Roswell Herbert Graves1

ID#  461, (1865-1945)
Great-grandson of Samson Striker
Great-granduncle of Faye Louise Doyle
Descendants of Samson Striker
     Roswell Herbert Graves was known as Bert. He was born on 29 September 1865 in Dixon, Solano County, California. He was the son of Roswell Graves and Eugenia C Clapp.2,3 He was a rancher near Pendleton, Umatilla County, Oregon, in 1904.4 He married Minnie Lois Downs, daughter of John M Downs and Margaret Louisa Van Dorn, on 21 July 1904 in Pendleton, Oregon.4,2 He died on 15 July 1945 of sunstroke in Roseburg, Douglas County, Oregon, at age 79.2

Bert's obituary in the The Roseburg News-Review on 17 July 1945 read:
"ROSWELL H GRAVES: was born near Dixon CA, 29 Sep 1865, the son of Rev. and Mrs. Roswell Graves, the former a pioneer Methodist minister of that state. He came to Oregon about fifty years ago, residing in Washington county, until about 16 years ago, when he moved to Douglas county. He was married at Pendleton, Oregon, July 21, 1904 to Minnie Downs. Surviving are his widow, Mrs. Minnie Graves, Roseburg, and two sons and two daughters, Harold Graves, Roseburg; Mrs. Lois Whalen, Los Angeles; Mrs. Mabel Woodard, Falls Church, Va., Roswell, H. Graves, Jr., Drain. He is also survived by two sisters, Mrs. Bertha Selock, Santa Rosa, Calif., and Mrs. Alice Broder, Seattle, Wash., and by ten grandchildren.
Funeral services for Roswell Herbert Graves, 79, well known resident of Roseburg, and former resident of Drain, who died suddenly at Mercy Hospital Sunday will be held in the chapel of the Douglas Funeral home Sunday afternoon, July 22, at 3 o'clock. Elder N.C. Ernton of the Seventh Day Adventist church officiating. Concluding services and interment will follow in Civil Bend Cemetery."

Bert's obituary in the The North Pacific Union Gleaner on 14 August 1945 read:
"Graves.---- Roswell H. Graves was born Sept. 29, 1865, near Dixon, Calif., and died at Roseburg, Ore., July 15, 1945. He was married to Minnie Downs at Pendleton, Ore., July 21, 1904. Surviving are his widow, Mrs. Minnie Graves; two sons, Harold of Roseburg and Roswell Jr, of Drain, Ore; two daughters, Mrs. Lois Whalen of Los Angeles, Calif; and Mrs. Mabel Woodard of Falls Church, Va; two sisters, Mrs. Bertha Selock [sic] of Santa Rosa, Calif., and Mrs. Alice Broder of Seattle, Wash; and ten grandchildren."5

He was buried on 22 July 1945 in Civil Bend Cemetery, Winston, Douglas County, OregonG.

"R. H. ("Bert") Graves was only 18 years old at the time of his father's death. Two of his sisters were married, but he was left as the sole support of his mother and younger sisters, with only a sixth-grade education. He was employed for a time as a cowboy in Modoc County; later he tried cattle ranching east of Pendleton, Umatilla County, Oregon, where "Graves Butte" bears his name on topographic maps. He went to the aid of his youngest sister, May, at the time she gave birth to stillborn twins. May later attended "normal school" where one of her classmates was Minnie Downs. May introduced them and was a witness at their wedding in 1904.

"Bert Graves, at other times in his life, raised sheep, turkeys, was a logger, and farmed. The family moved often, perhaps remaining longest in the area of Drain, Oregon. He converted to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church upon his marriage. His daughters recalled him as a stern father, but one who adored babies. He sometimes sang cowboy songs to his children, which scandalized his wife, who thought some of the lyrics were naughty; and he occasionally uttered a swear word, such as when a horse stepped on his foot. He made many toys for his children and grandchildren by whittling them out of pieces of wood. By middle age he was quite bald."6

Census Records

YearPlaceHead of Household
1870Contra Costa County, CaliforniaRoswell Graves7
1880Table Rock Twp, Siskiyou County, CaliforniaRoswell Graves8
1920Yamhill County, OregonRoswell Herbert Graves
Last Edited=7 Sep 2011

Children of Roswell Herbert Graves and Minnie Lois Downs


  1. [S15] Graves, Bertha May Graves Sealock's Bible (n.p.:, unknown publish date); unknown present owner, Photocopy in Faye West's file: DOC 027.
  2. [S10] David Taft, Pedigree Resource File Disc 15., CD-ROM (Salt Lake City, UT: LDS Family History Library), Graves family.
  3. [S45] Barbara Hill, "Rev Graves Family," e-mail message from e-mail address (Berkeley, California) to Faye West, 9 Mar 2002.
  4. [S44] Minnie Graves is Centenarian, Redding Recorder, Redding, California, 31 Jul 1978.
  5. [S940] North Pacific Union Gleaner, 1945, Vol 40 No 33 p 5, on website Seventh Day Adventist Archives, online (
  6. [S542] Barbara Hill, database report, 10 Jul 2003, Berkeley, California. FTM report "Descendants of Elias CLAPP."
  7. [S446] Roswell Graves, 14 July 1870 U.S. Census, Contra Costa, California, HeritageQuest,
  8. [S445] Roswell Graves, 14 Jun 1880 U.S. Census, Table Rock, Siskiyou, California, HeritageQuest,