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|Size||12.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 14,000 items)|
|Abstract||William Alexander Graham of Hillsborough, N.C., was a lawyer, legislator, United States senator, Secretary of the Navy, Whig vice-presidential candidate in 1852, Confederate senator, trustee of the Peabody Fund, and member of the board of arbitration for the Maryland and Virginia boundary dispute. The collection includes William A. Graham's correspondence with prominent persons about state and national politics. Correspondents include George E. Badger, Thomas Bragg, T. W. Brevard, James Buchanan, Duncan Cameron, Paul C. Cameron, Henry Clay, Dorothea L. Dix, Stephen A. Douglas, James Fenimore Cooper, William Gaston, James Graham, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick, W. W. Holden, Sam Houston, William Preston Mangum, Charles Manly, Matthias E. Manly, Elisha Mitchell, B. F. Moore, James T. Morehead, J. Johnston Pettigrew, J. L. Pettigru, Leonidas Polk, Thomas Ruffin, James A. Seddon, Cornelia Phillips Spencer, David L. Swain, William Tryon, Martin Van Buren, Zebulon B. Vance, Hugh Waddell, Daniel Webster, and Jonathan Worth. Also included is material relating to legal business; the Graham family;iron foundry; plantations, slavery, and overseers in North Carolina and South Carolina; affairs at the University of North Carolina, the Revolutionary War history of North Carolina, and letters from sons serving as soldiers in the Confederate army. Later papers are of other Graham family members, especially Augustus Washington Graham, lawyer of Hillsborough, N.C., and Oxford, N.C. Volumes are personal accounts, school notebooks, and legal notes. Also included are typed carbon copies of letters, 1823-1877, to and from William A. Graham in this collection and in collections at other repositories that were compiled for an editing project in the 1960s.|
|Creator||Graham, William A. (William Alexander), 1804-1875.|
|Curatorial Unit||Southern Historical Collection|
Processed by: Ellen R. Strong, February 1964
Encoded by: Bari Helms, February 2005
Updated by: Nancy Kaiser, October 2020
This finding aid is based on the 1964 finding aid written at the time of processing.Back to Top
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.
William Alexander Graham, born 5 September 1804 on Vesuvius Plantation, the family home in eastern Lincoln County, was the eleventh child and youngest son of Joseph and Isabella Davidson Graham. An iron entrepreneur and public servant, Joseph Graham (1759-1836) achieved local fame as a young but dedicated Revolutionary officer. Isabella Davidson Graham (1762-1808) was the accomplished daughter of John Davidson of Mecklenburg County. Also a Revolutionary patriot, John Davidson was a substantial farmer and blacksmith, who with his sons-in-law Alexander Brevard and Joseph Graham, pioneered the Catawba River valley iron industry.
William A. Graham enjoyed a rural childhood and was educated in classical schools in nearby Lincolnton and Statesville before completing his preparatory education in the Hillsborough Academy. Graham began attending the University of North Carolina in January 1821 and was an active member of the Dialectic Society. Graham shared first honors when he graduated with the class of 1824.
After graduation, Graham studied law with Thomas Ruffin of Orange County, who later became chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. By March 1828, Graham had established himself in the legal community of Hillsborough, N.C. Graham went on to become a successful lawyer and owner of three plantations.
On 8 June 1836, Graham married Susannah Sarah Washington (1816-1890), daughter of John and Elizabeth Heritage Cobb Washington of New Bern. During their long marriage, the Grahams had ten children, eight of whom survived both parents. Their children were Joseph (1837-1907), John Washington (1838-1928), William Alexander (1839-1924), James Augustus (1841-1909), Robert Davidson (1843-1904), George Washington (1847-1923), Augustus Washington (1849-1936), Susan Washington (1851-1909), Alfred Octavius (1853-1854), and Eugene Berrien (1858-1863). Four sons were attorneys, two were physicians, and one, William Alexander Jr., was a planter and North Carolina commissioner of agriculture. Susan Washington Graham married Judge Walter Clark.
In the early 1830s, Graham joined with other opponents of Andrew Jackson to form the Whig party. Graham represented Orange County as a member of the House of Commons in 1836, 1838, and 1840. From December 1840 to March 1843, he represented North Carolina in the United States Senate. In 1844, Graham ran successfully for governor, defeating Michael Hoke, a formidable Democrat. Graham was reelected for a second term and was governor from January 1845 to January 1849. Much of his time in office was absorbed by the Mexican War, of which he disapproved although he raised and officered a North Carolina regiment, and on railroad development.
Graham continued to keep his hand in politics, serving briefly as Secretary of the Navy (1850-1853), but he devoted most of his time to his family. In the days leading up to the Civil War, Graham argued against secession. Only after the firing on Fort Sumter did he accept the inevitable. Along with Thomas Ruffin, Graham helped to negotiate the terms by which North Carolina entered the Confederate States of America. Five of his sons were Confederate officers. In 1864, Graham became a Confederate senator and an open opponent of the Davis government. As the war came to a close, Graham, along with David L. Swain, was authorized by Zebulon Vance to surrender Raleigh to William T. Sherman.
Because of his support to the Confederacy, Graham was forced to apply for pardon, which was delayed by W. W. Holden. Nevertheless, Graham was elected to the state senate in November 1865, but he declined to be seated before his pardon was granted. In early December he was elected to the United States Senate, but his seat was denied along with others elected under the Johnson Reconstruction plan. In 1867, he was appointed to the original board of Peabody Fund Trustees and served in that capacity until his death. Graham became an outspoken advocate of the conservative position and white supremacy. An advocate of the redemption movement in North Carolina and for further constitutional reforms, Graham was elected a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1875, but he died before it assembled.
Graham died unexpectedly on 11 August 1875 at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where he had gone to attend a meeting of the Virginia-Maryland Arbitration Commission. He was buried in the cemetery adjacent to the Hillsborough Presbyterian Church.Back to Top
The collection includes North Carolina politician, legislator, and lawyer William Alexander Graham's correspondence with prominent persons about state and national politics. Correspondents include George E. Badger, Thomas Bragg, T. W. Brevard, James Buchanan, Duncan Cameron, Paul C. Cameron, Henry Clay, Dorothea L. Dix, Stephen A. Douglas, James Fenimore Cooper, William Gaston, James Graham, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick, W. W. Holden, Sam Houston, William Preston Mangum, Charles Manly, Matthias E. Manly, Elisha Mitchell, B. F. Moore, James T. Morehead, J. Johnston Pettigrew, J. L. Pettigru, Leonidas Polk, Thomas Ruffin, James A. Seddon, Cornelia Phillips Spencer, David L. Swain, William Tryon, Martin Van Buren, Zebulon B. Vance, Hugh Waddell, Daniel Webster, and Jonathan Worth. Also included is material relating to legal business; the Graham family iron foundry; plantations, slavery, and overseers in North Carolina and South Carolina; affairs at the University of North Carolina, the Revolutionary War history of North Carolina, and letters from sons serving as soldiers in the Confederate army. Later papers are of other Graham family members, especially Augustus Washington Graham, lawyer of Hillsborough, N.C., and Oxford, N.C. Volumes are personal accounts, school notebooks, and legal notes. Also included are typed carbon copies of letters, 1823-1877, to and from William A. Graham in this collection and in collections at other repositories that were compiled J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton while editing the Graham papers for publication in the 1960s.Back to Top
Correspondence includes material concerning legislative, military, political, and legal topics. The early papers consist of deeds, indentures, wills, land surveys, etc. Later material includes correspondence with prominent state and national political figures.
Correspondents include George E. Badger, Thomas Bragg, T. W. Brevard, James Buchanan, Duncan Cameron, Paul C. Cameron, Henry Clay, Dorothea L. Dix, Stephen A. Douglas, James Fenimore Cooper, William Gaston, James Graham, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick, W. W. Holden, Sam Houston, William Preston Mangum, Charles Manly, Matthias E. Manly, Elisha Mitchell, B. F. Moore, James T. Morehead, J. Johnston Pettigrew, J. L. Pettigru, Leonidas Polk, Thomas Ruffin, James A. Seddon, Cornelia Phillips Spencer, David L. Swain, William Tryon, Martin Van Buren, Zebulon B. Vance, Hugh Waddell, Daniel Webster, and Jonathan Worth.
Included are the following documents and subjects: land deeds and surveys; 1766, copy of the act to establish the town of Hillsborough signed by William Tryon; 1825, bill of sale for slaves, Alfred Graham to William A. Graham from Vesuvius Furnace relating the discovery of iron ore on the "little mountain" and a detail of the discovery and analysis of a spring of mineral water; 1827, G. J. Graham on a visit home after an absence of seven years reminiscing and reflecting on childhood memories, letter from M. E. Manly to Graham describing the presidential election in which Jackson was favored, letter from D. M. Saunders about "our representation in next Congress will be characterized by dullness, impudence, and blackguardism," letters recounting several duels; 1832, personal letters and political correspondence; 1833, information on Choctaw Indians being relocated West, and a letter from James Graham about a meeting with President Jackson.
Topics include: 1834, Webster political matters, information on several law cases, state banks, proceedings in Congress, society in Washington, D.C., Georgetown, and Alexandria, North Carolina politics, North Carolina railroads, and political relations with France; 1835, mail routes, state conventions, federal politics, debates in Congress on Indian hostilities, slavery, and book purchases; 1836, debates in Congress, description of the people and customs of Algiers, economic and agriculture outlook in Alabama, and a letter from D. L. Swain on improvements needed at the University of North Carolina; 1837, description of General Santa Anna of Texas, political affairs, currency and public land; 1838, North Carolina railroads.
Subjects discussed include: 1840, federal and state politics, Van Buren, and slavery in Florida; 1841, federal and state politics, banks, and a letter from D. L. Swain; 1842, Whig politics, correspondence from W. W. Holden, letter from Elisha Mitchell regarding collection of minerals purchased for the University of North Carolina, letters from Florida residents on their losses and sufferings caused by the Seminole War, money circulation in the West, bank matters; 1843, letters concerning Graham's nomination for governor of North Carolina.
Material concerning: 1844, establishing a deaf and dumb school; 1845, politics; 1846, letter discussing notice to Great Britain to terminate the treaty in relation to Oregon, information on volunteers for the Mexican War; 1847, telegraph lines; 1848, letters regarding presidential candidates; 1849, North Carolina railroads, politics, cabinet appointments.
Includes information on slavery, the fugitive slave law, railroads, discovery of gold, Chapel Hill matters, German political influence, German press in United States, naval matters, arctic expedition, map of the Amazon river, and a letter from Daniel Webster criticizing Whig politics.
December 1850-23 June 1851
1851 material includes such subjects as discussions of slavery in Congress, fugitive slave law, abolitionists and free-soilers, criticism of newspapers in Raleigh and Washington, naval matters, employment of slaves in the Revenue boat service, Italian refugees in France, Austria, Congress authorized removal of the Cherokee Indians, Native Americans in Florida, and the political and economic conditions in South Carolina.
24 June 1851-February 1852
1852 material includes topics such as state elections and Whig politics.
March 1852-January 1853
1853 material includes legal, political, and personal correspondence.
February 1853-June 1856
Subjects and letters include the following: 1854, legal and political materials; 1855, bank matters.
July 1856-March 1860
Included are the following subjects and items: 1858, letter from D. L. Swain concerning the plans for South Building at the University of North Carolina, Western North Carolina railroad; 1859, a letter from William H. Battle on UNC buildings, a letter from D. L. Swain on the trustees' vote on the question of subscription of bank stock to construct new buildings, a letter from Charles Phillips suggesting proposals and changes in the economics at the University of North Carolina, and information on the Peoples Party in North Carolina; 1860, disunion sentiments and political issues.
April 1860-May 1864
Included are the following subjects and items concerning primarily the Civil War: 1861, secession politics, national bank, information on the state North Carolina troops, military reports from the battery at Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina's efforts to procure arms; 1862, Battle of Bull Run, fall of New Bern, N.C., defense of Wilmington, N.C., military news of North Carolina regiments, political and military affairs in Virginia, reports of North Carolina troop transfers, information on Graham's election to the Senate of the Confederate States; 1863, expected attack on Wilmington, army substitutes, mint at Charlotte, commission signed by Zebulon Vance, account of a battle near Gettysburg, Pa., indebtedness of North Carolina, expected attack on Charleston, Henry Burgwyn's attack on Ironside's Brigade; 1864, state convention, enormity of prices, attack of militia and fortifications around Petersburg, lack of funds in state treasury, student numbers at the University of North Carolina, loss of Atlanta, Grant's army movements and expected capture of Richmond and Petersburg.
Included are the following subjects and items: 1865, army desertions, Sherman marching for Wilmington, copy of General Lee's farewell address, white emigration to the South, opposition to Holden for governor; 1866, education, state debt, monetary support for UNC, letter from Cornelia Spencer on the closing events of the Civil War, common schools, personal letters discussing farming and social and money matters; 1867, removal of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina, mineral resources in North Carolina, Peabody Fund, cotton tax.
1868 and 1869 materials include such subjects as Reconstruction, the condition of freed slaves, condition of the South, Holden's term as governor, discussion of Grant, high taxation in North Carolina.
September 1869-August 1871
Subjects and items discussed include the following: 1870, letter from Z. B. Vance on the 14th amendment, Ku Klux Klan; 1871, state control of public works, Ku Klux Klan arrests in S.C., feelings existing between black and white citizens.
September 1871-August 1874
1872 and 1874 materials discuss education in the South, University of North Carolina's debts, Ku Klux Klan, and state debt.
Items and subjects discussed include the following: 1875, court cases, Solomon Pool's suit against the University of North Carolina for his back salary, Graham's death, newspaper clipping on restoration of the University of North Carolina; 1878-1880, politics in New York, Peabody Fund; 1881-1890, business and personal letters.
These items were transferred to the Augustus Washington Graham Papers, #955.
1909-1940 (Genealogical Material: 1939-1940)
1909-1940 materials are chiefly business letters and genealogical material.
Letters are filed alphabetically by author and include the following correspondents: Paul C. Cameron, Dorothea L. Dix, Stephen A. Douglas, S. F Du Pont, M. P. Fillmore, William Gaston, George Washington Graham, Henry W. Graham, John W. Graham, Joseph Graham, Susan Washington Graham, W. A. Graham Jr., William Hooper, Frederick Nash, Maria Nash, Samuel F. Phillips, Thomas Ruffin, Thomas Ruffin Jr., and George Peabody Russell.
Undated Political Papers
Political papers relate to local, state, and national problems.
Undated Papers: Navy Department
Papers pertain to the Navy Department for the period when Graham was Secretary of the Navy, 1850-1852.
Undated Papers: Kirk-Holden War
Folder contains papers dealing with the Kirk-Holden War, with the persons imprisoned by George N. Kirk, and with the impeachment of Governor William W. Holden.
Undated Papers: Estate of James Graham
Undated Legal Papers
Papers pertain to legal cases Hill & Nale vs. Thomas Clancy & Co. & Samuel Child (also James Child); and Franklin Kirk vs. Clancy & Child.
Undated Legal Papers: Will of James C. Johnston.
Undated Legal Papers: Estate of Richard Smith
Contains legal papers relating to the estate of Richard Smith, Penelope Smith, and Mary Ann Smith.
Undated Legal Papers: Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad vs. John M. Morehead
Undated Legal Papers: Estate of Joan and Thomas Devereux.
Undated Legal Papers
Papers Related to American History
Contains papers related to Revolutionary history, especially the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.
Contains miscellaneous undated papers, including fragment of a paper on George E. Badger and a eulogy on Robert E. Lee.
Biographical Sketches of William A. Graham
Contains biographical sketches of Graham and typed copies of addresses given at the presentation of a bust of Graham to the state of North Carolina by Thomas W. Mason and J. Bryan Grimes.
Clippings and Printed Material
Contains clippings and other printed materials related to North Carolina, the Peabody Fund, national politics, and legal matters. Folder also includes advertisements.
Invitations and Calling Cards
Bills and Receipts, 1825-1829
Bills and Receipts, 1830s
Bills and Receipts, 1850s
Bills and Receipts, 1860s
Bills and Receipts, 1870s
Bills and Receipts, undated
|Image Folder PF-285/1||
Carte de Visite, copy of engraved dauggereotype
Acquisitions Information: Accession 99743
Diplomas and certificates
Volumes include a Civil War roll book, slave lists, household accounts, and law notes.
Microfilm copy of a small diary and account book of John Graham, 1776-1786, including February-March 1776 expedition with militia under Captain Eph. Brevard from Charlotte to near Cross-Creek, N.C.; expedition, February-July 1779; a trip from North Carolina to Virginia, September 1780; 22 April 1784-August 1786, trip from Virginia to Philadelphia; September 1786, trip from the head of Elk to Charleston, Maryland. Microfilm includes 34 frames made from the manuscript owned by the Department of Archives and History, Raleigh, N.C., November 1948.
Volume 2, 1823-1824
A notebook of William A. Graham made at the University of North Carolina contains notes on English history.
Volume 3, 1823-1824
A notebook of William A. Graham made at the University of North Carolina contains notes on chemistry lectures of Denison Olmsted.
Volume 4, 1824
Notebook of William A. Graham made at the University of North Carolina contains outlines of lectures on organic chemistry.
Volume 5, 1838-1840
William A. Graham, miscellaneous accounts and slave lists.
Volume 6, 1840-1848
William A. Graham, miscellaneous accounts.
Volume 7, 1838-1864
Volume includes the following: 1838, list of household silver, china, and prices; 1845, list of articles purchased for Government House; 1847-1848, miscellaneous financial information; 1855-1859, miscellaneous domestic accounts; 1860-1864, miscellaneous accounts; and 1862, record of blankets sent to Artillery.
Volume 8, 1850-1851
Mrs. William A. Graham's calling list from Washington, D.C.
Volume 9, 1851-1855
Copy of the will of James Graham and an account of the settlement of his estate.
Volume 10, 1851-1870
Mrs. William A. Graham's household recipes, medicines, cures, etc.
Volume 11, 1851-1875
William A. Graham's general accounts, including personal accounts and several business accounts.
Volume 12, 1860s
Notebook of Sergeant A. S. Peace, Lynchburg, Virginia, containing roll of Company A, 44th North Carolina Regiment. Also included is a memo concerning hogs added 1866-1870.
Volume 13, 1874-1876
Item has been transferred to the Augustus Washington Graham Papers (#955). Item is a copy of a journal and related documents of the proceedings of the Board of Arbitration concerning the Maryland-Virginia boundary line, meeting in Washington, Saratoga Springs, and Cape May, 1875-1876. Arbitrators were Jeremiah S. Black, William A. Graham, and Charles J. Jenkins.
Volume 14, 1901
Newspaper clippings and manuscript notes including a series of articles by Judge J. M. Mullen of Petersburg, Va., appearing in Virginia newspapers, on the expenses of state government. Also included are other clippings relating to the affairs of Virginia.
Volume 15, undated
Law notes including definitions and legal concepts.
Volume 16, undated
Volume 17, [1858-1860]
John W. Graham's notes on law lectures of Judge Richmond M. Pearson. This may be a copy of notes taken by someone else. Graham studied law with Judge William H. Battle and Samuel F. Phillips while a tutor at the University of North Carolina. He received his county court license in 1859 and his Superior Court license in 1860. He may have used these notes in preparing for his bar examinations. The Supreme Court judges examined the candidates and as Chief Justice, Pearson was of course very important.