JOHN M. GRAVES, an industrious and worthy citizen of the town of Nelson, one who has been emphatically the architect of his own fortune, was born in this town, June 1, 1836, son of John and Jane (Hammond) Graves, also natives of Nelson. Nathan Graves, paternal grandfather of John M., was born in Massachusetts, and came to Nelson in the early days, being one of its first settlers. He bought a tract of timber land and cleared it, residing there until his death. Of his large family, only one son is living, Asa Graves, who now resides in Nelson. John Graves, son of Nathan, was a farmer in Nelson, owning seventy-five acres of land. Late in life he moved to Minnesota, where both he and his wife died, he having lived to be seventy-six years old. They had seven children, of whom five are living: John M., the eldest; Orison, living in Nelson; Melissa, at Nelson Flats; Lydia, who died at the age of fifteen; Sarah, living in Minnesota; and Asa, in California. Ellen died when an infant. The parents were members of the Baptist church, and the father was a Republican in politics.
In his boyhood John M. Graves attended the district school of his village, where, as there were then no free public schools in the county, the parents had to pay so much for the tuition of each child. The times were stringent and money scarce, so that the children did not get instruction beyond the simplest rudiments of learning. When John was thirteen years of age, he went to work on a farm, receiving at first the paltry sum of five dollars per month. He continued hiring himself out until at about thirty years of age he began to get employment in the fall of the year on the neighboring farms with a threshing machine of which he had become possessed. He did this work for twelve seasons.
He was married February 1, 1866, to Miss Frances Hopkins, born in the town of Nelson, daughter of Alonzo Hopkins. Immediately after marriage he brought his wife to a farm of about fifty-three acres which he had previously purchased. They remained there for two years, when Mr. Graves sold it, and bought the farm of seventy-five acres on which he now resides. It is a good, productive tract of land; and, though general farming is carried on, the main crop is hay. He also carries on a dairy, having some very fine cattle.
On this farm Mr. Graves has availed himself of modern machinery and all the most approved appliances for carrying on agriculture, and the results have been most satisfactory. He began life dependent upon his own resources; and his success is a splendid illustration of the emoluments to be obtained by resolute, well-directed, untiring industry.
Mr. and Mrs. Graves are the parents of two children: Chauncey A., who is a druggist in Buffalo, N.Y.; and Lester H., who lives with them on the home farm. Both in religion and politics Mr. Graves is liberal and independent, believing in the right and duty of every man to form his own opinions, always to think before he acts, and to judge for himself what is right. Sincere and steadfast in his friendships, fearless and manly in his dealings with the world, he deservedly commands the respect and esteem of his neighbors and fellow-citizens.
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