The obituary of William P. Graves from The Times (Richmond, Virginia). Published on Saturday, July 16, 1892. Graves was a Mexican War veteran, Captain of the Danville Blues, and Mayor of Danville, Virginia.
Career of the Late Mayor Graves.
Danville, Va., July 15. -[Special].]-The death of William P. Graves, mayor of Danville, which occurred at 1 o’clock this morning, has cast a gloom over the city. The Mayor had been sick only a week, during which time he suffered intensely from inflammation of the kidneys and bladder.
William Pinckney Graves was the son of William and Ann Lea Graves, and was born in Caswell county, N.C., April 29, 1820. He was educated in the schools of the county, and when the Mexican war broke out he became one of the North Carolina volunteers, enlisting in Captain George Williamson’s company, which was part of Colonel R. T. Payne’s North Carolina regiment. For gallantry on the field Captain Graves was promoted from the office of sergeant to the office of assistant commissary with the rank of captain, and his commission was signed by President Polk in 1850. He was appointed United States marshal, and as such he took the census of Caswell county. In 1852 he moved to Danville and engaged in the mercantile business until the breaking out of the war. He was a natural born soldier and patriot, and hence was one of the first to offer his services to the Confederacy. He left Danville on the 23d of April, 1861, in command of the Danville Blues, and led his company of 102 picked men into the first battle of Manassas, where his coolness and valor stamped him as one of the bravest of the brave. A year later when the Blues were reorganized Captain Graves became and aid on the staff of General George E. Pickett, and in all the important battles following in Virginia he took part, among them Spotsylvania, the Wilderness, Cold Harbor, Yellow Tavern, Fort Harrison, etc., from Petersburg to Appomattox. When the end came General Lee entrusted him with his official announcement to President Davis of the surrender, and he rode both day and night to deliver the message, and handed it to Mr. Davis in Danville, Va. After the war the deceased went into the leaf tobacco and commission business in Danville, erecting and conducting the Graves warehouse at the corner of Spring and Union streets. Here he remained in business until 1887. In the dark days of 1888, which culminated in the Danville riot, Captain Graves was, as he had ever been in an emergency, at the post of duty and of honor. By common consent he became the leader of the white people on that fateful day, and was afterwards appointed chief of the special police force of 100 picked men who guarded the city and preserved the peace for ten days. The bravery, daring and coolness he displayed in the discharge of his duties are familiar to Danville people. They showed their appreciation of him by electing him mayor in the following spring. At the end of his term he declined re-electing, as his private business demanded his entire attention. In 1888 he was again a candidate for mayor, and was elected by a large majority. He has continued to hold the office ever since, being elected every two years, each time with an increased majority, and on the first day of the present month he commenced to serve his fourth term. In 1853 Captain Graves was married to Miss Eliza Virginia Bailey, of Rockingham county, whose death occurred in January, 1877. The deceased leaves one brother, the venerable Elijah Graves, of Caswell county, and three sisters, Mrs. Virginia Y. McDonald of Danville, Miss Cornelia Tubberville of Statesville, and Mrs. Dr. Thomas C. Dodson of Mount Vernon, Tex.
The entire city keenly feels the great loss it has sustained, and this afternoon a public meeting was held at Masonic Hall. Appropriate resolutions were passed and arrangements were made for the funeral, which will take place at 9 o’clock tomorrow. The funeral will be attended by all the city officials, by the Danville military and the Masonic fraternity. The services will take place from the First Baptist church, of which deceased was a consistent member.