Friday, January 1, 2016

Rev. Edward Bright Graham, A Life in Newspapers

© Kathy Duncan, 2016

Rev. Edward Bright Graham, son of Henderson and Esther A. (Jernigan) Graham, was born 11 March 1852 in NC. In 1880 he was living in the home of his elder brother Rufus D. Whitley in Hardeman Co., TN. At that time he may have either been in school or had begun his preaching career. According to the Goodspeed biography of his brother Rufus D. Whitley, he was a Methodist preacher.

Bright Graham of Whiteville, has left to-enter the Biblical Department of the Vanderbilt University.
[Source: The Bolivar Bulletin; Bolivar, Hardeman Co., TN; 9 Sept 1880]

Rev. Mr. Graham organized a prohibition club, yesterday, with the following officers: S.F. Rankin, president, Dr. A.A. Davidson, secretary; A.W. Loving, treasurer.
[Source: The Milan Exchange; Milan, Gibson Co., TN; 21 Apr 1882]

On 30 November 1884, Rev. Edward Bright Graham married Mattie Ann Witt, daughter of Rev. J. H. Witt.
[Source: Nashville Christian Advocate, 24 Sept. 1887]

Mattie Ann Witt was the daughter of John Hutchinson and Harriet (Nichols) Witt. 

One year later in 1885, Mattie and Edward were living in Weakley County, where their first child was born, died, and buried.

The Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Weakley Co., TN contains the grave of an infant child of this marriage. The tombstone reads, “Graham, Infant Babe of Rev. E.B. and Mallie [sic] W. Graham, Born and Died November 28, 1885.”
[Source: Weakley County Cemeteries, vol. 1, by James Buckley Chapter.]

Rev. Mr. Graham, the new pastor, preached to a large congregation at the Methodist church last Sunday. He made a good impression on our people, and we trust he will do a good work among us.
[Source: The Milan Exchange; Milan, Gibson Co., TN; 25 Dec 1886]

On 2 Feb 1887, Mattie gave birth to a son, Edward Witt Graham. The baby's birth was euphemistically announced in newspaper, with the notation that Mattie's mother arrived ten days after the birth to lend the family a hand:

Bro. Graham has a junior preacher at his house. He made his advent last Monday morning. Mrs. Witt of McKenzie, mother of Mrs. Graham, is visiting her.
[Source: The Milan Exchange; Milan, Gibson Co., TN; 12 Feb 1887]

A few short months later the family seems to have been stricken with illness:

The Rev. E.B. Graham has been ill with bilious fever about ten days, and was unable to fill his pulpit last Sunday. We are glad to state that he is improving, and hope that he will be well in a few days.
[The Milan Exchange; Milan, Gibson Co., TN; 25 June 1887]

With a tiny baby and an extremely ill husband, Mattie may have worked herself to exhaustion and fallen ill herself. It seems likely that her sister, Nannie, came to assist to them just a few weeks before Mattie died:

Miss Nannie Witt, of McKenzie is visiting the family of Rev. E.B. Graham
[Source: The Milan Exchange; Milan, Gibson Co., TN; 9 July 1887]

Before the end of the month, Mattie (Witt) Graham died:

Resolution of Respect - Whereas, Almighty God has, in His infinite wisdom, removed from our Missionary Society, Sister Graham, wife of our pastor, E.B. Graham; therefore
Resolved, That we bow in submission to His will, knowing that our loss is her eternal gain. 
Resolved, That we tender our heart felt sympathy to her sorrowing husband and relatives, praying that this sad bereavement may be overruled for their highest good.
Resolved. That we have these resolutions published in the Milan Exchange, and copies of same sent to husband and father.
{Mrs. Peeples
Committee, {Mrs. Stone
{Mrs. Mitchum
{Mrs. Adams
[Source: The Milan Exchange; Milan, Gibson Co., TN; 13 Aug 1887]

Mattie Witt Graham, daughter of J.H. Witt, Memphis Methodist Conference, born Sept. 24, 1866; married Rev. E.B. Graham, Nov 30, 1884; died Milan, [Gibson Co.] Tenn, July 31, 1887; burial in McKenzie, [Carroll Co.] Tenn.
[Source: Nashville Christian Advocate, 24 Sept. 1887]

Rev. E.B. Graham returned this week and will fill his pulpit at the Methodist church to-morrow and tomorrow night.
[Source: The Milan Exchange; Milan, Gibson Co., TN; 10 Sept 1887]

Continued illness forced Rev. E.B. Graham to leave his pulpit in Milan:

Bro. Graham, pastor of the Methodist church, will preach his farewell sermon to-morrow morning and evening, and he wishes every member of the church to be present. On account of the long-protracted illness of himself and the loss of his wife by death during this year, he has been unable to do himself of his work justice. He has really not been able for duty many weeks since he came here; but he has preached faithfully, sometimes when he ought to have been in bed. His pastoral work has had as much attention as he could give it, and he has made many friends here. He is an educated, conscientious, hard working christian minister, and we trust his health will soon permit him to do full work in his calling.
Wherever he may be sent by the conference, the prayers and good wishes of our people will follow him.
[Source: The Milan Exchange: Milan, Gibson Co., TN; 12 Nov 1887]

The obituary of Mattie (Witt) Graham’s father appeared in 1915, naming her as if she was still living:

Rev. John Hutchinson Witt, born near Paris, Tenn., March 11, 1832; died Jan. 1, 1915, the same month and day 113 years after his father, Rev. John Witt, Adair Co., KY, was born; son as well of Charity Dunlap Witt, he married Harriet M. Nickols, May 19, 1857; licensed to preach in Methodist Church, Aug. 7, 1853; labored in Memphis Conference, ordained elder, Oct. 1857; retired in 1903. 

Children, Mrs. Maggie Stewart, Mrs. Mary E. Adams, Mrs. Mattie Graham, Mrs. Lizzie Wilford, Hattie (died young), John K. Witt, Nannie Witt (died young), Mrs. Nettie Chandler. [A tribute of respect for him by A.P. Waterford, Feb. 12, 1915, issue, p. 27 mentions that the writer met Rev. Witt, first at Lebanon camp meeting, Henry Co., TN, in 1855, at which time he was ill with enlarged spleen.]
[Source: Nashville Christian Advocate, 5 Feb. 1915]

Edward B. Graham married a second time to Mollie E. Hannah in 1892 in Gibson Co., TN, but she died within  the year:

Mollie Graham, nee Hannah, wife of Rev. E.B. Graham, died in parsonage, Germantown, [Shelby Co.] TN, Aug. 2, 1893 aged 24 years and 6 months; eight months previously she had married Edward G. [sic] Graham.
[Source: Nashville Christian Advocate, 31 Aug. 1893]

Mollie (Hannah) Graham’s body was returned to Gibson Co., TN for burial. Her tombstone in Rose Hill Cemetery in Humbolt, Gibson Co., TN reads “Mary Eliza Graham 2 Feb 1869 - 2 Aug 1893.”
[Source: webpage]

Rev. Edward B. Graham was back in Hardeman Co., TN by 1898 when he conducted the funeral of W.W.R. Elliotte in Saulsbury, TN on 4 Dec 1898. He is listed as Elliotte’s current pastor. [Source: Elliotte obituary] 

2 June 1900, Dist. 36, Civil Dist. 7, Shelby Co., TN, p. 171A:

3-5 Graham, Edward B. Head M W Mar 1852 48 M-3 NC  NC  NC
---Fannie H. Wife F  W Jan 1866 34 M-3  0 - 0 KY  KY  KY
---Edward W. Son M W Feb 1887 13 S TN  NC  KY
[Edward B. Graham’s occupation is preacher. Edward W. Graham would be the son of Edward B. Graham and first wife, Mattie Witt.]

In 1903, a Rev. E.B. Graham was pastor of the Greenfield Methodist Episcopal Church of Greenfield, Weakley Co., TN. He is credited with increasing membership of the church.

15 Apr 1910, Dist. 118, Civil Dist. 6, Troy, Obion Co., TN:

14-14 Graham, Edward B. Head M W 57 M-2  13 NC   NC   NC
---Fannie, K. Wife F  W 42 M-1  13   2 - 1 KY    KY   KY
---William D. Son M W   4  S TN    NC   KY
[Edward B. Graham’s occupation is minister.]

The Rev E.B. Graham, of the Troy circuit of the Union City district, requested that he be given a year's rest and his name was referred to the committee on conference relations for the supernumerary list.
[Source: The Paducah Evening Sun; Paduch, KY; 21 Nov 1910]

2 & 3 Jan. 1920, Dist. 0049, Milburn, Carlisle Co., KY:

Mayfield Rd.
Graham, Edward B Head M W 68 M b. NC fb. US mb. US
----Fannie H. Wife F W 53 M b. KY fb. KY mb. KY
----William B. son M W 14 S b. TN fb. NC mb. KY
Humphrey, Lydia A. m-i-l F W 84 Wd b. KY fb. VA mb. VA

1930, Dist. 36, McAlester, Pittsburg Co., OK

Graham, E. B. Boarder M W 78 Wd 32 b. NC fb. NC mb. NC
---William B. Boarder M W 24 S b. TN fb. NC mb. KY Teacher
[boarding with Widow Estelle Dorr]

Rev. E. B. Graham's death certificate states that he died 3 Jan 1931 in Milburn, Carlisle Co., KY and that he was a minister born in NC. The informant was E.W. Graham of Madison, TN.

He was buried next to his wife Fannie (Humphrey) Graham in the Milburn Cemetery in Milburn, Carlisle County, Kentucky. 

Edward Witt Graham's delayed birth certificate filed on 14 Nov 1947 in Tennessee states that his father was Edward Bright Graham b. NC and his mother was Mattie Ann Witt b. Calloway Co., KY. Edward Witt Graham's birth date is given as 7 Feb 1887 in Milan, Gibson Co., TN. His documentation included a copy of his application for a social security number, original family bible, affidavit of an aunt, and an affidavit of a non-relative. Nettie Witt Chandler stated that she was the aunt of Edward Witt Graham and that she was 75 years old and a resident of McKenzie, TN. Hubbard K. Gardner, aged 75, stated that he had known Edward Witt Graham from birth. At the time of the filing, Edward Witt Graham was a resident of Madison, TN.

According to the social security death index, Edward Graham, b. 7 Feb 1887, a resident of Nashville, Davidson Co., TN died in June 1975. 

William B. Graham's delayed birth certificate filed on 29 May 1945 in Tennessee states that his father was Edward Bright Graham b. NC and his mother was Fannie Humphrey b. KY. William B. Graham's birth date is recorded as 8 Nov 1905 in Camden, Benton Co., TN. His documentation included a copy of the 1910 census, a letter of employment from the Spokane Public Schools, an affidavit from his elder brother Edward W. Graham, and an affidavit of a non-relative Ira L. Presson who stated that "Rev. Edward B. Graham was Pastor of Camden Station, Methodist Church in 1905, and he had a son born, named Wm. B. Graham in November 1905; I was a member of the official Board of the church at the time, and intimate with the family." William B. Graham was a resident of Spokane, WA at the time of the filing.

According to the Oregon death index, William B. Graham, born 8 Nov 1905, died 14 Jun 1986 in Clackamas. His spouse was named Martha. 

William B. Graham, 24, resident of Arlington, Carlisle Co., KY married Ovella Beggs. 26, resident of Tarkio, Atchison Co., MO on 1 Feb 1930 in Franklin Co., Arkansas.

1940, Spokane Co., WA:

Graham, William 35 b. TN
----Ovella 36
----Bill 9
----Jane 7

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