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Joseph Graham


Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/5/2001 at 10:39:45

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties – 1890
Joseph Graham, of the firm of Risk & Graham, merchants of Birmingham, Van Buren County, is a native of Ohio, and his parents Joseph and Mary Glover Graham, were natives of Virginia and Pennsylvania respectively. During the days of youth and maidenhood, they immigrated to Ohio where they were married and where was born unto them a family of eight children; six of whom are yet living. Joseph is the sixth in order of birth, and was but ten years of age at the time of his mother’s death. His father subsequently married again and immigrated to Van Buren County Iowa in 1849, locating nine miles west of Birmingham, from which farm he removed after two years to one adjoining the city limits. Throughout his entire life he engaged in agricultural pursuits. He enlisted in the War of 1812, but peace was declared before his regiment was called into action. In political sentiment, he was first a Whig and later a Republican and both he and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church until late in life, when he joined the Free Methodists.
The birth of our subject occurred in Noble County Ohio, April 21, 1832, and in his native State engaged in farm labor, he was reared to manhood. Like thousands of others his educational advantages were limited to those of the district schools, but reading and observation in after life have made him a well-informed man. He gave his service to his father until he was twenty-five years of age, and in the years that followed, has gained his entire property. On the October 30, 1856, he was united in marriage with Miss Margaret Walter, a native of Barbour County, West Virginia, born in September 1835. She came to Van Buren County Iowa with her parents in 1854, and their union was blessed with four children, of whom the eldest, George W died at the age of twenty-two years, while Letitia V. the youngest died in infancy; Elmer E., is master of the Union Depot at Minneapolis Minn.; and James H. is a salesman for Risk & Hufstedler of Fairfield. The mother of this family, a consistent member of the Free Methodist Church, and a lady possessing many excellent characteristics, died December 22, 1877. On December 2, 1889, Mr. Graham wedded Olivia L. Norcross, a native of Wisconsin.
The business history of our subject is as follows: On starting out in life for himself he engaged in operating a saw mill, Benjamin Casner being associated with him as his partner for three years. Subsequently he was engaged in running the engine and the saw for the Birmingham mill, when, in November of 1870, he entered the employ of C.C. Risk as a salesman in his large general store at Birmingham, who placed the entire charge of the business in his hands. For nine years he served in that capacity, when he was admitted to partnership, a relation that has continued for eleven consecutive years, with good feeling on both sides, while from a financial standpoint it has also been a success. In connection with his interest in the business, Mr. Graham is also the owner of eighty acres of land, comprised in the old homestead. He may truly be called a self-made man, who by his own efforts has gained a comfortable competence for which he deserves no little credit. As a supporter of the Republican Party, for many years he cast his ballot but in later years has identified himself with the Prohibitionists. He has been honored with the offices of Mayor and Councilman of Birmingham, which he filled with credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents. Mr. and Mrs. Graham are members of the Free Methodist Church, in which he holds the office of Trustee, and in the Sunday school, he serves as Superintendent. His public and private lives are alike above reproach commending him to the confidence of all with whom he comes in contact. The home of he and his worthy wife is noted for its hospitality and their friends in the community are many.
I am not related, and am only copying this for the information of those who might find this person in their family.


Van Buren Biographies maintained by Rich Lowe.
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