Tag Archives: Dempsey Graham

A Gathering of Grahams

Forty-five years ago today, this brief article appeared in The Daily Standard of Sikeston, Missouri recounting a gathering of Grahams. I’m not sure of the occasion – no obvious anniversaries or birthdays were on 19 October 1970, the date of the visit. Maybe they just missed each other’s company.

Visits Uncle

Monday evening Mr. and Mrs. Albert Graham[1] and family of Harvey, Ill.[2], visited his Uncle Jasper Graham. Others visiting Mr. and Mrs. Jasper Graham[3] were Mr. and Mrs. Blane Rains[4], of Oran, Denver Graham[5] of Sikeston, Mr. and Mrs. Dempsey Graham[6] and family of Oran.


1. Albert John Graham, son of Jessie Cornelius Graham and Callie Watts, and his wife Mary Ellen Treat, daughter of James Carter Treat and Mary Margaret Watts.

2. I didn’t know that Albert and family lived in Harvey for a time! Now I’ll have to visit the library again to page through the old phone books.

3. John Jasper Graham, Jessie’s brother, and Silas Danner Copeland.

4. Blain Rains and his wife Junia Barnes, daughter of Harmon Barnes and Alcidine Watts.

5. Denver Etridge Graham, son of Jasper and Danner.

6. Dempsey Graham, son of Jasper and Danner, and his wife Lillian Harris.


The Daily Standard (Sikeston, Missouri), “Visits Uncle”, published on Thursday, 22 October 1970. Retrieved from newspapers.com on Tuesday, 20 October 2015.

The Death of Noah B. Hayes

Tuesday, 4 February 1941, Noah B. Hayes was killed in a tragic accident on Highway 60 near Morehouse, Missouri. The Sikeston Herald, a newspaper in nearby Sikeston, Missouri, recounted the incident two days later, thusly:

Crash Fatal to Gray Ridge Man

Chest Pierced by Timber Loosened from Trailer.

Struck by a flying timber loosened from an automobile trailer in a highway accident early Tuesday night, N. B. Hayes, 50-year-old Gray Ridge farmer, was fatally injured and died at the Sikeston General Hospital two hours later. None of the others involved in the accident were injured, and damage done to the vehicles was negligible.

According to the report made by State Trooper Vincent Boisaubin, Hayes was a passenger in a car driven by E. R. Gardner, 39, and owned by Merl Gardner, 20, who was also a passenger. All three lived about 2½ miles north of Gray Ridge. The car was pulling a small trailer.

Running out of gas while traveling east on Highway 60 three miles west of Morehouse, Gardner stopped his car and Hayes got out with a gallon can of gasoline to re-fill the tank.

As he was standing between the car and the trailer, filling the tank, another east bound vehicle, driven by Dempsey Graham of Matthews, grazed the trailer, tearing off some of the sideboards. One of these boards was flung through the air and pierced the chest of the Gray Ridge farmer, caving in his ribs. Graham, who was 20 years old, was accompanied by Julius Graham, 18, and W. A. Overby, 19, all of Matthews.

The injured farmer was brought to Sikeston in the Safety Car of the State Highway Patrol by State Trooper Cletis Bidewell, former Sikeston school teacher. Though fatally injured, Hayes retained consciousness until several minutes before his death at 9:10 o’clock.

Mr. Hayes was born near Gray Ridge on June 11, 1894. He is survived by his widow and five children: Lorene, Louise, Betty Mae, Rebecca and Joe Hayes, all of Gray Ridge. Three sisters, six brothers and his father, Joseph Hayes of Arkansas, also survive.

Funeral services for Mr. Hayes were held this afternoon at Clinton, Ark., and interment made there.

Death Certificate

Mr. Hayes’ death certificate offers some information not included in the Sikeston Herald article.

His name was recorded as Noah B. Hayes – the newspaper article called him only “N. B. Hayes.”

His wife, mentioned in the article but not named, was Noami Hayes, age 36.

Noah was a veteran of the World War.

Hayes Death Certificate Excerpt

Portion of death certificate describing cause of death.

His exact age: 46 years, 7 months, 23 days. The article rounded his age to 50, even though it mentioned his birth date and his precise age could’ve been calculated. He was born in Billings, Missouri.

Time of death was noted as 9:15 P.M. The article reported time of death as “9:10 o’clock.”

His parents’ names were Joe Hayes and Rebecca Bishop.

His cause of death was given as “massive hemorrhage” and “shock” due to “lacerated-contused wound right anterior duct wall + rib fracture + laceration of lung” due to “automobile accident.”

The attending physician was A.P. Martin, M.D.


Noah B. Hayes was buried on Thursday, 6 February 1941 in Salem Cemetery, Van Buren County, Arkansas.

Graham Connection

Dempsey and Julius Graham, the driver and one passenger of the auto that struck the trailer, were the sons of John Jasper Graham and Danner Copeland.


NewspaperArchive.com. The Sikeston Herald, Thursday, 6 February 1941. Retrieved on 30 September 2013.

Missouri Digital Heritage. Missouri Death Certificates, 1910 – 1962; Name: Noah B. Hayes; Date of Death: February 1941; County: Scott; Certificate Number: 4517. Retrieved on 30 September 2013.

Find A Grave. Noah Hayes, Memorial 102976982. Retrieved on 30 September 2013.

Obituary: Dempsey R. Graham

Originally published at the web site for the Southeast Missourian. Thank you to Pat Graham for alerting me to Dempsey’s passing.

Dempsey Graham

Dempsey GrahamMORLEY, Mo. — Dempsey R. Graham1, 93, of Morley passed away Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at the Lutheran Home in Cape Girardeau.

He was born Feb. 7, 1920, in Watts, Ark., to John Jasper and Silas Mandanna Copeland Graham2. He and Lillian D. Harris were married Feb. 21, 1946.

Dempsey was a retired truck driver for Halter Gas Co. in Oran, Mo. He was a member of the Church of Christ in Morley and a lifetime member of Morley VFW Post 5368.

He was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II.

Survivors include his wife, Lillian of Morley; a son, Wayne Graham of Scott City; a daughter, Barbara (A.C.) Bell of Batesville, Ark.; a brother, J.R. (Corrinne) Graham of Memphis, Mo.; a sister, Delois Goetz of Sikeston, Mo.; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by a brother, Denver Graham; and a sister, Berleane Cody.

Friends may call after 4 p.m. today at Amick-Burnett Funeral Chapel3 in Oran.

The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home, with Bill Bradley officiating. Burial will be in Forest Hills Memorial Gardens near Morley, with full military honors presented by the Missouri Honor Guard.


1. I haven’t yet found a reference for the “R.” Does anybody know his middle name?

2. Two things here: First, this affirms that Danner’s first name was indeed Silas, as reported on the 1920 and 1930 census. Second, “Mandanna” is yet another spelling variation of her middle name. Other variations include Mandanner, Midaner, Daner and Danner.

3. Curiously, the obituary at the Amick-Burnett Funeral Chapel refers to Dempsey as “Dempsey R. Graham, Jr.” He was not a junior (i.e., named for his father). Otherwise, the text is identical to the Missourian’s obit.


Southeast Missourian, “Dempsey Graham,” published online Friday, 24 May 2013. Retrieved on Monday, 17 June 2013.

Amick-Burnett Funeral Chapel, “In Memory of Dempsey R. Graham Jr.” Retrieved on Monday, 17 June 2013.

Obituary: Silas Danner Copeland

Here is the death notice for Danner Graham, published in The Sikeston Standard-Democrat on Tuesday, 11 June 1996.

Danner Graham

SIKESTON – Danner Graham, 98, died at 6:50 a.m. June 11, 1996, at the Sikeston Convalescent Center.

Arrangements are incomplete at Amick-Burnett Funeral Chapel in Sikeston.

The following day a full obituary was published in the same paper. Notice the subtle differences in the first paragraph between the two. The dateline on the death notice was Sikeston, where Danner’s death actually occurred, while the dateline on the obituary was Morley, where she resided. Also, the death notice reported the time of death, while the obituary did not.

Danner Graham

MORLEY – Danner Graham, 98, died June 11, 1996, at the Sikeston Convalescent Center.

Born Aug. 23, 1897, at Searcy County, Ark., daughter of the late Bud and Callie Cypert Copeland[1], she was a member of Calvary Temple Assembly of God Church in Sikeston and had taught Sunday school for many years at Hope Baptist Church near Oran.

On Jan. 7, 1916[2], she married John Jasper Graham who preceded her in death on Aug. 11, 1979.

Survivors include: three sons, Denver Graham of Sikeston, Dempsey Graham of Oran and Julius Graham of Memphis, Tenn.; two daughters, Berlene Cody of Perry, Ark., and Delois Goetz of Sikeston; and eight grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Preceding her in death were one brother, one sister, three half sisters and two half brothers.

Friends may call after 5 p.m. today at Amick-Burnett Funeral Chapel in Sikeston, where services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday.

Burial will follow in the Old Morley Cemetery near Morley.


[1] Her parents’ full names were Silas Richard Copeland and California E. Cypert. This is the only instance where I’ve seen S. R. Copeland referred to as “Bud.”

[2] Year of marriage is incorrect. Danner and John were married in 1917, not 1916. This same error occurred in John’s obituary.


The Sikeston Standard-Democrat, “Danner Graham,” page 5, published on Tuesday, 11 June 1996. Retrieved from microfilm at the Sikeston Public Library on Monday, 8 October 2012.

The Sikeston Standard-Democrat, “Danner Graham,” page 5, published on Wednesday, 12 June 1996. Retrieved from microfilm at the Sikeston Public Library on Monday, 8 October 2012.

Obituary: John Jasper Graham

Originally published in The Daily Standard of Sikeston, Missouri on Monday, 13 August 1979.

John Graham

MORLEY – John Jasper Graham, 83, a retired farmer, died at 9:40 p.m. Saturday[1] at Southeast Missouri Hospital at Cape Girardeau, where he had been a patient since Aug. 2.

He was born Jan. 19, 1896 in Watts, Ark., to the late John Henry and Mary Beohannon[2] Graham. Three brothers and one sister preceded him in death[3].

On Jan. 7, 1916[4] he married Silas M. Copeland[5] of Marshall, who survives.

Other survivors include: three sons, Denver E. Graham of Canalou, Dempsey R. Graham of Oran and Julius R. Graham of Memphis, Tenn.; two daughters, Mrs. Berlene Cody of Perry, Ark. and Mrs. Delois Goetz of Sikeston; one brother, Daniel P. Graham of Marshall, Ark.; one sister, Mrs. Emma Mainard of Purcell, Okla.; eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Friends may call at the Amick-Burnett Funeral Chapel of Oran. Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the First Baptist Church in Morley with the Rev. Delbert Bishop, pastor officiating, assisted by the Rev. Willis E. Osbon of the Morley Church of God.

Burial will follow at the old Morley Cemetery.


[1] Saturday was 11 August 1979. The Social Security Death Index did not list John’s day of death, only the month and year, so here we obtain it by calculating backwards from the newspaper’s date of publication.

[2] Yet another spelling variation of this surname. Mary’s own obituary spelled it “Bohannon”.

[3] This sentence is incorrect. Preceding John in death were his brothers Jessie and William, and his sisters Evisa, Mary, Sarah, Stella, and Nona. “Two brothers and five sisters preceded him in death,” would be exactly right.

JJGrahamMarriageDetail[4] The marriage date given here is wrong. John and Danner were actually married on 7 January 1917. A digital image of their actual marriage form can be viewed at right.

[5] This middle initial of “M” is curious. We already knew that Danner’s first name was Silas, after her father, from its inclusion on the census forms of 1920 and 1930. All other available records report her name as Danner. I’ve seen several family trees report her middle name as “Midaner” with no sources cited. Danner could be derived from Midaner.


The Daily Standard [Sikeston, MO], “John Graham,” page 8, published on Monday, 13 August 1979. Retrieved from microfilm at the Sikeston Public Library on Monday, 8 October 2012.

Grahams Mark 60 Years of Marriage

Originally published in the Sikeston Standard Democrat on 9 April 2006:

Grahams mark 60 years of marriage

MORLEY — Mr. and Mrs. Dempsey Graham[1] were guests of honor during a 60th wedding anniversary open-house celebration March 5 at Morley Church of Christ. Hosts were their children and grandchildren.

Graham and the former Lillian Delene Harris were married Feb. 21, 1946. They have two children, Wayne Graham of Benton and Barbara Bell of Batesville, Ark.; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.


[1] Dempsey Graham is the son of John Jasper and Danner Copeland Graham.


Sikeston Standard Democrat, “Grahams Mark 60 Years of Marriage,” published Sunday, 9 April 2006. Retrieved 11 August 2012.

Obituary: Callie (Watts) Graham

Originally published in The Marshall Republican on Thursday, 2 October 1958.

Callie Graham, Wife of Jesse Graham, Died

Mrs. Callie Graham, aged 64, wife of Jesse Graham, died Saturday.  The family had resided in the Rambo and Watts communities for a number of years.

Mrs. Graham was born October 18, 1893.  She professed faith in Christ early in life and lived a devoted Christian life until her death.  She was a member of the Free Will Baptist Church, having affiliated with that church when she was 16 years of age.

She is survived by her husband and four children, Mrs. Ruby Scott and Albert Graham, both of Leslie, and Alvin and Alpha Graham of Marysville, Calif., and 12 grandchildren.  Brothers and sisters surviving include Ollie Watts of Canalou, Mo., Mrs. Rose Savage of Russellville, Ark, Mrs. Leona Bohannon of Canalou, Mo, Mark Watts of Leslie, MiKinley Watts of Holdenville, Okla., Mary Watts of Benton, Ark., and a number of other relatives and friends.

Funeral services were held Sunday, conducted by Rev. Paul Jones of Marshall, assisted by Eld. Fate Mize and Eld. Ralph Rains.  Burial was in the Mainord Cemetery near Watts with Coffman Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

Pallbearers included Dempsey Graham, DJ Lathum, Jerry Watts, Kennith Martin, Dalph Martin, and Dan Barnes, all nephews of the deceased.

Flower girls were Rebecca Griffith, Betty Griffith, Kathaleen Griffith, Helen Walker, Patsy Treat, Kay Treat, Louise Graham, Sue Walker and Eualene Rhymes.

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