Graves Family Biographies:

Joseph Muzzy Graves and Sons


Joseph Muzzy Graves Joseph Muzzy Graveswas born May 7, 1793, probably in Shrewsbury, MA. He descended from Samuel Graves, a Puritain who settled in Lynn,MA., about 1630.

His maternal grandfather, Joseph Muzzy, was a Minuteman. He marched under Col. Artemas Ward to engage the British forces on April 19, 1775, in response to Paul Revere’s alarm that "the British are coming!" Within nine days, he was reported dead. His wife Hannah bore their youngest son just nine months later.

The picture of him to the right is from a portrait painted on a wooden shingle. Painted into his shoulder, "by W.S. Elwell Pinxt, executed at one sitting, Springfield, Mass., July 29th, 1838". I can so clearly see the beginnings of a smile twitching the corners of his mouth, as though he were trying to hold back for the sake of the portrait, but having a difficult time doing so. From letters he wrote to his daughter, we know him to have been a hearty and enthusiastic man, serving the Lord with great love and joy!

After Joseph’s death, his daughter Stella made notes of an interview with his cousin Annis Parks Boynton. According to those notes, Joseph Graves’ parents were Crispus Graves and Sarah Muzzy. Crispus was lost at sea about 1795, and Sarah died four years later. His aunt, Annis Muzzy Parks, took him into her family, in Franklin Co., MA, where he learned the trade of shoemaking. Joseph was converted at the age of 16. Not long after his marriage, he began sensing a call to the ministry. He left his family for a time to study first with Rev. Jonathon Going of Worcester, MA, and later with Rev. Isaiah Matteson, in Shaftsbury, VT. He was ordained in 1821 (I have his certificate of ordination--it’s backed with fabric to add durability) in his first church in Royalston, MA. Shortly before the ordination, he fell sick with the deadly typhus fever. He thought he would die until he dreamed of Joshua the high priest in Zach. 3: 4-5, after which he believed he would live to be ordained and do the Lord’s work. The fever broke soon after, and his recovery brought great rejoicing in the church, and as a result revival broke out, many being saved and added to the church. He served there for five years. In 1834, he received an honorary master's degree from Middlebury College in Vermont, the same year in which his son Hiram graduated there.

Joseph retired from ministry about 1860, due to poor health--medical records of a granddaughter state that he was epileptic. He died in Charlestown, a suburb of Boston, January 15, 1870, and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett, another suburb of Boston.

A summary of his ministry:

1821--Joseph was ordained in Royalston, MA, his first pastorate.

1826 to 1829--West Townshend and Jamaica, VT.

1829 to 1834--Jericho, VT.

1834 to 1840--Ludlow, VT.

1841 to 1843--Claremont, NH.

1843--founded and pastored a church in Tewksbury, MA.

1844 to 1847--Central Square Baptist Church, in East Boston--Joseph's son Hiram was their first pastor, but Joseph Graves, shortly before his deathretired a year or so later due to poor health, Joseph took over then.

1847--Methuen, MA.

1850--Bristol, Rhode Island.

1853 to 1856--Brighton, MA.

1856--Working with a church in New Bedford, MA, for a short time. By summer, he was under a doctor’s care in Ludlow, Vermont.

1857--Pastored in Newtonville, MA, for one year.

1860 or so--Joseph gave up the ministry due to poor health, perhaps epilepsy. He and Susannah spent their last years together in Charlestown, perhaps living with their son Andrew.




 In Sept. 1993, my family and I visited New England, and saw some of the places Joseph M. Graves and his family had lived, including Jericho, VT, where his daughter Stella was born, and his daughter Sarah Ann died. We were unable to find Sarah’s grave. But the local historical society sells a book, History of Jericho, Vermont, 1763-1916, by Hayden, Stevens, and Wilbur, which was originally published in 1916, and recently reprinted. In the book was some information about Joseph:

"Pastorate of Elder Graves:
"An era of prosperity came to the church during the pastorate of Rev. J. M. Graves, who began in 1829 and stayed four years. The details of his salary, which were altered three or four times, were at one time that he should receive $250 in grain and produce, $50 in cash, house rent, fuel, hay, and pasturing for one horse, and a cow. The salary was raised by assessment upon the grand list. This was a revival period, and the record of baptisms was 4 in 1830, 64 in 1831, 18 in 1832. A creed had been adopted at the beginning of the history of the church, but at this time at more elaborate and detailed one was substituted . . . . Rev. Tim Spaulding succeeded Elder Graves in 1833 . . . . The greatest prosperity [of the church] was perhaps in the ten years’ ministry of Rev. Hiram C. Estes, 1862-1872, but the most extensive revivals were in 1831 and 1839, under Elders Graves and Huntly."

Joseph died in 1870. Here is an obituary:The Graves' graves

"Joseph Muzzey Graves was born in Shrewsbury, MA, in 1793, was baptized into the fellowship of the Baptist church in Wendell, MA, in 1816, spent some time in study with Dr. Jonathon Going of Worcester, was ordained pastor of the church in Royalston in 1821. Here he labored earnestly and successfully for the Master for five years. Afterwards he went to Vermont and spent fifteen years in pastoral work with the churches in Townsend, Jericho, and Ludlow. His work in Vermont was crowned with very rich blessings, he being permitted to baptize into the fellowship of these churches about five hundred converts. After this he served several churches in Massachusetts with great acceptance, until about ten years ago, when his health broke down and he was obliged to retire from active life. The evening of his days was spent in Charlestown. On the morning of January 15th he "fell on sleep." He was a devoted Christian and an earnest laborer, and was permitted to see large results of his labors. He baptized in all about a thousand persons."
Massachusetts Baptist Convention, 1870





Joseph’s first son was Hiram Atwell Graves , a 1834 graduate from Middlebury College in Vermont. He followed his father into the ministry, earning the reputation of being a powerful preacher, and taking a strong abolitionist stance. His health was poor, however, and he gave up the pulpit to take on the less physically demanding post as editor of the Christian magazine, the Watchman and Reflector. His health continued to wane, and he and his family went to the island of Jamaica, hoping the time of rest would bring a cure for his pulmonary illness. It did not, and he returned to die in his father’s home in Bristol, Rhode Island, on November 3, 1850. His grave is near those of his parents and his wife in Woodlawn Cemetery, in Everett, MA, a suburb of Boston.

The epitaph on his gravestone reads: "Ordained in Springfield in 1836 and afterwards settled in Lynn and at a later period preached to the Central Square Society in East Boston as their first minister. For several years he was editor of the Christian Watchman and Reflector. An invalid through the greater part of his life, he was always cheerful, ________such __tive traits in connection with his suffering gained for him both admiration and sympathy and won the strongest attachment of a large circle of friends."

The 1846 Boston City Directory shows Hiram as, Rev., editor Christian Reflector, 11 Cornhill, house London, E. Boston. An ad for the paper in the "yellow pages" [which weren’t yet yellow!] reads, "Christian Reflector, Rev. H. A. Graves; Damrall, Graves & Upham, 11 Cornhill, $2 per year. Baptist."



Joseph’s younger son Andrew F. Graves was well known in Christian circles in Boston as a publisher and seller of Amanda and Andrew GravesChristian books. He was loved and respected in the church there. In his later years, he developed gangrene, as a complication of diabetes, and the doctor amputated his foot in an attempt to save his life. Some years later, gangrene set in again, in his remaining foot. The doctor believed that amputation was futile this time, and Andrew died Feb. 17, 1894, in Boston. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett, MA, near his parents and his brother Hiram.

The 1859 Boston City Directory shows him as, "bookseller, 24 Cornhill, house at Charleston". He was probably already living at 6 Cedar Street, which we found to be just a block north of the Bunker Hill Monument, which is in Charleston. This was the address nephew Hiram Judson Graves put in his diary -- he and his sisters were living with Andrew and Amanda after the death of their parents. This was probably the house his sister Stella and her husband Emery lived in when their second child was born. In her diary of her visit to Boston in 1874, Stella listed all her expenses. One of the entries she made was "Received from Andrew Rent--$124,45". I believe she and Emery had bought the house, and when they moved on to another pastorate, Andrew and his family rented it from them. I think it possible also, that Joseph and Susannah lived with Andrew at the time of Joseph’s death. At the time of his death, the family were living at 19 Johnson Ave., in Winthrop, MA.

6 Cedar Street, Charlestown, home of the Graves

Cedar Street, Charlestown, just two blocks from the Bunker Hill Monument
#6 is the first doorway from the left, the former home of the Graves family

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