James Graves was the Superintendent of the Valentia Island cable telegraph station from its founding in 1866 until his retirement in 1909. During his career he conducted many experiments which improved the efficiency of long distance telegraph transmission. He also made several discoveries concerning geophysical effects such as 'earth-currents'. He was a copious writer. In addition to a guide to Jersey (which ran to several editions), his contributions appeared in publications such as the Electrician and the Journal of the Society of Telegraph Engineers, now the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). However, much of his practical and didactic writings have yet to be published. This charming autobiography covers the period up to 1860, and although very much a work of its time, it provides fascinating insights into an era of rapid social and technological change.