William James Graves1

#607, b. 10 January 1830, d. 2 August 1884
Father*William Graves b. 13 Jul 1792, d. 28 Jul 1841
Mother*Lucy Berger b. 26 Oct 1801, d. 12 Nov 1839
     William James Graves was born on 10 January 1830 Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He was the son of William Graves and Lucy Berger. William James Graves married Soledad Pico, daughter of José de Jesus Pico and Francisca Antonia Gabriela Villavicencio, on 20 October 1851 San Luis Obispo, California; "Let us make a diary for a year or two: 1851. . . The same day was published the marriage of William J Graves to Miss Soledad Pico at San Luis Obispo, on October 20th. . ."

*Los Angeles From the Mountains to the Sea*, p 73; John Steven McGroarty, Am Historical Society, 1921. William James Graves died 2 August 1884, San Luis Obispo County, California at age 54 years, 6 months and 23 days.

San Francisco Bulletin, 4 August, 1884, p. 2
Death of a San Francisco Attorney.
A private dispatch was received to this city last night from San Luis Obispo, stating that William J. Graves, an attorney of this city and ex-state Senator, had died on the steamer on her down trip. The deceased married a Spanish lady of San Luis Obispo who survives him. He also leaves several grown-up children. and was buried Old Mission Cemetery, San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo County, California.2
     He has been called Buck. He Graves, William J. of San Luis Obispo County, Calif. Member of California state assembly 2nd District, 1855-56, 1857-58. Burial location unknown. He was educated; Studied law under David Nowlin. He served in the Mexican American War, with Gen Kearney. He appeared on the census of 1850 Monterey County, California; Lawyer b Virginia.3

Catherine received the following letter from her brother in San Luis Obispo, California, William J Graves

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. Like you, dear sister, I feel myself getting old and rapidly passing into the "sere and yellow leaf." But unlike you, I cannot have the secret consciousness of having done my duty and my whole duty here upon earth. You undoubtedly have this consciousness and whatever may late[?] be your reward will be found in that "bourne [from] whence no traveller returns,"* while I, as to myself, I shall ever be enshrouded with doubts and misgivings that are always caused by regret of opportunities, evil actions, and vicious intentions.

I wrote you, I believe, that I had been corresponding with the Nowlin girls. I have not yet saw them and am now almost ashamed to meet them. I promised them while in San Francisco to go up to Tuolomne County and visit them, and almost daily, for a couple of weeks I was promising them to go "tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow," and finally I did not go at all. The fact was that I was distressed almost to death while in San Francisco on account of some cases that I have in the courts which I as well as my clients were exceedingly anxious to try, and which finally were not tried, or at least all of them, making it necessary for me to return again to San Francisco during the latter part of this month.
On account of these legal matters I really had no time to go to Sonora. Besides this, my son William had to be sent to Va and I was considerably exercised in getting him away properly. These excuses I must make to the Nowlin pack[?] and will do so now that I go to San Francisco again, and that too in person as I am bound to go up and see them. I expect to bring Fannie down here with me if [she] is not bent on returning to Missouri too speedily. I have not heard from Nick 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. My son Wm is in Old Virginia and has been stopping at David's. He is much pleased with is reception by our relatives. He is going finally to the Military Institute at Lexington Va which is thought to be the best school in the State.

By the way, you have no idea that I weight 240 pounds. It is [s??].

My wife is going to San Francisco to live in about a month. She is taking this step on account of the girls Lucy and Virginia who must be at School. They are very lively girls. They speak English, Spanish and French and are very quick to learn. I now want them to finish off with music and something more ad[??] in the way of education than they can find here. Ernest is studying law in my office. he is a very promising young man, so considered. I have not educated him as well as I desire, in fact his education has been neglected. But he is going along splendedly.

I have not heard from Jett in a long time and I fear she and Bill have almost forgotten me. Tell them they should write oftener as they have no Children and the accompanying [aundgamees]. I hardly know what to say about visiting you. I dread that awful Columbia Bar so much that I greatly prefer going by land. I promise you however that it will not be long before you see me [waiting (waltzing) aw nfew you] some bright morning. When my wife is established in San Francisco you must come down and pay us a visit. So must Jett. When you write again, which you must do very soon, tell me more about the children. What has become of my friends the girls. Tell me all about them. Dont fail to send your picture. Tom's in Ehrenburg, Arizona. Now do write often. Remember me most kindly to John and all the children, also to Bill and Jett; also to Jack and Sister Maria and their Children.

Your Brother,
William J Graves

* from Shakespeare, a "bourne" is an archaic term for a destination.4 Circa 1880, William James Gravesresided San Luis Obispo, California.

PICO, Benigno William J. GRAVES 6/23/1875 C-592 10/1/1876
Bank of SLO W. J. GRAVES and
Isabel PICO and
Virginia PICO 5/4/1874 C-61 6/27/1875

Bank of SLO William J. GRAVES 11/11/1875 D-181 1 0/30/1877
Bank of SLO W. J. GRAVES 10/20/1877 E-524 -

BEEBEE, William L. William J. GRAVES 5/29/1852 A-3 -. He served From Fold 3:
William J Graves is listed as a First Sergeant in Company A, Easton's Battalion, Missouri Infantry, for the Mexican War.

In looking at the battalion, we find:
Campaign streamers for this unit include New Mexico, 1847, and Chihuahua, 1848.

Alton R Easton is listed with the 1st Regiment St Louis Legion Missouri Volunteers, as well as the Infantry Battalion Missouri Volunteers in the Mexican War.

The Missouri SOS office has
William J Graves, 1 sergnt, Capt. E. H. Shepard's Co., A
Age 18,
Enrolled May 8, 1847
St. Louis, Missouri.
Mustered in 10 May 1847

Discharged at Santa Fe New Mexico Aug 20, 1848, term of Service expired.

Children of William and Soledad

Last Edited=6 Jan 2020


  1. [S395] Ancestry.com, online Ancestry.com, California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898, William James Graves, San Luis Obispo residence year 1866, age 36, attorney.
  2. [S419] FindAGrave, online FindAGrave.com, Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 31 January 2018), William James Graves
    Birth 10 Jan 1830 Pittsylvania County, Virginia, USA
    Death 2 Aug 1884 San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo County, California, USA
    Burial Old Mission Cemetery San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo County, California, USA
    Plot 78, Row 18, section E
    Memorial ID 73469131.
  3. [S6] 1850 US Census Population Schedule, Washington, District of Columbia, US National Archives, Year: 1850; Census Place: , Monterey, California; Roll: M432_35; Page: 123A; Image: 243.
  4. [S463] Letter from William J Graves (San Luis Obispo, California) to Catherine N [Graves] Palmer, 17 Aug 1872; Patricia L Dunford Files (Patricia L Dunford, 3736 N Tucson Blvd, Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, 85716). From the files of Mabel Glover Root. Given to me by her daughter, Louise Root Godfrey, 2010.