Captain Carlton Graves
Captain Carlton Graves. One of the oldest vessel masters on the Great Lakes is Capt. Carlton Graves, now in command of the steamer Keystone, who has sailed on the lakes for half a century and has held the rank of master some forty years.
Captain Graves comes from a race of sailors; one of his ancestors was Admiral Graves of the English Navy. His paternal ancestor, Thomas Graves, settled near Boston in 1642, and one of his descendants was a member of the far-famed Boston Tea-party. Captain Graves was born in Pomfret, Chautauqua county, N.Y. in 1829, the son of Eli and Nancy A. (Crane) Graves. The father was born in Berkshire county, Mass., and the mother in Litchfield county, Conn. Eli Graves was a farmer, but his four sons followed the water, and became vessel masters on the Great Lakes. The family moved to Madison, Ohio, in 1836, and ten years later Carlton Graves began sailing as a boy on the little scow Swallow out of Fairport. Later he sailed as seaman before the mast on the schooner North Carolina, the brig Virginia, the schooner Atlas, brig John Irwin, schooner Petrel, and schooner S. L. Noble, in 1855 becoming master of the schooner Caroline E. Bailey, a vessel of 122 tons burden, which he took out new. Captain Graves had become what was known in those days, as a "marline spike sailor," being able to do all the work of fitting out and rigging vessels. Following the Bailey, he sailed the schooner Trenton one season, the scow L.E. Fortier two seasons, the William B. Hibbard one season, and the A. P. Nichols, two seasons. He made in the Nichols what is said to be the quickest trip any sailing vessel ever made between Chicago and Buffalo, taking a cargo of oats for the French troops in Mexico from one point to another in three days and eleven hours. He sailed the Sam Ward two years, making a trip from Chicago to Buffalo with grain, going to Erie and taking a cargo of coal back to Chicago in twelve days. At another time he made a similar trip in thirteen days. In 1856 he went to the schooner Lookout, sailing her two seasons. Then he sailed the Oliver Culver, the bark Thomas B. Rice, and the schooner Lewis Wells, L.J. Farwell and the Valentine in succession, losing the Valentine in a gale off Cleveland, the vessel foundering and the crew remaining in small boats seventeen hours before reaching land. Following this he sailed the barge Ironton, the Daniel E. Bailey and the John S. Richards, owning one-third of the Richards, and being in command of her five years. He owned one-half of the schooner Zach Chandler, and sailed her two years; owned one-half of the steamer Benton, but did not sail her, and owned the schooner Columbian, and sailed her three years. Then he sailed the Charles Wall two years, the propeller Cormorant one year, and the propeller Keystone, of which he owns part, five years. The Keystone was burned near Big Summer island, Lake Michigan, September 19, 1898.
Captain Graves married Mrs. Edna Bragg Smith, daughter of Captain M. W. Bragg, of the Union army, who was confined in Libby Prison during the war. Her father was one of the three brothers, one of whom besides himself, Gen. E. S. Bragg, served in the Union army, and the other, Gen. Braxton Bragg, served in the Confederate army. Capt. M. W. Bragg lives now in Pontiac Mich.; he served in the battle of Buena Vista in the Mexican war, with General Taylor in the Seminole Indian war, and in the war of the Rebellion. Captain Graves's children are Viola E., now Mrs. J. H. Wallace of Faulk town, S. D.; and Vernon A. who for four years has been an engineer on the steamer Keystone. Mr. Graves was married in 1877 to Miss Cora Potter, of Madison, Ohio, who died in 1880 leaving one little girl named Minnie. In 1887 he married Miss Cordelia Gauthier, of Kankakee, Ill. Their children are Carlton, Lewis, Ida, and John Albertis.
Captain Graves is a member of Lake Shore Lodge, F. & A. M., Madison, also of Thatcher Chapter No. 101, Cleveland, Ohio, and Lodge No. 4, Ship Masters Association of Cleveland. He resides at No. 57 Bigalow street, Cleveland, Ohio.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.