Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Joseph Graves Notebook, 1826-1855

Finding aid created by
Cassie Schmitt, September 2006, and Meg Hixon, May 2012

Summary Information
Title: Joseph Graves notebook
Creator: Graves, Joseph, b. 1784
Inclusive dates: 1826-1855
Extent: 1 volume
This 109-page volume contains journal entries, notes, and newspaper clippings compiled by Joseph Graves, a farmer who lived in Brentwood, New Hampshire, in the early 19th century. Graves recorded his activities as a notary, kept regular journal entries on events around Brentwood, and compiled notes and newspaper clippings on political topics, medicinal recipes, and contemporary modes of transportation.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1989. M-2510.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Joseph Graves Notebook, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Joseph Graves was born on July 13, 1784, and lived in Brentwood, New Hampshire, where he worked as a farmer and occasionally served as a notary. He and his wife, Rebecca Thyng (or Thing), had at least one son, Lyford T. Graves. His sister Sarah (d. July 1849) married Gilman Robinson. Lyford T. Graves married a woman named Abigail, who died on July 15, 1846. He later married Abigail's sister, Sarah D. Robinson, and, following her death, he married a woman named Abbie Downs. Lyford and his first wife, Abigail, had at least two children, William Lyford (d. 1846) and Rufus.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This 109-page volume consists of journal entries, notes, and newspaper clippings compiled by Joseph Graves, a farmer who lived in Brentwood, New Hampshire, in the early 19th century. The first 47 pages cover his duties as a notary between 1826 and 1855, and the remaining 62 pages contain semi-regular journal entries, as well as notes and newspaper clippings on various topics.

Pages 1 through 47 hold semi-regular statements regarding Joseph Graves's work as a notary in Brentwood, New Hampshire, between May 1, 1826, and May 1855. Graves kept a sporadic record of his duties, such as administering oaths to members and officers of the New Hampshire Militia's 4th Regiment, witnessing and recording deeds, certifying estate executors, and performing similar tasks. Each statement contains the names of the parties and nature of the legal documentation.

The journal resumes on page 66 (following 20 blank, numbered pages) with a brief essay on the election of a chairman for a convention. The remainder of the volume primarily consists of journal entries Graves wrote between 1845 and 1855; the bulk of them date between 1845 and 1851, with occasional later dated entries interspersed among newspaper clippings and miscellaneous notes, charts, and essays. His brief journal entries pertain to local life around Brentwood, New Hampshire, including births, illnesses, and deaths, particularly those related to the family of his son Lyford T. Graves. Others reflect the author's travels around New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, and his farm work, such as haying or digging potatoes. Some reflect town meetings, local elections, meetings of the New Hampshire Militia, and other gatherings. Graves recorded his bleeding treatments for various pains and illnesses and noted the health affairs of other family members, including the longevity of his grandmother-in-law (pp. 86 and 98). On November 11, 1846 (p. 88), Graves reflected upon the death of his 3-year-old grandson, William Lyford Graves, whose epitaph he copied on page 91. He also recorded the marriage of Lyford T. Graves to Sarah D. Robinson, sister of Lyford's deceased wife (p. 95), and the accidental death by fire of Joseph's sister, Sarah Robinson, wife of Gilman Robinson (p. 105).

Joseph Graves reported on political events and local news, such as the hanging of a man named Howard for shooting a woman (p. 85). He also noted national political developments, including events at various conventions in 1848 (p. 103) and the 1791 New Hampshire Constitutional Convention (p. 108). Graves frequently remarked on transportation infrastructure, such as the length of railroad track laid down in New England (pp. 102 and 109-110), and he noted the lengths of nearby telegraph lines (p. 104). He glued many newspaper clippings into the volume; they provide information on health remedies, politics, and science. The volume concludes with a list of oaths of office that Joseph Graves administered to members of the New Hampshire Militia (p. 124) and a list of wills (p. 127). A letter Graves wrote on behalf of Timothy Sanborn, who requested that his wife be placed in the New Hampshire Asylum, is affixed to the volume's last page (September 17, 1847).

Subject Terms

    • Bereavement.
    • Brentwood (N.H.)
    • Farmers--New Hampshire.
    • Graves, Lyford T.
    • New Hampshire. Constitutional Convention (1791-1792)
    • New Hampshire. Militia. Regiment, 4th.
    • Notaries--United States.
    • Phlebotomy--United States--History--19th century.
    • Transportation--United States--History--19th century.
    Genre Terms:
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Commonplace books.
    • Diaries.
    • Notebooks.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Joseph Graves notebook,  1826-1855 [series]