Thomas S Graves

#611, b. 1 July 1836, d. 15 October 1886
Father*William Graves b. 13 Jul 1792, d. 28 Jul 1841
Mother*Lucy Berger b. 26 Oct 1801, d. 12 Nov 1839
     Thomas S Graves was born on 1 July 1836 Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He was the son of William Graves and Lucy Berger. Thomas S Graves married Isabella Drown 11 November 1873 Phoenix, Arizona Territory,
Arizona Citizen, Tucson, 22 Nov 1873, 2:3

In Phenix, November 11, 1873, at the residence of the bride's mother, by Justice M. P. Griffin, Mr. Thomas Graves and Miss Isabel Drown, both of Phenix, Arizona. -- (California papers please copy.)

Marriages, Maricopa Co. Index, viewed at the Arizona Historical Society, Tucson, gives

p. 13 Thomas Graves and Isabella Drown, November 11, 1873, by N. O. Griffin, J. P.

Marriage License, Maricopa County, AZ
Nov 11 1873
I do hereby certify that Thomas Graves and Isabella B Drown were joined in marriage by me in the twon of Phenix, County of Maricopa, Territory of Arixona on the 11th day of November AD 1873.
Mr P Griffin, Justice of the Peace.
Recorded 12 Nov 1873.1,2 Thomas S Graves died 15 October 1886, in Pinal, Pinal County, Arizona at age 50 years, 3 months and 14 days.

Pinal County Record, October 15, 1886, 3:2

Mr. Thos. Graves died very suddenly this evening while sitting in a chair in front of the Grand Hotel. He has been a victim of that dread disease consumption for a number of years and had been growing rapidly worse for several days past, and came into town to see if he could not get relief from the hemorrhages of the lungs which he was subject to at frequent intervals. He was sitting in a chair, at the above named place, when he was attacked with a hemorrhage and was seen to waver as if about to fall out and they just had time to rush to his assistance and carry him to his room when he expired without a struggle. Kind friends removed him to the room formerly used as the ice house and laid the remains out. The deceased was one of the oldest and best known prospectors in this section and was highly respected by all. We understand that he has relatives in California. The deceased was buried this (Saturday) afternoon.1

Arizona Weekly Enterprise, Florence, Oct 23, 1886, 3:3

In the death of Mr. Thomas Graves, who crossed the silent river, at Pinal last week, the territory loses an honorable and honored pioneer. His taking off was not sudden nor unexpected, as consumptin had been gradually drawing him toward the graves for years past. The only wonder is that death did not claim him sooner. Mr. Graves was a conspicuous figure in the scenes and incidents of Arizona's early history, and through all the trials and temptations of life preserved a fair name and fame. He was a man true to himself and friends, always kind and courteous, even tempered and cheerful, and his name will never fade from the memory of those who knew him intimately. Peace to his ashes.1
     Tom begins to appear in the Arizona Territorial papers in 1868, first in the Prescott Arizona Miner later in Florence, Tucson, Globe, and Tombstone papers. He was a prospector, miner, way station and hotel proprietor, teamster, and butcher/farmer. Here are some of the articles.

Tom was listed as T. Graves, miner, 34, born in Virginia, in the Wickenburg, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory census of 1870.

Thomas Appears in the Great Register, Arizona Voter Registrations, 2 Oct 1886.
A "cancelled note" dated 15 Oct 1888 (the next election, I presume) lists "dead." He died 15 Oct 1886.3

From David William Graves: “I must say here something about cousin William, Tom and Sam Graves, who lived at my father’s after the death of their father, Uncle William [1841]. Tom was the youngest of these three and lived the longest at our home. He was older than I, and we used to have pleasant times together, and sometimes very unpleasant. We had many scraps, in which he was always victor. Often when we were out in the field cutting weeds, sprouts or corn-stalks, we used to pick up little clods and throw at each other; commencing always in fun, and the clods getting bigger every time we threw, until one of us was hurt, and then we would get into a regular fight. He would get me down and beat me until I said “nough”, and we were up again as good friends as ever. Tom and I used to sleep together, and he would often get up in his sleep and walk around the room. . . .
I will now say something further about my cousin Tom Graves, the youngest of the three boys. . . When he was about 15 years of age he went to Oregon with the families of Philip Glover, who had married Tom’s sister Jane, and Henry Palmer, who had married his sister Catherine, and his brother John Graves who had married Eliza [Maria] Glover. Seldom did we hear of any of them after they had taken that journey. The only time I ever heard of Tom Graves since then was through Uncle Booker Jefferson. He said that one day when he was passing through the timber in California, he met Tom carrying a gun, and after passing a few words with him, asked what he was doing out there by himself. He replied: ‘I am hunting Indians.’ I have wondered many times what became of him since then. Tom was a very good looking though quite dark complected.”.4

Thomas Graves, appears in Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory, in the 1866 Territorial Census. (p 126.)

The Arizona Miner, Prescott, AT
Saturday Morning, June 13, 1868

The Eureka ten stamp mill, Walker's District, has been rented by Henry W. Fleury, of this place, and men are now engaged in putting it in running order. Mr. Graves has charge of the mill, and he thinks he can treat, successfully, the sulphurets of that vicinity. The intention is, for the present, at least, to work ore for the miners, but should the experiment prove a success, Mr. fleury will work rock from some of his own ledges. It is the intention, we believe, to roast the sulphurets in iron pipes. We wish the enterprise success.

July 18, 1868.
Mrs. T. Barnum, Dr. J. T. Alsap, Graves and one or two other persons, started for Tucson, early in the week. Mrs. Barnum goes to join her husband in Tucson.

Nov 7, 1868
What our people are doing.
French & Turner are working away on the Tie-Tie, in Walker's District, and Mr. Graves and partners went up there, recently, and are now, we presume, preparing their desulpherizers and fixing up the Eureka mill, for a winters run. Graves has an idea that he can drive off the sulphur, arsenic and other base metals that go to make up the sulphurets in gold-bearing rocks, by placing the ore in cast iron pipes, which revolve or turn half way round over fire, but some people think his pipes will burn out and that the process will prove a fizzell; nevertheless, it is worth a trial, and we hope soon to record it as a success.5

June 4, 1870, gives us:

Wickenburg District
Keeps up its ancient reputation for producing treasure. We have nothing more definite than that the Vulture Company's 40 stamp mill is engages, as usual, adding to the wealth of the world.
Thomas Graves and others went out to the White Picacho mine, a short time ago, when Thomas worked one pound of ore, and got two dollars. This of this, ye who say that the mines of Arizona are good for nothing.
About the usual amount of placer mining is being done in the vicinity of Prescott, and we hear no complaints from the miners, and must, of course, conclude, that they are making enough to more than "keep the wolf from the door."

Aug 20, 1870
Letter from Wickenburg...
"... I passed Date Creek yesterday, and found everybody strong in the faith that the Apache Mohaves, who recently made a visit of peace there, are in good earnest; and today I met Messrs. Lytle, Graves, and others, just in from La paz, who said they met one hundred of this tribe at Collins Ranch, some 40 odd miles from here, and all manifested peaceful and positively friendlydispositions. Said they were not at the "Date Creek "talk," but fully comprehended it. That they intended to remain near and on the road, and protect travelers so far as was within their power; that they didn't want to kill any more whites, and hoped and believed the troops and citizens would allow them to traverse about unmolested. They said that Colonel O'Bierne "talked" fairly, and they had confidence in the permanency of the new arrangement...."5

Weekly Arizona Miner, 30 April 1870, 3:2

Recent Indian Crimes by [ ]
Since our last, news has reached us of the murder of two white men, by Indians, and the capture of a band of three or four hundred head of sheep by the same accursed race. One of the murdered men, Mr. Seebright, was killed near Williamson Valley, some time between Saturday and Tuesday last. The other -- Mr. Gruly -- was slaughtered a short distance below Wickenburg, early last week. The particulars of the Williamson Valley tragedy are about as follows: Early Saturday morning last (April 2w3d), Mr. Hooker's herder started for the hilld with a band of three or four hudred sheep, and some cattle. The cattle and sheep soon separated -- the herder followed the cattle, and in doing so lost sight of the sheep. So soon as the cattle got quieted, he looked around for the sheep, but could not see them. He straight-way started the cattle for the valley, and, on arriving there, informed Mr. Seebright of what had occurred. That gentleman buckled on a six-shooter, mounted a horse and started out to search for the sheep. He was unsuccessful in finding them, and while returning to the valley, met the herder, from whom he procured a Henry rifle. He then set out again to hunt up the sheep, telling the herder that he intended to stay out till he found them. Sunday came , and so did Monday, yet Seebright had not returned. Fearing the worst, the neighbors scoured the country for him, and on Tuesday morning, found his lifeless body a short distance from the valley, took it in and buried it. The savages neither scalped nor mutilated him, as was at first reported, but they shot eight arrows into his head.

We have not the particulars of the murder of Gruly. The only thing we have bearing upon the subject is the following letter from J. T. Alsap, which is dated at Wickenburg, April 20:

"I started yesterday, in company with F. M. Chapman, for Salt River, but Johnny apache scared me back here last night. Night before last, Thomas McWilliams came up from his place, twelve miles from here, and reported that the Indians were thick around his house, and that they had chased him two or three miles on his way up, and had wounded his horse pretty badly. Yesterday forenoon, he started back and Mr. Graves and another man started soon after. About four o'clock Mr. Chapman and I started, intending to stop at their place until the moon came up and then go on to Salt River. Upon arriving near McWilliams place we met him, Mr. Graves and another man, who reported that Gruly (McWilliams partner) was killed and that the Indian sign was very thick around. After a short conultation we concluded it was unsafe to proceed, and returned to this place. I do not know when we will get through, but I don't intend starting until I feel safer than I did last night. The red devils are very thick around here at present; they have been seen in almost every direction."5

August 26, 1871
Thursday's stage came in heavily laden with passengers, mail and express matter. Among the passengers from California was Mr. Chas. Myers, an assayer, mineralogist and metallurgist of great experience, who has come prepared to have some pretty extensive prospecting done on the Tiger mines. Major Veil, Sheriff Behan, and Thomas Graves came up from Wickenburg.

Oct 7, 1871
Dissolution of Co-Partnership
Notice is hereby given that the partnership heretofore existing between the undersigned under the firm name and style of George W Bryan & Co., is this day dissolved by mutual consent. The business, at the old stand, at Vulture City, will be continued by Geo. W. Bryan, who is alone authorized to receive and receipt for all debts due the late firm, and to whom all outstanding debts against the late firm must be presented for payment

Vulture City, Arizona
September 20, 1871
Geo. W. Bryan
A. H. Peeples
Thomas Graves

October 21, 1871
Thomas Graves, administrator, advertises to the creditors of Geo. Furness, dec'd.5

March 23, 1872
A correspondent at this place sends us the following, under the date of March 17:
Friend Marion: Jim and John Cusenbarry arrived here and took charge of the Vulture mill and mine. Everybody was glad to see Jim in his old place again, so we can rely on an honest man's word. The miners swore right away that they would not work under any other man but Jim.
The "boys" were out last week, prospecting. George Monroe, Joe Fugget, Wm. Gellespie, Tom Graves and Molly struck a galena load, and styled it the "Knock down."
There was some bullion stolen from Mexicans by other Mexicans. The thieves were arrested at Phoenix. Our Deputy Sheriff is going down to-morrow, to bring them up.

August 24, 1872
Road Repaired
While here recently, T. S. Graves informed us that recent work on the road around Granite Mountain had made an excellent piece of road there. The work was done at the expense of J. M. Bryan.5

In the meantime, a letter from Tom's brother, William J, in San Luis Obispo, to his aunt, Catherine Palmer, in Mt. Angel, reads,

San Luis Obispo, Sept 20, 1872

My dear Sister
Day before yesterday I received a letter from you the first and only since I have received for years. I am truly sorry to hear of your poor health but sincerely hope that by this time you will have entirely recovered. . .

I have not heard from Nick [Catherine's son Horatio Nixon] for some time. Tom writes frequently but as Nick is some distance from him I do not believe he has seen him for some time. Tommy's health is very poor and I have written advising him to come to California. You can see by the picture that he is very thin. I am fearful that he is consumtive.. . .. Dont fail to send your picture. . . Tom's in Ehrenburg, Arizona. ..

Your Brother,
William J Graves

* from Shakespeare, a "bourne" is an archaic term for a destination.

March 29, 1873
Dr. V. Howard and T. S. Graves arrived by stage, yesterday morning, from southern Arizona.

April 19, 1873
Chief Quartermaster's Office, Prescott, Arizona, April 15, 1873
Abstract of bids received. . .

Camp Date Creek. -- M. Goldwater 313,000 lbs barley at 4.525c. . .Thomas S. Graves 734,000 lbs hay at $24.oo; 530 cords soft wood at $13; 150 cords hard wood at $15.

June 7, 1873
Travelers will find the Wickenburg Hotel a very good place to rest and refresh themselves. The proprietor, Mr. T. S. Graves, is determined to please his customers.

June 7, 1873
Arizona Hotel
Wickenburg, Arizona
Good Fare and comfortable Beds are assured the patrons of this house, which has just been leased by
Mr. T. W. Graves.
John G Dudley (Old Dud) attends to the culinary department, and all Arizonans know and admit that he understands his business.

June 14, 1873

Mr. T. S. Graves and other citizens of Wickenburg are preparing to ship copper ore to San Francisco.

(Repeated in the Tucson Daily Citizen, June 18.)

July 3, 1873
Salt River Valley--
T. Graves and M. Peralta left for Wickenburg last evening.
J. M. Bryan returned from Ehrenberg this morning.

August 2, 1873
Dr. J. H. Pierson, of Wickenburg, informs us, by letter, that Messrs. Graves and Dudley had started from that place, to open a station on the new road leading from Wickenburg to Phoenix. The station will be found on the Agua Fria.

August 9, 1873

Salt River Valley

On Sunday last, as T. Graves and J. J. Dudley were coming in from Wickenburg, on the new road by Phoenix wells, they discovered a man sitting up under a mesquit tree, about ten miles beyond the Wells, dead. He evidently perished for want of water. His boots, hat, canteen and knife were lying beside him. There was no sign of violence.

August 16, 1873
New Station- Mr. T. S. Graves has quit keeping hotel at Wickenburg, and will hereafter devote his time and attention to keeping a first-class station at Agua Fria, on the road from Wickenburg to Phoenix. "Old Dud," is Tom's kitchen engineer.

September 27, 1873
Wm. J. Graves, a brother of our esteemed friend, T. S. Graves, of Graves Station, on the Lower Agua Fria, has been elected, by a large majority, to the California Senate, from the district embracing the counties of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.

October 25, 1873
Salt River Valley
T. Graves is in from his station.

November 29, 1873
the many friends of Tom Graves will be pleased to know that he is no longer a bach.5

February 6, 1874
Events of the year 1873
married -- In Phoenix, November 11, Thomas Graves to Miss Isabella B. Drown.

May 1, 1874
Editorial Correspondence [from] Phoenix, Maricopa County
". . . this being sufficiently lengthy for one letter, we will close by thanking Messrs. Wm A Deering, of Mint Valley, E. F. Bowers, of Skull Valley, Geo. H. Wilson, of Antelope, Pierson, Grant, Mannasse and Peeples, of Wickenburg, Smith, Taylor and Jones, of Smith's mill, and T. W. Graves, of Agua Fria Station, for kind favors extended to all on the route."

August 21, 1874
In Yuma, August 5, 1874, to the wife of Thomas Graves, a daughter.

December 18, 1874
A letter from Maricopa county informs us that G. H. Oury, Mr. Long, of the Gila, and T. S. Graves, had announced themselves as candidates for the Territorial House of Representatives.5

Arizona Miner, 20 Nov 1874, 4:3

Territorial Dispatches.
Phoenix, Nov. 17. -- The following is the official count for Maricopa County: . . . For Assembly, -- Alsap, 324. . .Graves and Burger, Justices of the Peace. . .5

Thomas Graves, probate judge, Maricopa County, AT.

Jan 14, 1876
Supreme Court Calendar, from the Citizen of Jan 1st
Thomas Graves plaintiff and appelant, vs John T. Alsap, defendant and respondent; from Third Judicial District, Maricopa County.

21 January, 1876, p2

Supreme Court decisions:

Groves vs Alsap, for possession of the office of Probate Judge of Maricopa County, is decided in favor of Alsap the present incombant.

(John T Alsap was an early settler, later Arizona Territorial Treasurer, heavily involved in the canal building in Maricopa County.)5

August 8, 1877
Our old friend Tom Graves has been engaged in the butchering business at Globe City for some time.

August 31, 1877
From a private letter written to us by our old friend Thomas Graves, we learn that he is furnishing the King mine folks and the citizens of Pioneer district with fat beef. Mr. Graves thinks the prospects in that district are looking up.5

Arizona Enterprise, Florence

29 Oct 1881, 3:1
Mr. Thomas Graves, a jolly, whole-souled gentleman and one of the oldest pioneers, was in town this week, and, like everybody else who have the welfare of the county at heart, gave the Enterprise a little substantial recognition.1

(Tombstone Epitaph)
April 24, 1882
Florence Items
Mr. Thos. Graves was here this week, serving on the grand jury. His prospects in the Cole district are brightening.5

Arizona Enterprise, Florence

22 April, 1882, 3:2
Mr. William Jenings returned from the Colorado district Sunday. He went thither to take samples and assort ore at the new strike made by Thomas Graves and others.

14 Oct 1882, 3:1
Mr. Thomas Graves is now freighting between Casa Grande and Pioneer. There is a large amount of freight at the depot awaiting transportation to that place.1

Letter from Thomas Graves to his sister, Catherine and probably brother Jack, both living in Marion County, Oregon at the time.

Pinal A.T
Feb. 22nd 1885
Dear Brother & Sister,
I wrote you a hurried scroll some days ago in answer to your letter, and thanking you for the fifteen dollars. I never thought fate would ever compel me to be a burden to my relations, but I hope yet to be of some use to you all, at least to repay your kindness. I believe if I could get a change of climate it would benefit me more than any medicine. I have taken so much medicine already and to no relief, that I am disgusted with all the “L--- remedies”.
I do not know exactly what the amount required to go up to Oregon, but presume I could get up with $150.00 I have been broke so long and not able to work that my cloths have got seedey, and to travel would have to use some of the money to get clean shirts etc. but poverty has made me economical and to forget to be proud or vain. Over
I have some good mining property here and have expended all my available means trying to develop them and now not able to do any more, therefore, they have proved a curse to me, instead of a blessing. It has been so to with Nixon. He does not write to me any more, but I hear he is now putting up a mill on the Blue Jay Mine in Pima Co. near Tucson for a San Francisco Company. I hope he will make some money as he richly deserves it. Tell Henry I received his letter and I will write him soon. I hope you will answer this soon. If I do not hear from you soon, I will try some way to get out of this country – my health is now some better than when I last wrote you. Times are awful dull here and I fear it’s the same with you all up there, but I would not mind dull times if I had good health and could work.
Give my Love and kind regards to all.
Hoping soon to hear from you I remain
Your Affectionate
Thomas Graves.

Pinal, Pinal Co A. T
April 2nd 1885
Dear Sister,
Your very kind letter of 10th ulto, is this day received. I have just returned from a trip in the mountains, out in the open air is good for me when the weather is fair, but nearly kills me in bad weather. We have been having delightful weather this spring and present indications are we will have a dry season.
I was very glad to hear from you all again, but distressed to hear of the continued ill health of Brother Jack and hope he will regain his health and that we may be permitted to meet again. My health is some better than when I wrote last, but yet I am weak and so feeble that I can’t do any hard work, if I could I would soon have money. Times are dull here and too money is very scarce. I would not remain here a day if I had the means to get out of here. What I want is health that is the best capital anybody can have and only those that have not got it can appreciate its value.
I have not heard from any of Bro. Williams Family for sometime. I hear from Nixon occasionally through parties from Tucson, but receive no letters from him. Luck seems to have set in on me and Nick at the same time in all my life I have never been so discouraged broken down in health and all available means gone and no prospect of bettering my condition but they say where there is a will, there is a way and I hope on and try to pull through. I hope it will not be so long next time between your letters and that I may yet see you during this summer. Say to Brother, that while I am in actual need of money that I do not desire he should embarrass himself to send me money. I will do the best I can and hope to God I may soon get a favorable wind.
Tell Henry he owes me a letter. Love to all and accept for yourself the love and best wishes for your health and happiness from
Your Affectionate Brother
Thomas Graves.6

Mabel Glover Root noted that Thomas was "Interested in Melrose Smelting Co., Cal. Resident of Pinal, Arizona 1885, Tubercular."7

Two Thomas Graves?
There is evidence that there are two Thomas Graves, one (T W?) in the Yuma area, the other, Thomas S, in Maricopa and Pinal.

Isabella Drown was the daughter of Tomasa (Badillo) Drown, according to "kittyfarm" a descendant of Isabelle's sister.

Tomasa Venegas/Varigas was born about 1832 in "Upper California" according to the 1852 census of Santa Barbara.

In 1852, Tomasa is in Santa Barbara with her family.
In 1860, Tomasa, listed Bardillo, 29, is in Santa Barbara. With her is Isabel Drown, 5.
In 1870, Tomasa, listed Badilla, 37, with Isabel Drown, 15, born in California, is in Los Angeles.
In 1873, T S Graves is "of Wickenburg" preparing to ship ore to San Francisco.
In 1873, Isabel Drown and Thomas Graves are married in Phoenix “at the home of her mother.”
5 Aug 1874, in Yuma, a child is born to “the wife of Thomas Graves, a daughter.” Was this Tom and Isabel? Or, was this the “Yuma Thomas.”
In December of 1874, “T S Graves” announces as a candidate to the Territorial House of Representatives.
In 1877, “our old friend” Tom Graves is in Globe City.
He remained there and in Florence until 1886, when he died.

Child of Thomas and Isabella

Last Edited=21 Sep 2020


  1. [S372] Thomas Graves, Clippings, vertical file, HB HAY BIO GRA,THO, Hayden Arizona Collection, Arizona Historical Society, Arizona Historical Society, Tucson, Arizona.
  2. [S395], online, Arizona, County Marriage Records, 1865-1972 for Thomas Graves.
  3. [S395], online, Arizona, Voter Registrations, 1866-1955 for Thomas Graves.
  4. [S301] David William Graves. David William Graves (1837-1918), Autobiography, 1916, C158, Western Historical Manuscript Collection, Ellis Library, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.
  5. [S373] Arizona Miner (Prescott, AT), Prescott, Arizona Territory.
  6. [S705] Letter from Thomas Graves (Pinal, Pinal County, Arizona Territory) to "Sister" Catherine (Graves) Palmer, 2 apr 1885; Patricia L Dunford Files (Patricia L Dunford, 3736 N Tucson Blvd, Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, 85716).
  7. [S368] Mabel Glover Root, Palmer Glover notes 31 May 2009, Louise Root Godfrey House, Portland.