Roswell Graves

ID#  409, (1837-1883)
2nd great-grandfather of Faye Louise Doyle
Descendants of Samson Striker
Rev. Roswell Graves
     Roswell Graves was born on 4 March 1837 in Jamestown, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.1,2 He was the son of Roswell Graves and Mary Ann Betts.1,2,3 He lived in Marcellon, Columbia County, Wisconsin, in 1857.4 He married Eugenia C Clapp, daughter of Hiram Clapp and Rhoda Striker, on 18 August 1857 in Wyocena, Columbia County, Wisconsin.4 He was ordained a Methodist minister in September 1859 in Green Lake Prairie, Wisconsin. He later joined the Congregationalists and ministered throughout Northern California establishing many churches in the area.5,3,6 He lived in Iowa before April 1863.7,3 He lived in Dixon, Solano County, California, in 1865.8 He was a Congregational minister in 1867.3 He lived in Walnut Grove, Sacramento County, California, in 1867.9 He lived in Antioch, Contra Costa County, California, in 1868.8 He lived in Redding, Shasta County, California.8 He lived in Shasta City, Shasta County, California.8 He lived in Battle Creek, Tehama County, California, in 1872.8,10 He bought a parcel of land (Township 001N, Range 003E, Section 10) in Contra Costa County California using a Military Scrip Warrant Patent on 5 January 1872.11 He lived in Weaverville, Trinity County, California, in 1874.8,10 He lived in Little Shasta, Siskiyou County, California, in 1878.10,8 He lived in Susanville, Lassen County, California, in 1881.8,12,10 He lived in Alturas, Modoc County, California, in 1883.8,10 He died on 9 November 1883 of a malignant tumor in San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, at age 46.2,13 He was buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery, San Francisco, California. His remains were later moved to Sebastopol Cemetery, Sebastopol, Sonoma County, CaliforniaG.

"The church at Little Shasta seems to be his last as his health began to fail according to letters written by my grandfather Oldham to Ella" 14

"Grandfather Graves left Iowa in April 1863 for California in a covered wagon with a young wife and 3 small children. Ella was 5, Eddie (3) and Lillian about 1 year old. I understand they were sent out by the Methodist church as missionaries to N California. There were few churches and Grandfather Graves was expected to start as many as he could. He later changed to the Congregational church because he thought they adhered more closely to the Bible teachings.

"I believe he started no less than 5 churches. Perhaps one of the hardest places to work was Alturas in the far northeastern part of the state. It was considered a rough pioneer town and few concerned themselves with religion. The Catholics had tried to start a chuch and had even put in a foundation for a church. After a few years they gave up and left town. Grandfather came into the community and within a year had a nice congregation of 100 and the new church building all completed.

"Aunt May all but worshipped her father and has spoken many times of his beautiful baritone singing voice and his wonderful ability as a speaker."7

Rev. Roswell Graves crossed the plains to California by wagon train in 1864 with his wife and oldest three children. At that time he was a minister of the Methodist Protestant Church. He was asked to fill a temporary vacancy at the Congregational Church in Antioch, Contra Costa County, Calif. and decided that the views of that denomination were more compatable with his. However, Congregational ministers had to have gone to divinity school, and Rev. Graves had been ordained by a "laying on of hands." He was hired by the Board of Home Missions to serve as a missionary, to establish new Congregational churches in newly settled parts of California which would then be staffed by a permanent minister. Rev. Graves attempted to establish churches in what is now Brentwood, Contra Costa County; Battle Creek, Tehama County; Weaverville, Trinity County; Etna, Siskiyou County; Redding, Shasta County; Little Shasta, Siskiyou County; Susanville, Lassen County; and finally Alturas, Modoc County.

Rev. Graves performed the first wedding that ever took place in Redding in 1873. The church he built at Little Shasta, near Montague, Calif., still stands and a memorial to him is on the pulpit. This church sits on a treeless plain with a dramatic view of Mount Shasta to the south behind it. It is only used for special events today.

His youngest daughter [May] recalled that he was of slender build, with hazel eyes and brown hair (going bald). His last words were "Let me pass over." 15

A biography of Roswell Graves, written by his daughter May Sealock is here.
Last Edited=5 Aug 2019

Children of Roswell Graves and Eugenia C Clapp


  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. [S25] Lineage application of Bertha May Graves Sealock, #443473, DAR.
  3. [S137] National Council of the Congregational Churches of the United States, Congregational Year Book 1884 (Boston: Congregational Publishing Society, 1884).
  4. [S138] Marriage certificate of Roswell Graves & Eujane Clapp, privately held by Faye West, Edmonton, Alberta.
  5. [S45] Barbara Hill, "Rev Graves Family," e-mail message from e-mail address (Berkeley, California) to Faye West, 9 Mar 2002.
  6. [S1157] The San Francisco Bulletin, 1 Mar 1873 and 18 Mar 1876, on website GenealogyBank, online (
  7. [S141] Letter from Geri Nesmith (California) to Faye West, 17 May 1978; privately held by Faye West (Edmonton, Alberta). File: Graves, correspondence.
  8. [S139] Records of Native Daughters of Golden West, Book 65, page 76, privately held by Faye West, Edmonton, Alberta.
  9. [S122] Alice Broder, Death Certificate 2410(?) (24 Feb 1948), Washington Bureau of Vital Statistics, Olympia, Thurston County, Washington.
  10. [S142] American Missionary Association, Annual Report (n.p.: American Missionary Association, annually 1868-1887). File: Graves, Roswell.
  11. [S266] Roswell Graves California Land Records; Military Scrip Warrant Patent; Document # 5789, Serial # CACAAA 036699; California Bureau of Land Management, Sacramento, Sacramento County, California.
  12. [S143] Letter from L S Smith (Alturas, CA) to Mrs John Broder, 19 Jan 1917; privately held by Faye West (Edmonton, Alberta). File: Broder, John.
  13. [S265] Home Missionary Column: Another Gone to Rest, The Pacific, San Francisco, CA, 14 Nov 1883, pg 4.
  14. [S221] Letter from Geri Nesmith (California) to Faye West, 19 Jun 1978; privately held by Faye West (Edmonton, Alberta). File: Graves, correspondence.
  15. [S542] Barbara Hill, database report, 10 Jul 2003, Berkeley, California. FTM report "Descendants of Elias CLAPP."
  16. [S154] Roswell Graves family, 1850 Census (Mercer, Pennsylvania),, Ancestry.
  17. [S447] 1860 Federal Census (Wisconsin), HeritageQuest,
  18. [S446] Roswell Graves, 14 July 1870 U.S. Census, Contra Costa, California, HeritageQuest,
  19. [S445] Roswell Graves, 14 Jun 1880 U.S. Census, Table Rock, Siskiyou, California, HeritageQuest,
  20. [S146] Florence Eleanor Oldham, Delayed Birth Certificate (2 Feb 1944), California Vital Records, Department of Public Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Sacramento, Sacramento County, California.
  21. [S121] Alice Broder, Funeral Card, 24 Feb 1948, file: Broder, John, privately held by Faye West, Edmonton, Alberta.
  22. [S911], online database, "California Death Index 1940-1997" ( : accessed 2010 - 2012).