Part of an old map of the San Jacinto area from the Texas Revolution

Veteran Bio

Texian Location:  Participant

The Kemp Sketch

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GRAHAM, JOHN -- Born in Orange, Sampson County, North Carolina, in 1768. This is shown on a copy of Captain W.W. Hill's muster roll filed in the Archives of the Texas State Library, Austin, Texas. In Headright Certificate No. 270 for one-third of a league of land issued to him January 26, 1838 by the Board of Land Commissioners for Washington County, it is stated that he came to Texas in 1833.

In his published memoirs Colonel John M. Swisher states that Mr. Graham came to Texas from North Carolina in the latter part of the year 1833 with the Swisher family. They settled first in Milam County but remained there only a short time before removing to Burleson County. In October, 1834, they removed to Gay Hill in Washington County.

On an original roll of Captain William W. Hill's Company when mustered April 11, 1836, a photostatic copy of which is in the Archives of the Texas State Library, the date and place of birth of Mr. Graham is shown, as well as the following information concerning him: He is five feet, ten inches in height; of fair complexion; with hazel eyes and light hair, and by vocation a cooper. He was issued Bounty Certificate No. 703 for 320 acres of land for having served in the army from March 1 to May 9, 1836.

"Among the members of our company," wrote Colonel Swisher, "were four who went from my father's house, viz: my uncle H.H. Swisher, Colonel John Graham, an old bachelor from North Carolina who came to Texas with us, Fred B. Gentry, a cousin of my mother's and myself. All had participated in the battle. Col. Graham obtained a furlough and went home. On our return we found that he had gathered up a team and ploughed out a field of twenty-five or thirty acres of corn which had been planted before the "runaway scrape," notwithstanding he had upward of fifty years of age."

Donation Certificate No. 188 for 640 acres of land intended for Mr. Graham for having participated in the Battle of San Jacinto, was by mistake, issued to "John Grimes" May 22, 1838, but was accepted by Mr. Graham without protest.

The Probate Records of Washington County disclose that Mr. Graham signed his will Jan. 25, 1848, died in Washington County in January, 1855, and his estate opened for probate February 6, 1855. He willed his Headright Certificate to his nephew, John K. Graham, but the remainder of his estate to his close friends Isham G. Belcher and wife, Barshaba Belcher.

Mr. and Mrs. Belcher had the land acquired from the Donation Certificate surveyed in Bosque County and it eventually became the property of Kaufman and Runge. On August 26, 1888 in order to clear the title to the land, Kaufman and Runge brought suit against the unknown heirs of John Grimes or John Graham. This is disclosed in the Deed Records of Bosque County.

In the Certificate of Character in the General Land Office, Austin, there is a letter signed at Tenoxtitlan, May 27, 1834 by John Grahams in which he said, "I have emigrated to Texas with the intention of settleing myself in it, and am desirous of being admitted as a Colonist within the limits of your Colony. I obligate myself to conform to the constitutian and laws of the country, and all things becoming a good citizen. I am unmarried. My age 56 yrs."

Written by Louis W. Kemp, between 1930 and 1952. Please note that typographical and factual errors have not been corrected from the original sketches. The biographies have been scanned from the original typescripts, a process that sometimes allows for mistakes in the new text. Researchers should verify the accuracy of the texts' contents through other sources before quoting in publications. Additional information on the veteran may be available in the Herzstein Library.

Battle Statistics

  • Died in Battle: No
  • Rank: Private
  • Company: Lieut. Robert Stevenson

Personal Statistics

  • Alternate Names: Grahams; Grimes
  • Date of Birth: 1778? 1768?
  • Birthplace: North Carolina, Sampson County,Orange
  • Origin: North Carolina
  • Came to Texas: 1833
  • Date of Death: 1855 Jan
  • Bounty Certificate: 703
  • Donation Certificate: 188
  • Profession: Cooper
  • Wife: none