Monday, December 30, 2013

A One-eyed Horse

The following and seemingly unimportant newspaper article about a stray one-eyed horse doesn't appear to be all that interesting, except that it places Wm. Graham (son of Robert and Ruth) and his brother-in-law Joel Merchant (husband of Christiana Elizabeth Graham) in Rapides Parish, Louisiana on 24 April 1867.

Since both men lived most of their lives in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, it again doesn't seem to make much difference that we know this particular date placing them in this locality.  However, according to family lore we believe that most, if not all of the Graham family fled to Texas during the Civil War.  Both Wm. Graham and Joel Merchant served in the Confederate army during the war.  Thanks to this little article combined with Joel Merchants marriage to Christiana Elizabeth Graham on 24 Jan 1867, we know that the Graham family had moved back from Texas by, at least early 1867.


Chronicling America - The Library of Congress
The Louisiana Democrat. (Alexandria, La.) 1845-1918, April 24, 1867, Image 1 

Image provided by Louisiana State University; Baton Rouge, LA


TAKEN UP and estrayed before me by Gadie Johnson---a DARK BAY HORSE, with blaze face, hind feet white, roach mane and short tail, left eye out, ten years old, thirteen and a half hand high, and branded thus: [see image for brand]  Appraised by Joel Merchant and Wm. Graham to be worth Twenty-Five dollars in currency.
    The owner is requested to come forward, prove proverty, pay charges, and take him away within sixty days, or the said Estray will be sold according tot law.  Wm. RANDOLPH, a17-47-Printers fee $7 50. J. P.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pvt. Wm J. Graham (Confederate Soldier)

According to the newspaper article written by his nephew Julian Dow Graham and published 21 Feb 1873 in The South Rapides Chronicle, we learned that Robert and Ruth Graham's son William Jackson Graham fought for the Confederate cause during the Civil War. 

William Jackson Graham, age 17 years 11 months enlisted in the 16th Regiment Louisiana Infantry, at Camp Moore, Louisiana to fight for the Confederacy.  His enlistment term was for the duration of the war.

Between Sept 29th and Nov 1st he was assigned to Company G. the Piney Woods Sharp Shooters.  They spent the first winter (1861) at Camp Benjamin in New Orleans. Then in "February, 1962, the regiment went to Corinth, Mississippi, as part of General Daniel Ruggles' brigade." (1)

As part of the Company G. 16 th Louisiana Infantry, William would have been at the:

Wm. J. Graham was captured by Union forces under Major General Thomas at the Battle of Missionary Ridge on 25 Nov 1863.

 His military records further indicated that he was eventually sent to the Rock Island Prisoner of War camp in Illinois. (2)    Family lore claims that William walked from Illinois to Louisiana after his release.  Upon finding that his family had gone to Texas he obtained a mule and went to Texas.  The story continues that when he arrived at the farm where his parents and siblings were staying they did not immediately recognize him.   The family eventually returned to Louisiana where William died 11 May 1925 of a cerebral hemorrhage (3) 

Transcript of obituary received from Louisiana State Archives attached to back of death certificate.

In the passing away Monday, May 11, of W. J. Graham, at his home in Forest Hill, South Rapides lost one of her oldest and most highly respected citizens.

Deceased was numbered among the pioneers of the parish.  he was a Confederate Veteran, serving throughout the conflict between the states.  He had been in ill health for sometime and his death was not a surprise to his family and friends.

Mr. Graham is survived by his wife and the following children: Mrs. Z. P. Scarbrock, of McNary, Arizona; Mrs. S A. Mallett, of Beaumont, Texas; Mrs. Charles Saxe, of Houston, Texas; Ellis Graham, of El Dorado, Ark., Hadley Graham, of Forest Hill, La; Arch Graham, of Forest Hill, and Jeff Graham, of Alexandria.

The funeral services were conducted by Rev. Hill, pastor of the Methodist Church of Lecompte, Tuesday amid a large concourse of friends and relatives, after which the remains were laid away in the family cemetery at Forest Hill. The Ku Klux Klan, of which deceased was a member, had charge at the grave. (4)


(1) 16th Volunteer Regiment Infantry

(2) Widows Pension application by Laura Graham dated 8 Jun 1925. 
(3) Graham, William Jackson death certificate
(4) obituary copied on the back of his death certificate - newspaper not identified

Monday, November 4, 2013

Robert Graham Appointed Commissioner

In Louisiana, Police Juries have served as parish governments since the early1800s.  Here's an article that explains more about the Police Jury.  Road and bridge building and maintenance were handled at the local level by residents who were appointed as Commissioners.  In the newspaper article below Robert Graham along with his neighbors H. G. Nash and William Dyer (most likely the father of Robert's daughter-in-law, Laura Dyer m. William Jackson Graham), were appointed commissioners for Spring Hill Ward and charged with the building and maintenance of a bridge. 


Alexandria, La.,
January 10, 1878.

The Jury met pursuant to adjournment; all members present; F. Seip, President, in the chair. The minutes of yesterday's meeting were read and adopted. [...]

On motion of Mr. Calhoon,
Resolved, That in accordance with a resolution passed by the Jury, appointed Commissioners to apportion road hands in the respective Wards,
    H. B. Nash, Robert Graham and William Dyer are appointed Commissioners for Spring Hill Ward; [...]


"Alexandria, La., January 10, 1878," The Louisiana Democrat, 16 Jan 1878, p. image 2; digital images;  Chronicling America. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Parents for Robert Graham (1818-1890) of Scott County, Mississippi, Jackson and Rapides Parishes, Louisiana

This report is the culmination of my research to find the parents of Robert Graham.  I am grateful to the 30+ years of research by many family historians who tackled this problem before me, as they provided many excelent references and clues for me to build upon.  It is my hope that those who find errors or who have evidence that reinforces or challenges my conclusions that they will let me know.  

Unfortunately, I was unable to make the footnotes work correctly in blogger, so anyone wanting a copy of the this report with all its footnotes/sources, please leave me a comment with your email address and I'll be happy to email you a fully sourced copy.

Two men named Robert Graham lived in Scott County, Mississippi in 1840. Both men were born during the same time period (1816-1818). 

No documents specifically tell us the names of either of the Robert Grahams’ parents; therefore, we must build a case for each man through a thorough search and analysis of the available circumstantial evidence.

Possible candidates for Robert Grahams’ fathers were those Graham men living in Wayne County, Mississippi between 1816 and 1820:

1.      Robert Graham(1)
2.      Anthony Graham
3.      William Graham
4.       Zachariah Graham

Both Robert Graham(1) and Anthony Graham had sons named Robert Graham.  Since there were only two Robert Grahams living in Scott Co., MS in 1840, the assumption is that one was the son of Robert Graham(1) and the other was the son of Anthony Graham Sr.  Researchers have struggled with assigning the correct Robert Graham to his parents for decades.  Sorting out the two families and determining the parents of each Robert Graham is the goal of this research and analysis.

The easiest way to distinguish the 2 men from one another is through their wives:

  •  Robert Graham(2) m. Ruth Smith
  • Robert Graham(3) m. Charlotte Pennington.

Robert(2)  and Ruth Graham were known to have lived in both Mississippi and Louisiana, and family lore says Robert lived in Texas prior to 1838 and again during the Civil War.  No marriage record for Robert Graham(2)  and Ruth Smith was located in Mississippi, Louisiana or Texas.  A Scott County, MS land record between Robert & Ruth Graham and Jackson Graham dated, 28 Aug 1838, establishes them as a married couple.  A marriage record, dated 24 Sept 1836, for Robert Graham(3)  and Charlotte Pennington was found in Rankin County, Mississippi, one of the parent counties of Scott Co., MS. 

We know that the elder Robert(1)  & Christian(a) Graham’s youngest son was also named Robert.  This evidence comes from three different legal documents.

  1. March 1827, Hinds County, MS Probate Court guardianship order making John Graham the guardian of Robert Graham’s minor children lists Robert as a minor.
  2. On 3 December 1827, Robert is again noted as a minor in the disposition of the elder Robert Graham’s estate. 
  3. Deed of gift registered in Scott County, Mississippi 19 Sept 1836, wherein Christiana Graham (Robert’s widow) gave the slave Aaron to her “two youngest sons, Jackson Graham & Robert Graham”. This direct evidence provided by a mother of her sons’ names is clear and convincing.

Because there were only two Robert Grahams living in Scott County in 1840, we can be confident that one of them was the Robert Graham named in each of these legal documents.

Timeline for Robert Graham(3) m. Charlotte Pennington

Robert Graham(3) was born about 1816 – 1818, most likely in North Carolina (1860, 1870 and 1880 federal census).  Only the 1850 census lists his birthplace as South Carolina. And, no records indicated that he was born in Mississippi.

Robert and Charlotte Graham’s children:
·                     Unknown male b. between 1837 – 1840
·                     Lafayette Graham b. 1838 Mississippi
·                     Frank Graham b. 1843 Mississippi
·                     Anthony Graham b. 1844 Mississippi
·                     William Graham b. 1846 Mississippi

1838 Scott County Tax Rolls 
Robert Graham (3) first appeared in the government records, in the form of poll taxes. “Poll taxes [general revenue] were a tax specified by law for every free man above the age of 21 […].”   At this time he paid taxes for 1 white poll (himself) and 2 slaves.  Prior to the Civil War he was consistently enumerated with slaves.
1840 Census 
Robert(3) appeared  in the 1840 federal census for Scott County, Mississippi with two males under 5 – these would have been the unknown male if he was born before or in 1840, and Lafayette b. in 1838.  Two males between 10 and 29 – Robert fits this category.  The other male is unknown.  The one female between 10 and 29 is consistent with Charlotte’s age.

1840 Tax Rolls
Again Robert Graham(3) paid $1.62 ½ for 1 white poll and 2 slaves

1841 Scott County Tax Rolls 
Robert Graham Sr.(3) and Robert Graham Jr (2) appear on this year’s tax roll.  The sr. and jr. only apply to which is older and which is younger, not to a father-son relationship.  The sr. would have been Robert(3) m. Charlotte and the jr. Robert(2) m. Ruth.

1845 Scott County, Mississippi State Census 
Neither Robert Graham appeared on this census.  By this time Robert(2) and Ruth Graham were in Jackson County, Louisiana, while Robert(3) and Charlotte Graham had moved to Newton County, Mississippi, most likely to be near his aging father, Anthony Graham and his siblings.

1845 Newton County Tax Rolls
This is the first year that Robert Graham(3) appeared in Newton County.  This would have been the Robert Graham(3) m. Charlotte Pennington; they were enumerated again on the 1850 and 1860 censuses for Newton County, MS. 

 1850 Census
On the 1850 federal census Robert(3) and Charlotte Graham are enumerated as family # 2 living in Newton County Mississippi, which borders Scott County Mississippi on the east.  Family #3 appearing on the next line in the census is Anthony Graham b. 1770 in North Carolina.
Living with Anthony Graham are most likely his children:
·                     Benjamin Graham b. 1830 in Mississippi
·                     Asenath Graham (f) b. 1833 in Mississippi

1860 Census
The family in 1860, was still living in Newton County, Mississippi. On this census Anthony Graham age 90 is now living with Robert (3) and Charity Graham.   Perhaps Charlotte also went by the name of Charity, or the enumerator made an error. 
Children living with Robert and Charity are:

  • Benjamin Graham, b. 1840 in Mississippi
  • Antony Graham, b. 1842 in Mississippi
  • William Graham, b. 1845 in Mississippi

During this year, Anthony Graham along with Robert (3) and Charlotte Graham, among other probable relatives, sold property located in Rankin County, Mississippi.  This further strengthens the theory of a familial tie between Anthony and this Robert Graham(3).

1870 Census
Robert(3) and Charlotte had moved back to Scott Co., MS by 1870.   We can assume that Anthony Graham died before 1870, as he would have been about 100 years old in 1870.    

1880 Census
By 1880, Robert(3) and Charlotte Graham had moved to Vernon Parish, Louisiana, where they were living with Robert’s brother Benjamin Graham.   He was indicated as the brother on this census.

Naming Patterns for Anthony, Benjamin and Robert Graham:
The chart below compares the children’s names of Anthony & Assenith Graham and some of their children.  Benjamin and Robert are possible children of Robert & Asmeth Graham; Robert(3) m. Charlotte Pennington is only 1 possible choice of the Robert, who was their son.

Anthony & Asmeth/Assenith
Robert & Charlotte
Benjamin & Martha






Although the naming pattern is weak, Robert & Charlotte Graham did name 1 son Benjamin (after a brother?) and 1 son Anthony, perhaps after the father of Robert.

Timeline for Robert Graham(2) m. Ruth Smith

Children of Robert (2) and Ruth Graham:

  1. Sarah Graham b. abt. 1839 Mississippi
  2. Christiana Elizabeth Graham b. abt. 1842 Mississippi
  3. William Jackson Graham b. 1843 Louisiana
  4. Julia Ann Graham b. 1845 Louisiana
  5. Emily Graham b. 1846 Louisiana
  6. Lorenzo Dow Graham b. 1848 Louisiana
  7. Demerious Graham b. 1850 Louisiana
  8. Ruth M. Graham b. 1851 Louisiana
  9. Mary Ann Graham b. 1853 Louisiana
  10. Annie Graham b. 1855 Louisiana

1836 land purchase
Robert Graham(2) and wife bought property on Feb. 1, 1836.  Deed Book C, Page 63.  This is the first instance of a record showing that Robert (2) was already married.  Ruth Smith was the only known wife of this Robert Graham (2)  and she did appear on the land sale of this same property in 1838. 

1838 land sale
Robert(2)  and Ruth Graham sold 164 acres of land to Jackson Graham in 1838 for $200. This land was adjacent to land already owned by Jackson.

Free males over 21 in Mississippi paid a poll tax every year.  It is worth noting that this Robert did not appear in the tax records for 1838.  The 1839 records are unavailable.  However, he paid a poll tax in 1840, so he would have turned 21 between 1838 and 1840. This is consistent with his gravestone birthdate of 18 Aug 1818.

1840 Tax Roll
Robert Graham (2) paid 1 white poll tax.

1840 Census
 Robert Graham(2)  appeared on the 1840 Scott County federal census enumerated as:  1 male 20-29 years – consistent with Robert’s age, 1 female under 5 years – consistent with Sarah’s birth before 1840, and 1 female 20-29 years, which could be Ruth.

1841 Tax Roll
Robert Graham(2)  paid 1 white poll tax.

1841 State Census
Robert Graham(2)  was enumerated as 2 males and 2 females.  We don’t know of another male child born between 1840-1841, but perhaps this child died, or there is an error on the census.

1850 Census
Robert(2)  and Ruth Graham moved to Jackson Parish, Louisiana.  Their two oldest daughters were born in Mississippi.  Their 3rd child, a son, was born in Louisiana, so we know that the family moved between the births of the 2nd and 3rd children sometime between 1842 and 1843.
Robert also took out 3 land patents in Jackson County, LA: 1851, 1858, and 1859. A patent was a process and was not granted until the person had resided on or used the land for a specific number of years – usually about seven years. The patent dates are consistent with the calculated move date of 1842-1843. 

1860 Census
By the time of the 1860 census Robert(2) and Ruth Graham with their children were living in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. 

1861 – 1865
Family tradition says that Robert(2)  took his family to Texas during the Civil War.  This was probably true, as there were many reports of thousands of refugees fleeing Louisiana and sitting out the war in Texas.  Many of Robert(1) and Christian (a) Graham’s children migrated to Texas before the Civil War, so it would be natural for Robert to take his family to safety where he might already have other family ties.

1870 Census
Robert Graham(2), now a widower, is still living in Rapides Parish, LA, with 4 of his youngest daughters.

1880 Census
This is the last census record for Robert Graham,(2) as he died on 10 Feb 1890.

Comparison of Children’s names across Robert(1) & Christiana Graham and some of their known children: 

John, Reuben, Archibald, George Jackson were all children of Robert(1) & Christian Graham; Robert(2)  m. Ruth is only 1 possible choice of the Robert, who was their son.
Christian, Sarah and Jackson are obviously family names as they appear in several of the families. 

John & Christian
John & Demarious
George Jackson
Robert(2)  & Ruth


George Jackson
William Jackson

William Jackson









Ruth Demarious




Robert Graham(2) who married Ruth Smith was born in 1818, in Wayne County Mississippi.  His birthdate overlapped with the same dates (1816-1820) that the Robert(1) and Christian (Keahey) Graham were living in Wayne County Mississippi. 
Robert and Ruth Graham(2)  lived in Scott County, Mississippi from about 1836 until sometime between 1842, when their daughter Christian Elizabeth was born in Mississippi, and 1843, when their son, William Jackson was born in Jackson County, Louisiana.  Was their son, George Jackson Graham, named for the county of his birth or because the Jackson family name was passed on to baby George?  Christian Keahey Graham was likely the daughter of John Keahey and Martha Jackson, and the grand-daughter of Samuel and Christian Jackson. Both Christian and Jackson were family names.  However Jackson may also have been a popular name because of President Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans.

Jackson Graham and Robert Graham(2) were both named by Christian Graham in her deed of gift, dated 19 Sept 1836, as her 2 youngest sons.  In 1838, while living in Scott County, Mississippi Robert and Ruth Graham(2)  sold property to Jackson Graham.  They also named their oldest son William Jackson.  While not direct evidence of a family connection, these three facts are interesting and suggest at least some kind of family connection between Robert Graham(2) and Jackson Graham.  This Robert also named children:

  • Christian (after his mother?)
  • William Jackson (Jackson after his brother or his great-grandmother’s maiden name?)
  • Demarious (after older brother John’s wife?), John was the guardian of Jackson and Robert when they were minors.
  • Sarah – this name comes up in other Graham sibling families.

The parent/child evidence that Robert Graham(3) m. Charlotte Pennington was the son of Anthony Graham is very strong.  The only other parent option for Robert Graham(2) m. Ruth Smith would be Robert(1) and Christian Graham.  The evidence of birth date/place and family naming patterns for Robert Graham(2) m. Ruth Smith solidifies the parent/child relationship to Robert Graham(1) and Christian(a) Keahey.  Until new evidence is uncovered that proves otherwise, we can be confident that Robert Graham(1) and Christian Keahey were the parents of Robert Graham(2) b. 20 Aug 1818 in Wayne County, MS.

Report prepared 25 Oct 2013 by:
Norah Glover