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William Graveley, son of John Graveley, surgeon, and Martha Locock, cousin of Sir Charles Locock, physician to the Queen, was born in Yorkshire, England, May 17, 1814. In 1819, the family came to Canada, and settled in Quebec, and there the father died four years afterwards. William received a commercial education, spent two or three years in a merchant’s counting room, and leaving Quebec in 1831, settled at Cobourg, and has been a resident of this place from that date. Here he formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, J. Vance Boswell, and was a mercantile trader until 1865, and was quite successful in his business. In 1868, Mr. Graveley was appointed collector of Inland Revenue, and that office he still holds, discharging its duties with great faithfulness.
During the long period he has been a resident of this town almost half a century, he has shown a good degree of public spirit, and has held various municipal and other offices. He was in the town council and the school board a few terms each; and was one of the first directors of the Cobourg and Peterborough railway, a director of the Harbor for several years, at a period when most of its improvements were made, and was the leader in projecting and organizing the Northumberland and Durham Savings Bank, of which he was a director for twenty-two years, when the law was changed and the institution closed. For the last seventeen years he has been a town commissioner, succeeding Hon. Ebenezer Perry. He has always had the welfare of Cobourg at heart, regarding its interests as identical with his own, and has freely and cheerfully given much of his time to advance those interests.
When the rebellion broke out in 1837, he volunteered as a private, was on duty several months, being stationed most of his time at Chippawa, in the Cobourg rifle company, and retired from the militia years afterwards, with the rank of Major, the title by which he is still known among his neighbors.
Major Graveley is a member of the English church, served as warden for a number of years, and has lived an exemplary and eminently useful life. The poor and unfortunate have always found a friend in him.
His wife was a daughter of Hon. Walter Boswell, Captain in the Royal Navy, and one of the first settlers in this part of the country married December 17, 1839. They have five sons and two daughters living, and have lost two children. John Vance, the eldest son, is a barrister in Cobourg; Henry is a surveyor, and has been engaged in two or three Northwestern exploring expeditions; William is a bank teller at Halifax, N. S.; Walter Edward is connected with the marine department of the Western Insurance company, Toronto; George is a clerk in the Cobourg branch of the Dominion Bank, and Martha C. is the wife of Charles Arnold, manager of the Imperial Bank at St. Catharines. Maude lives at home.