JAMES ANDREW GRAHAM. It is our privilege to present as the subject of this brief mention a representative of one of the pioneer Texas families whose ancestry played a patriot’s part in winning the independence of the Lone Star republic and whose efforts in civil life have been directed chiefly along industrial and commercial lines. His antecedents were of the blood of Irish patriots and it was to the liking of the honored founder of this family to take up arms against a tyrant monarch and to help set up on a portion of his dominions a government of liberty, freedom and absolute independence.
Andrew Graham, the patriot founder of this family and the grandfather of our subject, was the oldest son of James Graham, a Scotchman with large estates near Dublin, Ireland, where he was stationed as commanding officer of a British garrison. His birth occurred in 1798 and in 1812 he came to the United States. He eventually established himself in Tennessee, Loudon county, where his son C. J. E., the father of our subject, was born in the year 1829. About 1833 he brought his family into the Texas province of the republic of Mexico and settled in Fayette county, where he passed his remaining years as a farmer and where his death occurred in 1867. For his wife he married Miss Sibbie Skinner, a sister of Hon. Samuel Skinner, prominent in Arkansas affairs for many years. Of their issue Colonel J. E. was the oldest; Margaret became the wife of James Ross and died in Fayette county, Dorcas married Theodore Howell, and died in Fayette county; Lue, who first married George Slack and then a Mr. Anderson, who left a child at her death in Fayette county, and Andrew K., of Bastrop county, Texas.
C. J. E. Graham came to man’s estate on his father’s farm in Fayette county and became in early life a farmer himself. During the war of the rebellion his company was stationed along the Texas coast where guard duty constituted the chief feature of his service. In 1879 he located his family at Tehuacana, in Limestone county, to give his children the advantages of a college education. As a means of support during the years of his residence there he engaged in mercantile pursuits until his death, passing away in 1895. He was a Democrat, a Mason and a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. In Fayette county he married Miss Marian W. Burleson, a daughter of Joseph and Allie (Seaton) Burleson. Joe, Aaron and Jonathan Burleson were brothers who identified themselves with Texas in an early day and were cousins of General Edward Burleson of Texas revolutionary fame. Mrs. Marian W. Graham died in Bastrop county, wither the family had migrated from Fayette in 1878. She was the mother of Eskridge N., who died at Gainsville in 1903; Sibbie A., wife of Frank Smith, of Tehu[a]cana; James A., of this articles; Anne M., who died at sixteen eyars; Susan M., wife of Rev. J. E. Aubrey, of Sterling, Colorado; Sarah J., now Mrs. P. N. Davenport, of Shreveport, Louisiana; Martha W., who married J. H. McCollum, of Bastrop county; and Murray T., wife of J. D. Roberts, of Beaumont, Texas.
James A. Graham was born near Fayetteville, in Fayette county, Texas, February 18, 1862. His boyhood was passed on the farm in Fayette and Bastrop counties. The country schools and Tehuacana College furnished him the ground-work of a liberal education and he prared himself for his life work in the alw department of the State University, where graduated with the class of 1886-7. In the autumn of 1887 he located in Burnett, Texas, where his first class in court which we won was on the defense of a person charged with crime and tried before the justice court of Burnett. In 1890 he was elected county judge of Burnett county and in the fall of 1892 was elected to represent that county in the state legislature. He represented the Fifty-third district, which also included Lampasas county. The legislature of that session was occupied chiefly with the passage of the stock and bond laws, advocated so prominently by the Hogg faction of the Democracy of that time, and Mr. Graham gave them his support. He submitted to the constitution providing for a reduction in the representative to the legislature and substituting a legislative salary instead of a per diem, as at present. Among the committees on which he served were those of Finance and Judiciary No. 2, and when the legislative session closed he resigned his office and moved to Fort Worth. In the latter place he was a member of the firm of Graham and Altman for two years, but again changed his location, and in August, 1895, he cast his fortunes with Bowie.
In recent years Mr. Graham’s law practice has trended toward corporation business, in which department of law he has shown splendid capabilities. He represents the Katy, Rock Island and Fort Worth, and Denver Railroads as their attorney, and aided in the management of the Rock Island’s interests in the renowned Rosa Langston damage suit, in which the first trial resulted in the a judgment for the plaintiff for $25,000.00. Before the case was finally concluded in the courts it was settled by a compromise, costing the road in the neighborhood of $9,000. Mr. Graham does the court work of the Bowie banks and has been connected with much of the strongly contested litigation of Montague county. As a pastime and to gratify a personal inclination he is growing into the blooded horse and pure-bred hog business. His favorite strain of horses is the Wilkes and he is encouraging the introduction of this speedy strain into the best stables of the community, having a promising young roadster in training on the Bowie track himself. His little nucleus in the line of swine embraces the Poland Chinas, of which there are none finer or purer bred in Texas.
September 3, 1888, Mr. Graham was married in Burnett county, to Bernice Alice, a daughter of Frank Thomas, a Burnett merchant and a Kentucky settler in Texas since 1856. Mrs. Thomas was Elvira Roundtree, whose family is one of the well known of South Texas. Mr. and Mrs. Graham’s children are: Catherine, Marian, James S., Bernice and Frank Thomas. Mr. Graham is an active Democrat and a Royal Arch Mason.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 120-121.