Tag Archives: #Jacob Graham

Q is for Questions, Questions and More Questions


This is the seventeenth post for the April A-Z Challenge.  Finding a small New Testament, inscribed to Jacob Graham, in my grandfather Mershell C. Graham’s belongings, raised questions that I am still trying to answer. To read what I wrote earlier, follow this link, Jacob Graham. Today I am going to write about Zachries and Abraham Graham. Annie will get her own post soon. There is not much to write about Zachries, because  I can’t find Zachries, Zakries, Zakery or Zak* anywhere, before or after 1900.

Abraham Graham

My grandfather, Mershell Graham.
My grandfather, Mershell Graham.

My first thought after finding Jacob Graham in the 1900 census in the household with Zachries, Annie and Abraham, was that, maybe Abraham was my grandfather being called by another name. I began to track him through the census records.

Abraham Graham was born about 1887 in Elmore County, Alabama, although he always listed place of birth as “Montgomery”.  He completed 8th grade before moving to Nashville, Tennessee, where he worked in various jobs as a laborer.  He was light enough to be mistaken for white, of medium height, slender, with grey eyes and dark brown hair.

My grandfather’s description in his WW1 registration:  white, medium height, slender with grey eyes and dark brown hair.

Perhaps Abraham met his future wife, Pinkie Dorothy Holt while living in Nashville, where she was born and grew up. Or they could have met after both moved to Cleveland, Ohio. At any rate, in 1923, they were married in Cleveland, Ohio. He listed his parents as William Graham and Mary Jackson on the Marriage License.  My grandfather listed William Graham and Mary Jackson on his delayed birth record as his parents.


Abraham continued to work as a laborer. He and his wife rented a house at 2278 E. 87th Street, where they lived for over ten years. They turned it into a boarding house, Dorothy ran it while Abraham worked as a truck driver. The house was full of her family and four or five lodgers.  In 1940 there were 11 people living with them. They didn’t have any children. Follow this link to see them in the 1940 census.

In 1942, Abraham filled out his WW2 draft registration card from the Edwin Shaw Sanatorium. He was already  suffering with the tuberculous that eventually killed him. He was described as 5 ft 11 in, 140 lbs with a sallow complexion, blue eyes and black hair. Race was first listed as “white”, crossed out and a check placed by “Negro”.

My grandfather’s description on his WW2 draft registration card: Race is checked as “white”. He complexion was light, height was 5 ft 9 in., weight 135 lbs with gray eyes and brown hair.

In May of 1943, Abraham’s wife, Pinkie Dorothy died of atypical pneumonia, sometimes called “walking pneumonia”.  Katie Mayhue, one of the lodgers, was the informant on the death certificate.

On October 29, 1948 Abraham Graham died of tuberculous at the Edwin Shaw Sanatorium.  His parents are, again, listed as William Graham and Mary Jackson.

abraham graham death certificate

He was buried in Mt. Peace Cemetery in Akron, Ohio on November 6, 1948.  Was he my grandfather’s brother?  What happened to William and Mary Graham? Where was my grandfather in 1900? What happened to Annie Graham, the other child in the 1900 Census?  Stay tuned.

I used census records, draft registration cards, death certificates and marriage licenses from Ancestry.com, Family Search and my personal collections in writing this piece.

J is for Jacob Graham


This is the tenth post in the April A-Z Challenge.  I am going to write about what I know about Jacob Graham.  I had planned to write about family Jewelry but when I looked at the locket below and saw the initials were J.H.G. I started thinking about Jacob Graham again.  I don’t believe the locket was his because men don’t wear lockets. I wonder who it belonged to and who the two women are.  But, that isn’t today’s question.


Several years after my mother’s death, I found a cigar box full of unidentified things – pocket watches, big buttons, lockets.  The locket in the picture above had the note inside saying “? In locket in Daddy’s things”.  I don’t know who the women are.  The initials on the front seem to be J.H.G.  My grandfather’s name was Mershell C. Graham. In the box was a small New Testament inscribed to Jacob Graham.


The Little New Testament

“Given to Jack Graham 1913.
Jacob Graham was born Aug 18 – 1892. Died June 30 1913.”

“Elias Hopkins
presented to him by his brother + sister in law
James + Elizabeth Canfield
July 4th 1875

When I read these words in the small New Testement, packed away in a small box of my grandfather, Mershall Graham’s things, I wondered who Jacob Graham, Elias Hopkins and  James and Elizabeth Canfield were and how they were related to my grandfather?

My Grandfather – A Mystery

My grandfather is a mystery. From his delayed birth certificate I learned that his parents were Mary Jackson and William Graham and that he was the forth child born about 1888 in Coosada Station, Elmore County, Alabama.  From my mother I heard that he had an older brother named William who went west and that he had a sister named Annie who had several children.

1900 and 1910 Censuses

In 1900, Jacob Graham was ten years old and living with a 60 year old widower named Zacharia, who is identified as his father, and two siblings, Abraham and Annie.   All of the children were attending school.  There is no William and no Mershell in the household. I cannot find my grandfather in 1900.

In 1910, I couldn’t find Zacharia or Jacob. Annie was a widow with three children working as a servant for Oscar and Emma Barron and still in Elmore County. Abraham was living in Nashville, Tennessee.  My grandfather, Mershell, was working on the railroad .

Jacob’s Death Certificate

death Certificate for Jacob Graham

On Jacob’s death certificate, I found that he died in June, 1913 of tuberculosis at the Fresh Air Camp in Montgomery County.  Unfortunately, no parents names were listed. The Fresh Air Camp was founded in 1911 by the Montgomery Anti-tuberculosis League. They held regular 2 week sessions during the summer for  women, children and men to try and build them up so they wouldn’t get TB.  The leading cause of death in Alabama in the late 1800s, early 1900s was tuberculous. There were efforts all over the state to fight the disease.  The Fresh Air Camp was one of them.

Elias Hopkins and James Canfield

Elias Hopkins and James Canfield were both born in Wales. They both lived in Youngstown Ohio when the 1870 census was taken. James Canfield continued to live in Youngstown for the rest of his life. Elias Hopkins went to Australia. His son, Percy Isiah Hopkins was born there. By 1900 the family had returned to the US and was living in Jefferson County, Alabama.  In 1910 both Elias, who was a contractor and Percy, who was a physcian, were living in Dothan, Alabama, about 108 miles from Montgomery.  Dr. Percy Hopkins was associated with Frazier-Ellis Hospital in Dothan, which did care for some TB patients. He often traveled some distance to see patients. Perhaps he spent some time at the Fresh Air Camp, met Jacob Graham and passed the little book on to him.

A Question

A question for another day is – How did my grandfather get the book from Jacob? Were they siblings? Sounds like a question for Q(uestion) or S(ibling) to me.

More of Jacob’s Bible

Inside cover of Jacob's Bible


Elias Hopkins
presented to him by his brother + sisterinlaw
James + Elizabeth Canfield
July 4th 1875
(Initials that I can’t make out. First seems to be Y)

Who are these people and how did they happen to give Jacob Graham the Bible in 1913? It is a small pocket size New Testament. The edges of the pages are golden. It has a flap that used to open and close but it is all starting to fall apart. I don’t want to handle it more then I can help. But here is one last scan.

Inside cover of Mershell Grahams Bible

I have not found out how these people are connected to my grandfather Mershell Graham.

So much for wordless….
After posting this I decided to go look for Jacob Graham at Family Search. I used the pilot program and found a death record for Jacob Graham who died June 30, 1913 at the Salvation Army Fresh Air Camp. I googled the Fresh Air Camp and found several photographs in the Alabama Archives about Fresh Air camps the Salvation army ran in Montgomery for Old men and others for poor women and children. I also found a google book “By Alabama. Dept. of Archives and History”, Thomas McAdory Owen, an entry that mentioned under the section Benevolent Insititutions in Alabama, that the Salvation army had a Fresh Air Camp on the upper Wetumpka Road, founded in 1911 conducted by the Montgomery Anti-Tuberculosis League for tubercular cases.( Alabama official and statistical register.) I’m sending for the death certificate.