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Hon. William Graham

GRAHAM, WATSON

Posted By: Ken Wright (email)
Date: 3/3/2012 at 18:53:42

Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties, 1894, Chapman Publishing Company

HON. WILLIAM GRAHAM, a prominent attorney-at-law of Dubuque, was born in the Town of Montgomery in Orange County, New York, March 2, 1831, and is a son of William and Hannah (Houston) Graham, both of whom are Scottish-Irish descent. The father was a farmer by occupation, and was a man of influence in the community where he resided. For several years he held the office of Supervisor and represented his county in the legislature of New York in 1850. He was also nominated State Senator in 1857, but declined, although his election was certain. He had previously declined an appointment as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, tendered him by Governor Bouck, and afterward declined to accept a nomination for Congress.

In the family of William and Hannah Graham were nine children, five sons and four daughters, of whom seven are yet living at this writing in the summer of 1894. One brother, Henry B., a soldier in the 127th New York Volunteers, died in the late war. Rev. James R. Graham, D. D., has been pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Winchester, Virginia, since 1851, and was Moderation of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church South in 1894. William Graham was the fifth in order of birth. No event of special importance occurred during his boyhood and youth, which were quietly passed in his parent's home. He prepared for college in Montgomery Academy, in his native county, and then entered Union College, of which Dr. Eliphalet Nott was then President. He was graduated therefrom in 1851, after which he taught for a time in the Poughkeepsie Collegiate Institute. Wishing to make the practice of law his life work, he then entered the office of Judge J. Monell, of Newburgh, New York, and after a thourough and systematic course of reading was admitted to the Bar in Brooklyn, New York, in January, 1856.

Mr. Graham sought a home in the west, believing that the opportunities afforded ambitious young men were better beyond the Mississippi than in the older and more thickly settled states to the east. Accordingly he left home and in 1856 took up his residence in Bellevue, Jackson County, Iowa, where he began practice as a partner of the late Hon. John B. Booth. He soon built up an extensive business and there continued until the fall of 1867, when, wishing for a larger field of operations, he came to Dubuque and for some years was associated with Hon. William Mills, now deceased. Afterward for seventeen years he was in partnership with M. M. Cady, and since that time has been alone in practice.

June 16, 1858, Mr. Graham married Miss Harriet Watson, daughter of Hon. Malbone Watson, who was for ten years a Judge of the Supreme Court of New York. Miss Harriet was a member of the Presbyterian Church from the age of fourteen, and her sincere and earnest Christian character won her the love and esteem of all. She was a faithful worker in the church and Sunday school, and the poor, the needy and the distressed found in her a friend. Ever kind hearted, sympathetic and true, she was respected by all. Her death occurred suddenly at Catskill, New York, March 13, 1894, and she was widely and deeply mourned by friends throughout the country. She left four children, namely: William, who now resides in Tacoma, Washington, and is an elder in the Presbyterian Church there; Malbone W.; Henry L., Vice-President of the Haney & Campbell Manufacturing Company of Dubuque; and Helen of home. Rev. Malbone W. Graham, who was graduated from Princeton College in the class of 1889, was a professor in Lenox College, in Iowa, for two years. Then he returned to Princeton and was graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in the class 1894. He recently went to Bogata, South America, to take charge of the educational work of the Presbyterian Board of Missions in Columbia.

In politics Mr. Graham is a pronounced Democrat and has been honored with various offices. He served as City Attorney in 1878, was nominated for Judge of the Supreme Court in 1876, was appointed United States District Attorney in 1886 for a term of four years., succeeding Major DeWitt C. Cramm. For four years he was President of the Board of Education in at Bellevue, and while residing in Bellevue officiated as Mayor. In Jackson County, in 1867, he was nominated for State Senator, but declined the nomination. He has long held membership with the Presbyterian Church, of which he was a ruling elder. His public and pribvate life are alike above reproach, and his honorable and straightforward career has gained him the confidence and good will of all with whom he has been brought in contact.


 

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