Our subject, a native of this county, was born in Meredosia Precinct, July 18, 1837, and is the son of Lorenzo D. and Elizabeth (Taylor) Graham, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work. He pursued his early studies in the subscription schools, and in the fall of 1855, when a youth of eighteen years, entered McKendree College, in Lebanon, St. Clair County, where he took the scientific course, attending the greater part of three years. He taught some during college vacation, in order to obtain means for his further education, and for several years taught and studied alternately, bearing most of his expenses, although occasionally assisted by his father. He may, however, properly be called a self-educated man, not only in a financial point of view, but by his persevering efforts with his books.
In 1859 Mr. Graham established himself at Meredosia, and in partnership with George Rearick engaged in the drug, grocery, and hardware business, under the firm name of Graham & Rearick. This partnership continued until the death of Mr. Rearick, which occurred in about a year's time. Owing to limited capital Mr. Graham was obliged to close out, and he then resumed teaching. On the 10th of January, 1864, he was married in Meredosia Precinct, this county, to Miss Elizabeth Lusk, who was born in this precinct April 2, 1842, and is the daughter of Hon. Edward Lusk, who at one time represented this district in the Illinois Legislature. Mr. Lusk came to this county as early as 1832, and for a number of years engaged in the dry goods trade at Jacksonville. Later he engaged in steam boating on the Illinois River.
Mr. Graham, after his marriage, changing his occupation somewhat, settled on a farm in this precinct, and engaged in agricultural pursuits until Sept. 18, 1867. He then associated himself with his present partner, and they established their present business. They give employment to three clerks in ordinary seasons, increasing the force when necessary. They began with a capital of $8,000, and have gradually arisen to their present financial standing by strict attention to business and square dealing.
Besides his city interests Mr. Graham is the owner of 524 acres of good land, and a one-third interest in the mercantile business carried on by the firm of Hysinger & Graham, with a silent partner, T. L. Weeks, at Arenzville, Cass County, this State. His enterprise and energy have placed him on a solid footing financially, while the sterling qualities of his character are fully appreciated as a citizen and a member of this community. Mr. Hysinger is a resident of St. Louis, Mo.
To Mr. and Mrs. Graham there have been born nine children, six of whom are living, namely: Augustus G., Flora, Julien, Elma G., Walter, and Lucien. Julien was graduated on the 6th of May, 1889, from the Meredosia High School, and was the valedictorian of his class. Those deceased are Minnie L. and two who died in infancy. Mr. Graham has given his children superior educational advantages, and they are well fitted to take their rightful position as the offspring of s representative citizen.
In politics our subject votes the straight Democratic ticket, but has very little to do with public affairs, his business interests consuming his time and attention. Socially, he belongs to Meredosia Benevolent Lodge No. 52, and is a Royal Arch Mason, identified with Chapter No. 11. In 1887 he was elected President of the Farmers and Traders Bank, organized at Meredosia, which position he holds at the present time. This bank has become an institution indispensable to the people of this region, and its affairs are conducted in that wise manner which has placed it upon a sound basis.