Jesse Graham was born circa 1844 somewhere in Alabama.  I have found conflicting information about his parents, so I will not commit to any names yet.

Sarah F. Scott was born on 5 June 1844 somewhere in Alabama.  Jesse and Sarah were wed circa 1864 in Alabama.

While residing in Alabama they had at least two children:  William, born circa 1865, and Eliza Ann, born in 1868.

At some point, the family moved to Texas.  Their son John Henry Graham was born there in 1870.  I haven’t yet found this family in the 1870 census.

By 1879 the family had settled in Bear Creek Township, Searcy County, Arkansas, and their daughter Mary Frances Graham was born.

The facts in the preceding paragraphs were derived from the 1880 United States Federal Census.

In June of 1882, the couple welcomed another daughter, Minnie Graham.

The 1890 census, of course, was lost in a fire in 1921, and therefore no census data is available on this family for that year.


On 22 May 1895, Jesse obtained a plat of land under the Homestead Act of 1862. The plat was “the East half of the South West-quarter, the North West-quarter of the South West-quarter and the South West-quarter of the North West-quarter of Section four in Township thirteen North of Range sixteen West of the Fifth Principal Meridian in Arkansas containing one hundred and sixty acres and sixteen hundredths of an acre.”

Jesse Graham
Grave marker of Jesse Graham, Shady Grove Cemetery, Searcy County, Arkansas.


In early 1900, Jesse Graham died at the approximate age of 55.  He was interred at Shady Grove Cemetery in Searcy County, Arkansas.

The 1900 census recorded the widow Sarah, 55,  living with her 17 years old daughter Minnie.  This census also recorded that Jesse and Sarah had a total of eight children, with four living in 1900.  Drawing upon the two census gives us this list of children, numbered only for convenience and not birth order:

  1. William Graham, born c. 1865
  2. Eliza Ann Graham, born 5 September 1868
  3. John Henry Graham, born 8 May 1870
  4. Mary Frances Graham, born c. June 1879
  5. Minnie Melinda Adeline Graham, born 10 June 1882
  6. Unknown
  7. Unknown
  8. Unknown

Eliza, John, Mary and Minnie have all been confirmed as alive in 1900, so it was William and the three unknown children that had died by 1900.  Their places of burial and the circumstances of their deaths are, at present, unknown to me.  William was recorded on the 1880 census, so his death occurred sometime between 1880 and 1900, a span of twenty years.


Sarah was apparently enumerated twice in the 1910 census (see The Tale of Two Sarahs).  The first time was for Red River Township, enumerated on 2 May 1910.  It recorded Patrick Bohannon as the head of the household, married to Mary F. “Mollie” Graham, and resided with them was Sarah Graham, mother-in-law, age 65, widowed, mother of eight with four living.

1910 Patrick Bohannon Census Detail
1910 Census for Patrick Bohannon, Red River Township, Searcy County, Arkansas, showing Sarah Graham living with the Bohannons.

The second time was for Wiley’s Cove Township, enumerated on 4 May 1910.  It recorded Ezekial H. Melton, 62, as the head of the household, married to Minnie Graham, 28, with a 34 year difference in their ages.  Resided with them was Sarah Graham, mother in law, age 66, widowed, mother of eight with four living.


By the 1920 census Sarah, then 76, had moved to Shady Grove Township to stay with her eldest daughter Eliza Ann, who was the widow of James Newton Siler Watts. Interestingly, Eliza’s age was recorded as 45 – she would’ve actually been 52 in 1920.

Eliza Watts 1920 Census Detail
1920 Census for Eliza Ann (Graham) Watts, Shady Grove Township, Searcy County, Arkansas.
Sarah Scott Graham
Grave marker of Sarah (Scott) Graham at Shady Grove Cemetery, Searcy County, Arkansas.

Sarah F. Graham, née Scott, died in Watts, Red River Township, Searcy County, Arkansas on 14 November 1928 from “old feeble age”.  Her death was reported to the Arkansas State Board of Health by her grandson Lester Bohannon.  Sarah was interred beside her husband Jesse at Shady Grove Cemetery on 18 November 1928.


Jesse’s name was recorded as “Graham, Jesse” on both the 1880 census and on the Graham Family Data Sheet, and as “Jesse Graham” on his land patent.

Sarah’s name was recorded as “Graham, Sarah” on the 1880 census, in both districts from the 1910 census, and in the Arkansas Death Index.  She was “Graham, Sarah F” on both the 1900 and 1920 census.  The Graham Family Data Sheet recorded her maiden name as “Scott, Sarah”.  Her first name was spelled “Sarrah” on her Certificate of Death.

Sarah’s Certificate of Death appeared to record her birth date as 5 June 1838, but then gives her age at death as 84 years, 4 months and 9 days.  That does not add up.  If we calculate her age using the birth year of 1844, as given by the 1880 census, the result is 84 years, 5 months and 9 days, which is just about right.

Sources United States Federal Census for years 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920; Census Places: Red River and Wiley’s Cove, Searcy, Arkansas. Retrieved on 25 December 2011. Arkansas Death Index, 1914-1950. Retrieved on 25 December 2011.

Arkansas State Board of Health. Certificate of Death for “Sarrah Graham”, photocopy provided by Louise Graham Bower.

Grave markers photographed by Ashli B. Graham on 4 June 2011 at Shady Grove Cemetery, Searcy County, Arkansas.

John Henry Graham Family Data Sheet, transcribed by Nellie Collins Allen from the Graham Family Bible, 1973.

General Land Office Records, Bureau of Land Management, United States Department of the Interior. Homestead certificate number 10164, application 13986. Retrieved on 18 January 2012.

4 thoughts on “Jesse & Sarah Graham

  1. There is a Graham cemetery from my families land. It is in very bad condition and there are a multitude of graves. It is in bad shape and logging is currently going on there.


  2. Byron,
    I have just discovered your website and recently started digging into my family history. My father is Alvin Jesse Graham, son of Jesse Cornelius Graham (b. 22 July 1892), son of John Henry Graham (b. 8 May 1870). I am very interested in discovering anything you may have regarding our family history. My grandmother, Callie Dona Watts, married Jesse C. Graham on March 11, 1917.

    Thanks a bunch!!

    Michael A. Graham


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