Robert Henry Graham – Early Family in America

Archibald Graham Esq (1680 Scotland, died in Scotland).  He had three known sons; John Graham Esq, Alexander ‘Sawney’ Graham and Daniel ‘the Miller’ Graham (1713 – 1800 in Cumberland Co).  Sawney was a nickname for the most common Scottish name, Alexander. All three sons emigrated to North Carolina twenty odd years after the battle of Culloden in 1745 at which the Scottish Highlanders under the flag of Jacobite Bonnie Prince Charlie were defeated by the British. The Duke ‘Butcher’ of Cumberland was determined that an uprising would never again occur. Clan chiefs were deprived of their legal power, weapons taken, kilt and tartan banned.

John Graham Esq (8 Aug, 1714 North Knapdale, Inverary, Argyllshire, Scotland; died 14 Sep, 1797/alt. 1798, Montrose, Cumberland Co, NC) and  Elizabeth Smiley (1713/1732 – Feb 1807) immigrated to Cumberland (now Hoke) County, North Carolina in 1766. John immigrated with his brother, Alexander ‘Sawney’ Graham as well as the family of his wife, Elizabeth (see map below). The Smileys came to NC from Scotland and became staunch Presbyterian ministers throughout the southern state. They farmed downstream on Mountain Creek from John and Elizabeth. John and Elizabeth Graham settled on Mountain Creek, in the far northwestern part of Cumberland county. Very little is known about the family. He did have a post office in his home, “Montrose.” This was, interestingly enough, the name of the titular head of the Graham/Graeme clan in the Scottish Highlands. John was an educated man and the family deeply religious.

John was a planter and a gunsmith and is buried at the Montrose Cemetery (now located in Fort Bragg). John was loyal to the House of Stuarts, and suffering hardships, requested and received a land grant of 100 acres in 1767 in the Cape Fear area of NC. They later relocated to the far northwestern corner of Cumberland County.  He and Elizabeth initially farmed 50 acres on Big Muddy Creek. His farm grew substantially, Mountain Creek was the site of his Plantation at the time of his death.

Last Will and Testament of John Graham

State of North Carolina Cumberland County December the 18th, 1796

In the Name of God, Amen. I John Graham of the aforesaid county, planter, Being very sick and weak in body but of perfect Mind and Memory thanks Be given unto God. Therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my Body and knowing that it is appointed for all Men once to Die Do make and ordain this my last Will and testament that is to say principal and first of all I give and remand My soul into the hands of almighty God that gave it to my Body. I recommend to the earth it and my Body. I recommend to the Earth to be Burryed in a decent Christian Burryal at the Donation of my estate nothing doubting But at the General Resurrection I shall raise (?) the same again By the mighty power of god and as ____ such worldly estate wherewith it hath pleased God to Bless me in this life My will is to lend to my lawful wife Elizabeth Graham the Negro named Lucy, four milk cows and four sheep and a horse and as much household furniture as is necessary to support her and she may live with whom she pleases of her children and if she lives with her children the property in her hands must be given up to the guardains which I order to Be her own two sons Alexander and Arch Graham. I give and bequeath to Alex Graham the negroe fellow called Dick likewise to Arch Graham the Negroe called Quaco and as there is odds betwixt the two Negroes Dick to be the valuable after I depart this Life they must be valued by themselves or by any two men that they will appoint and whatever odds is between them must be payed to Archibald in money or money worth taken out of the estate.  The plantation I now live upon must be sold and out of the price it must be paid to my oldest daughter Isable Martin the sum of fifty pounds or the value thereof and at My wife Elizabeth’s death the Negro girl Lucy must be valued and my youngest daughter Elizabeth may keep her if she chooses and pay one half her value to Margret Paterson my daughter and other property remaining at her death shall be divided equally between her two sons Arch and Alex and farther I ordain that all of my other property whatever remaining shall be equally divided between my two sons Archibald and Alexander Graham. All that I have ordained for my Children My will and desire is that is shall be to them and their children and no other and I Do hearby Utterly disallow revoke and disarm all and every other former testament ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my Last Will and Testament. In Witness whereof I have Hereunto set my hand and Seal  the day and year above written. John Graham, signed and sealed in presence of John McDonald, ___ Graham and _______.

Current day map showing the local creeks in relation to Montrose, courtesy of Emory Martin

Children of John and Elizabeth Smiley Graham:   

Archibald Graham (died 1812)  arrived 1766, married Mary Baxter (1740 – 1800) in Scotland (many children). They settled a farm on Quewittle Creek, on the west edge of John and Elizabeth Graham’s farm in far northwest Cumberland County. I speculate that there is more than one Archibald Graham that seems somewhat muddied in our ancestry records (confusion with a William Archibald Graham in my opinion). John Graham’s will confirms that Archibald is a child of Elizabeth.

These documents from North Carolina land grant files reveal that Archibald Graham acquired 150 acres from his father, John Graham, in 1896.

Last will and Testament Archibald Graham

In the name of God Cumberland County Amen. I Archibald Graham of said bounty, being of sound and perfect mind and memory (blessed by God) do publish this my last Will and Testament in manner following that is to say —

First I give and bequeath my personal real estate of whatever nature to be equally divided between my loving wife Mary Graham and Children. Reserving for her Simon and Lusie to hold house for her during her lifetime, but if either should die to be replaced by George or Ric. My surviving wife and elder children will contribute their respective parts, in raising and educating the younger. I empower my executors (hereafter named) to sell or hire out George and Ric as they think most proper for the use of my family.

And I hereby make and ordain my loving wife Mary, John and James Graham and also Dan McNeill as mine executors of this my last Will and Testament set my hand and seal this 27th day of April, 1812.


Isabella Graham (last name Martin, referenced in John Graham’s last will and testament, 1762  – 1812) married Martin Martin.

Margaret Graham (19 Jul, 1764 – 1830) saved the life of Archibald Graham when ‘patriots’ came to kill him; pretending smallpox. She married Daniel ‘Buffalo Dan’ Patterson born 13 Aug, 1757 in NC, died 1843 in Clay Co, Alabama in 1883. He was so named because he lived on Buffalo Creek and established  the Buffalo Mill on the Creek, a tributary of the Lumber River in Cumberland, now Hoke Co, NC. Because the creek never ran dry, this mill was famous for always being powered for grinding grains.  Daniel Patterson and John Gillis (grandson of Alexander Squire Graham) operated the first cotton gin in West Cumberland County in 1815. Margaret and her husband founded the old Bethel Church. Margaret is buried in the Patterson Graveyard between the old mill and Gillis’ gin, her grave covered with flat rocks from the place known as Sanatorium. So sleep many of their kin and at least three of her children. 

Elizabeth Graham (did not marry, 1766 – 1797)

Tabitha Graham (1765 – 1769)

‘Squire’ Alexander Graham (13 Oct, 1756 North Knapdale, Argyllshire, Scotland- 12/22/1845 Texas) married Margaret “Peggy” McFarland (3/12/1763 – 7/28/1844) about 1788. Margaret was the daughter of John McFarland (1735 – 1767) and Catherine Buie (1735 – 1787). She was the sister of Hon. Duncan McFarland, member of US congress 1807, a very prominent family. Alexander migrated from Inverary, Argyllshire, Scotland in 1766, settled first at Cape Fear, NC. He occupied John Graham’s plantation after his death. He eventually moved through Tennessee to Alabama 1818-1820, MS and TX. He lived in Corpus Christy, Yoakum and Henderson, TX; land grant of 345 acres in Bowie Co; 1129 acres in Lamar, CO, TX 1838.


Nathaniel Smiley Graham (May 28, 1792 – Jul 27, 1863) married Margaret McKenzie, moved to Alabama.

Alexander ‘Uncle Sandy’ Graham (1798 – 10 Aug 1874) married his cousin Annie McFarland.

*Robert Graham (1800 – 1884) married Mariah Thomas (native of New Jersey)

Duncan McFarland Graham (1803-1878 in Bullock County, Alabama) married Mary Gillis in 1828.

Margaret Mary Graham (July 7, 1805 -Apr 4, 1831) married Roderick Gillis in 1829. Roderick Gillis immigrated from Scotland to NC in 1783. Mary was the first of three wives

The family attended church at Ashpole Presbyterian Church in present day Rowland, Robeson County, North Carolina. The national historic registry recognizes this church.

Land Transfer from John Graham to son Alexander

And being in the County of Cumberland containing one hundred and fifty acres of Land both Tract situated on the south side of Rockfish and east side of Drowning Creek each on a place called Mountain Creek… To him the said John Graham all and every singular premises with appurtenances unto him the said of his heirs and assigns forever and further the said John Graham doth covenant to agree to and with the said Alexander Graham his heirs and assigns forever hereafter….

This map is written by William Angus McLeod Sr. after 1911. He  was the gg grandson of Daniel Buffalo Patterson and Margaret Graham. Emory Martin was astute enough to find and share this with me. This gives fascinating insight into the families that settled here from Scotland. My original source document was based upon family tree information from his son, William Angus McLeod Jr, who was an attorney in McAllen, Texas who shared this with Rev J.T. Graham.

State Road 1138
PO Box 759
Rowland, NC   28383
Telephone:  (910) 422-8085


Telephone:  (910) 

CLERK OF SESSION:  J. Mack Butler, PO Box 367, Rowland 28383. Telephone:  (910) 422-3731

US Wills and Probate Records: Alexander Graham

In the name of God Amen. I Alexander Graham of the County of Cumberland and State of North Carolina being weak in body but of sound and disposing mind and memory, do on this 15 day of June A.D. 1838 make ordain publish and declare this to be my last will and testament in manner and form as follows.

Imprimus. It is my will and desire that my funeral expenses and just debts should be paid.

Second. I give and bequeath after my death all my estate both real and personal of whatever description unto my beloved wife Margaret during the term of her full life.

Third. I give and bequeath unto my son Alexander Graham the plantation on which he now resides called the Beaver Dam containing upwards of five hundred acres on Little Mountain Creek to him and his heirs.

Fourth. I give and bequeath to John and Mary Gillis children of Roderick and my daughter Margaret Gillis (they being my grandchildren) a negro girl named Hannah and the issue of her body to  them and their heirs.

Fifth. I give and bequeath to my son Robert Graham the plantation on which I now reside including all the rest and residue of my land being about 800 acres to him and his heirs. Also I give and bequeath to my son Robert and his heirs a negro boy named Sam and a negro girl named Emily and her child and her future increase.

Sixth. I hereby confirm onto my sons Alexander, Duncan, George and Nathaniel the negroes that I gave them heretofore, and if no bills of sale or deeds of Gift have passed from me to them. I hereby give and bequeath the said negroes to them separately to them and their heirs.

Seventh. It is my will and desire that my negro woman named Maria should be free, and if she cannot be emancipated by law, it is my desire that she may reside with anyone of my children that she may wish and it is my desire that she be maintained by them during her life.

Eighth. It is my will and desire and I hereby enjoin it on my exscutors herein after so be named to divide the balance of my negroes equally between my sons Alexander, Duncan, John, George, Nathaniel and Robert and that my household and kitchen furniture should also be equally divided between them. This bequest however to be subject to my just debts and agreements. I likewise bequeath to them all of my stock.

Ninth. I appoint my sons Alexander and Robert executors of this my last will and testament. In testament whereof I hereby set my hand and seal. Alex Graham

Alexander Graham Sr and wife Margaret are buried in the Graham-Nicholson Cemetery, Sanatorium, NC.


Robert Graham married Mariah Thomas (Dec 27, 1815 New Jersey – Dec 22 1896 Ashpole Church, NC) on July 29, 1840 in Cumberland, NC. A bond of 500 pounds was posted by Robert Graham and Daniel Baker Esq, in effect guaranteeing that there were no restrictions to the marriage. This would have been posted on the Church door for all the public to see. The bond was payable in the event that the marriage was not legal. Robert and Mariah lived in the original Graham home until 1858, then moved to Ashpole Church, Robeson Co, NC.

In the 1850 census, Robert is listed as a farmer owning $1000 in real estate. In the 1860 census, Robert is listed as a farmer with $6000 real estate and $22,000 property. In the 1870 census, Robert is listed as a farmer with $1000 real estate and a personal estate of $600. The civil war must have taken a terrible toll on the family. In the 1880 census, Robert was listed as sick with ‘old age’. The couple lived with a son, W. Haywood Graham and his wife Mollie.


842 Acres for Sale

Robert sold his plantation in November 1859, relocating the family to Ashpole, NC.

Last will and testament of Robert Graham:

Robert Graham  State of North Carolina

Will : Robeson County

In the name of God Amen. I Robert Graham of the County and State above mentioned being weak in body but of sound and disposing mind do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament as follows:

1st: I give and bequeath my soul to God who gave it and my body to the earth from whence it came – and after my just debts are paid I give and bequeath to my wife Mariah Graham all my real and personal property of whatever description to have and to hold during her natural life – and at her death – I give and bequeath to my two sons William H Graham and John T Graham all my land where I now live together with all my stock of horses and mules hogs and cattle household and kitchen furniture together with all my farming implements wagons and carts to them and their heirs. As this bequest is to be equally divided between my two sons William and Thomas Graham, but if one of them die without heirs then it is my will and desire that the surviving brother inherit all his part of the property and should they both die without heirs – then it is my will and desire that it shall go to my daughter Sallie Ann, D P McKinnon’s wife and their children and should William or Thomas either of them want to sell their part of the land, it is my will and desire that he shall sell it to his brother without they both agree to sell, then let them sell all the land together – it is being five hundred thirty or forty acres more or less belonging to the plantation.

I give and bequeath to my daughter Sallie Ann, D P McKinnon’s wife two hundred Dollars to be paid by my executors hereinafter named. And it is my will and desire that should there be a growing or housed crop on the plantation let it go to the use of the plantation after the debts and rents are paid.

I appoint my son William H Graham and John T Graham executors to this my last will testament in testimony thereto I set my hand seal. Robert Graham

Test: J G A Dick, Duncan McNair

I Robert Graham of Robeson County, State of North Carolina at my residence to make this my codicil hereby confirming my last will made on the 15th day of April 1873 so far as this codicil is consistent therewith and do hereby ordain devise and bequeath that all devises and bequests as hereinto before named devised and bequested in my last will to my son William H Graham. I in this codicil do hereby give devise and bequeath to my daughter-in-law Mollie L Graham the wife of William H Graham to have and to hold in her own right as the wife of my son William H Graham and to her heirs executors administrators and assigns forever all the property real and personal as devised and bequested to William H Graham in my last will as above mentioned..

I appoint my son William H Graham and John T Graham executors to this codicil to my last will and testament.

In witness whereof I have signed sealed and published and declared this codicil to my last will as my will at my residence in Robeson County State of North Carolina this the 21st day of January 1879. Robert Graham

The said Robert Graham of said place signed and sealed this codicil and published and declared the same as his will and we at his request and in his presence and in presence of each other have written our names as witnesses.

Duncan Sinclair

John B Fulmore


William Haywood Graham (Dec 30, 1841 – April 20, 1926 in Robeson, NC) married Mary Lloyd ‘Mollie’ Townsend on Dec 27, 1877. Her father was the Reverend Jackson Townsend. William enlisted in Company E, North Carolina 52nd Infantry regiment on Oct 17, 1862.

Sarah Ann ‘Sallie’  Graham (June 9, 1844 – 1883,  Robeson, NC) married Daniel Patrick McKinnon on Dec 13, 1863.

Margaret Graham born 1846 is listed on the 1860 census with her parents.

Rev. John Thomas Graham (see below)

Alexander Hamilton Graham (Nov 2, 1848 – 30 March, 1854) buried in Hoke Co NC Sanatorium, Graham-Nicholson Cemetery.

James Franklin Graham (Jul 8, 1850 – Oct 29, 1855) buried in Hoke Co Graham-Nicholson cemetery.

Benjamin Clark Graham (Jul 18, 1852 – Sep 20, 1855)

In the 1870 census, Margaret, John Thomas and William are all at home with Robert and Mariah. John Thomas left for Texas to become a minister. William Haywood stayed with his parents and is listed in the 1880 census.  

Reverend John Thomas Graham (Mar 12, 1847 in Robeson, NC – Mar 4, 1902 in Rye, Liberty, Texas) married Adella Annabelle Bourland (1857 in California – 1942) in Llano, TX 1876.

From the minutes of the West Texas Annual Methodist Conference: 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 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. 

Bro. Graham served the following charges: Palo Pinto circuit, 1873-4; Llano circuit 1874-6; Round Mountain Circuit, 1882-5; Edna Circuit 1885-8; Logart’s Circuit 1888-90; Waelder Circuit, 1890-2; Rancho Circuit, 1892-5; Leerville Circuit, 1895-7; 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, Bro. Graham fell asleep, full of honors and in glorious triumph.

Bro. Graham was one of our most useful men, and no man has held 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 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 protecting arms.

In the 1910 census, Adella (Annabelle) G is married to George W. Newberry in Alice, Jim Wells Co, Texas with Thomas 18, Burdette S 15 and Lauri 11. George is a merchant. At the time of his death on 14, July, 1921, he awarded his estate solely to his beloved wife, Adella.  She died June 10, 1942 in Alice Texas.

In the 1920 census, John T Graham lived with Dora 26, Dora 6, JT Jr. 4, Burdette 1 and Burnett 1 in Del Rio, TX. At that time, he was an assistant cashier at the Del Rio Bank.

In the 1930 census, JT Graham and Elisa lived in Houston Texas with Dora D 17, JT Jr. 14, Burdette 11, Mary Jane 9, June E 5, Edward 4 and Robert 1, JT was a lease manager with Humble Petroleum at the time.