Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GRAHAM, George, soldier, born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1758" died near Charlotte, North Carolina. 29 March, 1826. His mother was left a widow with six children, and but slender means. The son emigrated to North Carolina, and was educated at the Queen's museum, Charlotte. When only seventeen, with a few others, he rode all night to reach Salisbury, and there seized two Tory lawyers, Dunn and Boothe by name, and carried them to Camden, South Carolina, where they were imprisoned, but subsequently sent for safe-keeping to Charleston as " persons inimical to the country." He served throughout the Revolutionary war, and on 3 October, 1780, was one of twelve who attacked and drove back a superior British force seven miles to the south of Charlotte. He was also active, when the enemy was encamped near his residence, in attacking their foraging parties. After the declaration of peace he served several terms in the legislature, was for a long time clerk of the court of Mecklenburg county, became major general of militia, and filled other responsible offices.--His brother, Joseph, soldier, born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, 13 October, 1759; died in Lincoln County, North Carolina, 12 November, 1836. At the age of seven he accompanied his widowed mother to North Carolina. He was educated at Queen's museum in Charlotte, and at the age of nineteen enlisted in the 4th regiment of North Carolina regular troops, under Colonel Archibald Lytle. He was called into active service in the autumn of 1778, and accompanied General Rutherford to the banks of the Savannah soon after the defeat of General Ashe at Brier Creek. He was with General Lincoln while the latter was manoeuvring against Prevost, and was in the severe battle at Stono in June, 1779. He was afterward prostrated by a fever, and returned home, but rejoined the army after the fall of Charleston. He was appointed adjutant of the Mecklenburg regiment, and saw considerable service, meeting the enemy while covering the retreat of Major William R. Davie, near Charlotte, in the autumn of 1780. In the latter encounter he was cut down by a British dragoon, and received six sabre thrusts and three bullet-wounds. After recovering from these, he raised a company of mounted riflemen, and with fifty men disputed the passage of the British army at Cowan's ford. Subsequently, with the assistance of some troops from Rowan, he surprised and captured a British guard at Hart's mill, only a short distance from headquarters at Hillsborough, and the next day was with General Henry Lee when Pyles was defeated. The following September he was appointed major of a legion of cavalry he had been ordered to raise, and went toward Wilmington to rescue Governor Burke, who had been abducted from Hillsborough by Fanning, a noted loyalist. South of Fayetteville he met a band of Tories, and after a severe skirmish, defeated them, although his force numbered only 136 against the enemy's 600. After he had engaged in two or three other bold enterprises, the surrender of Cornwallis put an end to hostilities in the south. He married in 1787, and in 1792 erected iron-works and settled in Lincoln County. He had previously resided in Mecklenburg County, which he frequently represented in the state senate. In 1814, 1,000 men were raised in North Carolina to aid the Tennessee and Georgia volunteers against the Creek Indians. Graham was given the command and commissioned major general. He arrived with his corps just after the Creeks had submitted to General Jackson, General Coffee, and General Carroll, after the battle at the Horse Shoe. For many years afterward he was the senior officer of the 5th division of the state militia.--His son, James, lawyer, born in Lincoln County, North Carolina, in January, 1793 ; died in Rutherford County, North Carolina, in September, 1851, was graduated at the University of North Carolina in 1814, studied law, was admitted to the bar, and practiced successfully in his native County for many years. Removing to Rutherford County, he served several terms in the legislature in 1822-'9, and was elected to congress as a Whig, serving from 2 December 1833, till 3 March, 1843, excepting from 25 March, 1836, to 5 December 1836, when a Democratic house declared his seat vacant, although it was not given to his competitor. Mr. Graham was again chosen at a new election. He was also elected to the 29th congress, serving from 1 December 1845, till 3 March, 1847, when he retired and devoted the remainder of his life to farming.--Another son, William Alexander, senator, in Lincoln County, North Carolina, 5 September, 1804; died in Saratoga Springs, New York, 11 August, 1875, was graduated at the University of North Carolina in 1824, admitted to the bar at Newbern, North Carolina, and began to practise law in Hills-borough. He was several times elected to the state legislature between 1833 and 1840, and was more than once chosen speaker. In 1840 he was elected to the United States senate to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Robert Strange, serving from 10 December 1840, to 3 March, 1843. In 1844 he was elected governor by the Whigs on a larger vote than was ever before polled. He was re-elected in majority, but declined a third term, and retired to private life. He was offered the Spanish mission by President Taylor in 1849, but declined it, and in 1850 became secretary of the navy in Fillmore's cabinet, but resigned in 1852 in consequence of having been nominated by the Whigs for vice-president on the ticket with General Scott. During his term of office as secretary he projected and carried out the important expedition to Japan under Commander Perry. Governor Graham served as senator in the 2d Confederate congress from 22 February, 1864, until the end of the war. He was also a delegate to the Union convention at Philadelphia, in 1866, which was called to sustain the policy of Andrew Johnson. At the time of his death he was acting as one of a commission that had been appointed to settle the boundary dispute between the states of Maryland and Virginia.
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