John Thomas ‘Tom’ Graham (1892-1948)

We begin with the history of Tom Graham’s parents, Rev. John T. and Mariah Thomas Graham. 

John Thomas Graham (1847 – 1892)  was born 12 March, 1847 in Roland, Robeson Co, NC to Robert Graham and Mariah Thomas. John Thomas was the 7th of nine children.  In the 1870 census, he lived in Robeson Co, NC with his parents, sister Margaret and older brother William. He married Adella Bourland, born in Sacramento, California, about 1876. In the 1880 census,  John T Graham is living in Llano Co, Texas with wife Adella (1857 – 1942), Winnie B 3 and Alfa 4/12. He is a Methodist minister at the time.  In the 1900 census, John T Graham is living in Guadalupe Co, TX with Altha 20, Robert 18, Hubbard 16, Mary 13, Abbie 11, Tom 8, Burdett 6 and Louise 1. It is said that all of the children went to college, several at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.

Memoirs from the West Texas Annual: Rev. John T Graham was born March 12, 1847 in Cumberland Co, NC. He was licensed to preach Feb 1, 1873 by the Quarterly Conference of Rockvale Circuit, Northwest Texas Conference, Rev Wm Mark being the presiding elder. In November of the same year he was admitted on trial into the Northwest Texas Conference. He came to the West Texas Conference in the division of territory by the general conference of 1882. He was ordained deacon by Bishop Pierce, Nov 14, 1875, and elder by Bishop Wightman Dec 9, 1877.  Brother Graham served the following charges:

Palo Pinto circuit 1973-4, Llano circuit 1874-6; Iredell circuit 1876-7; Carlton 1877-9; Llano circuit 1879-82; Round Mountain circuit 1882-5; Edna circuit 1885-8; Logart’s circuit 1888-90; Waelder circuit 1890-2; San Marcos circuit 1897-1900; Kyle and Pleasant Grove 1900-02. During his second year’s pastorate at the latter place, on March 4, 1902, Brother Graham fell asleep, full of honors, and in glorious triumph.

Brother Graham was one of our most useful men, and no man has had a surer place in the affections of the people whom he served. He was a visiting preacher, going into the homes of all the people, and winning them to Christ by personal contact with them. The connectional interests of the church received his most careful attention and no institution nor observance required by the church was ever neglected. From the founding of the Texas Methodist Orphanage he represented the West Texas Conference on the Board of Managers, and was untiring in his work to make provision for the orphan children. Bro. Graham was a successful revivalist. Very many in the various charges he served were added to the Lord through his ministry, and during the last year of his life, his preaching was attended with great spiritual power. At the close of his meetings that year, worn with excessive toil , he suffered a protracted spell of fever, from which he never fully recovered. During the last weeks of his life he was almost constantly in prayer and communion with God. He said that he felt that God was getting him ready for some great event. It was true. The purified soul was about to go into the presence of the King.

We laid his body away in the cemetery at Kyle to await the resurrection. The members of his flock, with many of other churches, all of whom loved him, followed him to the grave and made great lamentation over him. 

To his widowed companion and orphan children the Conference extends its loving sympathy. We commend them to God, and at the same time extend over them our own protecting arms. 

Children of John Thomas and Adella Bourland Graham:

Winnie Blount Graham married John William Cook 12 December, 1899 in Yoakum, Lavaca, Texas.  In the 1900 and  1910 census, John W Cook is editor of the newspaper. Their oldest son, R. Graham Cook PhD, graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Chemistry. He received his masters at Vanderbilt University and his doctorate at Columbia University. In 1942, he worked on the Manhattan Project, for which he later received a Presidential Award, and in 1971 he was chosen as co-citizen of the year for his leadership in establishing a home health service in Chapel Hill, NC. He was a research chemist for Union Carbide.

Altha W. Graham was born in Llano, Texas 25 February, 1880.  In the 1910 census, HW Beall is widowed, with four children.: William H Beall Jr 4, Mabel Beall 3, John S Beall 1 and Aley Beall 0 (mother Aley Blankenship must have died in childbirth). Altha Graham, then 33, married William Henry Beall 18 June, 1913 in Alice, Jim Wells, Texas. The couple had one more child Winnefred Graham Beall. Henry was a ranchman and farmer. William Henry Beall was killed in 1924, when he was accidently run over by a stock train. She  later married Robert William Black 1 May, 1926, a local dentist who graduated from the University of Tennessee. Altha’s daughter Winifred Beall, skipped a grade in high school and still managed to be Valedictorian. She received her degree from Texas A&I College, a masters degree in Spanish and education from UT. She taught public schools for 32 years in Alice, Texas, receiving numerous honors, awards and scholarships. She believed that people should read to improve their minds. She was a kind and gentle lady. She married Lester Moore, and had two daughters, Linda M Saenz of Plano and Rosemary Kirkendall. 

Robert Francis Graham was born 13 March, 1882 in Llano Co, Texas and died 13 Jan, 1946. He married and married Ada Lydia Hughes in Monterrey, Mexico. The couple moved west to Coahuila where their first child Ada, was born in Mapimi, west of Torreon. The Mexican Revolution forced them to flee in 1911 (Pancho Villa, of Torreon, led the northern army against the forces of Porfirio Diaz), they were able to escape only with some money wrapped in cellophane,  stuffed in the baby’s diaper. They settled in La Feria, Cameron County, purchasing a farm. The first year they planted an acre of lettuce, hauled the lettuce to the train track, filled a car with ice and sold the produce for $85/ton in Chicago. The following year, they planted 5 acres. This time they netted $5/ton. Robert became a dairy farmer in La Feria,  Texas. He was founder of the Graham Ice Cream company (later managed by his three boys). Their slogan was “Every bite’s a delite.”  The company was eventually sold to Lilly Ice Cream by his son Charles. Oldest daughter Ada was born in Mapimi, Durango, Mexico in 1911, a mining town west of Torreon.  Ada married Homer Baker, a teacher, and settled in Denton, TX after their marriage. Arthur Hughes Graham married Mildred Friebele.  He helped run the family ice cream business. They had two daughters, Dr. Patricia Ann Graham who worked at UTSA in San Antonio, and Betty Jo Graham. Robert Francis Graham Jr. married Mary Carstens. He was a navy veteran in WWII and moved to Houston after the wedding, the home of his wife. He studied mechanical engineering for three years and worded with the Houston Ship Building Corp in Houston on his WWII registration card.  He was a automobile salesman at the time of his death in 1980 and died at St. Luke’s Hospital of a myocardial infarct. The youngest son of Robert and Ada,  Charles William Graham (1923 – 2012), shared with me original information about the Graham family in the early 1990’s. Charles was a remarkable and very kind man, a medaled veteran of WWII who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, was a lay minister active with the Methodist church, member of the rotary club and one time mayor of La Feria. He was a longtime choir member; he loved “Amazing Grace,” which was the first hymn his Grandma Lydia ever taught him. Charles married first Lois Marie Miller, with whom he sired four daughters Brenda, Linda, Carrol and Terry; then spent 32 years of his life with his soulmate Elnora Bowers. 

Hubbard Kavanaugh Graham was born 3 May, 1884 in Round Mountain, Texas.  In 1910, Hubbart and Ludie Mitchell Graham lived in San Antonio, in the directory he was listed as a miner. In the 1920 census, Hubbard, wife Ludie and son Hubbard Kavanaugh II lived in the Monte Vista area on Mulberry St., Hubbard was listed as a district manager of an insurance company. In the 1930 census, Hubbard is a boarder, listed as widowed, an electric light salesman. In reality his wife remarried in 1927, to Charles Abbey III. In the 1940 census, Hubbard is working at City Hall in San Antonio, Texas. Hubbard died 31 December, 1955 in San Antonio, Texas.  Son Hubbard Kavanaugh Graham II was born in Oklahoma. He married Eleanor Kollenberg. In the 1940 census, Hubbard, Eleanor, Doris Ann 8, Helen Patricia 4 lived in San Antonio. Hubbard was a glass blower in the electric sign business. He died of a cardiac arrest in San Angelo, Texas at the age of 69.

Mary Annabelle Graham was born 9 October, 1886 likely outside of Victoria, Texas (her father was preaching the Edna circuit). She married James Earl Evans on 14 June, 1909 in Nueces, Texas.  In the 1910 census, the couple are living in Alice, Texas. James is listed as a public school teacher. Mary died 27 February, 1915 aged 28, likely relayed to the birth of their third child. James Earl Evans moved to Granger, Williamson Co, Texas. His sister F.M. Evans is listed as his contact person. In the 1920 census, James in living in Granger with daughter (Mary)Annabelle 9, son Francis 7 and son Earl 5. He is listed as a groceries salesman. Annabel married KL McDonald on 2 Feb, 1931 in Las Cruces, NM. They had three children, Alex (Bonnie), Mrs. John T. (Sandy) Cunningham and Kenneth McDonald. Annabel was an organist for the funeral home for Ellliott’s funeral home in Abilene, Texas.

Abbie Adella Graham was born 28 May, 1889 in Alice, Texas. Abbie became involved with the YWCA while attending Southwestern University in Georgetown, north of Austin, Texas, where she served as president of the university’s student association. After graduating in 1910 with a BA, she taught English for two years in Texas. Throughout the 1910s Graham worked as a secretary for the YWCA’s Southwestern field, which spanned Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.  In 1921 she moved to New York City and later directed YWCA camps including Camp Quannacut (Pine Bush, NY) and Camp Winnecunnet (Martha’s Vineyard, MA). Graham was in a long term relationship with fellow YWCA secretary and writer Grace Coyle. While working at the YWCA camp in 1921, Abbie wrote the lyrics for the “Fire Song” with music composed by Margaret Kreglow, at student at Smith College and the camp’s music director. It was later adopted as a Girl Reserves Song.  Between 1923 and 1942, Graham published 11 books through the Woman’s Press. Her works covered subjects including spirituality, race relations, girls’ camps, travel and women’s suffrage. She also wrote the first biography of Grace Hoadley Dodge, who negotiated the formation of the national YWCA in 1906 and served as the organization’s first president. She is best remembered for her work, Ceremonials of Common Days, published in 1923. In 1940, Abbie received an honorary doctorate in Literature from Southwestern University.

Tired of Life? Being bored is intellectual laziness. Says Abbie Graham. Is your life flat or drab, your neighbors stale or uninteresting, your work monotonous? The truth of the matter is that your life is thrilling, your neighbors fresh as a spring breeze and your work calls for brains that you alone have. Miss Abbie Graham, who sponsors all of this, says that only your way of living is to blame. Her theory is so popular that owing to the demand for its cheerful doctrine, “Ceremonials of Common Days” has been recently published by the Woman’s Press. “Being bored is intellectual laziness,” said Miss Graham when questioned yesterday. “The people who complain most loudly of being in a rut, dig more deeply into their rut every day. Why? Because they insist  upon following exactly the same routine going to the office by the same street and saying the same things. Break away on the next holiday, leave your watch at home and have a foot-loose time and a mind freed from time schedules. “It is better to toss a quarter as to where to go occasionally or what road to take, then to start out already preoccupied and hurried for a prearranged schedule.” As for your neighbors, Miss Graham says, everyone has something interesting about them and that it is up to you to find it out. Get under their veneer of everydayness. “If they bore you, half the fault may be yours. If their lives are flat, try to see what has flattened them out. Try to say something you mean at least once a day. A few doses will ease up trivialities. People shrug their shoulders and take life for granted too much.” “When something pleasant does occur, make the most of it. Celebrate the birthday of that occasion, and invite your friends in to share it.” Ceremonials of Common Days gives a dozen hints for enjoyment open to everyone. Blanks are left for the recording of happy days or special ceremonials of the reader’s own.

Abbie was invited to Corpus Christi, Texas 23 May, 1939 where she spoke to members of the local Camp Fire Girls. The talk was sponsored by Tom and Virginia Graham.

Tom Graham (see below).

Burdette Stone “Cheebie” Graham was born in Rancho, Texas 29 April, 1894. He married Antoinette “Nettie” Reynolds. In the 1920 census, Burdette and Nettie were living in Little Rock, Arkansas, boarders. He was listed as a secretary for the YMCA.  In the 1930 census, Burdette and Antoinette are together in Oklahoma City. In 1940, the couple lived in Fort Worth, Texas. Burdette completed five years of college, and at that time was vice president of an aircraft manufacturer. Burdette was one of 23 Army Air Corps pilots who learned to fly at three Fort Worth Fields in 1918. There they toasted the memory of the 98 comrades who were killed in training. The airfields had been established to train Canadian fliers before the United States entered WWI in April 1918. The aircraft in which the young men trained were the Thomas Morse Scout and the Curtiss JN or Jenny, silk and wood planes.

The Norman Transcript 30 June, 1927. Burdette Stone Graham: Burdette Stone “Chebie”  “Nero” “Birdman” Graham is, in public life, director of the Stadium-Union organization at the University and president of the Oklahoma Air Transport company. In the past, he has been a YMCA secretary, and as such staged two of the most successful fires Norman has ever had, and an army air pilot. To the last two activities he owes the nicknames of “Nero” and “Birdman.” When came the nickname “Chebie” is not known. Graham leaped into prominence here in 1921 when the came to the University as secretary of the YMCA and the YMCA building was at once struck by an epidemic of fired. During the four years as secretary, Graham had three fires at the YMCA. How he missed having a fire for one year of his secretaryship is not known. Two of the fires routed the association from its quarters. The third did only minor damage. As an aviator, aside from his war record, Graham has gained prominence through organization of the air transport company, his flight to St. Louis to see Charles Lindbergh, which was punctuated when fog forced him to land his ship on the golf course, and his annual zoom over Owen field during the University’s homecoming football game. As director of the Stadium-Union, Graham has become a student of high finance and has gained a reputation as a speaker. It is rumored that whenever he and Bennie Owen want a few days off, they tour the state “in the interest of the stadium.” Graham was born a Methodist and a democrat, at Rancho, Texas, April 29, 1894, too late for April 1 and too early for May day. His boyhood was spend on the plains of Texas, where he learned cowboy songs. He attended Alice, Texas, high school and later Southwestern University, Georgetown, where he was graduated with full honors, including membership in Kappa Alpha, social fraternity. He played football and basketball, and was a member of the track team at Southwest. He was graduated in 1915 and that year began his career as a YMCA secretary. His first job of that was at the Colorado School of Mining at Golden. From there, he went to Nebraska Weslayan University. In 1917, he went to officers training camp at Fort Snelling, MN. He was in the infantry two months and then was removed to the air service when it was discovered he couldn’t keep step. He attended the military aeronautics school at Columbus and went overseas in 1917. He was overseas 19 months. He learned to fly at the French school in Tours. Then he attended the com-school at Issoudun, went back to Tours as an instructor and on September 18, 1918 went into the Arsonne with the 12th area squadron. He was there when armistice was signed. Graham remained in Europe with the army of occupation until March 1, 1919, when his ship cracked up and he came home with a broken leg. Six months on the Texas ranch put him back in shape and he went to Little Rock, Arkansas as state secretary of the YMCA. From there he went to Sherman, TX as state secretary of the YMCA and then came here in 1921. He took the office of director of the Stadium-Union in February 1925. In June, 1926 he organized the air transport company. Graham is captain of the air reserves, a member of the Norman Lions club and a Mason.

Burdette Stone Graham died in Oklahoma City 27 July, 1972. He and Nettie had no children.

Louise Graham, born 8 February, 1899 married Walter C Ellis 29 June, 1922 in Jim Wells, Texas. In the 1930 census, the family lived in Oklahoma City. Walter Jr was born in the Philippines. In the 1940 census, the family lived in Alexandria, VA. Walter was a major in the army, children Walter ‘Graham’  Ellis 15 and Cynthia Ann Ellis 11. Walter Graham  retired a Colonel and served in both WWI and WWII.  This military family bore a son Walter Graham Ellis who fought in WWII, Korea and Vietnam; and daughter Cynthia Ann who married George Warren Dunn, a fighter pilot veteran of WWI and the Korean conflict, then a civilian test pilot for 18 years. Cynthia was born in San Antonio at Fort Sam Houston.  Cynthia, known as ‘Slim’,  graduated from Sweetbriar College in Virginia. After living across the world, the couple settled in Middletown, NJ, and raised four children: Cynthia Munroe Dunn, Lees Breckinridge Dunn Yunits, James Carson Dunn and Sarah Benton Dunn. Kiyare buried at Arlington Cemetery.

Tom Graham

John Thomas ‘Tom’ Graham was born in Waelder, Texas 8 January, 1892, the seventh of the nine Graham children. In the 1900 census, the family lived in Kyle, Guadalupe Co, Texas. Tom married Dora Dean Carr (born November, 1993 in La Salle, Texas) on Christmas day, 1911, in Alice, Jim Wells Co, Texas. Tom was 19 and Dora 18. Dora was not living with her family at age 16 on the 1910 census. Just to get a flavor of life in Texas at that time, her father, Robert Adam Carr, was part of a sheriff’s posse organized in Encinal, Texas to arrest Floyd Gardner on July 2, 1918. The outlaws killed Jonas Cope (shot in bowels) and shot RA Carr in the leg. The fire was returned (including by the disabled Carr). The Mexican and Rembold were killed, the two negroes escaping unhurt but subsequently captured.  A telegram was sent to then Governor Hogg assuring him that no assistance was requested or required. 

In the 1920 census, John T Graham lived with wife Dora in Del Rio, Texas. Dora 6, JT Jr 4, Burdette and Burnett 1 are listed. Tom was assistant clerk at the Del Rio State bank at the time. 

Tom made his first trip down to Mexico in 1918. Shortly after the 1920 census, Tom Graham relocated his family to Monterrey, Mexico. He was a bank teller in a local bank, according to granddaughter June, but soon became interested in oil, making headquarters in Torreon and Tampico. He became close friends with Pancho Villa, who lived in Torreon, Chihuahua after the revolution (he was murdered in 1923). This friendship is documented in a short biography of Tom Graham written 4 July, 1941 in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. 

Dora Carr Graham died of typhoid fever at the age of 28 in the Monterey hospital in Monterey, Mexico 4 July, 1922. She left her husband with four small children. She was buried at Panteon del Carmen, in Monterey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Typhoid fever is caused by salmonella poisoning. In the era before antibiotics,  this was a life-threatening illness with a mortality rate near 15%, often affecting the central nervous system.

After the death of his wife, few details are known. However, Tom did become acquainted with Enrique Saldivar who was living in Monterrey, with whom he frequently played dominos. Enrique was born in Spain, and immigrated to Matamoros, Mexico with his brother and father. Just prior to 1900 Elisa Rosa Saldivar (Mama Licha) is the first child baptized in the local church, he was given a grant of land by President Porfirio Diaz, and became the owner of the Hacienda de la Mission de las Palmitas in Santander Jimenez, near Victoria in Tamaulipas. The family circle included one the Francisco Madero’s brothers. The Madero family, one of the richest in Mexico, were from Coahuila, between Monterry and Torreon to the west. In 1907, his wife Juana Garza de Saldivar died of puerperal fever (42 years of age) and he was left to raise the children by himself. In 1910, Francisco Madero challenged Diaz in the general election and, following rigged results, revolted under the 1910 Plan of San Luis Potosi. Pancho Villa became the general in the north, and Emiliano Zapata the Attila of the South. In Tamaulipas, less organized uprisings by the peasants caused the family to flee the hacienda and move to Monterrey. June tells of a story whereby the ranch foreman secreted the seven daughters within the trees along a nearby riverby. Rocks were knocked together to signify a friendly visitor. I was shown a photo at one time of a large bull with a ring through its nose, on a concrete pad (bred for the bull fights).   Enrique lost all of his land and most of his wealth when the family fled their Hacienda in 1911. They were able to take away a table that seated 20 people. Years later in Monterrey, relatives would come to visit from Jimenez, dine with their extended family, and stay with the family in their apartment.  In Monterrey, Elisa Rosa Saldivar attended the Miss Pickett and Miss Lee school for girls. The Catholic family joined the Purisima Parish in Monterrey.

I was told that Enrique was seeking a husband for his oldest unmarried daughter, Maria Teresa, but Tom had other plans. He married Elisa in Monterrey.  Tom Graham returned to South Texas in 1925 with the older children, like Alice, Texas, where he had several Graham relatives. On June 15, 1926, Elisa immigrated to the United States via Laredo with children June Elizabeth, Eduardo Lee and sister Josephine.  Her initial destination was San Antonio, based upon the immigration card of daughter, June. The family reunited in San Diego, Texas where Robert Henry was born 31 August, 1928. 

In the 1930 census, JT Graham and Eliza are living in Houston, Texas with Dora D 17,  JT Jr. 14, Burdette 11, Mary Jane 9, June 5, Edward 4 and Robert 1. Tom was manager of the lease department of the Houston Oil Company. I was told by Charles Graham that this position afforded Tom the opportunity to simultaneously negotiate oil leases for the company primarily, but also lease promising properties for himself personally. Thus the Tom Graham Oil Company was launched.

Shortly after 1930, the family relocated to South Texas. Tom’s oil company was taking off, and he spent much of his time on the road. Elisa spoke English, however most comfortable surrounded by family and and a circle of expatriot Mexican friends and family in San Antonio. Tom frequented a hotel in Alice, Texas near his oil fields. There, a phone operator by the name of Virginia Deaver worked nights. Well, Tom divorced Elisa, married Virginia, and had a son Jack Morse Graham, born 15 September, 1933. The family soon moved to Corpus Christi, Texas.

Mama Licha and her three kids first lived on Upson St, on the second floor. Family friends, the Reeds lived downstairs (Henry Reed customarily sent her dinner every Friday night from the Old San Francisco Steakhouse. Next door lived Robert’s godparents, Genoveva and Leonides Gonzales, the parents of congressman Henry B Gonzales (US House of Representatives 1961 – 1999). Genovena and Leonides Gonzales were from Mapimi, Durango. They fled the country during the Mexican Revolution. Leonides Gonzales worked at the Spanish San Antonio newspaper, La Prensa. The family later moved to 718 Marshall St. 

Virginia Deaver Graham was a active participant in the Corpus Christi social scene. From the Corpus Christi Caller-Times May 8, 1941: Hundreds Attend May Tea Given, Wednesday, by Mrs. Tom Graham: Hundreds of unusual floral arrangements, a bright sunshiny day and garden party frocks characterized the May tea given yesterday afternoon by Mrs. Tom Graham at her home on Texas Avenue, in Oak Park. The landscaped yards and gardens provided further interesting spots of beauty which attracted hundreds of guests between the hours of 5 and 7 o’clock. ….. Mrs. Graham, who wore a frock of pastel green, and pink sweetheart roses in her hair….adjacent to the living room is a newly-created room called the Chinese room, where articles collected on a trip to the Orient are displayed. Bird of Paradise, combined with Gerbera daisies and salal leaves in a brass bowl, formed an Oriental arrangement used here for decoration… Members of the house party wore leis of flowers  to match the colors of their frocks. (including Dora Deen Graham.) … Guests visited the extensive gardens, the rock pool and rustic bridge and other points of interest in the landscaped grounds.

Minute biography of Tom Graham, 4 July, 1941, Corpus Christi Caller-Times:

As head of five companies operating in the oil fields of South Texas, Tom Graham, of this city, is one of the most active oil men in this part of the state.
He is president of Rontex Oil Co, the Kiran Oil Co. and the Tom Graham Oil Co, president of the Jim Wells Pipe Line Co and chairman of the operating committee of the East Alice Recycling co. Always prominent in civic as well as business affairs, he is now serving as president of the Corpus Christi Golf and Country Club.
Graham was born in Gonzales Co, Texas, on 6 January, 1892. In 1900 his father, a circuit riding Methodist minister, died. His family then moved to Alice, where Tom attended high school. The next ten years found him working in the local banks, and in 1918 he made a trip to Mexico, where he became interested in oil, making headquarters in Torreon and Tampico. Many are the anecdotes he relates of experiences with his close friend of the time, Pancho Villa.
He returned to South Texas and the oil business in 1925 as superintendent of the land department of the Houston Oil Co. He moved to Corpus Christi in 1931.
Graham’s companies today operate approximately 200 oil and gas wells, with production in South Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Illinois and Kentucky, do contract work for other operators and run some eight rigs. In 1940 the oil man was responsible for a sale of two leases for $500,000 cash and $900,000 out of production. Last year he took his wife and son, Jack, on a 20,000 mile trip to Honolulu, Pago Pago, the Fiji Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Tasmania and Bali. When golf permits, fishing calls him to Colorado and Wyoming.
In answer to all-out aid to Britain, Graham recently sold his private plane to the British government. His former pilot is not an instructor with the US Army Air Corps.

On June 17, 1946, Tom Graham as president of the local Navy League invited Admiral Chester W. Nimitz for a special banquet and parade. In 1948, Tom Graham was elected president of the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce. 

On July 8, 1948, Tom suffered a cardiac arrest (as did many of his male Graham relatives) at the young age of 56 at his home in Corpus Christi.

Well, what goes around, comes around. Nine years following the death of her husband, Virginia married James Lewellyn Tremont in Roanoke, Virginia in October 1957. They were working as a husband-wife team representing National Fund Raising Services Inc of Fort Worth. The couple was staying in Riverside, California, preparing to handle a campaign for a church. The argument started when her husband refused to let her accompany him on a business appointment. She got out a .22 pistol she had purchased earlier for “protection, although I also had suicide in mind.” After he slapped and pushed her, she fired at him three times. He died an hour later. She was initially convicted of first degree murder. The judge reduced the sentence to second degree, he said certain mitigating factors were brought out at Mrs. Tremont’s sanity trial. After she was released from prison, she went back to Corpus Christi. She worked in Real Estate sales until 1978. She died 9 August, 1997.  Virginia and Tom Graham’s only son, Jack Worth Graham, married twice. I have found no records of any children, nor evidence of his death. He seems to have vanished from the face of the earth.

 

Children of Tom Graham: 

Dora Dean Graham (1913-1978) married Richard Hardwicke Rice 2 Dec, 1941 in Corpus Christi, Texas. In 1937, Dora Dean, Mary Jane and Dorothy Lou Culton traveled to Europe on the RMS Berengaria.  Richard was born in Victoria, British Columbia. They had two children. Dora and Richard moved to and died in Monterrey, California. 

John Thomas ‘JT’ Graham Jr (1915-1944) was born in Alice, Texas. He graduated Corpus Christi High School in 1933. He married Dorothy Lou ‘Dot’ Culton September 8, 1938 in Corpus Christi, Texas (after she graduated from UT Austin). Dorothy’s father, Jame Knox Culton, developed the Corpus Christi oil field in 1935. The family lived on Ocean drive, and he built an iconic castle home in 1936.  This later was the home of the Bishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston. He christened the Corpus Christi oil field Saxet (Texas spelled backwards!)

See photo, below, Dorothy (bottom left) was the duchess of Corpus Christi for the royal court of King Frivolous XIX, the climax to the annual Galveston Ball, in the year of Texas’ Centennial celebrations 1936. JT worked in the oil business with his father. He was a member of the Rotary Club. He joined the army in April, 1942, and was a graduate of the volunteer officers school at Fort Benning, GA and received basic training at Camp Roberts, CA. He had been overseas only two months when he was killed in action in La Manche, France 12 July, 1944 at the age of 28, allegedly shot by a sniper. He left behind two sons, JT Graham III and Knox Culton Graham.

Dot and JT Graham

Burnett Graham, twin brother of Burdette Graham, was born 31 July, 1918 and died before July, 1922.

Burdette Carr Graham was born 31 July, 1918 in Del Rio, Val Verde Texas. He was twin to Burnett. He married Athol Ward Anderson on 24, January, 1940. He enlisted in June of 1942 at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas in the US Marine Corps. At the time he was 5 ‘ 10” and weighed 124 pounds.  They had two surviving children, Sally Ward Graham and Burdette Carr Graham II. 

Mary Jane Graham was born 12 April, 1921 in Del Rio, Val Verde Texas. She married John Randolph Bowen II on January 30, 1942 in Corpus Christi, Texas. She died on 27 September, 1963 of cancer. She graduated from Hockaday College in Dallas, and studied music at Barnard College in New York. She was a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Episcopal, and the Junior League and was a princess of the order of Pineda. She and John had three daughters, Dinah, Anne and Amy Bowen.

June Elizabeth Graham was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico 28 August, 1924. She entered the United States at Laredo 15 June, 1926 with mother Elisa and brother Eduardo, destination 533 Roosevelt Ave, San Antonio, Texas. Her closest relative in Monterrey was listed as Uncle Carlos Saldivar. She attended Jefferson High school. She married Oran J Tsakopulos  in New jersey in 1944.  June died 10 July, 2012 and is buried at Fort Sam Houston cemetery. They had four children: Mary Jane (Shreiber), Thomas C, Oran J and William H.

Eduardo ‘Edward’ Lee Graham was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico 20 August, 1925. He immigrated to Texas with mother Elisa and sister June on June 15, 1926. He served in WWII. He married Graciela Rubio Rangel (born Ciudad Victoria, Taumalipas in 1923). They had two children:  Denise Marian who died in infancy, and Carolyn Louise. 

Robert Henry Graham was born 28 August, 1928 in Alice, Texas. He married Delores Marie Slavin in August of 1949. To them were born six children: Michael Paul, Judith, Patrick, Robert, Cynthia and Beatrice.