John H. Graham, manufacturer, twice mayor of Wichita and one of her most influential and public spirited citizens, is a native of Iowa, born on his father's farm, in Butler county, Nov. 19, 1869, son of John and Caroline (De Witt) Graham. The father, a native of Scotland, born in 1824, came with his parents to America, in 1830. He was reared in the city of Montreal, Canada, which was the place of residence of the family until 1856, when they located in Butler county, Iowa. John Graham became a successful farmer and a citizen of influence and lived until eighty-one years of age, his death occurring in 1905, in Butler county, Iowa. He married, when a young man, Caroline De Witt, born in Canada, in 1830, who survives him and resides in the old home in Iowa.
John H. Graham received his early educational discipline in the public schools of Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and later completed a course in Cornell College of that city. Subsequently he learned telegraphy and was for about seven years employed as an operator by the Great Western railway. He became a resident of Kansas, in 1897, locating in Wichita, where for two years he served as secretary to the receiver of the Wichita & Western railroad. During the years 1890-1900 he served as cashier of the Wichita office of the Missouri Pacific railway. In 1901 he organized the City Transfer & Storage Company of Wichita, in which he was an interested principal. The following six years he was employed in successfully managing this enterprise, retiring, in 1907, to become mayor of Wichita, to which office he had been elected on an independent ticket. The non-enforcement of the prohibition law of the state under previous administrations caused the better element of Wichita to place an independent candidate in the field who, if elected, could be relied upon to enforce to the letter the law regulating the sale of liquors. The choice of this element was Mr. Graham, who was elected by a flattering majority. His administration of the office of mayor was entirely satisfactory to those who had elected him, and previous conditions were greatly improved upon. The liquor interests, which he fought successfully during this term in office, were sufficiently strong to prevent his succeeding himself, and he returned to private life. In 1911, after a bitterly fought campaign, he was elected a second time as the city's chief executive. From the day on which he resumed the mayor's chair a relentless campaign to discredit his administration was begun by the liquor interests, who, unable to defeat him at the regular election, succeeded in securing a recall election and were successful in causing his retirement. In justice to Mr. Graham it is well to state that the succeeding administration is now being required to enforce the law through pressure on the part of Governor Stubbs and the attorney-general's department. In 1911 Mr. Graham became interested in the Hydro-Carbon Company of Wichita, manufacturers of gasoline lighting systems and is sales manager of the company.
Mr. Graham married, April 13, 1893, Edith M. Westgate, daughter of Sylvester S. Westgate, a prominent stockman and the founder of Westgate, Iowa. Mrs. Graham is a woman of broad culture and refinement and popular in the social and religious circles of Wichita, in which she is a leader.
Mr. Graham is in all respects a high type of the conservative, unassuming American, diligent in his various duties and commercial affairs, and conscientious in all things. He has realized a substantial success through his own well directed efforts and by methods clean, capable and honest. He is a member of the Wichita Chamber of Commerce and of the Rotary Club. Both he and his wife are members of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Wichita, active in its various affairs and generous contributors to its charities.Pages 802-803 from volume III, part 2 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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