Graves Family Reunion
We extend the hand of greeting,
To our friends, both old and young;
May none of those now with us,
Be sorry they have come.
We give you hearty welcome,
To our reunion here today,
May your hearts forget their sorrows,
In the joyous words you say.
Renew the bonds of love once more,
With friends and dear ones all;
May each one have a pleasant time,
For you’re welcome one and all.
We accept your welcome here today,
We are glad to be with you;
To meet so many loved ones,
And old friendships to renew.
We will clasp the hand you offer,
With a strong and hearty grip;
And we thank you for your welcome,
And vow eternal fellowship.
We enjoy these words of greeting,
We are glad for songs of cheer;
May each one who is with us,
Be here again next year.
V. E. G. (Vera E. Graves)
Tune: Auld Lang Syne.
We greet today the friends we love,
Have loved for many a year;
We gather here with hearts so true,
From homes both far and near;
To tell the tales of other days,
Of days when we were young;
Recall the gladsome childhood time,
And sing the songs we sung.
This is the day of all the year,
We cherish in our heart;
The friends we meet Reunion Day,
Grow dearer as we part.
If there are faces here today,
Who meet with us no more;
We’ll have a glad reunion time,
Upon the other shore.
The annual reunion of the family and descendants of Josiah and Rachel Graves, with relatives and friends to the number of sixty five, was held in Smythe Park, Mansfield, Pa., Aug. 25, 1905. The morning hours were spent in greeting and welcoming all who came, and by the dinner committee in preparing the tables.
At 12:30 the reunion was called to order, and the president made a few appropriate and well-chosen remarks, followed by a song by Blanche Covney and Pearl Graves. Carrie Graves, of Mansfield, gave the welcome, which was responded to by Alfred Harvey, of Landrus.
The roll-call showed that the family now consists of forty members. The secretary reported that there had been no death in the family during the past year, but mention was made of the death of one who was ever a welcome attendant at our reunions: Thomas Philips, who departed this life since our last meeting. Three additions to the family were reported: James, born to Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Woodard; Violetta, born to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kelsey; and Clyde Smith married to Nina Graves.
A family history was written and read by Mrs. W. T. Harvey, and a family prophecy by Mrs. H. C. Graves. The following officers were elected and committees appointed:
President, Josiah Graves, Covington
Secretary, W. T. Harvey, Landrus
Treasurer, Mrs. H. C. Graves, Mansfield
Program committee: Mrs. H. C. Graves, Mrs. W. T. Harvey, Miss Blanche Covney.
Dinner committee: Pearl Graves, Blanche Covney, Vera Graves, Carrie Graves.
Voted: That we have a souvenir report of this meeting printed; That the next reunion be held in the same place, next August.
The program closed by all joining in singing "Reunion Song," written by Miss Vera Graves.
The party was called to dinner at 1:30. The tables were prettily decorated, the color scheme being yellow and green, with sweet-pea favors at each plate. The well loaded tables were seemingly prepared with the idea of satisfying even the most fastidious appetite. It was a merry company indeed, who partook of the many good things provided.
After dinner as all were seated upon the lawn, the camera fiend appeared upon the scene, and did his worst.
Before leaving for home ice
cream was served, and as each departed, it was with a feeling that the
day had been all too short, and that it is good for us to meet this way
once a year.
We will trace to-day the history of the Graves family through twelve generations, beginning with their landing in America, and following down to the youngest representative of the present time. This reunion is held in honor of Josiah and Rachel Graves, with their descendants. To them we will trace only in a direct line, beginning, with the settlement of Thomas Graves in New England. We might go back and tell of the prominent place they occupied in the affairs on England; of the titles of nobility borne by some; describe their coat of arms, family seal, and how many more interesting matters but space will not allow.
Thomas Graves, with his wife and five children, came to this country in the year 1645. He was then a man about sixty years of age, and his youngest child was sixteen. His older son, Isaac and John, being married, and bringing their families with them from England. They settled at Hartford, Conn. From here Isaac and John, sixteen years later, removed to Hatfield, Mass., their aged father accompanying them. Here with a few other families they started a new settlement in the wilderness. They were without a house, or where to lay their heads, and a cold winter coming on. There were no mills in which to saw lumber, and the only method of procuring boards or planks was to make a pit, and saw them with a cross cut saw, one man in the pit and one man on top of the log. The lumber thus slowly secured, was used to make doors and furniture for their log homes.
Isaac Graves was a trusted citizen of his town, being Sergeant in the Colonial Militia, and clerk of the writs for Hatfield. They were in the midst of an Indian country, and after numerous massacres, the people with a view of better protection, built a stockade, which enclosed the village, where were the houses of the Graveses. In the year 1677, while building a house for John Graves, Jr., the next in our line, both Isaac and John were killed by Indians, together with eight other men. To John Graves, Jr., was born a son, Samuel, who also resided at Hatfield, and was the father of Abraham Graves. Descendants of these Graveses have continued to live at, and in the vicinity of Hatfield, from that time until the present, and should your travels ever take you to that place you may easily find people by the name of Graves.
Abraham Graves removed to Swanzey, N.H., where he died about the beginning of the Revolutionary war. His son, Joshua Graves, lived at Swanzey, was a man active in his town, and a soldier in the war for independence. Asahel, son of Joshua Graves, was born at Swanzey, Aug. 25, 1761. He was a boy just in his early teens when the United States declared her independence. During Washington’s administration he was married, and in the year 1801, with his wife, Lydia Adams Graves, and his children, he removed to Covington, Pa. He settled within what is now the borough of Covington, but then there were only the dwellings of the very first settlers for several miles around. Their home was as we might say, in the midst of a vast wilderness. No towns within reach, no mills, no roads except what we would call foot paths, through the unbroken forest, and over which the common mode of travel was on horseback, and the only vehicle the oxcart.
Asahel Graves had three children, Asahel, Jr., who lived one mile west of Covington, and later near Cherry Flats. His only descendant in this immediate vicinity is Warren L. Culver, of Mansfield, Pa. Sally, who married George Goodnow, and Josiah, who was eleven years of age when they came from their New England home, and who is in our line of descent. He was married in 1802, to Polly Huntington. They lived first after their marriage about one mile south of Covington, on the farm now owned by Samuel Kiley, but soon removed to one mile west of Covington upon the place now occupied by Wm. Soper. Not a tree had been cut, until they had cleared a place for their house. What a contrast between their log house, surrounded by natural forests, with wild animals roaming at will, and the same place today, with its modern buildings and smooth tilled acres. Many a time would the men of those days take a bag of grain, generally corn, upon a horse, and follow the trail to Williamsport to have it ground, taking several days for the trip.
These, our ancestors,
were of sturdy New England birth, and they helped to make this fertile
valley what it is today. Upon this farm west of Covington was born, Feb.,
1828, Josiah Graves, Jr., the President of our Association. He was the
fifth in a family of ten children, as follows: Thomas, Cynthia, Carina,
Charlotte, Josiah, Huldah, Asahel, Sally, George and Harry. Two sisters
are still living, Cynthia Lewis, and Sally Lewis, both of Covington, and
one brother, George of Mansfield. Josiah Graves, Jr., while yet a boy and
a young man, assisted in clearing the land, building the roads, and was
employed at the building of the Tioga Railroad. He drove a stage for some
time between Covington and Towanda, making the trip in two days. He was
married to Rachel Ann Mudge, April 30, 1850, at Columbia X Road. The early
years of their married life was spent upon the farm where he was born.
During the Civil War he enlisted in Co. B, 97th Pa. Volunteers,
and server to the end of the war. He and his wife still live in the township
in which he was born, and where he has resided most of the seventy-six
years of his life. He has ever taken an interest in the matters of his
day, holding different offices and positions of trust. His wife has been
his faithful helper, and a loving mother to the seven children born to
them, five of whom are living, one son, Alfred, having died Oct, 4, 1888,
at age 28 years. Their descendants all join is wishing Father and Mother
many more reunion days and may their last days, be full of happiness.
I yield to the invitation and soon find myself at the entrance to Smythe Park. My guide says, "This is the day of the Graves reunion, 1915;" ten years in the future. We enter the familiar way, and as we near the door of the dining hall I pause, at which my mystic friend says, "We may enter and mingle freely with the people, we will be neither seen nor heard, but are for the time being invisible." We open the door and I expect to see the company scattered about, and the long line of tables down the center of the room, as of old, but in advance, a partition across the hall, making only an entry. See a door straight ahead I start toward it, when I am turned to the right, to a door which was not there in 1905. Upon entering I find we are in a large room which I never knew of. I look at my companion in a bewildered way; a smile comes to his face as he says, "One of the Park Associations improvements, they are up with the times. This is a room built and furnished for such occasions as this, which are even more numerous than they were ten years ago."
Glancing around I as once step forward and extend my hand in greeting to the father and mother of the reunion; who are standing a little distance within, but as I approach, my hand drops to my side, and I gaze in admiration at a life size oil portrait, so lifelike and beautiful that it is not to be compared with anything of the kind I have ever seen. The company to the number of about one hundred are assembled in this room, seated in comfortable upholstered chairs, ready to begin their program. Milton Graves occupies the president’s chair, looking scarcely a day older than when we saw him in 1905. He calls the meeting to order and announces an opening song. At the piano sits a young lady of seventeen whom I cannot remember to have ever seen before. In an answer to my inquiring look, my guide says, "Miss Hazel Woodard." After this song, a tall, well-proportioned young man steps to the front to deliver the address of welcome. I at once recognize him as Earl Graves, and am told that he is the M.D. of the family; that he has lately returned from a medical college, and is about to begin his practice in a nearby city. The response is given by another young man, in clear ringing tones, which at once proclaims his gift for public speaking. My informer announces, "Asahel T. Graves, the young theological student."
Prayer is now offered by our old friend, E. M. Brace. A slim fair young boy comes forward to give a coronet solo. This is Charles Harvey, who bids fair to become a successful musician. Pleasing recitations are given by girls of twelve who I learn are Marieva Harvey and Wilma Kelsey. Two little girls of eight now sing a song. One is the exact size and picture of the other and one cannot help but know that they are twins. Their long golden curls, blue eyes and clear complexion, together with their sweet singing, captivate all who see them. Later in the day I see them about the grounds, hand in hand, never one without the other, and never far from their father whom we recognize as Bert L. Graves. I ask if these are his only children and am told that he has a boy older and two little sons younger, but it is plain to see that these little girls are the idols of his heart, as they are the pride of the reunion.
The roll call and secretary’s report are called for, and I look to see who is filling this office. It is one whom I knew as Perl graves, but she was married in 1907 to a prosperous farmer, and has one son. I ask about the secretary of former days, and am told that she is with us yet but that younger ones have taken her place. Other speakers are Gertrude Soper, Victoria Kelsey and James Woodard. After the close of the program my invisible friend and I pass from group to group and gain much information in regard to the family. Alice and George Kelsey are seated at one side, she with a little child in her arms, while they converse with one whom I would not know, was formerly Alice Woodard, but who is now the wife of a merchant in Ohio, and the mother of the first great grand-child of Mr. and Mrs. George Kelsey. Nearby are Edi and Will Woodard. They own a small farm near Elmira, and are making money raising garden truck, small fruit and poultry. Dollie is here with her husband, who is rather short and stout. They live upon a dairy farm, and she seems to never tire of working about the milk, and frequently she accompanies her husband upon his milk route about the streets of Elmira. Walking about in an uneasy way I notice henry graves, and find that he is as fond as ever of the eating part of the program, as I hear him ask, "Why don’t some of you get dinner?" A laugh greets this as someone replies, "I guess you have not attended the reunions lately. We do not all carry baskets and some of us work most of the time we are here, as we did some years ago." A disappointed look comes over his face with the thought that there is to be no dinner but at this moment a call is sounded and we pass into the dining room, where a bounteous dinner is prepared. This is attended to by outside parties, and paid for, thereby leaving all at liberty to spend the day in a social way. As all are seated at the table, I pass along the line till I come to a woman who is asking for the beans, as soon as I hear her speak I know it is Anna Nares. By her side sits a manly looking boy and a young lady; her son and daughter. Next to attract my notice are Warren and Fanny Culver. He is as jolly as ever, and seems to be entertaining those in his vicinity with an interesting story. Opposite them sit Willard and Rosa Harvey; he has a lucrative position in the machine shops of a distant city, where they own a beautiful home, furnished with all modern conveniences. Farther on I see Clyde and Nina Smith, with their little daughter. Clyde is a junior partner of a shoe store in Corning. I discover Carrie Graves and am told that after finishing her education at Mansfield, she engaged in settlement work in New York City, after which the dream of her life was fulfilled and she went as a missionary to Japan. There she did good work for five years and well-earned the visit she is now enjoying with her friends here. She is soon to return to japan, but will go as the wife of a young missionary whom she met in the Sunrise Kingdom. I hear Howard Graves talking with his mother and learn that he is a lawyer, and is fast becoming interested in politics.
As the company scatter at the close of the meal, I observe, moving from group to group, a tall dignified young man, seemingly well suited to wear the uniform he has chosen, that of Uncle Sam’s army. This is Alfred Harvey, a soldier of the regular army, and the officer’s stripes proclaim the rank he has gained. Hattie and Will Coveney are here, looking as if the world had dealt well with them; he perhaps a little older, but I do not wonder at that, when I hear a little boy call him grandpa, and see with them Blanche, a baby girl in her arms, and by her side a fine looking man, her husband. Will Soper is loitering about, portly and sedate, and near him his two little sons aged seven and eight. I am attracted by a hilarious party spinning around the track in the latest improved touring car. This, my companion tells me, is owned by Joe Kelsey. "Did Joe ever marry?" "No, he had many love affairs, and narrow escapes, but he is single still." Charley Kelsey is present, with his wife and four children, of Troy, Pa. Driving about with a valuable matched span of road horses, and the most modern carriage, is Leon Graves, and by his side his wife. I make inquiry and am told that he has been twice married; that his first wide died and left him considerable money. Lately he married a young woman who owns one of the best farms in this part of the country. Leon has taken to raising fine horses and cattle. Jim and Florence Kelsey are talking of his mail route, by which I learn he is following the business in which he was interested so long ago. Others whom I see about the Park are Mr. and Mrs. John Lounsberry, hale and hearty, with a pleasant word for all; Bertha Thomas and family, of Hornellsville; Lottie Soper in the uniform of the Salvation Army; Clara Coons, a teacher in the Mansfield graded school; Mrs. Mary Brace, with Minnie and John Phillips, who look with love and pride at the approach of a young man and little girl, Willie Phillips and his sister. And Vera graves, we must not forget; you remember she always proclaimed her intention of being an old maid and her wish to see the world. After her graduation at the Normal, she taught in nearby schools two years, then attended college, taking a course in languages, taught one year in Michigan; travelled through some of the western states during her vacation; then securing a situation as teacher in a university of California, she remained there until one year ago, since which time she has been traveling with friends in Europe. Since her college days she has numbered among her friends a young professor, but to all his proposals of marriage she has turned a deaf ear, continuing steadfast in her girlhood purpose. A few months ago they met in their travels, and seem to have come to a happy understanding, as they come home man and wife. His hair is getting a little thin and she seems no longer a young girl, so as soon as he returns to his school duties, she is well content to preside over a home of her own
As I look about for other familiar ones, a feeling of bewilderment comes over me, --my mystic guide has disappeared – I hear the opening of a door, -- I am sitting at home in my easy chair as at the beginning.
And then this story I’m telling,
Seemed like something half forgot;
And whether I read or dreamed it.
Ah, well; it matters not.
Family of Josiah and Rachel Ann Graves.
(Sarah E. Graves)
(J. Will Graves)
(Willard T. Harvey)
Leon J. Graves
Nina M. Smith
Asahel T. Graves
Pearl A. Graves
Vera E. Graves
Earl E. Graves
Alfred P. Harvey
Charles J. Harvey
Marieva M. Harvey
This Souvenir Reunion Report belonged to my mother, Cecelia
Merle Harvey. She was the daughter of Alfred Pearly Harvey listed above.