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< Gouverneur Benefactors — Paul Graves


Justice Paul Graves was born in Gouverneur in 1907. His father was Perle Atwell "PA" Graves, administrative clerk to Assemblyman Frank L. Seaker and the first cousin of Frank’s wife, Nora. Frank Seaker and PA Graves were partners in the Seaker Graves Motor Company. Paul Graves' mother was Rhoda Fox Graves, who served in both houses of the state legislature for 22 years and held the distinction of being the first woman ever elected a member of the New York State Senate.


Paul Graves attended Gouverneur schools and graduated from Storm-King Preparatory School, Cornwall-on-Hudson, attended Colgate University, and received his law degree from Harvard Law School. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1935. He worked for the law firm of Rann, Vaughn, Brown and Sturtevant and the firm of Babcock, Hollister, Newbury and Russ in Buffalo, NY.


In June, 1944, he was commissioned a lieutenant JG in the Naval Reserve and ordered to Active duty in the South Pacific. Following his discharge, he returned to Gouverneur, established a law practice, and managed the family farms.

In 1948, his mother, Rhoda Fox Graves, announced she would not seek reelection, and her son Paul D. Graves would be a candidate to succeed her on the GOP ticket. He received a sweeping victory and took office in 1949. His brother, Marcus, played an important role in the campaign and was considered an outstanding asset to the family political dynasty. Marcus had become a partner in Seaker-Graves Motor Company after the death of their father from a kidney ailment in 1954.

Justice Graves was considered by his colleagues in Albany as one of the ablest lawmakers in the state and masterful in politics. While in the senate, he was expert in many fields and was regarded one of the best authorities in matters dealing with dairy legislation and problems affecting farmers. In 1953, he was appointed to the state supreme court. He continued on the supreme court until his death at age 64 in 1972. He was survived by his widow, Jane Anderson Graves and a son Christopher.

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