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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


George W. Graves, M. D.

Over twenty years have come and gone since Dr. Graves departed this life, his death occurring May 16, 1890, but time has not dimmed the affectionate regard in which he was held by those who were associated with him either professionally or socially during the long period of his residence in Petaluma.

A native of the south, Dr. Graves was born in Virginia, April 19, 1831, the son of parents whose financial condition did make it possible for them to bestow many advantages upon their son. As a consequence, all that he acquired in life was the result of individual effort, and his accomplishments out-distanced many times those of many other men who had had opportunity and advantages heaped upon them. Being an ambitious lad, George W. Graves determined to rise above conditions and make a name and place for himself in the world, and with this end in view he made every circumstance and opportunity serve him to good purpose. He secured a fairly good education in the schools near his boyhood home in the south, supplementing this by well-chosen private reading, particularly in the line of medicine, for when quite young he had made up his mind to follow the medical profession. When he had accumulated the necessary means he entered upon a course in the medical college of Richmond, Va., and from this institution received the diploma which permitted him to enter upon the practice of the medical profession.

In his native state Dr. Graves practiced his profession until the breaking out of the Civil war, when he offered his services to the cause of the south. As a surgeon he enlisted under General Lee's command, in the Fifth Louisiana Regiment A. N. V., under the immediate command of Col. Stephen D. Pool. For four years, or the term of his enlistment, Dr. Graves rendered faithful and meritorious service, and after peace was declared he again turned his attention to private practice, opening an office in Uniontown, Ala. He continued in that southern city about three years, when he determined to come to California, and in 1868 his name was added to the citizenship of Petaluma, Sonoma county, and from that time forward until his death, May 16, 1890, he worked indefatigably toward the upbuilding of his adopted town and county. Soon after locating here he opened an office for the practice of his profession, and from the first his skill and ability attracted to him a patronage that was altogether worthy. As years passed by he became recognized by his professional contemporaries as one of the leaders of his profession in this section of the state, the result of a good fundamental knowledge of his profession, to which he constantly added by research, which kept him abreast of the most advanced students of the science.

On October 26, 1873, Dr. Graves was united in marriage with Miss Luella Baber, the daughter of Randall Gordon Baber, a California pioneer who crossed the plains in 1859. At that time he settled on a ranch near Santa Rosa, and there he lived and labored until his death in 1875. Two children blessed the marriage of Dr. and Mrs. Graves, as follows: Georgia, the wife of Fred A. Bordwell, of Mazatlan, Mexico; and Hill B., a civil engineer in the employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, having his headquarters in Ogden, Utah.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011