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Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers


L. D. Graham

L. D. Graham, one of the oldest settlers of section 8, township 16, range 12, is a veteran of eighty three years, having been born Oct. 2, 1806, in Sussex County, Md. His parents were George and Henrietta (Willis) Graham, the father supposed to have been a native of Ireland, and the mother of England. When about eight years old the parents, leaving Maryland, emigrated to Ross County, Ohio, where the subject of this sketch was reared to man's estate.

In Ohio Mr. Graham was first married, Oct. 25, 1827, to Miss Elizabeth Newman, by whom he became the father of seven children. Three of these are living; namely: George W., Elizabeth, the wife of M. F. Andre; and Mattie, the wife of H. F. Hysinger, of St. Louis, Mo. The mother of these children died Dec. 18, 1871. Mr. Graham contracted a second marriage, April 17, 1873, with Mrs. Caroline Looman and of this union there were born three children - Benjamin F., Matilda and Lorenzo C.

In 1829, Mr. Graham, leaving the Buckeye State, came to this county and located on land near the present site of Jacksonville. In 1831, he settled upon his present farm, which was then a wild and uncultivated prairie. He first purchased forty acres from the Government, and the story of the few years which followed, is similar to that of other men, who made their way to the frontier and nerved themselves to endure its hardships and privations. We, of this generation, surrounded by the comforts of life, scarcely realize the struggles our ancestors were compelled to make in order to leave us this goodly inheritance. The first dwelling of Mr. Graham in this county was a round log house, with a clapboard roof and a puncheon floor - although for a time the only floor was simply the mother earth. Their present fine residence was erected in about the year 1855 or 1856. During the early days of his settlement in this county, deer and all kinds of game were plentiful, together with wolves and other wild animals. Mr. Graham was prosperous in his labors as a tiller of the soil and gradually purchased additional land. Of this he has given liberally to his children, and he is yet the owner of nearly 400 acres. This property has been accumulated by his own industry and skillful management, as he commenced in life as a poor boy, with nothing to depend upon but his own resources. He had a limited education, but his habits of thought, reading and observation have resulted in his becoming more than ordinarily well informed. He is a Democrat in his political views, but has meddled very little in public affairs, otherwise than serving as a School Director in his District. The first school organized in his neighborhood was conducted in a cooper shop, without a floor, and lighted largely through the cracks between the boards. It was taught by John Priest. Mr. Graham cast his first Presidential vote for Andrew Jackson. He is the only man who has the original patent for land entered in the western portion of the county, and which has not been transferred from the original entry, he still holding the original claim.

A fine portrait of Mr. Graham is shown on another page of this volume, and is a valuable addition to a volume which contains many portraits of old settlers, among whom he is regarded with affectionate interest.

1889 Index
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