Jacob, often called Jacob. As described above and in a note at the bottom, both names are used for him depending on the circumstances - jcg.

Jacob was apparently under suspicion as being a Tory by the military in his community because of his activities during the Revolutionary War. It is not clear whether he was a willing or unwilling sympathizer with the British during the War. The North Carolina State Records contain the following concerning him. [There is another record that says Jacob actually fought for the British army] jcg.

Thursday, April 24, 1783, the House met...Received from his excellency the Governor the following message: To the Honorable the general assembly, Gentlemen: I hereto send you...petitions in favor of Jacob Graves who is now under sentence of death in Hillsboro jail for high treason, who is to be executed the 16th day of May. I request the sense of the Hon. the general assembly as to the fate of this person.

Signed Alexander Martin
Received from the Senate the resolve of this house for extending mercy to Jacob Graves now under sentence of death in Hillsboro jail. Endorsed in Senate Apr 24, 1784, read and concurred with.

A possible explanation of his plight is found in the following letter from Jesse Benton to Col. Thomas Hardy, dated March 23, 1783, which gives a glimpse of the way the Tories were treated even after the British were driven out of North Carolina.

Scoundrels under cloak of great Whigs cannot bear thought of paying the unfortunate wretches whom fame and ill call Tories (though many of them are probably honest, industrious and useful men) for plundered property, but on the other hand think they together with their wives and children (who now beg for mercy) ought to be punished to the utmost extremity. I am sorry that Col. O'Neal and his brother Pete, who have been useful men and whom I am in hopes are pretty clear of plundering should have a hand in arbitrary measures at this day when the civil laws might take place. One Jacob Graves, son of John of Old Stinking Quarter went off & was taken to the British Army [note this account implies he was an unwilling attendant of the British Army . It might be that he came to his senses, deserted the British army, and made up this story of being captured to survive. Col O'Neal was not so sure and probably knew the truth, for he acted with great passion and dispatch! jcg], escaped from the guards, came and surrendered himself to Gen. Butler, about the last of last month and went to his family upon parole.
Col. O'Neal having information of this armed himself with a gun and sword went to Graves in a passion, Graves shut the door, O'Neal broke it down, Jacob Graves I believe thinking his own life was at stake, took his brother's gun which happened to be at the house & shot O'Neal through the breast. O'Neal has suffered much but is now recovering. This accident has inflamed and set to work those who are afraid of suffering for their unjust and unwarrantable deeds, the ignorant honest men are also willing to take part against their rulers & I don't know when or where it is to end but I wish it was over. At the Guilford February court, Peter O'Neal & others armed with clubs in the face of the court...beat some men called Tories so much that their lives were despaired of, broke up the court and finally have stopped the civil laws in that county...Rowan County court I am told, was also broke up.

The first record the writer found in Orange County concerning Jacob Graves was an indenture between John Noe and Jacob Graves made May 12, 1770...half part of my grist mill and mill seat including 10 acres of land to be laid out in a square making the mill the center...situate on both sides of Stinking Quarter Creek and being part of a larger tract of land which Pete Noe purchased from Henry McCollogh, containing 110 acres. Signed: John Noe.
Now this is another case of names John Jacob and Jacob being intertwined in one document apparently for one and same person.

Jacob Graves' name was mentioned in the following indenture made June 25 "in the 12th year of our Sovereign Lord King George the third and in the year of our Lord Christ 1772," between John Noe and Catharina his wife and John Graves, planter...part of land granted to John Noe by Henry E. McCollogh, dated Apr. 20, 1764...116 acres, except 5 acres which he sold to Jacob Graves, a son of said John, containing 111 acres... The name of Jacob Graves appears on the 1780-1 Orange County tax list assessed on 312 acres of land.

John Jacob Graff Graves' Will [This will must have been done early, as he signs it Jacob Graff. We see here that he had a negro woman slave, which apparently had children who were also seen as property to be passed down along with land and horses. jcg]

Wife Turley shall enjoy full possession of my house with my daughter Betsey to live also with her mother as long as she lives single and also my wife to have my negro girl Rainey as long as she lives, also 2 horses and gears...give and bequeath to Mary Glass $50 which she has instead of a horse; also give unto Catherine Glass the like sum of $50 instead of a horse which she received. I give unto Nelly Neace $50 instead of a horse she having received $11 . I give unto Barbara Graves $50; I give and bequeath to Betsy and Sarah Graves $150 each; to son Daniel Graves tract of land whereon he now lives not to cross Stinking Creek above the mill at the fork or junction of the two creeks or to interfere or have any part of the mill tract. Also give to said Daniel part of my 206 acre tract all on south side of the creek. Said Daniel Graves is to pay to my estate of executors the sum of $500, paying $100 within a year after my death and the balance within 2 years thereafter clear of interest which shall be his part of my estate.

My son Elias Graves the balance of 206 acre my estate $500, $100 within year of my death and balance within 2 years which shall be his part of my estate; son David my old tract and the same he lives on and that part of 206 acre tract which lies in the fork of the two creeks heretofore reserved for my said son David to pay $500 to estate, $100 within 2 years and balance 2 years thereafter as his share.

I wish my wife to enjoy my mill and the land contained in the mill tract and I wish for the mill to be kept in repair out of my estate, my sons Daniel, Eli and David aiding in getting the timbers.............furnishing the same off their tract of land. It is my wish after the death of my wife for my mill, together with the land attached to it, to be sold among my children to the highest bidder also the negro girl and her increase to be sold among my children after my wife's death.
It is my wish and desire what property or part of my estate which may be left after the death of my wife to be equally divided among my two sons Bostion and John Graves and all my daughters share and share alike my other 3 sons named having receive d ? their parts in their land...Nominate George Isley, Bostion Graves and David Graves to act as executors to my last will...

Signed: Jacob Graff     Recorded 1820 [The year of his death]

Witnesses: Jacob Graves, C. Hale, Martin, X, Jacob, Anthony [one fellow could not write and put an "x".]

The date of Jacob's death appears in the Stoner Church Records, which state he was buried in Stoner's Churchyard. The old cemetery is now located on the farm of Sidney Russell, a descendant of Jacob Graves (1952). It is on a high bluff, not far from Stinking Creek, and is so overgrown with trees, bushes, weeds, etc., that it is inaccessible. Many of the tombstone s are lying on the ground and it has been very badly neglected.

On tax lists for Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Counties, Tennessee 1800-1820, there is a Jacob Graves, and also a John Graves (Graff). Buried in Stoner's Cemetery, Belmont, Alamance County, North Carolina.

John “Clinch John” Graves (8 Mar 1772 – 6 Sept 1850) and Sarah Sharp, owned a farm in the town of Sharps Chapel, Union County, Tennessee, one mile north of the Clinch River (30 miles north of Knoxville, TN), married his first cousin Sarah “Sallie” Sharp (1774-1860)daughter of Henry Honas Sharp and Barbara Graves of Orange County, N Carolina. They had 18 children, the second oldest being Solomon.

John Graves, born Mar 8, 1772 in Orange County, N.C., was the oldest son of John Jacob and Thorley (Turley) Coble Graves. He married Sarah Sharp (his first cousin, apparently), born about 1774 in North Carolina, daughter of Henry and Barbara Graves Sharp. It was with this grandson that "Old John Graves of Stinking Quarter Creek" is said to have made his home until his death in 1803-04 in Tennessee. John Graves' name appears in the records of Claiborne County in 1801 as one of the witnesses to a "love" deed from Henry Sharp, Sr. to his son Henry Jr.

Many of the Graves' now living in Union County, Tenn., claim descent from John Jacob and Sarah Sharp Graves. He left a will dated September 2, 1744. (Claiborne County Will Book A, p. 404) This will bequeaths "unto my son John all my lands...all my personal property...and to give my wife comfortable support and to take good care of her during her natural life...My will is that my grandson Hugh H. Graves have a dark blue rone horse that I allowed for him, also a saddle." Other children mentioned are the three youngest next to John and three next oldest. Sons John and Eli were appointed executors. John's wife Sarah, age 76, born in North Carolina, was listed in the 1850 Claiborne County census living with John and Isabel Graves and their family. She was still living with them in 1860, according to the census of that year.

Solomon Graves (15 May 1797 – 14 August 1863) and Charity Keck (1799 – 1872, pictured here), married 3 Sept 1818). Solomon had a brother named Elias. It charityKeckGravesMarker_200.jpgmight be that they named there son after Solomon’s brother. In the 1850’s, Solomon moved his family to Doniphan County, Kansas. As members of the Bethel Christian Church, three miles north of Dekalb, Buchanan County, Missouri, Solomon and Charity were buried in the church cemetery (marker says

Charity Graves died Oct 21, 1872 Aged 72 years 9 months: and the cemetery is still there).

Grave marker (left) says Solomon Graves, Died Aug 14, 1863, 66 years 3 mos. I can't tell what it says below. Also at Bethel Church cemetery. Grave marker at right is for Eli and Margaret Graves, buried at Long Beach Municipal Cemetery in California.


Note the G.A.R on Eli Graves' marker (right). That stands for Grand Army of the Republic, the fraternal organization of the veterans who served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Their motto was Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty and they worked to promote veteran rights. By working with the Republican Party, they promoted the right of their black veterans to vote. Their model was used by the American Legion which formed after World War I and the Veterans of Foreign Wars which started after World War II. Until the early 1900's, if you wanted to be President of the United States, you need the GAR's endorsement. The GAR disappeared after their last surviving member died in 1956.


Eli Graves and Margaret Graves (left) as found in Charity Keck Graves' photo album, probably about 1870.

Eli Graves (April 22, 1839 - July 1, 1924) was born in Claiborne County, East Tennessee. He married Margaret Jane Norman (January 30, 1845 – October 19, 1911) in Morgan County, Indiana on November 4, 1860. Over the years, Eli was a farmer and merchant.

Eli and Margaret had 12 children, all born in Atchison County, Kansas: William Henry (September 19, 1864), Fanny Bell (May 10, 1866 – October 30, 1867), Joseph Foster (February 26, 1868), Mary Loualice (January 30, 1870 – April 10, 1872), Daniel Cass (June 20, 1871), Charles Edward (September 29, 1873 – November 25, 1873), Frederick Alfred (April 3, 1875 – August 22, 1957). Francis "Frank" Goodall was born March 1, 1856 and became a part of the family. He died March 30, 1931 in Owensmouth, California.

Also from the Charity's photo album, her grandson Frederick Graves (left), probably about 1877.

Eli's family at right. Frank Goodall (adopted), Josie, William, Della, Harry, and Frederick with Eli and Margaret seated.

In 1869 the railroad was completed from St. Joseph, Missouri to Oakland, California, and Eli moved his family by train to California in 1876. After they settled in Santa Clara, California, Harry Curtis was born (July 26, 1877 – July 12, 1930), and Della Myrtle (August 29, 1879).

(Note: The Donner Party was snowbound in a Sierra Nevada pass, near present day Truckee and Donner Lake, in the winter of 1846-47. Out of 87 people, 48 survived, and some people thought our family was from a member of this group named Graves - not so. Our family followed them to California 30 years later on the train). We have a form for the census taken on 14 and 15 June 1880, and it lists the Graves family as living in Temecula, San Diego County, California. They must have moved to Downey a few years later.

After Eli moved the family to Downey, California in the early 1880’s, Josephine was born (June 30, 1883 – November 2, 1952). Joseph Foster and Daniel Cass both died in Downey, California at 15 and 14 years old, respectively.

October 19, 1911, in Long Beach, California, Margaret Jane died. On October 4, 1913, two years later, and at the age of 74, Eli remarried Miranda A. Cowell, who was 59 years old. Eli lived another 11 years. While visiting his daughter Della, he died July 1, 1924 at the age of 85.
Aunt Della's Memoirs

Fred was nine months old when Margaret and Eli Graves and family came from Kansas to California by Emigrant Steam Train. They all slept on the floor. Robbers were plentiful, so there was a man on guard duty in each car. Papa was on guard duty when a man came into our car with a sore hand and asked Papa to look at it. Papa, being wise, stepped back and told him, ‘No doctor.’ Those days they wore brass knuckles to knock one out. Another night, a man came in, knelt over Papa and was feeling inside his shirt. Mama saw the man and she kept touching Papa until he woke up. When Papa asked him what he wanted, the man whispered that he wanted to warn them that robbers were on the train. The man was the robber.

Frank Goodall was living with the Graves family at the time that Grandma Margaret and Grandpa Eli got married. They asked Frank to come live with them and he did. He had no known relatives living except a young sister. He later married Sue, and they were wonderful people and greatly loved by all the family and friends. They were very stable people and raised two sons, Erle and Ralph. Erle and his wife raised two children and Ralph and his wife, Helen, raised two children. Frank Goodall died on March 30, 1931.

Aunt Della died October 27, 1965.

Frederick Alfred Graves (April 3, 1875 – August 22, 1957) married Emma Louise Johnson (April 16, 1874 – November 16, 1962) (daughter of Grandma Johnson). He owned 160 acres through the 1862 Homestead Act.

Interesting fact: Joel Graves remembers Grandpa Fred. Joel was born in 1953 and has vivid memories of Grandpa Fred sitting on the front porch of the house with his cane and a great hernia that was never repaired.

Fred and Emma had six children: Jesse, Queenie, Warren, Curtis, Cecil, and Theodore who died at one year old.


Fred Graves' obituary from the West Valley Letters, Chatsworth, California, August 29, 1957. Editor: Betty Straka.

Chatsworth has bade farewell to one more old-time resident, one who had many tales to tell of the early days of our town. More than 100 relatives and friends were present at the graveside service for Fred A. Graves, which was held Monday afternoon at Oakwood Cemetery at 2pm with Dr. Harold Hayward officiating with a fine tribute. Mr. Graves passed away Thursday in the Wasco Community Hospital following an illness of several months.

Fred Graves was born in Kansas on April 3, 1875, coming to Southern California when two years old, and settling in Chatsworth when he was 17. In 1896 he married Emma Johnson, the first white child to be born in the San Fernando Valley, and they have enjoyed 61 years of married life together! In the “old days” when Chatsworth was not a part of L.A. (Los Angeles), Fred served as Constable and also Deputy Sheriff – this was when Chatsworth also had its own jail, by golly! (As the constable, Fred would go about his duties riding around the countryside. He carried a pistol on the saddle, and on his way home it was his custom to shoot rabbits for dinner). Pictured at right.

And he was County Fire Warden in charge of the lookout on Oat Mountain. He and Lovell Hill were the joint owners of one of the first grocery stores here, on Topanga near Murilla (the building has since been torn down) doing a bit of farming on the side, and when the store sold, he raised cattle on the Jaughin Ranch north of Chatsworth in the vicinity of Browns Canyon. In the days when we had a little county school house, Fred was on the School Board, and before the streets were dressed up with this hard top modern look, he was Road Foreman, looking after the dirt roads.

Yes, Fred Graves led a full life and a busy one and his many friends will miss him. He leaves his wife, Emma, and four of six children: Queenie Billings of Chatsworth, the only girl; Jesse of Redding; Curtis of Buttonwillow; and Warren of Santa Susana Knolls. Emma Graves' Memoirs

Someone asked Emma Graves to write about her memories of the Chatsworth area, and she typed them out on a typewriter on December 14, 1952.

Close up of photo to right.

You wanted me to tell you when the Stage Coach road come through here. Well, I’ll tell you, but as far as I know, I don’t know. I knew a woman who said she came across here in the stagecoach from San Francisco in 1871 and the first name of this place the personalities call “Chatsworth” was Las Felicitas, and from Las Felicitas it was called “Santa Susana.” When they organized the school it was called Santa Susana because they [wanted] to give the school a name. Afterwards it was called Chatsworth, and that’s the name that stayed with them, I guess. In fact, it was called Chatsworth Park, but they cut the “Park” off, because they have no park here.

Adobe for San Fernando Mission

The adobes were made over near, very close in fact, to the ____ park [part?] of Chatsworth because they had the lime, and the hills there had lime in them, and the adobe ground was there. They made the adobes and heated them in the lime kilns which were in Brown’s Canyon and in the Lime Kiln Canyon and then the bricks were carried over, I presume in wagons or something, to San Fernando to build the San Fernando Mission. After they were pretty well organized there, I think they had something near a thousand Indians, according to the history, smallpox broke out, so the Padres went [took] a lot of these Indians and people who had the smallpox, to the Sulphur Springs of which there were several in Chatsworth and some down now where the Chatsworth Lake is. There are grave yards in both places. At that time it was called Las Pilitas which some say means “pools” and others, “sticks.”

The adobes were made and put out in the hot sun to dry, but we still see where the lime kilns were that cured the first adobes that were made here. The Fathers apparently knew how to make them. Some were made by putting straw in them but the lime was there close to the adobes and they made forms and then put them down in these lime pits which I suppose either rocks had been put in the bottom and heated and the bricks put in there or else – that part of it I don’t know much about. Maybe somebody that’s mechanically inclined can tell you.

Grandma Ann

My father was born in Denmark, and though a very strong man, didn’t like to fight. The boys there were compelled to join the army and fight, so he came to America. My mother (pictured left) was born in Sheffield, England. Her people came here from England when she was four years old. They belonged to the Mormon church in Utah. That was where my mother and father met. They had three little girls and moved to Nevada, and from Nevada they came to California and eventually settled in the hills north of Chatsworth.

The young people met in Utah and of course he seemed to be such a wonderful man, which probably he was, because he was big and strong. They were married in the Mormon church. When their third daughter came, my father decided that he didn’t like it there and so he told my mother he was going to Nevada and she said, “Well, I don’t like to have you go alone.” He said, “Listen, you’re going to come when the next train comes through. I’ll fix that,” but he said, “I’ve got to go now.” So he took the two horses, one a pack horse, and went to Utah [Nevada], and eventually she went to him and from there they came through by wagon to California.

The Johnson Family

Of course the family of Johnsons settled at the old homestead when I was about five or six months old – maybe not that old because they carried me their in their arms. There were nine children. My mother had five boys and five girls. The one boy died, just older than I was. Naturally when we married we had families and I think there are still several hundred of them [still] wandering around in Chatsworth, making beautiful homes and working wherever they like to work. I really wouldn’t know – I haven’t got fingers enough to count them all on so of course since I haven’t been educated too well maybe I couldn’t count them right.

Emma Graves

I was born in Brown’s Canyon in 1873. My brother just older than I was also born there but he passed away when he wasn’t but six years old. When my folks moved to the homestead, I was about five or six months old, and they carried me up to this level flat, way up in the mountains, so my life has been spent, practically always, in Chatsworth.

Emma on her horse in Brown’s Canyon in the 1800’s.

We did well to have candles. My first recollection was candles and then later on it was lanterns and lamps. There were no people lived in Brown’s Canyon, the families just staying there long enough. They had little dobe [adobe] houses or shake houses or something like that, to chop wood and they hauled the wood to Los Angeles and traded it for groceries. There were very few of those kind of people up there and they would steal you blind if you didn’t have everything shut up tight.

I married a man (Fred Graves) that had come from Missouri and I met him in Chatsworth. His brother had a ranch out near Calabasas and I met him there, and married him, and we had six children. One died. They have all married except Cecil, the one who is a polio victim some forty years ago. We have five children, twelve grandchildren, and ten great grand children. My oldest son, Jess Graves, is a forestry man, has been for a good many years. At present he is in Redding. The next son was hit by polio when he was 9 ½ years old. My daughter was next. We were boarding the men that were working on the tunnel – the engineers – so when my husband went in and announced that he had a newcomer in the home, they said, “What is it, a king or a queen?” And he said, “A queen,” and they said, “Alright, that’s her name,” and my goodness, I gave her a name but nobody knows her by it. She’s always been called “Queenie.” She lives right there in Chatsworth close to us. The next one was Curtis and he, at present, is making his money in cotton at Buttonwillow. The baby was Warren. He’s been working for the Navy for a good many years, construction work. Most of it is bridge building and things like that. He’s quite proficient in the work that he carries on but most of it is wharf building and things like that. The Navy, of course, let out contracts to contractors and he really is working for a contractor that is working for the Navy. He has been here all the time, fortunately. They lived at Wilmington for quite a while and then afterward he moved up to Oxnard and they live now over here at the Knolls in Ventura County. So there are none of them that are very far away only that we have four grandsons in the service. Mikey was the first great grandchild – no, the second. Jess’s son had the oldest family, then of course my daughter’s daughter had two children and Mikey is the one that seems to be sort of a favorite in the family.

Breakwater and SP Spur

Where the stage coach road was, when the breakwater was built in Santa Monica, there was a small branch railroad line put out to Chatsworth and on up to the rock quarries, sand rock, and when they were building the railroad, their crew was stationed over in Simi or in Ventura County. Many of the men ate in my home in Los Angeles County. Right on the line was a small cabin. In this cabin a woman held out and had plenty to drink – I don’t know whether she made it or bought it but I imagine she made some of it – I dunno – and she would take blankets and anything that the men would bring there, and trade for drink. Eventually she got in trouble. When the Ventura authorities came after her, she was in Los Angeles County. Los Angeles County got interested and they came after her and she was in Ventura County so apparently they didn’t get together because she stayed there until the railroad was all through, all fixed and traveling in to Los Angeles.
Curtis Harry Graves (September 3, 1906 – February 26, 1963) married Margaret Anastia Hill (November 19, 1907 – November 12, 2000) and had 3 children: Marie, Curtis, Norma Jean.

Curtis was born in Chatsworth, California. He spent his childhood as a country boy helping his father with farm and cattle needs in the Chatsworth area. In high school (Owensmouth, now Canoga Park), he was active in sports and excelled in football. Because of his efforts, he was called, “Tiger.” When he was older, the name changed to “Tige,” which became his nickname for life. Tige loved to hunt and could be persuaded to go at just about any time. In high school he met Margaret Hill (Peggy), and they were married in Chatsworth on August 11, 1928. He died in Bakersfield.

Margaret Anastacia Hill was born in Cleveland, Ohio on November 19, 1907 but also lived in Windsor, Canada. Her father and mother, Joshua and Frances Hill, were Canadian citizens. He was a steel fabricator and inventor. Because of her mother’s poor health, the family moved to Canoga Park, California in 1923. The trip took them two months in a Model T Ford. In Canoga Park, the family raised chickens and her father worked at inventing. Margaret died November 12, 2000 in Plattsburg, Missouri and was buried with Tige in Bakersfield, California. Click on this link to learn about the Hill family.

Margaret Marie was born on February 20, 1929 at Los Angeles Orthopedic Hospital. In October 1930 Curtis Allen was born in Chatsworth, and Norma Jean was born in Chatsworth on July 31, 1941.

Over the years, Tige was employed as a carpenter, tool dresser for an oil company, and Assistant Ranger/Fire Fighter for the California State Division of Forestry. He was self-employed as a farmer in the Chatsworth area and grew grain, had an orchard, and did custom tractor work. In 1943 the family moved to Buttonwillow, California, bought an 80 acre farm, and Tige built their house. Tige and Peggy enjoyed playing cards. Tige excelled in public service and was a member of the Buttonwillow School Board, Kern County School Board, the Farm Bureau, and the Lions Club.

A year after he died in 1964, Peggy sold the farm and moved to Los Gatos, California to be close to her parents. In 1968 her parents moved to Hollister, California and she joined them in 1970. After her parents died, she moved to Bedford, Iowa to be near her daughter, Norma. In 1988 she moved to the Foxwood Springs seniors center in Raymore, Missouri. When her health failed, she was moved to a nursing home in Plattsburg, where she died.

Curtis Allen Graves (October 1930) in August 1952 married Patsy Ruth Kirkham (February 1933) and had 5 children: Joel, Timothy (July 13, 1956 – March 17, 1960 died of childhood Leukemia), Susan, Peter and Andrew.

Curt was born in Chatsworth, California, October 8th, 1930. His childhood was spent as a country boy helping his father with farming activities. He attended grammar school in Chatsworth until he was in the 8th grade. In 1943 his father decided to move to Buttonwillow, California to continue his farming practice. Curt completed grammar school at Buttonwillow, then attended fighterpilot.jpgBakersfield High School. He graduated in 1948. He then attended Bakersfield Junior College and graduated in 1950 with an Associate of Arts in Business Administration.

After college he had various jobs and finally went to work for the California State Division of Highways on a survey crew. At this time the Korean War was active, and he was about to be drafted in to the U.S. Army. He elected to join the U.S. Army Air Force as an Aviation Cadet in March 1951. The quota for a class was set in August 1951, so he was sent to Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas for basic training as a private. After six weeks he graduated at the rank of Private First Class (E-3). He was sent to San Angelo, Texas to work on the flightline until his cadet class started. In August 1951 he started Basic Cadet Training (Class 52F).

The first six months was spent flying the AT-6. He also studied weather, military law, and instrument flying. In February 1952 he was transferred to Big Springs, Texas to complete Cadet Advanced Training, and was trained in the T-28 and T-33 aircraft. He completed this program in September 1952. His class was scheduled to go to the Korean War, but Curt was sent to the Air Defense Command, and later the Strategic Air Command. In October 1951 Curtis met Patsy Ruth Kirkham of San Angelo, Texas. After dating they were engaged in July 1952 and married in August 1952.

Patsy Ruth Kirkham. Pat was born in February 1934 in San Angelo, Texas, Tom Green County. Her parents were Edwin Oliver Kirkham and Joy Marie Cannon Kirkham.

Patsy went to Reagan Elementary school only a block from home. When she started seventh grade, her parents moved to the Lakeview district, where her dad was just finishing building their new house and where just a few blocks away he was the Captain of the fire station for that district.

She was very active in junior high and high school. In junior high she organized and cataloged a library for student use, published the junior high newspaper, and worked part-time before and after school in the principal’s office. On weekends and holidays, she was an usher at the Texas Theater making 25 cents an hour – her first paying job!

Patsy graduated from Lakeview High School in three years instead of the customary four by going to summer school at San Angelo High before her freshman year. Then during the ensuing three years, she took extra courses for the additional credits for graduation.

She played bass drum in the high school band her freshman year and was elected Freshman Favorite, and continued to work in the school office, but now in the superintendent’s office, where she stayed until graduation.

Her sophomore/junior year (2nd year), she was a class officer, varsity cheer leader, and member of the student council. She was elected the State Land Commissioner at Girl’s state and went to Girl’s State in Austin, Texas, where the highlight was attending a formal tea at the governor’s mansion. During all these activities, she also worked Saturdays and holidays at Sears Roebuck and Company in the auditing office, where they took care of the books for two Sears stores. Gradually, she assisted in the cashiers “cage” and helped make store deposits. Sundays were spent playing the piano for church services at the Lakeview Baptist Church.

In her senior year, Patsy was head cheer leader, vice-president of the student council, and was elected to numerous other honors. She was 17 when she graduated in 1951 and went to work in the circulation department of the San Angelo Standard Times – the local newspaper published twice a day. The office work was all possible because of two years of typing, bookkeeping, and short-hand classes taken in high school and taught by a very capable and tough professional business teacher, Mrs Dorothy Salsbury.

After graduation she moved into the house of her grandmother and great grandmother. They lived in town where there was a bus stop right in front of their house. There she had a large front bedroom with a closet, but everything else was shared. For a short time, she went to work for a used car salesman who owned his own business, and it was during this time that she met Curtis Graves. In fact, it was in October, but they didn’t have a date until February of the following year. In July she went to work as a cashier and bookkeeper at the Cadet Club at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo.

On July 4th, 1952, Curtis proposed marriage and they were married in August 1952 in Portales, New Mexico. She continued working until Curt graduated a 2nd Lieutenant on September 13, 1952 from cadet training at Webb Air Force Base in Big Springs, Texas.
Joel Curtis Graves married Rena Lynn Grizzle in 1973. Their son, Joshua Thomas Graves was born in 1974, and their daughter, Christina Anne Graves was born in 1977. This picture was taken November 2004 on the occasion of Joel’s ordination as a Lutheran minister, at their house in Lacey, WA. In September 2009 Joel and a group of like-minded people started New Hope Anglican church in Lacey. Then on November 15, 2009 Joel was ordained an Anglican Priest. After almost three years of pastoring, on February 1, 2012, he turned over the church to a young priest and retired. joelcgraves @

Joshua Thomas Graves married Steffanie Chamburs, and in October 2010 Elias David Graves was born, and  Benjamin Curtis Graves was born in April 2013. © 2017   joelcgraves @   and on Facebook