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THOMAS GRAHAM

Thomas Graham, an honored veteran of the Civil War and an energetic and prosperous agriculturist of Jefferson Township, Johnson County, Iowa has held during this thirty-eight years of residence in this locality many positions of official trust, and ever discharging their duties with able fidelity, has won the esteem and high regard of his fellow-townsmen.  Our subject was born in Washington County, Md., August 13, 1817, and was the son of Samuel Graham, a native of Londonderry, Ireland, who was born in 1782. The paternal ancestors were Scotchmen, but Grandfather Graham had made his home in the Emerald Isle a short time previous to the birth of his son, Samuel, and eleven years after, in 1793 emigrated with his family to America, settling in Washington County, Md.  He was a blacksmith by trade and being an energetic and industrious man prospered in his new home.  He died in 1804, near Loudon, Pa. He and his family came over in the brig "Cunningham, " which was captured by a French privateer.  He lost everything he had, some $2,500 in gold.  The father of our subject was a painter, and after a time removed to Virgina, where he remained a few years and then journeyed to Edgar County, Ill., dying in Paris at eight-one years of age.  He lived in Baltimore during the War of 1812 and belonged to the minute-men. In religious faith, he was a Presbyterian, and an upright man, he was respected by all who knew him.

The mother of our subject was Ann (McDonald) Graham, a most excellent woman, of Scotch descent, who after a life of busy usefulness, passed away in 1849.  She was the mother of seven children, five of whom are yet living.  Our subject was the second child of the family and was reared upon a farm, attending the subscription schools of that early day.  He lived at home with his parents until he was thirty-three years of age, and was the only one who remained with his father and mother. Mr. Graham was married in 1844, to Miss Mary Troup, a native of Washington County, Md., and born in 1827.  In 1847 our subject and his excellent wife made their home upon a farm in Virginia, where the husband followed the pursuit of agriculture.  In 1855 they journeyed to Johnson County, Iowa, and purchased land in Jefferson Township.  Upon the breaking of of the Civil War, Thomas Graham enlisted October 2, 1861 in Company F, Fourteenth Iowa Infantry and forwarded with the regiment to the front, he actively participated in the battles of Ft. Donelson and Shiloh, being taken prisoner during the latter engagement and was held for two months in Memphis (Tenn), Mobile, Cahoba (Ala) and Macon (Ga).  After his release, our subject went to Nashville and about one month later was allowed to go to St. Louis on parole where he was taken very ill with fever and was soon discharged upon a surgeon's certificate of disability, October 13, 1862.  He was in his forty-fifth year when he patriotically enlisted and gave faithful and courageous service in behalf of national existence.

When Mr. Graham had recovered his health, he engaged again in the peaceful occupation of a tiller of the soil, and a man of wise judgment and thrifty industry has gained a comfortable competence.  In political affiliation he is a Republican and in 1860 he was elected a member of the Board of County Supervisors and resigned the position when he entered the military service of the Government.  As a member of the School Board for twenty-two years, and a Justice of the Peace for seventeen years, he aided in advancing the cause of education in his home locality and in his decision upon the magisterial bench was ever guided by law and evidence.  As a Township Trustee for many years he materially assisted in the promotion of enterprise and local improvement and in all that pertains to the best interests and welfare of the township and county, has ever been most zealous and faithful.  The devoted wife of our subject passed away August 31, 1890.  She was a member of the United Brethren Church, and a consistent and earnest Christian woman.  Of her ten children, three died in infancy.  The seven who survived to maturity are: James W., Mary J., Sarah E., Nancy V., Fannie E., Charles C. and George.  The sons and daughters now living are all married.

Since the death of his wife, Mr. Graham, having sold his farm, has resided with his son James W., the eldest of his children and a man of more than ordinary ability and enterprise.  James W. Graham was born in Washington County, Md., October 3, 1845 and attended the common schools during childhood, afterward enjoying for a brief time the advantages of instruction in the Western College.  Later he went to Ann Arbor and entering the University, pursued a course of study.  His school days ended, he taught school for a time and then engaged in the duties of agriculture, profitably cultivating his acreage and raising graded stock.  Prior to his location upon his farm he married Miss Sarah E. Hall, a Virgina lady who came with her parents to Johnson County many years ago.  Her father died in 1871, but her mother is still living.  The hearts and home of Mr. and Mrs. James W. Graham have been cheered by the birth of five children. Laura R. is a teacher in Plainwell, Mich.; Vivian B. and Edith B. are teachers; Jessie and Lillie G. are at home.  In 1863, following the example of his father, James Graham enlisted and upon October 9 joined the Iowa Cavalry, and bravely serving u until March 1866, was engaged in many decisive battles and traveled over an extensive range of country.  He was slightly wounded in a hot fight and was at the time of his discharge from the service a Sergeant.  For over twenty seven years he has been engaged in farming in Jefferson Township, where he owns a valuable and highly-cultivated homestead of eighty acres.  Politically, he is a Republican, and has with honor and efficiency discharged the duties of Assessor, Clerk, Trustee and  has long been an important member of the School Board. He and his wife are both members of the United Brethren Church, and liberally aid in the extension of its good work.  Both Thomas Graham and his children inherited from their sturdy Scotch ancestors the sterling virtues and self-reliance which have so materially aided them in their upward progress and have won for them the high regard and best wishes of a host of friends.  Ambitious, energetic and enterprising, and withal upright, intelligent and patriotic, they are the highest type of true American citizens and worthily occupy positions of usefulness and influence.


Source: Portrait & Biographical Record of Johnson, Poweshiek and Iowa Counties, 

Chicago Chapman Bros 1893