Grahams - Civil War Era

Underlined names are linked to Family Tree

Samuel Cecil Graham (b. 1774) had 8 daughters and 6 sons. Three of those sons were Samuel Livingston Graham (b. 1816), William Leander Graham (b. 1820), and Robert Craig Graham (b. 1814).

Among Samuel Livingston Graham’s children was a son, William Robert Graham (b. 1856), father of Charles Graham and grandfather of Bonnie Graham Updegrove. Samuel L. Graham is mentioned in the History of Tazewell excerpt found at the bottom of this page.

Samuel Livingston Graham


Father of W.R. Graham, Grandfather of Charles Graham, Great-Grandfather of Bonnie

Judge Samuel Livingston Graham was a clerk of the courts in Tazewell County, a member of the Virginia Secession Convention of 1861, captain of a reserve company from Tazewell County, judge of the county court for Buchanon and Wise counties, U.S. Marshall for the Western District of Virginia during Grover Cleveland’s first administration.

William Robert (W.R.) Graham

5/3/1856 - 1/28/1916

Son of Samuel Livingston Graham, Father of Charles Graham, Grandfather of Bonnie Graham Updegrove

Moved family to Hamilton, VA (Gable Farm Rd) from Tazewell, VA in 1904

William Robert (W.R.) Graham

5/3/1856 - 1/28/1916

Son of Samuel Livingston Graham, Father of Charles Graham, Grandfather of Bonnie Graham Updegrove

Moved family to Hamilton, VA (Gable Farm Rd) from Tazewell, VA in 1904

William Leander Graham

Colonel in the Civil War

William Leander Graham

10/8/1820 - 4/18/1907

Colonel William L. Graham was born near Chatham Hill, Smyth County in October 1820 and died in April 1908. He was a grandson of Col. John Montgomery, a noted Indian fighter who served with George Rogers Clark in the Illinois campaign. Pendleton says that Col. Graham “was one the most fearless soldiers and commanders that Tazewell County gave to the Confederate army.” This charcoal drawing was probably made in Richmond about 1919.

16th Virginia Cavalry Regiment

Company I was formerly Graham's Company in Caldwell's Battalion. The company was originally known as Captain William Perry's Company in Caldwell's Battalion. William Perry organized the company in 1861. From October 1863 to March 1864 the company was stationed near Jeffersonville. From August to October 1864 Company I was stationed near Standardsville in Greene County. The records indicate, "2nd Lt. Sam W. Thompson was killed near Frederick County, Maryland 7th July 1864 while discharging his duty. Corp. Jon. Baugh was killed in action at Monocacy Junction 9 July 1864." Most of the men in this company were from Tazewell County. William (Leander) Graham was promoted from Captain to Lt. Colonel and William E. Perry was promoted from 1st Lt. to Captain. 

Among Robert Craig Graham’s children was a son, Samuel Cecil Graham (b. 1846), conceived with Elizabeth Peery Witten. Samuel Cecil (S.C.) Graham would go on to be a Sgt. in the Civil War and a judge in southern Virginia. Robert Craig Graham’s wife Elizabeth was most likely related to the Peerys mentioned in the History of Tazewell excerpt (below).

Judge Samuel Cecil Graham (3rd from left). Circa 1913

Samuel Cecil Graham (January 1, 1846 – January 11, 1923) was a Virginia lawyer and judge, who served as president of the Virginia Bar Association.

Graham became a soldier in the Confederate Army at age 17. He was wounded in action three times during the War. He attended Emory and Henry College for two years, beginning in 1867, then read law at Jeffersonville, which was then the county seat of Tazewell County, Virginia. He was admitted to the bar in 1870, and elected county judge in 1873, serving until 1880. He practiced for the rest of his career in Tazewell County. Graham was the charter president of the Clinch Valley bank at its founding in 1889. In 2005, the successors of the bank chartered in 1889 were owned by National Bankshares, Inc.

Graham was president of the Virginia State Bar Association for 1902-1903. Graham spent a month each winter in Florida. His old home on the Intracoastal Waterway is now a bed and breakfast, called Indian River House.

                                                                        (from Wikipedia)

 Samuel Cecil Graham, born at "Bluestone," Tazewell county, Virginia, at the home of his maternal grandfather, William Witten, January 1, 1846, son of Robert Craig Graham, merchant and farmer, and Elizabeth Perry Witten, his wife.

Samuel Cecil Graham is of Scotch descent in the paternal line; his grandfather, Maj. Samuel Graham, was born while his parents were on their way to this country. Maj. Samuel Graham was a volunteer captain during the war of 1812, at which time he was in his early forties, and during his service at Norfolk, Virginia, he was appointed to the rank of major. He had been a member of the Virginia legislature from Wythe county, 1806 and 1808, and died in Smyth county, Virginia. He married Rachel, daughter of John Montgomery, and his wife, Nancy Agnes Montgomery.

Thomas Witten, great-great-grandfather of Samuel Cecil Graham in the maternal line, came to Virginia in 1771 from the Maryland colony. With him came Samuel W. Cecil. Each of these men had ten children, five of each family intermarrying, and among these was Thomas Witten, great-grandfather of Samuel Cecil Graham, and father of the William Witten mentioned above.

Samuel Cecil Graham attended the log cabin schools of the mountains, and at the age of seventeen years he became a private in Company I, Sixteenth Volunteers Cavalry, at that time under the command of his uncle, Lieut.-Col. William I. Graham. He was wounded at "Hanging Rock," June, 1864, near Salem, Virginia; at Monocacy Junction, in July, 1864; and at Moorfield, in Hardy County, West Virginia, in August, 8164, this last injury being a most serious one.

At the close of the war he returned to his home, and after preparing for college at the local schools, he entered Emory and Henry College in the fall of 1867, and after two years' attendance read law in the office of Col. Andrew J. May, at Jeffersonville, then the county seat of Tazewell County. He was admitted to the bar in October, 1870, and in the following January established himself in practice at Tazewell. Three years later he was elected judge of the Tazewell county court, filling this office until 1880. He formed a law partnership with Maj. Robert R. Henry in July, 1881, the style of the firm being Henry & Graham, and this is still in existence.

Since 1889 he has been a member of the Virginia State Bar Association; was vice-president in 1902, the following year delivering the president's address, entitled "Some Philosophy of the Law and Lawyers," which was published in Volume 16, Reports of the Virginia State Bar Association. "A Criticism of the Profession Reviewed," was the title of a paper read before the same association in 1892, and this was published in Volume 5 of its reports.

Judge Graham married (first) October 16, 1872, Anna Elizabeth Spotts, who died September 6, 1895, daughter of Washington Spotts, and his wife, Jane (Kelly) Spotts; he married (second) June 2, 1898, Minnie Cox, of Richmond, Virginia, daughter of Capt. Henry Cox and his wife, Martha.

Samuel Cecil Graham, writing about Virginia mountaineers:

Samuel Cecil Graham, a lawyer of Tazewell, Va., writes that the three million people of the Southern mountain districts should not be blamed for the murder of the Hillsville court officials by "a half-dozen savages." We quote this paragraph from his letter: "Take your map, if you please, and for a few moments study it. Adjoining Carroll is the country of Patrick, where the cavalier Gen. J. E. B. Stuart was born; adjoining it also is the county of Floyd, where Admiral Robley D. Evans was born; hard by is the county of Franklin, where Gen. Jubal A. Early was born. Maybe you will say that it was the savage in them that made them great chieftains by land and sea. Was it the storms of the mountains and the floods that called them to the shock of battle and the roar of the ocean? Over yonder among the mountains of Harrison County, now West Virginia, taken from Virginia by a revolutionary rape, Stonewall Jackson was born. True he prayed, but maybe you would call him the greatest savage war-god since Napoleon. These are but a few brilliant examples of the product of the Virginia mountains. The plain people—the bone and sinew of our country—are intelligent, energetic, educated, brave, and, in many instances, wealthy."

Taken from “The Literary Digest” Volume 44 1912

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Tazewell's isolated location was a great protection against devastations by Federal armies while the war was going on. There were no permanent or even temporary occupations of any section of the county by the enemy; but there were four invasions by raiding parties, three of which were made by large forces. All of the raiders came by the same routes the Indians travelled when they made their murderous forays to the Upper Clinch settlements. Three of them came up the Tug Fork, and one the Louisa Fork of Big Sandy River. 

Toland’s Raid

In July, 1863, Brevet Brigadier General John Toland, in command of about one thousand Federal cavalry, suddenly invaded Tazewell County. He came up Tug River and entered Abb's Valley on the afternoon of July 15th, crossed Stony Ridge and camped that night on Mrs. Susan Hawthorne's place about midway between the present residence of Mrs. Henry S. Bowen and the old Charles Taylor place, which is about half a mile west of Mrs. Bowen's house. At daybreak on the morning of the 16th, Toland resumed his march. Some of his men burned Lain's mill, which stood on the site now occupied by Witten's mill. For some reason the Federals applied the torch to and totally destroyed Kiah Harman's dwelling, which stood about one-fourth of a mile north of the Round House. 

General Toland camped about three hundred yards west of the beautiful home of Mrs. Henry S. Bowen, shown above, and situated seven miles northeast of the court house. This is one of the most attractive of the many lovely homes in Tazewell County. 

Just after sunrise the head of the column arrived at Captain Wm. E, Peery's, one and a half miles east of the court house. Thomas Ritchie Peery, brother of Captain Peery, Samuel L. Graham, John Hambrick, and the author, the latter then sixteen years old, were sitting in Mrs. Peery's room, waiting to get their breakfast, which was being hastily prepared. We had left our guns on the porch at the back of the room in which we were sitting. The floor of the porch was, as it now is, on a level with the ground, and paved with brick. Suddenly two Yankee cavalry men rode on to the porch and picked up our guns; and the house was then completely surrounded by troopers. 

Mr. Graham and Mr. Hambrick slipped out into the hall and went into the “L” part of the house, which Mr. Hambrick, as manager of the Peery farm, was then occupying with his family. By a clever ruse, Graham and Hambrick avoided being made prisoners. Mr. Hambrick went quickly to bed, pretending to be sick, and Mr. Graham assumed the role of his physician. When a couple of troopers entered the room Mr. Graham was feeling Hambrick's pulse, and told the intruders he was a very sick man, urging them to retire as a shock might kill the patient. The trick was successful, as the kind-hearted soldiers promptly left the room. 

In the meantime Tom Ritchie Peery, who was then nineteen years old, and the writer, who was sixteen, had been ordered to join a bunch of prisoners that were out in the barn lot. There were some fifteen or twenty youths and old men, who had been captured along the line of march from the head of the Clinch. 

General Toland was moving his force very rapidly so as to reach Wytheville as quickly as possible; and his men did not have much opportunity to plunder houses on the line of march. They took eight or ten horses from the Peery farm, among them two fine dapple iron-gray mares that belonged to Mr. Hambrick. Only two horses were left on the place. One of these was "Bill", 'Squire Tommie Peery's old riding horse, over twenty years old; and the other a beautiful young sorrel horse my grandfather Cecil had given me. The Yankees couldn't catch old Bill and my horse. These two horses jumped fences and ran into the brush at the west end of Buckhorn Mountain. 

There were several boxes of old Kentucky rifles in the granary, that had been left there by General Marshall's men in 1862. The guns were brought from the granary, broken up and piled with pieces of wood, and burned. Some of the guns were still loaded, and as the barrels became heated the sharp cracks of the rifles made the Yankees scatter. During this time of confusion, the writer quietly walked away from the guards and slipped back into the house, seated himself, and remained there until all the troops had passed up the road on their march to Wytheville. The other prisoners were taken as far as Burke's Garden and were there paroled. While passing through the Garden, a storehouse that belonged to D. Harold Peery was set on fire by the raiders and destroyed. It was where the late Henry Groseclose had his store. About 10 o'clock the morning of the 16th, some four hours after Toland's men passed, Colonel A. J. May, who was camping with a small force of Confederates on Colonel Henry Bowen's place in the Cove, passed Captain's Peery's with about fifty mounted men in pursuit of Toland. Colonel May was riding rajDidly at the head of the column, and was carrying a pennant or small flag.