I am seeking information concerning my ancestors William James Graham and his wife, Margaret, who arrived in St. Albans, Vermont, in 1818 from northern Ireland. I don’t know how long they had been married, where they had been married (although probably in Ireland), how old either of them were, whether or not they were accompanied by any children when they immigrated, or even what children they may have had after arriving in the new world. These are but a few of the questions I am trying to answer about these people.
What I do know is that they had a son, George, in St. Albans on October 22nd, 1822, and that shortly after George’s birth, the family moved to the Brockville area of Ontario, where William is said to have obtained a homestead.
Much of what is here was taken from a biography of George Graham that was written in Nebraska between 1894 and 1897, and was included in “History of the Elkhorn Valley” which was published around the turn of the century. Pretty much everything I have learned concerns George and his progeny, and which I include here as points of reference.
When George turned 21 (ca. 1843), William gave the homestead to George and for all intents and purposes, disappeared from the available record. It is possible that eventually he died and was buried in the Smith’s Falls-Brockville area of Ontario. Margaret also went missing, but the 1871 Canadian census reports a Margaret Graham, born in Ireland ca. 1791, living with another family (perhaps an unknown son or daughter?) in the Niagara district of Ontario. Her age and the location make her a good candidate to be George’s mother.
Sometime “shortly (?)” after receiving the family homestead, George sold out and moved to London, Ontario, although exactly when this happened, I don’t know. He is said to have owned a farm in the London, Ontario, area for some number of years.
In 1847, George married Sarah Jane Sanders, who is said to have been born in Canada. They reportedly had nine children, of which six were still alive in 1894 - Martha (b. unknown), Mary Ann, (b. unknown), William James. (ca 1852), Andrew R. (April 6, 1854), Thomas Little (ca 1856), and Eliza (June 1858). In 1892, only six of the nine were still alive. It’s very possible that most, if not all of this happened while George was living in London, but I just don’t know.
In 1863, George and William, Andrew, Thomas and Eliza moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and in June, 1865, settled in Wisner, Cuming County, Nebraska. I have no clue (yet) what happened to Sarah and the other children as they apparently did not accompany the rest of the family. Andrew married Jennie E. Parker in March 1877. Eliza married Chadwick Clark McNish, a friend and business partner of Andrew’s, on September 18th, 1877. C. Clark (as he apparently preferred to be known) and Eliza had two children, Jesse G. (July 1878) and Mabel O. (April 1881). William eventually found his way to Deming, New Mexico, where he died in 1912 and is buried. Thomas Little Graham found his way to Sheridan, Montana, and had 8 or 9 little Graham’s (one of which was my grandfather, who was also named George).
Sometime prior to November 1869, George and Sarah had parted ways, perhaps even before George left Canada in 1863. Again, I just don’t know. Sarah is said to have died shortly after the birth of her son, Thomas Little, but I believe Sarah passed away in Deming, New Mexico, March 4th, 1897 and is buried there. I believe she might have been living with her son Andrew at the time as Andrew had previously moved to the Silver City-Deming area, where, among other things, he owned and operated the Hudson Hot Springs Sanitarium Company and resort, which is still in operation today. Sometime around 1906, Andrew moved to Chicago where he passed away on April 22, 1908. He is buried in Wisner Cemetery with his father, George. Sarah may also have been living with son William, who had moved to Deming in the 1880’s, married and produced as many as 13 little Graham’s. William was a rancher in the Deming area and is buried there.
On November 3rd, 1869, George married a 40-year-old New Yorker named Kate L. Christopher. They lived on a farm outside Wisner with George’s 4 children. I have absolutely no information about Kate apart from her marriage to George. The family is listed in the 1870 U.S. census for Cuming County; however, Kate’s age is shown as 38.
George wandered about the west for almost 30 years, living and owning businesses in South Dakota, Nebraska and Utah, before returning to Wisner sometime around 1892. George passed away October 12th, 1894, and is buried in Wisner. I don’t have a clue what happened to Kate.
Naturally, I have about a bazillion questions about all these folk. If ANY of this sounds familiar, or if you have any suggestions about where I could go from here, PLEASE contact me. Pretty much everything I have learned about George Graham is written here, but I am dying to find out whatever else I can, and am certainly willing to share what little else I do have.
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