I recently returned from a sojourn to Marshall, Arkansas where I attended the North Arkansas Ancestor Fair and the Graham Family reunion for the descendants of Jesse and Sarah Graham. I met a lot of friendly folks and gathered a lot of material for this journal, but at the same time I know there’s more to be had, so I want to go back next year!
The ancestors about which I fielded the most questions was William Graham, both of them. One of them is buried at Shady Grove Cemetery in Arkansas. The questions I got were all the same: Which one is buried there?
The First William
The first William Graham was the son of Jesse and Sarah Graham, and was born sometime around 1865 somewhere in Alabama. In 1880, he was living in Bear Creek Township with his parents, sisters Eliza and Mary, and brother John.
And that’s really all that I know about him. I haven’t found him on any other census, nor do I know what happened to him after 1880.
The Second William
The second William was William Thomas Graham, the second son of John Henry Graham and thus the nephew of the first William. As I previously chronicled, this William served during the First World War and was honorably discharged.
Here is a photograph of the grave maker at Shady Grove Cemetery, as taken by my wife:
As you can see, this William Graham was a Private in the 348th Infantry, 87th Division, and died on 12 September 1920.
The 348th Infantry was a World War I unit that was constituted 5 August 1917 and then organized in September of that year at Camp Pike, Arkansas. It was demobilized in March 1919 at Camp Dix, New Jersey.
We already know that the second William served in the Army during World War I, but did the first?
The Selective Service Act of 1917 authorized the federal government to raise a National Army through draft to fight the war in Europe. There were three draft registrations for World War I:
- The first, 5 June 1917, was for all men between the ages of 21 and 31. This is the draft for which William Thomas Graham and his two brothers Jessie Cornelius Graham and John Jasper Graham registered.
- The second, 5 June 1918, registered those who attained age 21 after 5 June 1917.
- The third registration was held on 12 September 1918 for men age 18 through 45.
The first William would’ve been 52 in 1917, making him ineligible to register for military service in World War I. Furthermore, the 1900 census sheet for William’s mother Sarah suggests that William had died some time before 1900 (see Jesse & Sarah Graham). Thus, the man buried in Shady Grove Cemetery must be William Thomas Graham, the second son of John Henry Graham.
Ancestry.com: United States Federal Census for 1880 and 1900; World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917 – 1918.
US Army Center of Military History: 348th Regiment Lineage and Honors
Find A Grave: Memorial for William Graham.
Wikipedia: Selective Service Act of 1917.
Photograph of the grave marker of William Graham, taken at Shady Grove Cemetery, Searcy County, Arkansas on Saturday, 4 June 2011, by Ashli Graham.