Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, McKinley Graves!

The character of McKinley (or banker Graves), played by Curtis Deterding in our upcoming film project He Leadeth Me, was born April 1, 1881. In 1932, during the Great Depression, McKinley would have been 51 years old April 1! Because the 2011 calendar matches the 1932 calendar exactly, he would have celebrated his birthday this month!

- Born April 1st, 1881 in Murray County, Minnesota
- Son of: Joseph Earl Graves (deceased 1911) and Irene Bess (Griffith) Graves (deceased 1921)

 Leonard Caleb Graves born 1863 (deceased 1928)
 Lacy Sofia Graves born 1864 (deceased 1866)
 Barry Cedric Graves born 1868 (deceased 1902)
 Reid Joseph Graves born 1869
 Donald Ernst Graves born 1872
 Loran Luther Graves born 1873

- Occupation: banker
- Location: Mount Sterling, Illinois (Brown County)

- Personal interview: “No man in his right mind should be in the banking business when a depression hits. I wish someone had told me that.”

- Character profile: Graves, youngest of six children to immigrant homesteaders, was raised on a farm in Murray County, Minnesota, where his father grew wheat and corn. Determined to avoid the doldrums of farm life, McKinley finished the eighth grade and apprenticed himself at the town bank and loan office. There, he learned the business of bank, mortgage, and loan and longed for a business of his own. He left a local sweetheart for the adventures of Illinois and established his bank and loan office in Mount Sterling at the start of the new century. When the market crashed in 1929, his worst fears became a reality: almost all of the farms in the area with outstanding loans from McKinley’s bank stopped making payments. The vault emptied of its contents so fast that McKinley had to establish a self-initiated two-day bank holiday to give him time to borrow money from a wealthy relative. The money sustains the bank for now, but the depression continues and Graves is desperate.