Graves County, Kentucky

Historical Marker #869 in Mayfield commemorates the establishment of Graves County, which was named in honor of a War of 1812 veteran.

Major Benjamin Franklin Graves was born in Virginia in 1771. He moved to Kentucky with his family at age twenty, and settled in Fayette County, where he was a farmer and state legislator.

During the War of 1812, Graves was commissioned major of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment, Kentucky Volunteers. On January 22, 1813, Graves fought in the Battle of the River Raisin in present-day Michigan. Wounded there, he was taken prisoner by Native Americans after the battle and was never heard from again. Graves's younger brother, Thomas, was killed in action at River Raisin while fighting in the 17th United States Infantry.

When Graves County was created in 1824, it was named in his honor. Several counties are named after Kentuckians killed at the Battle of the River Raisin.


"Remember the River Raisin!"

"Remember the River Raisin!"

Print from the National Guard Heritage series, "Remember the River Raisin!" On Aug. 15, 1812, Kentucky volunteers rendezvoused in Georgetown before marching into present-day Michigan. Upon nearing Frenchtown (now Monroe), Gen. James Winchester's Kentuckians attacked that town in order to secure supplies. On Jan. 18, 1813, Winchester's men took the settlement. British forces and their Native American allies counterattacked on January 22 in what has become known as the Battle of the River Raisin. Hit hard by artillery, the Kentucky troops ultimately retreated. After the battle, some Kentucky troops were taken prisoner and marched northwards, and between 40 and 65 wounded Americans were killed by Native Americans. "Remember the Raisin" soon became a rallying cry for Americans. Image Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society View File Details Page

Kentucky War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission Logo

Kentucky War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission Logo

The Kentucky Historical Society is the administrative agency for the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, an 18-member body established by the Kentucky legislature in 2010. Image Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Sanders, “Graves County, Kentucky,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed June 24, 2017,


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