Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918


William E. Graves

WILLIAM E. GRAVES, D. V. M. Among the men skilled in the practice of veterinary medicine and surgery in Kansas, one who has enjoyed a long and successful career, is Dr. William E. Graves. A graduate of a leading St. Louis institution, he began practice about the time that he attained manhood, came to Kansas in 1896 and carried on his vocation in Franklin County for ten years, and in 1906 changed his field of operation to Topeka, where he now has his home.

Doctor Graves was born on a farm in Pike County, Illinois, in 1852, a son of William and Susan (Noble) Graves. His father was born at Monticello, Kentucky, and was there married to the daughter of Adam Noble, a member of an old and honored family of Kentucky, and himself a pioneer of that state, as well as an early and noted circuit-rider of the Methodist Church. Almost immediately after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Graves, mounted on horse-back, started for their new home in Pike County, Illinois, a long and dangerous journey. Seated in back of Mrs. Graves was a young negro girl, who had been given them as a wedding present by Reverend Noble. Upon their arrival at their destination they found not over six families in the community, and it was a number of years before the county became even sparsely settled, but the families were all hospitable and friendly, sharing each others joys and sorrows and occasionally all gathering at one house, on some special occasion, such as Christmas, when a great feast would be laid and the festivities would continue for several days. On these occasions one of the principal dainties of the table would be a great jar of honey, invariably supplied by William Graves, who was known as a noted hunter of bee trees and could always be depended upon to find the delectable article in large quantities. Mrs. Graves always remembered this period as the happiest in her life. Mr. Graves was a man of the highest moral character and had none of the vices so general among the pioneers of that part of Illinois, and never touched liquor in any form. He was a sober, industrious and energetic workman, but in spite of his solidity and substantiality the spirit of adventure was in his blood and this eventually caused his death. The discovery of gold in California, in 1849, had caused many hardy and courageous men to undertake the long and perilous trip across the plains, and as the trails came to be more definitely located, it was considered that the journey was becoming less dangerous. In 1851 William Graves joined a party of gold-seekers in the great desert trip. In his young manhood he had learned the trade of wagonmaker, and it was considered that in addition to his other qualities his knowledge of this vocation should be of great assistance to the party. One menace had not been taken into consideration, however, and that was the awful scourge of cholera, which had insinuated itself not only into the mining camps, but all along the trail. Of the brave little party of a dozen or more who left Illinois, but one returned, this a man named Stotts, who brought word of the almost incredible hardships undergone by the party and the final extermination of the emigrants by cholera. Thus William Graves never returned to his Illinois home. He and his wife were the parents of five children, namely: Lucy, deceased; Elizabeth, deceased; Montroville, deceased; Eleanor, who is now Mrs. Horback, of Ottawa, Kansas; and William E.

William E. Graves never saw his father, as he died before the son's birth. Left with five children, the widowed mother had a hard time making both ends meet, but managed to keep her little brood together and give them a number of advantages that helped them to become useful men and women. William E. Graves received the usual public school education granted at that time in Pike County, and in his youth evidenced a love for animals that pointed out the road for him to follow in the choice of a life vocation. When eighteen years of age he went to St. Louis, where he entered the St. Louis Veterinary College, from which he was duly graduated at the age of twenty-one years. He at once entered upon the practice of his calling in Illinois, and after being located in a number of places came to Kansas in 1896 and established himself in business in Franklin County. There for ten years he succeeded in building up a large and profitable practice, particularly in the farming communities, and in 1906 came to Topeka, where he has since been located, his offices being situated at Twenty-first and Oakley streets.

Doctor Graves was married in 1875 to Miss Anna Brown, and three daughters have been born to them: Elsie, who is the wife of R. B. Nelson, bookkeeper for the Hall Lithographic Company; Catherine, a graduate of Washburn College, and now teaching vocal music in the Honey Grove (Texas) High School; and Izora, who is the wife of Earl Laxman, of Buffalo, New York. Mr. Laxman has had an unusual career. He was early left in charge of a widowed mother and proved himself a good and faithful son, well worthy the interest and friendship of all who knew him. He has made rapid progress in the business world, and although now only twenty-four years of age is superintendent of a large printing plant at Buffalo, at a salary of $3,000 per year.


Transcribed from volume 4, page 1757 of A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; originally transcribed 1998, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.

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