The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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        Robert D., University, from private to Captain of Infantry, C. S. A., occasionally acting Adjutant, and commanding Regiment; after the war finished his university course, and admitted to the bar.

        George W., married Sally Shaver, University and M. D.; Augustus W., married Lucy Horner, University, an attorney.

        Susan W. married Walter Clark, an attorney at Raleigh.

        Wm. A. Graham, (born Sept. 5, 1804, died August 11, 1875). Of his father we have already given a faithful sketch, many of the Revolutionary incidents of which were obtained from his statement, when applying for a pension for his military services, which discloses his patriotic character. His mother was distinguished for her personal accomplishments and beauty*

        * Much of the material of this sketch has been gathered from the memorial oration on "The life and character of Mr. Graham," by Montford McGhee (1876).

        He received his early education at the common schools of the county and commenced his classical education at Statesville, under charge of Rev. Dr. Muchat; here he was noted for his thirst for knowledge, and aptitude for learning. Such was his desire for books that one of his classmates at the time, says of him, "he was the only student I ever knew who would spend his Saturdays in reviewing his studies of the past week."

        After careful preparation he was sent to the University, where he graduated in 1824. This was one of the largest and ablest classes ever sent forth by the University. It was one of which Professors Olmstead and Mitchell declared that "Yale might have been proud." Many of them afterward won high distinction in political and professional life--among these was John Bragg, Judge and a Member of Congress from Alabama; James W. Bryan, eminent as an advocate and statesman; Thomas Dews, of Lincoln, a son of genius and misfortune; Mathias E. Manly, Judge of Superior and Supreme Courts of North Carolina, (who divided with Governor Graham the highest honors of the class); A. D. Sims, member of Congress from South Carolina, 1845-48; and others. His collegiate career was marked by obedience to rules, and habits of diligent study.

        He read law with Judge Ruffin and was admitted to its practice in 1826. He selected Hillsboro as a residence and here he came in competition with such legal athletes as Ruffin, Murphy, Mangum, Nash, and Badger, all of whom attained positions as Judges. Against such giants in the profession Mr. Graham had to contend, and such was his assiduity, his high mental acquirements, his perseverence and labor, that he arose to the front rank, and was retained in all the most important cases in this circuit. For forty years he maintained this high position. As an equity lawyer he was pre-eminent. In 1833-34-35 he was a member, from Hillsboro, of the House of Commons, and from 1834 to 1840, elected from the County of Orange, and for the two last years was elected Speaker. His labors were incessent, as were his efforts for the welfare of his country. But his talents were soon to be transferred to the National Legislature. A political revolution in the State in 1840 brought about vacancies in the representation of the State in the Senate of the United States. Judge Strange, under instructions of theLeglature had resigned his seat, as did also Bedford Brown. Mr. Mangum and Mr. Graham were elected their successors. This was a perilous time in political warfare. Mr. Graham, although among the youngest members of the Senate, bore himself with such dignity as to secure the attention and the respect of this distinguished body composed of such illustrious men as Clay, Calhoun, Webster, Buchanan, Wright, and others. His speeches on the "Loan Bill," the "Apportionment Bill," and other measures, attracted the attention and the admiration of the country.

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