William Whites Graves, the eldest son of James Paul and Minerva (Ballard) Graves, was born October 26, 1871, in Nelson County, Kentucky. He was baptized at Manton, Kentucky. His middle name was that of Father Whites who was then pastor at Manton. The Graves family came to Osage Mission February 18, 1881.
W.W. Graves was educated in the district schools of Kentucky and St. Francis Institution, Osage Mission, from which he graduated in 1891. He spent one year as a clerk in his father's store in St. Paul and then turned his attention to teaching school for one year at St. Francis Institution.
Mr. Graves then made arrangements with the Pittsburg World to learn the printer's trade without wages. After one year he was entered upon the payroll. In 1893, The World was moved from Pittsburg to Girard with Mr. Graves as the local editor. He remained in Girard until 1895 when The World suspended publication.
On January 1, 1896, W.W. purchased one-fourth interest in the Neosho County Journal and in August purchased the remaining interest for $800, changing its name to the St. Paul Journal. He became editor and owner serving in this role for the next 55 years prior to the sale of the paper July 7, 1951.
Mr. Graves was elected to several positions in the city, township and county. He also held memberships in several local lodges and religious organizations. W.W. owned the opera house on Fifth Street and 110 acres 1-1/2 miles south of St. Paul. He had connection with Sork & Company, harness dealers in St. Paul and was in the fire insurance business for a number of years.
On January 6, 1902, W.W. was elected editor of the official paper of the Anti-Horse Thief Association, Kansas Division, and given the contract for publishing. The "A.H.T.A. Weekly News" thrived. It eventually became the official paper of the Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, and Oklahoma divisions of the order. At one time the Weekly News had a circulation of over 7,000 and averaged a circulation of over 5,000. (Mr. Graves served as vice-president of the A.H.T.A. in 1902 and as its president in 1924).
W.W. Graves was recognized at a banquet by the Kansas State Historical Society and the community of St. Paul, May 31, 1951. On this occasion he was given the highest lay honor of the Catholic Church, being made a Knight of St. Gregory, in recognition of his literary contributions to the church. Mr. Graves was also made an honorary member of the Osage tribe and given the tribal name of "The Man of the Journal" because of his friendship among the Osages and his historical work relative to the tribe.
Prior to his death, July 24, 1952, Mr. Graves' primary interest was the promotion of a public library for St. Paul. He contributed a large number of books from his extensive library. W.W. was responsible for writing and/or publishing 14 volumes, most of which dealt with the history of Neosho County. We are indebted to him for much of what we retain today.
Tricks of Rascals copyright 1905
The Law for Criminal Catchers copyright 1907
On the Trail copyright 1908
unknown copyright (likely between 1908-15)
A compilation of parliamentary rules for the A.H.T.A.
Life and Letters of Fathers Ponziglione, Schoenmakers,
and Other Early Jesuits at Osage Mission.
Sketch of St. Francis' Church. Life of Mother Bridget. copyright 1916
Making Money with a Country Newspaper: The Story of How I Saved $25,000.00 in
Country Newsaper Office in a Town of 900 Population. copyright 1926
Life and Letters of Rev. Father John Schoenmakers S.J. Apostle to the Osages copyright 1928
Annals of Osage Mission copyright 1934
The Broken Treaty: A Story of the Osage Country copyright 1935
The Legend of Greenbush: The Story of a Pioneer Country Church copyright 1937
Life and Times of Mother Bridget Hayden copyright 1938
History of Neosho County Newspapers copyright 1938
History of the Kickapoo Mission and Parish: The First Catholic Church in Kansas
by W.W. Graves, Rev. Gilbert J. Garraghan, S.J., and Rev. George Towle copyright 1938
Annals of St. Paul: A Third of a Century. From the Change of Name in 1895 to January 1929 copyright 1942
Autobiography of Rev. Eugene Bononcini, D.D.: Early Kansas Missionary
Additions and Notes by W.W. Graves copyright 1942
The First Protestant Osage Missions 1820-1837 copyright 1949
History of Neosho County, Volume I copyright 1949
History of Neosho County, Volume II copyright 1951
Annals of St. Paul: Supplement. January 1929 to June 1936
[This was a 120-page start on Volume II which was never completed.]