John Graves was born and raised in Fort Worth. He graduated from Rice University and in 1942 joined the Marine Corps. As an artillery officer he was seriously injured by a Japanese grenade during the battle for Saipan. After the war, he lived abroad following in Hemmingway’s footsteps, earned a master’s degree from Columbia University, but finally found his roots upon returning to Texas to write.
In 2005 at a meeting of Friends of the Brazos, a conservation group active primarily in Hood and Somerville counties, I was fortunate enough to meet and visit with Mr. Graves. He proved to be one of the most charismatic men I’ve known. I later corresponded with him by mail.
During our visit, I told him that I had written several newspaper columns about the Brazos, and he graciously said that he would like to read them. In a letter I received, he later allowed that we were much alike in that both of us were pessimistic about stopping civilization’s encroachment on our watersheds. Yet, he affirmed in his letter of Nov. 23, 2005, that “if he were younger and more active, he’d pile on whole hog …”
What a fitting tribute to name the magnificent stretch of the Brazos flowing through Palo Pinto and Parker counties, the “John Graves Scenic Riverway” in honor of such a kind, humble, and gracious gentleman. May his legacy continue to live on in the hearts of fellow Texans.
Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to email@example.com.