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Graham, Texas

In 1869 Colonel Edwin Smith "E.S." Graham and his brother, Gustavous Adolphus "G.A." Graham came to Texas as shareholders in the Texas Emigration & Land Company [Peter's Colony], and visited the North Texas area several times. In 1871 they purchased a crude salt works on Salt Creek about nine miles north of where that stream runs into the Brazos River, near where the town of Graham is now located.

At the time the Graham brothers renovated the Salt Works, all the adjacent territory was heavily populated with buffalo, and the fact that those animals seemed to prefer the Young County area above that of much of the surrounding areas, caused them to get the idea that this territory would be one of the finest cattle raising districts in the entire state of Texas.

In 1872, the Graham brothers decided to establish a town in the Salt Creek Valley adjoining his salt works. G.A. Graham and his chainman, Capt. Absalom B. Grant surveyed and plotted a town site with unusually wide streets, large blocks, and spacious lots, with the name of the town, of course, coming from that of its founders.

The county was originally founded in 1856 by splitting land out of Bosque and Fannin Counties, and was officially organized in 1874. Its namesake was William Cook Young, Texas Ranger and Confederate soldier. The county's first courthouse was erected at Belknap in 1857 near Fort Belknap.

Graham became the county seat of Young County in 1874 after the county was reorganized. By 1876, the first courthouse in Graham was built to serve the needs of the county.

The Graham Leader, the town's first newspaper issued its first edition on August 16, 1876, edited by J.W. Graves. This weekly publication is still in existence, and is the oldest publication in Northwest Texas.

In 1877, farmers began arriving in the territory near Graham in considerable numbers. In that year there were approximately 100 buildings in the town. At that time Graham had the only terminus of telegraph lines in Northwest Texas, and so was the only means of connection with the outside world for a considerable distance in every direction. In 1876 Graham's first public school held classes enrolling fifty students, with J.M. Brantley serving as superintendent and J.I. Bowie as the first teacher. The first church in town was a Presbyterian church, organized by

Reverend C.H. Dobbs, also in 1876. The Presbyterians were the first church to town to erect a building.

On February 17, 1877 about 100 cattlemen of North and west Texas gathered in Graham and formed the Cattle Raisers Association of Texas. The organizational meeting was held under a large live oak tree near the northwest corner of the downtown public square. Through the years this Oak was afflicted by insects and old age. It was finally damaged so badly by several wind storms that it had to be replaced. Another oak was planted in its place and dedicated to the memory of all Cattle Raisers.
submitted by: Dorman Holub

Sunday, March 15, 2009

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