The GRAHAM Family
Thomas C. & Elizabeth E.
Thomas Chorus Graham was born February 26, 1844 in Taunton, Bristol County, Massachusetts, His parents, John and Alice Nicholson Graham, came from England shortly before Tom was born. The family came to Kansas in about 1866 by the way of Cannelton, Indiana. Most of the family, then, went on to California.
Tom homesteaded a place on Plum Creek, northeast of Dexter, Cowley County, Kansas. In May 1875, he married Elizabeth Ellen Mitchael. She was born on September 6, 1854 close to Quincy, Illinois. Her parents were James and Hester Ward Mitchael. Her family had come to Kansas in 1866 and lived on a farm near Otto, in Cowley County. Her family went on to Arkansas.
Tom was a blacksmith, farmer, grew sorghum, and had a sorghum mill. He also had a merry-go-round and traveled with a carnival. Ellen raised lots of chickens, had milk cows, and sold eggs, butter, and chickens. They lived in a stone cave while building the house. Tom drove a team of oxen hitched to a wagon to Independence, Kansas to get window frames for the house. Part of the cave, barn, and stone fence are still on the property but the house is gone.
Tom and Ellen had nine children born on the farm. They were William Russell Graham, Calvin Britten Graham, Thomas Edgar Graham, Sarah Alice Graham, Millie Viola Stiner, Mary Catherine Love, Elizabeth Ellen Watsonberger Smith, Clara Augusta Love, and Birdie Augusta Harris (my mother). Seven of the nine children grew up, married, and had families (many of the descendants are still living in Cowley County).
Tom and Ellen were hard working and thrifty people. They had to be, to have a large family of children and survive in those days.
They enjoyed having the family around them. The following newspaper article about the Graham Homestead was saved but was not dated.
OLD SETTLER MOVES
"The public sale on the farm of T.C. Graham, northeast of Dexter on Wednesday of this week brings to a close an interesting chapter in the life history of a Cowley County settler, a story that from which might well be painted a picture of the early pioneer life in this part of the state, however, at this time we will leave that part of the epoch to the imagination of the readers, after saying that Mr. Graham had lived for 52 years on the same farm. He will retire and expects to spend some time in Arkansas. The sale was very well patronized and everything offered brought a fair price. The Editor attended this sale."
Tom and Ellen lived in Dexter, Kansas the rest of their lives, in a house which is still there, Tom died on May 21, 1932 and Ellen died on March 20, 1942. They are buried in Dexter Cemetery.
My recollection is of them being dedicated to the family. We are trying to keep their memory alive by getting the descendants together every year for a reunion.
Submitted by Vera Elizabeth Harris Pack
Scanned out of the Cowley County Heritage book, pg 180.
Tom & Carolyn Ward, Columbus, KS