Harlan F. Graham, one of the leading members of the Jackson county bar, was born near Washington Court House, Fayette county, Ohio, in 1859, son of Thomas J. and Sarah (Taylor) Graham. The first American ancestors of the Graham family emigrated from Scotland at an early day and located in Delaware and Pennsylvania, but Mr. Graham's grandfather removed to Fayette county, Ohio, when the state was little settled, and there his son, Thomas J., was born and reared. He led the ordinary life of a farm boy on the frontier, attended the schools afforded by the first settlers, which were usually primitive but thorough, and in Ohio met and married Sarah Taylor. After the Civil war Kansas became the land of promise to men who earned their living by tilling the soil and, in 1880, accompanied by his family, Mr. Graham came to this state and bought a partly improved quarter-section of land in Jackson county. He was an ambitious man, who desired to give his eight children every advantage, and by hard work soon had a fine farm, with all the improvements obtainable this far west. For ten years the parents lived on the homestead near Soldier creek, and the first break in the family circle came in 1890, when the father died. By this time, however, the boys were old enough to look after the property, and the mother continued to reside at the family home until her death, in 1910.
Harlan F. Graham was the first born of these parents. He received his early education in the public schools of Fayette county, Ohio, and, after finishing school, taught for six years before his parents left for the West. He had read much about Kansas and was interested in the new state, believing there were many opportunities open there for young men who were not afraid of work, and accompanied the family when they came to Jackson county, in 1880. For two years he helped on the farm summers and taught country school in the winter, but he was ambitious and had conceived the idea of devoting his life to the law. With this end in view he entered the University of Kansas, at Lawrence, took the regular college course and, in 1886, was given the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Money was not plentiful in Kansas or in any of the states west of the Missouri river in the early '80s, and in the fall after graduating Mr. Graham began to teach, having been offered the position of principal of the Abilene High School, where he remained three years. He then went to Horton as superintendent of all of the public schools of that city, but as he had never given up the idea of becoming a lawyer during the five years he was teaching at Horton he also read law and in due time was admitted to the bar. In 1894 he returned to Jackson county and opened a law office at Holton, where he has since been engaged in legal work. He at once entered into the life of Holton and Jackson county, became a local leader of his party, and in 1898 was elected county attorney of Jackson county, serving in that capacity with great credit to himself until 1903. At all times he takes an interest in civic affairs, being a member of the board of education and at present is the city attorney of Holton, which position he is filling to the entire satisfaction of the citizens. Fraternally Mr. Graham is a member of the Masonic order, having attained the Royal Arch and the Knights Templar degrees. There are many men who achieve financial success in this world, but the man who, by his own efforts, gains one of the highest educational degrees conferred by one of the great universities of the country, and then adds business success to that, is rare. This Mr. Graham has done, for he holds a Master's degree from the university of this great state and has one of the most lucrative practices in Eastern Kansas.Pages 603-604 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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