Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, August 22, 1999, pg. 10

Albion is fortunate to have a variety of historical houses in town that date back to the beginnings of our community. One such place is the Phineas Graves house at 502 E. Porter Street. Phineas Graves (1826-1904) was a prominent educator and Civil War veteran. He came to Albion in the fall of 1855, and taught at the Little Red Schoolhouse. He later served as secretary and a professor at Ira Mayhew’s Commercial (Business) College in downtown Albion from 1860 to 1862 before entering the Union Army in the Civil War. He later served on the first Albion School board of education from 1867 to 1873, and was Albion’s postmaster from 1867 to 1875 during the Grant administration.

Phineas Graves is most remembered for his contribution to the Union cause during the Civil War. Phineas recruited a company of men from Albion who joined the 12th Michigan Infantry in Niles. Graves was named captain of Company D (made up of Albion men), which was organized on March 5, 1862. His men went right into battle the following month. It was under the command of Captain Graves that his scouts fired the first shots that brought on the historic Battle of Shiloh in April, 1862. He also participated in other campaigns. For his bravery during the War, Graves was promoted to Major, and later to Lieutenant Colonel. He returned to Albion following the War where he continued in public service as mentioned earlier. At the time of his death in 1904 Graves was the Commander of the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic.

The Phineas Graves home on E. Porter St. has been a landmark for years, and is an example of Greek revival period architecture. Albion is fortunate to have a house such as this remain as an architectural example from pre-Civil War days, and it should be on the national register. It stands today as a testimony of the life of this exemplary citizen. In future articles in this column we will occasionally feature some other historical houses in the Albion area that are still standing.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of Phineas Graves, and his house at 502 E. Porter Street. Internet Postscript: The Phineas Graves house was moved in September, 2003 by Cliff McCormick & Sons Housemovers to the west side of Concord Road between King and Warner Roads in Jackson County.

Phineas Graves

Phineas Graves House, 502 E. Porter Street.


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