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Collection Number: 02716

Collection Title: Graves Family Papers, 1815-1901

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

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Size 3.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 700 items)
Abstract Members of the Graves family of New York and Georgia included Sarah Dutton Graves (fl. 1830-1883), educator and plantation owner, who grew up in Champion, Jefferson County, N.Y., and moved to Covington, Ga., to teach in 1832. She married local planter Iverson Lea Graves (1800-1864) in 1834. After Iverson's death, she became active in the management of the family's plantations in Newton County, Ga. One of her sons, Henry Lea Graves (1842- 1892), was a Confederate soldier and marine, cotton planter, school board member, Georgia state legislator, and member of the Georgia Farmers' Alliance. Other family members include Sarah's father, Nathaniel Dutton (d. 1852), her brother, Henry Dutton (fl. 1830-1857), her son, Iverson Dutton Graves (fl. 1859-1888), her sister, Eunice Dutton (fl. 1830-1839), and her daughter, Cornelia Graves (fl. 1860-1890). The collection is chiefly correspondence, 1830-1870, of Sarah Dutton Graves, Iverson Lea Graves, and Henry Dutton Graves, including letters from family and friends in Jefferson County and other locations in New York and in Georgia about plantation management and routine family matters. Correspondence of Sarah Dutton Graves includes letters to and from teachers and classmates at the Troy (N.Y.) Female Seminary and letters from her husband discussing his military service in the Creek War, 1836. Also included are political and Farmers' Alliance papers of Henry Lea Graves; two physicians' records books of John L. Graves (fl. 1844-1847), probably Iverson Lea Graves's brother; sermon outlines and other religious Papers, some of which probably belonged to Nathaniel Dutton; Civil War letters of Henry Lea Graves, serving with the Macon Volunteers and the Confederate Marines, and others that describe military life in Virginia and Georgia and the daily routine of family life at home; Graves family account books and business Papers, including two volumes of blacksmith's acounts; and a mid- 19th-century scrapbook.
Creator Graves family.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Graves Family Papers #2716, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
All or part of this collection is available on microfilm from University Publications of America as part of Southern women and their families in the 19th century, Series A.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Henry Graves and Mrs. John B. Reeves of Atlanta and Mt. Pleasant Plantation, Ga., in 1944 and 1947.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Sarah Dutton Graves (fl. 1830-1883), educator and plantation owner, grew up in Champion, N. Y., and moved to Covington, Ga., to teach in 1832. She married local planter, Iverson Lea Graves (d. 1866), in 1834. After Iverson's death she became active in the management of the family's plantations.

Her son, Henry L. Graves (fl. 1842-1892), Confederate veteran and cotton planter, was active in local politics as a state legislator and a member of the county school board. He was also active in the Georgia Farmers' Alliance. Other correspondents represented in the collection include; Sarah's father, Nathaniel Dutton (d. 1852), her brother Henry Dutton (fl. 1830-1857), her son, Iverson Dutton Graves (fl. 1859-1888), her sister, Eunice Dutton (fl. 1830-1839), her daughter, Cornelia Graves (fl. 1860-1890), teachers and classmates from Troy Female Seminary, and family friends in New York and Georgia.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists chiefly of correspondence of Sarah, Iverson, and Henry Graves (bulk 1830-1870). It also includes political papers and Farmers' Alliance papers of Henry L. Graves; two physician's record books of John L. Graves (fl. 1844-1847), probably a brother of Iverson L. Graves; sermon outlines and other religious Papers, some of which probably belonged to Nathaniel Dutton; Graves family account books and business Papers, including two volumes of blacksmith accounts; and a mid-19th-century scrapbook.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Personal Correspondence.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. Sarah Dutton Graves Correspondence, 1830-1860.

circa 120 items.

Chiefly correspondence of Sarah Dutton Graves with members of her family. Most of the early letters (1830-1839) are to Sarah from her parents, Nathaniel and Elizabeth Dutton, her siblings, Eunice and Henry Dutton, and other relations in Jefferson County and elsewhere in New York, including letters to and from teachers and classmates at the Troy Female Seminary. After 1840, a greater number of letters from Sarah are included. There are also letters to and from Sarah and her husband, Iverson Graves, during her visits to New York, while he was away on business, and while he served in the Creek War (1836). The Creek War letters discuss privations in the army, troop strength and movements, and Graves's feelings about being involved in the conflict.

Folder 1

1830-1834 #02716, Subseries: "1.1. Sarah Dutton Graves Correspondence, 1830-1860." Folder 1

Folder 2

1835-1839 #02716, Subseries: "1.1. Sarah Dutton Graves Correspondence, 1830-1860." Folder 2

Folder 3

1840-1849 #02716, Subseries: "1.1. Sarah Dutton Graves Correspondence, 1830-1860." Folder 3

Folder 4

1850-1860 #02716, Subseries: "1.1. Sarah Dutton Graves Correspondence, 1830-1860." Folder 4

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. Civil War Correspondence, 1861-1865.

circa 120 items.

Chiefly letters to and from Henry Lea Graves, a private in the Macon Volunteers during 1861-1862 and a lieutenant in the Confederate Marines after October 1862. Letters from Graves discuss routine military life, maneuvers, camp life, and requests for mail; letters to Graves chiefly discuss life on the home front, family news, illnesses, etc. 1861 letters found Henry in the vicinity of Norfolk, Va.; letters in January-September 1862 found him in Wilmington, N.C., and Petersburg, Va.; October 1862-January 1863 letters found him in Petersburg and Richmond, Va.; and letters, 1864-1865, were received by him at Savannah, Ga., and Charleston and James Island, S.C.

Folder 5

1861 #02716, Subseries: "1.2. Civil War Correspondence, 1861-1865." Folder 5

Folder 6

January-September 1862 #02716, Subseries: "1.2. Civil War Correspondence, 1861-1865." Folder 6

Folder 7

October 1862-January 1863 #02716, Subseries: "1.2. Civil War Correspondence, 1861-1865." Folder 7

Folder 8

February-December 1863 #02716, Subseries: "1.2. Civil War Correspondence, 1861-1865." Folder 8

Folder 9

1864-1865 and undated #02716, Subseries: "1.2. Civil War Correspondence, 1861-1865." Folder 9

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.3. Post-War Correspondence, 1866-1901.

circa 160 items.

Chiefly correspondence of Henry Lea Graves and Sarah Dutton Graves. After the death of Iverson Graves in 1866, his wife and eldest son took over the management of the family's estate. Early letters provide some detail of plantation management. The bulk of the letters, however, deal with routine family matters, such as weddings, attending church, grandchildren, education, and illnesses.

Folder 10

1866 #02716, Subseries: "1.3. Post-War Correspondence, 1866-1901." Folder 10

Folder 11

1867 #02716, Subseries: "1.3. Post-War Correspondence, 1866-1901." Folder 11

Folder 12

1868-1869 #02716, Subseries: "1.3. Post-War Correspondence, 1866-1901." Folder 12

Folder 13

1870-1873 #02716, Subseries: "1.3. Post-War Correspondence, 1866-1901." Folder 13

Folder 14

1874-1880 #02716, Subseries: "1.3. Post-War Correspondence, 1866-1901." Folder 14

Folder 15

1881-1901 #02716, Subseries: "1.3. Post-War Correspondence, 1866-1901." Folder 15

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.4. Undated Correspondence.

circa 40 items.

Undated correspondence, chiefly of Henry Lea Graves and Sarah Dutton Graves.

Folder 16

Undated Correspondence #02716, Subseries: "1.4. Undated Correspondence." Folder 16

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Antebellum Account Books and Business Papers.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.1. Account Books, 1815-1820, 1825-1846.

8 items.

Ledgers relating to dry goods and general merchandise. Several books contain total amounts only. See also Series 9, Folder 49, for a scrapbook pasted into an 1817-1818 account book. The relationship of many of these volumes to the Graves family is unclear. It is possible that some of the earlier volumes predate the family's move from North Carolina to Georgia.

Folder 17

Account Book, 1815-1817: Ledger, general merchandise (volume S-1). #02716, Subseries: "2.1. Account Books, 1815-1820, 1825-1846." Folder 17

Folder 18

Account Book, 1818-1819: Ledger, total amounts only (volume S-2). #02716, Subseries: "2.1. Account Books, 1815-1820, 1825-1846." Folder 18

Folder 19

Account Book, 1818-1819: Ledger. #02716, Subseries: "2.1. Account Books, 1815-1820, 1825-1846." Folder 19

Folder 20

Account Book, 1820, 1836: Slave prices, other accounts. #02716, Subseries: "2.1. Account Books, 1815-1820, 1825-1846." Folder 20

Folder 21

Account Book, 1825-1829: Ledger, total amounts only (volume S-3). #02716, Subseries: "2.1. Account Books, 1815-1820, 1825-1846." Folder 21

Folder 22

Account Book, 1836-1843, 1866: Ledger for general merchandize, perhaps of E. E. Schofield, Covington, Ga.; and drafts of a few letters and labor contracts with freedmen by Sarah Dutton Graves, 1866. #02716, Subseries: "2.1. Account Books, 1815-1820, 1825-1846." Folder 22

Folder 23

Account Book, 1850-1869: Ledger. #02716, Subseries: "2.1. Account Books, 1815-1820, 1825-1846." Folder 23

Folder 24

Account Book, 1834-1841 and undated: Miscellaneous accounts. #02716, Subseries: "2.1. Account Books, 1815-1820, 1825-1846." Folder 24

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.2. John Graves Cotton Accounts, 1835.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.3. Blacksmith Account Books, 1834-1835, 1846.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.4. John L. Graham Accounts, 1854-1859.

2 items.

Iverson Lea Graves was apparently John L. Graham's guardian.

Folder 28

John L. Graham Accounts #02716, Subseries: "2.4. John L. Graham Accounts, 1854-1859." Folder 28

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Post-War Accounts.

See also Subseries 4.3.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.1 Account Book, 1870-1884.

13 items.

Account book that includes house plans and property surveys and a partial division of the Graves family estate.

Folder 29-30

Folder 29

Folder 30

Account Book #02716, Subseries: "3.1 Account Book, 1870-1884." Folder 29-30

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.2. Accounts and Receipts, 1873-1890.

circa 160 items.

Primarily cotton accounts.

Folder 31-32

Folder 31

Folder 32

Accounts and Receipts #02716, Subseries: "3.2. Accounts and Receipts, 1873-1890." Folder 31-32

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Religious Papers, 1840-1858 and undated.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 4.1. Sermon Notes, Undated.

2 items.

Notes for sermons that may have belonged to Sarah Dutton Graves's father, Nathaniel Dutton.

Folder 33-34

Folder 33

Folder 34

Sermon Notes #02716, Subseries: "4.1. Sermon Notes, Undated." Folder 33-34

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 4.2. Thomas Shepard Sermon, 1840.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 4.3. Church membership book, 1850, 1858, 1888.

1 item.

Membership is broken down by race and gender. The name and location of the church is not indicated. Also includes post war general accounts.

Folder 36

Church membership book #02716, Subseries: "4.3. Church membership book, 1850, 1858, 1888." Folder 36

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 4.4. Scriptural Precepts, Undated.

1 item.

Nine handwritten pages of biblical rules for leading a spiritual life.

Folder 37

Scriptural Precepts #02716, Subseries: "4.4. Scriptural Precepts, Undated." Folder 37

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Physician's Records, 1844, 1847 and undated.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 6. Academic Papers, 1859? and undated.

4 items.

A diary, 1859(?), probably of Iverson Graves, with some entries by Henry L. Graves, containing the author's first impression of attending a school away from home, clothing lists, travel record of trip from Georgia to Niagara, meal accounts, and a treatment for a "foundered horse." There are also several essays by "H.L.G." on the "Uses of History" and "Independence."

Folder 41

Diary #02716, Series: "6. Academic Papers, 1859? and undated. " Folder 41

Folder 42-43

Folder 42

Folder 43

Essays #02716, Series: "6. Academic Papers, 1859? and undated. " Folder 42-43

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 7. Political Papers, 1870, 1880-1892 and undated.

circa 45 items.

Political letters to Henry Lea Graves in his positions as school board member and Georgia State Legislator, draft bills, ballots, petitions, and other miscellaneous political papers.

Folder 44

Political Papers #02716, Series: "7. Political Papers, 1870, 1880-1892 and undated." Folder 44

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 8. Farmers' Alliance and Agricultural Papers.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 8.1. Farmers' Alliance Minutes, 1890.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 8.2. Miscellaneous Agricultural Papers, 1876-1891.

circa 20 items.

Price lists, livestock pedigrees, a copy of "The Sub-Treasury Plan," land surveys, and other miscellaneous forms and papers. Also included are an advertising booklet on "Fertilizers: Their Manufacture and Use," with agricultural notes at the back of the booklet, and two newspaper clippings of letters to the editor by Henry Lea Graves.

Folder 46

Miscellaneous Agricultural Papers #02716, Subseries: "8.2. Miscellaneous Agricultural Papers, 1876-1891." Folder 46

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 9. Scrapbook, Undated.

1 item.

Miscellaneous clippings, chiefly from the mid-19th century, pasted into an account book from 1817-1818 (volume S-4).

Folder 47

Scrapbook #02716, Series: "9. Scrapbook, Undated." Folder 47

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Processing Information

Processed by: Scott Philyaw, November 1991

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

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