Cyrus Graves

CYRUS GRAVES - The accumulation of a fine farm of three hundred and sixty acres in Shelby County, Iowa, entitles the owner to be classed among the successful farmers of his county. This has been accomplished by Cyrus E. Graves, who is now living a retired life in Harlan after many years of hard toil on the farm. He and his wife started in with nothing but their good health and the willingness to work and save and by their combined efforts were able to raise themselves to a position of affluence in the county where they had once lived in a rude log cabin. Mr. Graves has been a good manager and has understood how to cultivate his ground in order to get the maximum results from his labors, a fact which is very apparent to those who have followed his career in the county.

Cyrus E. Graves was born in Jo Daviess County, Illinois, February 23, 1849, and was the son of Homer and Almira (Macomber) Graves. Homer, the son of Consider and Mettie (Wait) Graves, was born March 31, 1811, in the state of New York. Consider Graves took his family to Ohio in the year 1818 and shortly after was accidentally drowned in that state. The widow and her children later moved to Jo Daviess county, Illinois, where she married Mr. Moore. To her second union was born one son, Joseph, who is now deceased. Consider Graves and wife were the parents of six children: Hubbard, Alvire, Homer, Charles, William and Emelie. All of these children have long since passed away.

Homer Graves, the father of Cyrus, was only seven years of age when his father was drowned. He received but little education in the schools of New York and Ohio and when a small lad started to work for himself. He learned the carpenter's trade and followed that for several years in the state of Illinois. He invested his money in government land in Jo Daviess county Illinois, where he had gone in 1836 and at his death in 1889 owned three hundred and forty acres of well improved land in that county. His wife died in Illinois in 1865. He was a justice of the peace for many years and held various township and county offices in his time. He was a Whig during the life of that party and on the organization of the Republican party in 1856 became an enthusiastic supporter of its policies. Homer Graves and his wife reared a large family of eleven children: (1) Horace married Mary Fairfield, moved to Shelby County, Iowa, in 1869 and at the time of his death in 1899 was one of the wealthiest farms of the county. His widow is now living in Harlan. (2) Julia is single and makes her home at the old homestead in Jo Daviess County, Illinois. (3) Homer married Sarah Werkheiser, now deceased, and is a merchant in Norfolk, Nebraska. (4) Cyrus, the fourth child, is the subject of this review. (5) Emelie is the widow of Dr. J. N. Sharp and makes her residence in Jo Daviess County, Illinois. (6) Charles, whose history is found elsewhere in this volume, is one of the prominent farmers of Shelby County. (7) Mary died at the age of seventeen. (8) Anna is single and lives in Jo Daviess County, Illinois. (9) A daughter who died in infancy was the ninth child. (10) John is a retired farmer of Jo Daviess County, Illinois. (11) George is a farmer in Gage County, Nebraska.

Cyrus E. Graves received a limited education in the schools of Jo Daviess County, Illinois, and worked on the old home farm until the spring of 1870. He then came to Shelby County, Iowa, and located on a farm in Center township about six miles east of Harlan. He bought one hundred and twenty acres and moved on to it in 1873 after his marriage in that year. Two years later, he sold his first purchase and bought another farm in the same township which he has since retained. While he has known what hard times are, he never has been disheartened on account of misfortunes. He has managed his farm so successfully that he has been able to increase his acreage until he now has three hundred and sixty acres in Center Township. He has two complete sets of farm buildings on his land and has everything about the farm in excellent repair. In 1912, he retired from the farm and is now living in the county seat in his handsome home at 1210 West Durant Street.

Mr. Graves was married February 25, 1872, to Carrie Daws. She is the daughter of Thomas and Charlotte (Nieves) Daws and was born in Stephenson County, Illinois. Her parents were born in England and moved to Stephenson County, Illinois, where they remained during the remainder of their lives. Mrs. Graves died April 2, 1912. To Mr. Graves and wife were born five children: Rodney, Lottie, Chloe, John and Azalia. Rodney is a prosperous farmer of Center Township where he has a farm of one hundred and sixty acres. Lottie is the wife of William Barkman of Jackson Township and has four children, Hellen, Glyn, Eugene and Kenneth. Chloe and Azalia are living with their father in Harlan. John, who is farming the old homestead, married Eva Vernon and has four children: Ellsworth, Leonard, Clara and Lillian.

Mr. Graves is a Republican but has never taken an active part in political affairs, preferring to devote all of his time and attention to his agricultural duties. He is a member of the Methodist Church and has always contributed of his means to its support. Mr. Graves is well known throughout the county and always has so conducted himself as to win the approval of those with whom he has been associated. He has gone through the experiences of the pioneer days of this county and well deserves the rest from the hard labor which was his portion for so many years. He can look back over a long life which has been devoted to the best interests of those dependent on him and feel that he has never been recreant to his obligations to himself, to his family or to the community of which he has been such a valuable member. Such men are the bulwark of any community, and it seems eminently fitting that the life of such a sterling pioneer be included in the biographical annals of his county.

(from: Past and Present of Shelby County, Iowa, pub. 1915, page 1368.)

Submitted by Mona Sarratt Knight who found this bio and passed it on for posting on the Jo Daviess County site. She does not research this family.