More Interesting Graham History

The house is a two-story one, built of hewn logs, chinqued with stone, and is about 24x30 feet. The sills are of walnut, and, though near the ground, are in a good state of preservation to this day. There are two large stone chimneys. The fireplace in the front room is six feet wide and has a wooden arch five feet high. The chim- [42] ney at the east end has two fireplaces downstairs and one upstairs. There are three room downstairs, the front one being large and roomy. The rear is separated by a cross partition, making two rooms with a fireplace in each. There are also three rooms upstairs. The most notable part of this building is in the architecture of its roof. There are three principal pairs of rafters, one in the center and one at each end of the house, which are about seven inches square with a purlin running lengthwise of the house of the same size, framed together at the middle principal rafter. This frame serves as a support of the regular rafters, which are of themselves very large and strong. We do not hesitate to believe that the framework of this roof, properly protected from the weather, will stand the storms of centuries to come. This house was built before the days of cut or factory made nails and all the nails used in its construction were made in the blacksmith shop and called wrought nails. Likewise, was all the lumber sawed by hand [43] with the old-fashioned whipsaw. Tradition further tells us that the stone in the chimneys were boated in canoes from a point about a mile down the river called the “Narrows”. This house, at the time of its construction, was considered the best, if not the “finest” in all that section. 

At the time that Graham first settled at this place, it does not appear that there was a previous settlement in this immediate locality. it will be remembered that, after the breaking up of the white settlement on Muddy Creek and Big Levels by the Indians in 1763, at which time all the white settlers were either killed, captured or fled for their lives beyond the eastern slopes of the Alleghany, no further attempt was made toward again settling the Greenbrier country until the year 1769. Even then those who saw fit to hazzard their lives by thus venturing into the wilderness, which had previously been made red by the blood of their friends, took the precaution to first occupy that portion of the coun- [44] try nearest the eastern settlement from which they came. Thus was the locality around Fort Union, now Lewisburg, and Donnally’s Fort farther to the northwest, settled before any attempt was made to venture farther down the river. Neither the pages of history nor the dim lines of tradition tell us of the order in which all the settlers occupied land or secured for themselves homes, as the tide of immigration pressed itself down the Greenbrier Valley, but sufficient is known that such valuable land lying up the river from Lowell, as the Riffe Bottom, Wolf Creek Bottom, Lanes Bottom and the bottoms on which the town of Alderson now stands, were not occupied until after the Lowell settlement; hence we conclude that Col. Graham and those who settled near him, were not only the first to occupy this territory, but that they passed by the then known limits of all white settlers on the Greenbrier and made their homes in this, then remote, wilderness.

More Early Settlers


Among the other early settlers in the vicinity of Lowell, was a man by the name of See, who lived on the land afterwards occupied by David Keller, Sr. Like most of his contemporaries, the exact date of his settling there cannot now be know, but tradition points out that he was there at a very early day and should be classed with the very early settlers of that locality. See, like Vanbibber, sold his claim to Conrad Keller and sought a new home farther west. Of his meanderings through the untrodden forest or how often he relocated and then again moved forward, nothing definitely is known save that later in life, about 1818, he found a permanent home on the Big Sandy River in the State of Kentucky, where his descendants are to be found to this day. 

To this primeval settlement might also be added the name of Notliff Taylor, who, while [54] he did not live in the immediate bounds of those already mentioned, he was near enough to be called a neighbor, especially in those days when neighbors were few and far between and sought each other for assistance for miles around. He settled at the Milburn place on Greenbrier river. The names of his children were Anne, who married William Johnson, of Cross Roads; Nancy, who married Isaac Milburn; Elizabeth, who married Samuel Guinn, son of Samuel, Sr.; Mary, who married Joseph Guinn, son of James Guinn, Sr., before mentioned, and William who married Florence Graham, daughter of James Graham, Sr. 

Early in the settlement of this locality also came William Kincaid who owned and occupied the Jessie Beard farm now owned by A. P. Pence, which property has recently become famous as a summer resort by reason of the medical qualities of the Buffalo Sulphur Springs. Little did Kincaid dream of the medical properties boiling up out of this lick to which he then saw the wild [55] buffalo rushing with madness to slake his thirst. It may be incidentally remarked here that traces of the old Buffalo path leading across Keeney’s Knob, from the Buffalo Springs to Green Sulphur Springs are still to be found. Kincaid moved west about the beginning of the present century, and so far as we know, left no immediate descendants in this county. It is supposed on reasonable authority that William Kincaid belonged to the Kincaid family of Augusta and came here about the same time that the Grahams settled at Lowell. 

A few miles east of Lowell lived a Mr. (William?) Hinchman, an Englishman, who settled there possibly during the Revolutionary war, and of whom the present Hinchman family are descendants. The first temporary home of Hinchman was on the river below the mouth of Guinn’s branch about one half mile below Lowell where he settled as a leaser under Samuel Guinn, Sr. His stay there, however, was short, when he moved to a permanent home in what is known [56] as the Hinchman neighborhood east of Lowell. He had a son, John, who served as justice of the Peace for a long term of years. He also had a son, William, who a great many years ago moved to Logan county. It was the pleasure of the writer to visit hi. in the year 1844 and remembers that he told him the year of his birth, which was 1770 and further recalls that he told him on that occasion that he was the father of twenty-four children by two wives. John Hinchman, as before named, had a son. William, who was the father of the late John Hinchman, whose death occurred in 1896. William Hinchman was a Justice of the Peace and was known as “Squire” Hinchman and was a ruling elder in the Presbyterian church. 

The reader will pardon the digression in the foregoing pages from the family genealogy for the reason that in so doing, it is hoped that it may be the means of handing down to the present as well as future posterity some account, however meager, of the first settlers of the locality of which we write; furthermore, those whose names [57] we have mentioned as composing the early settlement stood shoulder to shoulder in braving the dangers fighting the battles of and subduing the hardships of pioneer life, side by side with the progenitors of our own family. 



In addition to the land and other property donated by James Graham, Sr., to his children, he also gave to each one or more negro slaves.

To his descendants (for whom this book is especially written) it may not be uninteresting to know the names of the slaves and to whom they were given, especially to the younger generation, to whom may have been handed down the names of slaves owned by their immediate ancestors, without the accompanying information of from whence they came. To such it is hoped that a very brief sketch of his slaves and to whom, they descended will be fully pardonable and even appreciated.

To his son, William, he gave a negro man named Bob, who died while in his (William’s) possession.

To his son, David, was given a negro man named Neese, and also a negro woman, whose [115] name was Phillis. David also owned several other slaves.

A negro man named Plim was given to his son, James, Jr., at whose death he fell to his widow, who kept him till she moved west in 1827, when he was sold to James Jarrett of Muddy Creek. Jarrett was a brother of the widow.

To his son, Samuel, was given a negro man named Caesar, who remained in the family until about the year 1836, when he was sold, the widow of Samuel having about that time moved to Tennessee. Caesar spent the remainder of his days at Union, Monroe county.

To the youngest son, Lanty, descended a negro named Ben, who, at the moving away to the west of Lanty’s widow in 1841, passed into the hands of Joel Stodghil1, as did also the negress, Phillas, who belonged to David. Ben and Phillis were man and wife, after the manner of such relations as existed among slaves.

To Elizabeth Stodghill, his oldest daughter, he gave a negro servant whose name cannot now be recalled.

[116] To his second daughter, Jane Jarrett, he gave a negro names Rose. Rose lived a a very old age and died in the Jarrett family about 1850 to 1860.

To his third daughter, Rebecca, descended a negress named Dianna, which name was always abbreviated to “Dine”.  “Dine” lived to see slavery abolished and died only a few years ago.

His fourth daughter, Florence Taylor, fell heir to a negro woman named Clara, who, when Florence moved to Indiana, was sold to Peter Miller of Monroe county.

After thus providing for his children by giving each a slave as named, there were other slaves disposed of at his death.

There are a few names in these pages that are spelled different, but are intended for the same names, viz: Ann, Anne and Anna, and Elizabeth, Bettie and Betsy. if you will notice in John Graham, Sr.’s will, in these pages, his wife was named Elizabeth, his daughter’s name was Betty. In said will he bequeathed some legacies to his [117] daughter, Florence, and in the same will he gave some property to his daughter, Flora. Of course, Florence and Flora was the same person. To illustrate, in my early manhood days, a Mr. S. courted a Miss Patsy S., and when her father gave a certificate to the Clerk to issue license for his daughter Martha to marry James S., James S. said that was not the girl he courted, it was Miss Patsy he wanted.

The Indians Capture Elizabeth Graham


When the morning dawned upon the Graham [93] home, it was found that their ten-year-old boy, John; their neighbor and friend, McDonald (or Caldwell); and their faithful servant, Sharp, were dead and that their seven-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, was missing. The feeling of despair, gloom and sadness, doubtless mixed with a desire for revenge, that now rested upon the hearts of these sturdy pioneers can better be imagined than told. There could be no speculation or guessing about the fate of those who lay dead. Their suffering was over; but the missing one! Where was she? Dead or alive? Was her mangled form floating down the river, or was it left in the deep forest to be devoured by wild beasts? or, perchance, was she living, half naked, with bleeding limbs, treading through brier and bramble at the mercy of some unfeeling savage? These must have been the thoughts that crowded the minds of the half distracted parents; but unrelenting search and untiring efforts finally disclosed the fact that she had been carried off a prisoner. 

During the night of this massacre, William, the [94] oldest son, a lad of about twelve years, was not well, and being restless, had come in from the out house and, on his coming in, his mother remarked to him that he “had better go back to bed with the other children”. He replied that as it was nearly daylight he would lie down on the floor till morning, which, luckily for him, he did. otherwise, he no doubt, would have met the same sad fate of his younger brother. A few years after this occurrence an Indian skeleton was found about two miles from the scene of the tragedy, on a small run near where E. D. Alderson now lives, called Indian Draft, which was believed to be the same Indian killed by Graham. Graham secured the jaw bone of this skeleton and used it for a gunrack for a number of years. 

After becoming thoroughly convinced that Elizabeth had been carried into captivity, the next task of Col. Graham was to locate her whereabouts and, if possible, secure her return. Months of anxious and unceasing search located her among the Shawnee tribes, whose wigwams were [95] situated at what is now Chillicothe, Ohio. She had been adopted by a squaw of one of the chiefs of the Cornstalk family of that tribe and, while it was doubtless a source of great jo’.y to those fond parents to find their long-lost child alive and well and well cared for, though in the home of a savage chief, yet a new anxiety awaited them, but little less terrible than that which they had already experienced, the work of rescuing and seeing her once more around the hearthstone of their own home. To this task Col. Graham directed his energies and several times visited the Shawnee towns and as often met with new obstacles and disappointments, none of which were probably more heart-rending to him than to know that his child had learned to love her savage home, and that in turn she was loved and doted on by her adopted mother. As the tender twig is easily bent and made to grow in new directions, so were the inclinations of this innocent child readily diverted from the scenes of the past and made to love the passing events which surrounded [96] her, and she being well cared for and never mistreated by the Indians, it was but natural that she loved them. It is also said that before her return a love more passionate than that for her adopted tribe or mother had seized her youthful breast and that a young warrior would soon have claimed her for his “white” squaw. As to the truth of the story, that she had an Indian lover, we do not vouch, but having learned it from her own descendants, we think it worthy of mention. After fruitless efforts and at least two contracts, which were violated and backed down from by the Indians, Col. Graham finally succeeded in 1785 in ransoming and bring his daughter back home, after an absence of about eight years. The price paid for her release was the release of an Indian prisoner whom the whites held, thirty saddles and a lot of beads and other trinkets, and, according to the summing up of the various traditions, about $300 in silver.

Col. Graham rescues Elizabeth from the Indians

The exchange took place at Limestone creek, where is now Maysville, Ky. It is said that af- [97] ter the exchange was made that the rescuing party consisting of Colonel Graham and some of his friends, who had accompanied him, reversed the shoes on their horses, so if pursued by the Indians, the horses’ tracks would seem to be traveling in an opposite direction. This precaution was doubtless taken on account of a failure to secure his daughter on a former trip, at which time every necessary arrangement for her ransom seems to have been made, when he was counseled by the Indian agent to go without her, as he saw in the conduct of the young warriors that they were determined to follow him and either recapture or kill his daughter.

Upon the return of Elizabeth to her home, the customs she met there were new and strange to her. On one occasion when her mother asked her to “soak the bread” and afterwards asked her how it was getting on, she replied, “very well” that she had taken two loaves and “thrown them in the river and put a rock on them”. To this new mode of life she could not easily be [98] reconciled and ever and anon would clamor for the wild life of the wigwam. At one time when she threatened to return to the Indians, her mother told her sister, Jane, to pretend as if she would go with her to see whether or not she would actually make the attempt. She readily accepted Jane’s proposal to accompany her to the Shawnee towns and the two sisters crossed the river in a canoe and proceeded but a short distance, when Jane inquired of her what they would eat on their journey, to which she replied by pulling up some bulb root herbs from the ground and eating them saying they could find plenty of the same kind along the way to keep them from starving. Jane remonstrated with her, saying that she had not been accustomed to eating herbs and would starve and finally succeeded in persuading her to return home. This account was given the writer substantially as stated by David W. Jarrett, who is a son of Elizabeth’s sister, Jane, and he says he has it from the lips of his mother.