Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    In America, where the hampering influences of caste and class are not felt, true worth wins recognition and earnest labor finds its just reward. As a result of close application and untiring diligence Mr. Graham has become one of the well-to-do farmers and highly respected citizens of Brown township, Miami county. He was born in this township, July 19, 1834, on the farm which is now owned and occupied by Solomon Frazier. His parents were William and Clementina (Middleton) Graham, the former a native of Bucks county, Pennsylvania, and a son of Archibald Graham, a farmer of Scotch-Irish lineage. His grandfather was the founder of the family in America, and his father was one of the heroes of the Revolutionary war. William Graham worked at the blacksmith's trade in Mercer county, New Jersey, and was there married February 17, 1825, to Clementina Middleton. In 1832 he came with his family to Ohio and established a blacksmith's shop in Lena. In 1840 he removed to a farm on section 1, Brown township, although in the meantime he had returned to New Jersey, in 1834. His old customers, however, had taken their patronage to other shops and he soon returned to Lena, where he remained until 1840, when he established his home upon the farm which continued to be his place of residence until his death. The land had been entered from the government by Edward Yates, who sold it to Mr. Graham, and after the death of the latter's widow it was again sold. Mr. Graham left an estate comprising three hundred acres of valuable land, and, prior to his death, he had assisted all his children in obtaining homes of their own. Reared in the Presbyterian church, in later life he became an active member of the Methodist church in Lena and died in that faith. In politics he was an old-line Democrat, but never sought or desired public office. He had one brother and four sisters who came to Ohio. His death occurred January 21, 1875, when he was about seventy-three years of age, his birth having occurred on the 7th of May, 1802. His wife, who was born March 20, 1804, passed away August 18, 1883. They were the parents of seven children, and with the exception of Deborah, who died at the age of six years, all reached mature years. Charles was drowned when twenty-two years of age; Hannah, the widow of John Sargent, resides at Palestine, Shelby county, Ohio; William L. is the next of the family; Emma became the wife of Frank D. Jones, of Lena, and died at the age of sixty-two years; Elmira became the wife of Elmer Brecount, who was killed at Perryville, Kentucky, after which she was married again, making her home in Lena until her death, at the age of forty-five years; and Mary is also a resident of Lena.

    William L. Graham, whose name introduces this review, spent his childhood days under the parental roof, obtaining his education in the common schools, and in 1870 received from his father twenty- nine acres of land, constituting a part of the old homestead. And in addition to this he owns fifty-three acres, forming the site of his present home. He has made all of the improvements upon his property, and has one of the neatest and most attractive homes in the township. It was erected in 1856, but has since been remodeled and enlarged. He makes a specialty of the raising of grain, and has laid about two hundred and fifty rods of tile upon his farm, thus reclaiming much of the wet land which hitherto was unfit for cultivation. He certainly has one of the most arable and valuable small farms in his township.

    On the 12th of April, 1855, occurred the marriage of Mr. Graham and Miss Lucinda M. Merritt, a daughter of Joseph and Nancy (Carter ) Merritt. The wedding took place at Lena, Miami county. The lady was born in Warren county, November 28, 1831, and when about two years of age she came with her parents to Miami county, the family locating at Conover, whence they removed to Lena, where the father conducted a store for several years, and also held the office of postmaster. Subsequently he conducted a tavern, and both he and his wife became popular with the traveling public on account of the excellent entertainment which they furnished their guests. Mr. Merritt continued in that business until his death, which occurred when he was fifty-five years of age. During the war of 1812 he served his country as a soldier. His wife, long surviving him, spent her last days in the home of her daughter, Mrs. Graham, and died in 1870. In the family of this worthy couple were five children: Isaac, who was killed by a falling tree when twenty-one years of age; Mary, who became the wife of J. H. Kelly and died at the age of seventy-two years; Abraham, who died at his home in Columbus, Ohio, in 1893, when more than seventy years of age; Clarissa, who became the wife of George Ross and removed to Illinois, where she died at the age of thirty years; and Lucinda, who is the only survivor of the family. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Graham were born three children, but one, Arthur Elwood, died at the age of two and a half years. The daughters, Clara Elma and Ella May, are twins. The former is the wife of Forest A. Colvin, an overall manufacturer of Greenville, Ohio, and Ella May is at home. Both have received musical training, and the parents and their daughters are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he has served as trustee. In politics he is a stalwart Democrat, and for six years prior to 1899 he held the office of township trustee. For six years Mr. Graham also served on the agricultural board of Miami county, and there made an enviable reputation as a careful and painstaking official. Socially he is a very prominent Mason, having become a member of Social Lodge, No. 217, F. & A. M., at Lena, more than thirty years ago. He has taken a very active interest in the work of the lodge, was master for three years, and has been a representative to the grand lodge. He also belongs to St. Paris Chapter, No. 132, R. A. M., is an active companion in Capitular Masonry, has served as high priest of the chapter and has also sat in the grand chapter. Mr. Graham is a most highly esteemed resident of Miami county, and withholds his support from no measure or movement which he believes will prove of public good along social, moral, material and educational lines.

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