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|Size||3.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1500 items)|
|Abstract||Charles Iverson Graves of Newton and Floyd counties, Ga., and Caswell County, N.C., attended the U.S. Naval Academy; served as a U.S. and Confederate naval officer; taught school and operated a farm near Rome, Ga.; spent 1875-1878 in Egypt as an officer in the Egyptian army; and worked as a civil engineer on construction of the Georgia Pacific and Memphis & Vicksburg railroads, 1881-1884. Charles and his wife, Margaret (Lea) Graves (fl. 1860-1898), had five children: Charles Iverson, Jr., William Lea, Mary Hinton, Robert William, and Anne Parke. The collection is chiefly correspondence of Charles Iverson and Margaret (Lea) Graves, especially documenting his military career in the U.S. and Confederate navies and his civil engineering career, particularly his service in Egypt, but also his work on the Georgia Pacific and Memphis & Vicksburg railroads. The pair exchanged several hundred letters from 1875 to 1878 detailing his experiences in Egypt and her life at Locust Hill, Caswell County, N.C., where she tried to raise five children with limited economic resources. There is also correspondence relating to Charles's time at the U.S. Naval Academy; to the couple's courtship; to the couples' independent struggles--he on active duty and she on the the homefront at various places, including Mobile, Ala.--during the Civil War; and to the operation of the family farm in Rome, Ga. Other letters contain information about the experiences of other family members, particularly members of the Lea family, who moved to Alabama and Mississippi before the Civil War, and those of a relative in California after the war. Also included are genealogical materials about the Graves, Lea, and related families, reminiscences by Margaret (Lea) Graves, and Charles Iverson Graves's writings on Egyptian culture. There are also other writings, notes, and pictures, including materials relating to a book on Civil War veterans in Egypt by William Best Hesseltine.|
|Creator||Graves, Charles Iverson, 1838-1896.|
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Charles Iverson Graves (1838-1896) was the son of John Williams (d. 1847) and Martha Hinton Graves (fl. 1838-1854) of North Carolina. Sometime before his birth, his parents joined relatives living in Newton County, Ga., among them John's cousin, Iverson Lewis Graves and Martha's brother John Hinton. John's brother, Calvin Graves remained at Locust Hill in Caswell County, N.C., near Yanceyville. Calvin often advised his nephew Charles after the death of John Graves.
Charles attended the U.S. Naval Academy; served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy until 1861 when he became an officer in the Confederate Navy; taught school and operated a vegetable farm near Rome, Ga.; spent three years in Egypt as a lieutenant-colonel in the Egyptian army, 1875-1878; and worked as a civil engineer on construction of the Georgia Pacific, and Memphis & Vicksburg railroads, 1881-1884. He married Margaret Rockwell Lea in November 1862. They had five children: Charles Iverson, Jr., William Lea, Mary Hinton, Robert William, and Anne Parke.
Margaret Rockwell Lea (fl. 1860-1898) was the daughter of William (d. 1856) and Mary Lea (fl. 1850-1868). When William Lea died, his wife and daughter lived with relatives in Mississippi and Tennessee until Mary married Calvin Graves, whose first wife Elizabeth had been her aunt. Mary and Maggie, as Margaret was called by the family, moved to Locust Hill, where she met and married Calvin's nephew Charles on 10 November 1862. Charles's pet name for Margaret was "Chi Chi."Back to Top
Chiefly correspondence of Charles Iverson and Margaret Graves chiefly documenting his military career in the U.S. and Confederate navies, and his civilian engineering career, particularly his service in Egypt, but also his work on the Georgia Pacific and Memphis & Vicksburg railroads. The pair exchanged several hundred letters from 1875 to 1878 detailing his experiences in Egypt and her life at Locust Hill, Caswell County, N.C., where she tried to raise five children with limited economic resources. There is also correspondence relating to the Graves's farm in Rome, Ga., and others containing much information about the experiences of Graves and Lea family members who moved to Alabama and Mississippi before the Civil War. Also included are genealogical materials about the Graves, Lea, and related families and Charles Graves's writings on Egyptian culture. There are also other writings, notes, and pictures.Back to Top
Chiefly correspondence of Charles Iverson Graves and his wife Margaret Lea Graves. Significant correspondents also include members of the Lea, Graves, and related families of Petersburg, Va.; Yanceyville, N.C.; and Rome, Ga.
Chiefly Lea family correspondence, especially of the parents of Margaret Lea Graves--William Lea of Petersburg, Va., and Mary Lea of Leasburg, N.C. Also included are scattered letters from friends and relatives, mostly female, containing information about their experiences in moving west to Alabama and Mississippi.
Correspondence of Graves and related families, documenting Charles Iverson Graves's attendance at the Naval Academy and his service with the U.S. Navy overseas; the courtship and marriage in 1859 of Calvin Graves and Mary Lea; and the courtship of Charles Graves and Margaret Lea.
In a letter of 19 December 1853, Alexander Stephens congratulated Charles upon his acceptance to the Naval Academy. Charles reestablished connections to the Graves family in North Carolina when he stayed with his Uncle Calvin in Caswell County on the way to Annapolis. Charles's mother and sister sent him neighborhood and family news from Newton County, Ga. In February 1858, Charles wrote his family from the U.S.S. Minnesota in China; there is only limited information about his experience in the efforts of the United States to establish trade connections in far eastern markets. (See also Series 3 for further documentation of Graves's service on the Minnesota.) Charles's letters aboard the Iroquois in the Mediterranean contain considerably more information about his naval experiences. From Italy, Charles sent his fiancee a picture of Garibaldi "with whom I have the honor to be well acquainted" (1 August 1860; see also Series 5). His letters include discussions of civil unrest in the area, and descriptions of the picturesque countryside and local culture of Naples and Rome. Charles resigned his commission in March 1861.
To his family, Charles expressed difficulty in making this decision: "I feel almost broken hearted at the sad condition of our country. If the two sections separate, peaceably even, they at once fall to third rate or fourth rate powers, whose voices in the affairs of nations will be of scarcely more importance than that of Mexico." But he declared, "I could never fight against the South, especially when I thought she was right" (16 March 1861). By December 1861, Charles had returned to Rome, Ga., with a commission as lieutenant in the Confederate Navy.
Scattered letters from Margaret Lea document her response to Charles Graves's romantic overtures. Much of the correspondence for 1858 documents Calvin Graves's courtship of her mother, Mary Lea. Margaret lived with them at Locust Hill after their marriage, and wrote Charles about such topics as Lincoln's election, secession of southern states, and a reading club she had helped establish "to relieve the monotony of country life" (23 January 1861).
Also of note during this period are letters from relatives, including Azariah Graves, who sold his land in North Carolina to move west; Sallie and Grizelda Hinton, who sent their nephew Charles news from Raleigh, N.C.; and scattered Lea family letters. Calvin Graves wrote about a great religious revival in North Carolina, including a "protracted meeting" at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, "during which there was a large number of converts" (17 October 1856).
Correspondence between Margaret and Charles documenting the effects of the Civil War during the first years of their marriage. Letters from 1862 are primarily from Charles, who encouraged his fiancee, "Chi Chi," to "write to me often and freely; your letters never leave my hands but for the fire" (29 January 1862). Charles's frequent letters to Margaret document his activities in the Confederate Navy, first in Richmond and at Acquia Creek, then as executive officer of the Morgan off the coast of Mobile, Ala.
Charles and Margaret were married in November 1862. Thereafter, Margaret's letters show that she moved to Mobile to be near her husband. In March 1863, Charles received orders to "proceed South along the line of the Greensboro, Charlotte, and Columbia Railroad for the purpose of selecting a suitable locality for the [Confederate] Naval School" (4 March 1863). These orders quickly changed since Charles wrote two months later from Charleston, S.C., on his way to Europe (26 May 1863). Unfortunately, there are no letters documenting his narrow, blockade-running escape from federal forces or his tedious negotiations with French authorities, who were reluctant either to recognize the Confederacy or to release the ship he had been sent to command. Margaret's letters do, however, document her experiences in Mobile after her husband's departure. She wrote him that "exiles from New Orleans and refugees from Jackson continue to pour into Mobile" (28 May 1863). In 1864, she returned to Locust Hill in North Carolina to have their first child. See also Margaret's reminiscences in Series 3.
Letters documenting Graves family attempts to establish themselves on a farm called Maury near Rome, Ga. Letters show that by 1868 Charles and Margaret had moved to Georgia, where Charles taught school and grew melons because he found them "more profitable at 10c. a piece than corn or cotton" (28 August 1868). The Graveses actually grew a variety of crops at their farm, including okra, beets, onions, cabbages, and cucumbers, which they sold in local markets. During this period, Charles and Margaret steadily expanded their family. By 1873, they had five children: Charles Iverson, Jr., William Lea, Mary Hinton, Robert William, and Anne Parke. In the summer of 1874, while Margaret visited her family at Locust Hill and travelled in the North (see also Series 4), Charles was a delegate to the Georgia State Agricultural Convention at Stone Mountain.
Because Charles and Margaret were together in Georgia during much of this period, the bulk of the correspondence involves other family members. Especially prominent among these is Calvin Graves, who wrote to his wife while she was attending the birth of Margaret's daughter in Georgia. Calvin stayed at Locust Hill where he observed conditions near Yanceyville, N.C., as the community adjusted to changed social conditions in the aftermath of the Civil War. There is also significant correspondence from various relatives and friends in the west. William Lea sent news about relatives and the agricultural market from Holly Springs, Miss. (6 December 1868). S. E. Lea wrote from Princeton, Ark., complaining about martial law imposed by the "Radical" state government and discussing the impact of freedom on the local labor force (15 March 1869). R. P. Green contacted Margaret from California, with details about life in Stockton and San Francisco including such topics as the cost of living and the experiences of her brothers in wheat farming and sheep raising.
Correspondence of Charles Iverson Graves in Egypt and Margaret Lea Graves living with relatives at Locust Hill in Caswell County, and at Leasburg, N.C. There are more than three hundred letters from each of the Graveses. Margaret wrote her husband long letters about family matters, including the death of her stepfather and Charles's uncle, Calvin Graves (February 1877). Charles wrote from various locations in Egypt--Cairo; Massowa, where he was in charge of military shipping during the war with Abyssinia; Suez; and several Egyptian villages that he surveyed. In addition to his homesickness, his letters document details of his work, his observations about village life, landholding practices, farming, irrigation, tax collection, and other aspects of Egyptian culture.
Also included are military communications translated from French and Arabic into English; scattered letters from family members in North Carolina; correspondence from Henry W. Miller of New York, Charles's classmate at the Naval Academy, who managed Charles's financial affairs while he was in Egypt, sending Margaret money and relaying news; and letters from acquaintances of Charles in Egypt. (See also Series 2.)
Letters chiefly documenting Charles Iverson Graves's career as a civil engineer. In 1881, Graves was employed by the Georgia Pacific Railroad building tracks in Georgia and Alabama. In 1882, he worked with the Memphis and Vicksburg Railroad, but was transferred in October to work as the engineering representative of the railroad for the Yazoo bridge. In 1883, work on the bridge was suspended and Graves was transferred to Clarksdale. Graves's work with the railroad took him away from his family, and he wrote letters home about the work he was doing, as well as his concerns for family finances and the importance of his children's education. These letters largely end in 1884 when Graves moved home to farm at Maury and to work as railroad agent in Rome, Ga. Thereafter, letters are from family members and friends, especially former classmates like F. V. McNair, for whom Graves helped to secure the position of commandant of the U.S. Naval Academy. Charles Iverson Graves died in 1896. Margaret Graves was still receiving letters of sympathy in 1898.
Twentieth-century letters chiefly relate to the family of Charles Iverson Graves, Jr., in Alexander City, Ala. Correspondence shows that his wife Josephine Nicholes Graves lived in Asheville, N.C., in 1907 while undergoing treatment for tuberculosis.
Undated letters and letter fragments from family members and friends.
Materials, other than letters (see Subseries 1.5), of Charles Iverson Graves, relating to Egypt, including official communications in French and Arabic; notes and writings by Graves about his experience in Egypt, including "Notes on the Country of the Somalis"; a multi-purpose journal he kept from 1875 to 1878, containing letter extracts, diary entries, expense accounts, and other information related to his duties with the army of the khedive; and a photograph album containing pictures of stereotypical Egyptian scenes, portraits of Egyptian men and women in both traditional and modern dress, and Egyptian landscapes collected by Graves.
Also included are materials of William Best Hesseltine that are related to Hesseltine's research for his book The Blue and the Gray on the Nile. These include correspondence, 1956-1962; press releases; publication proposals; and other materials. Hesseltine apparently also wanted to edit selected letters written by Charles Iverson Graves in Egypt, but was unable to find a publisher.
Correspondence of Marguerite Graves concerning her genealogical research; her DAR application; histories of various family branches; and biographical information about Charles Iverson Graves, including printed accounts of Graves's life.
Included are the technical log, 1859-1861, of Graves's voyage from New York to Italy on the Iroquois and financial and legal materials, including copies of family wills; Charles Graves's oath of allegiance, 17 May 1865; miscellaneous dry goods receipts, 1878-1888; and tuition receipts, 1901, for music lessons for Marguerite Graves. Margaret Lea Graves's reminiscences include discussions of the Graves's Civil War experiences fill gaps left in their correspondence, especially regarding the last days of the Confederacy, when Margaret accompanied her husband south while he guarded the retreat from Richmond of Jefferson Davis's family and the Confederate Treasury. Miscellaneous items include Charles Iverson Graves's French passport, 1864; an itinerary labeled "Summer Cruise 1874" outlining Margaret Lea Graves's trip north in July and August; grades of Charles Iverson Graves at the Naval Academy, 1857, and of Iverson and Willie Graves, 1877.
|Image Folder PF-2606/1||
Inscribed: "Lieutenant Chas. Iverson Graves--Copy of photograph taken in Italy when he was on the U.S.S. sloop of war 'Iroquois'--Mediterranean Squadron. He wrote his resignation to Sec. of Navy, Isaac aboard the Iroquois, 1861." Picture shows Charles Iverson Graves, standing in Navy uniform.
Inscribed: "Colonel C. I. Graves in uniform of Egyptian Army."
Inscribed: "Husband of Elizabeth Williams (daughter of Colonel John Williams--Revolutionary ancestor) Caswell County, NC. Great-great grandfather of Marguerite Bryant Graves--daughter of Charles Iverson and Josephine Nicholes Graves."
|Image Folder PF-2606/2||
Unidentified group of three Black women with eight white children and a donkey #02606, Series: "5. Pictures." PF-2606/2
Picture taken outside with people gathered around table. Boys wearing white dresses.
Inscribed: "'Garibaldi'--This photograph was presented to C. I. Graves U.S. Navy, by Garibaldi himself during a visit to his camp near Naples--on eve of his victorious entry into the city--September 1860."
Inscribed: "Colonel Chas. I. Graves. Rome, Ga. My dear Graves. Faithfully your classmate F. V. McNair, U.S. Naval Observatory. May 5, 1894."
See folder 83 for photograph album with similar pictures collected by Charles Iverson Graves in Egypt.
Processed by: Lisa Tolbert, November 1991
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
Updated by: Laura Hart, March 2021Back to Top