Tag Archives: Selective Service Act of 1917

Who is Buried in William’s Grave?

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 Question

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.

William Graham 1880 Census

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.

The Grave

Here is a photograph of the grave maker at Shady Grove Cemetery, as taken by my wife:

WTGraham Grave Marker

As you can see, this William Graham was a Private in the 348th Infantry, 87th Division, and died on 12 September 1920.

The Answer

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.

Sources

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.

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Evisa Jane Graham

If you’ve been paying attention, then you’ve noticed that I’ve been working my way through the children of John and Mary Graham, my great grandparents.

By my reckoning, Evisa Jane Graham was the first child of John and Mary.  She was born on 17 September 1890 in Searcy County, Arkansas, probably in Red River Township.  Since she was born late in the year, odds are that she was not recorded on the 1890 census, since it was enumerated in June of that year.  And at any rate, the 1890 census was destroyed in a fire in 1921.

She first showed up on the 1900 census at age nine, recorded as “Eliza J”, living with her parents on the farm in Red River Township, along with her three younger brothers, Jessie, William and John, and a young sister, Mary.

On the 1910 census she was recorded as “Visa”, age nineteen and single, still living on the same farm in Red River Township with her family, now consisting of her two parents and seven siblings.

CollinsGrahamMarriageDetail

The Arkansas County Marriages collection at FamilySearch has an entry for Posy Collins and his betrothed, one “Evisie Graham”.  The entry lists the groom’s first and last name, his birth year of 1884, his age 28, his bride’s name, her birth year of 1890 and a marriage date of 25 September 1912.  It also lists both the bride and groom as residents of Watts, Searcy County, Arkansas.  The marriage was officiated by Justice of the Peace John C Heard.

On 11 March 1915, their son Coy Dell Collins was born.

On 28 April 1917, their daughter Nellie Viona Collins was born.

On 12 September 1918, Posey registered with the local draft board in Marshall, Arkansas.  His draft card recorded the following details:

Posey Collins WWI Draft CardName: Posy Alpain Collins
Home Address:  Atlas, Searcy, Arkansas
Age:  34
Date of Birth:  18 November 1883
Present Occupation:  Farming
Nearest Relative:  Mrs P A Collins

The back of the card recorded his physical description as medium height, medium build, brown eyes, and black hair.

Since the armistice with Germany was signed two months later, bringing an end to World War I, it is doubtful that Posey was ever actually drafted into military service.

The 1920 census recorded Posey, Evisa and their two children living on a farm in Mount Vernon Township of Searcy County.

Circa 1924, their second daughter Emma N Collins was born.

The 1930 census recorded the family renting a farm in East Fork Township, Faulkner County, Arkansas.  Posey’s occupation was listed as farmer, and their son Coy, then 15, was listed as a farm laborer.  Evisa and the girls had their occupations recorded as “none”.

On 27 April 1942, Posey once again registered with the local draft board, this time for the Second World War.  His draft card recorded the following details:

Collins WW2 frontName: Posie Aplelean Collins
Place of Residence:  RFD 2, Greenbrier, Faulkner, Arkansas
Age: 58
Place of Birth:  Rock Springs, Searcy, Arkansas
Date of Birth:  10 November 1883

Evisa’s name was initially written on the card as Posey’s employer, but then it was scratched out and replaced with “Farming for Self”.  The back of the card recorded Posey’s physical description as 6 feet in height, 140 pounds, blue eyes, gray hair, and dark complexion.

In 1965, Evisa was issued her Social Security number.

Posey died on 4 February 1966 in the city of Conway, Faulkner County, Arkansas.  He was buried at Crestlawn Memorial Park in Faulkner County.

Evisa died on 15 January 1968 in Conway, Faulkner County, Arkansas.  She was buried beside her husband at Crestlawn Memorial Park.

PoseyEvisaCollinsGravestone

Name Variations

There are several name variations for Evisa.  She was recorded as “Eliza J Graham”  (1900 census), “Visa Graham” (1910 census), “Evisie Graham” (marriage documents), “Evisa J Collins" (1920 census and the Social Security Death Index), “Visa J Collins” (1930 census original document image), “Vasa J Collins” (1930 census transcription at Ancestry), and “Mrs. Enissy Collins” in the obituary of her father, John Henry Graham.  No document that I reviewed listed Evisa’s middle name, but I found it recorded as “Jane” in the Grimes Family Tree on Ancestry.  In my tree I have recorded her as Evisa Jane Graham.

Posey had not only several name variations, but also a birth date variation.  His name was recorded as “Posy Collins” (marriage documents), “Posy Alpain Collins” (WW1 draft card), “Posy A Collins” (1920 census), “Posey A Collins” (1930 census), “Posie Aplelean Collins” (WW2 draft card), and “Posey Appleton Collins” (Grimes Family Tree).  His birth date was recorded as 10 November 1883 (WW2 draft card and Grimes Family Tree) and 18 November 1883 (WW1 draft card).  In my tree I have recorded him as Posey A Collins with the earlier birth date.

Questions

Did Evisa and Posey have any more children?  What is the definitive version of Posey’s first and middle names?  Which birth date is correct for Posey?  Where in Searcy County was Atlas?

Sources

Ancestry.com:  United States Federal Census of 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930;  Social Security Death IndexWorld War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917 – 1918US World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942;  Grimes Family Tree.

FamilySearch.org:  Arkansas County Marriages, 1837 – 1957.

ArkansasGravestones.org:  Memorial for Evisa J CollinsMemorial for Posey A CollinsMemorial for Coy Dell Collins.

Marshall Republican:  Obituary for John Henry Graham.


Fourth And Three

Two tidbits of information revealed themselves to me as a result of my recent timeline post.

Fourth Born

Following the end of the Civil War, the United States Congress passed the Reconstruction Act, which placed the former Confederate states into five military districts overseen by the United States Army.  Each district was governed by a general and under martial law.  Arkansas and Mississippi comprised the Fourth Military District.

James Newton Siler Watts, my great grand uncle (and husband of Eliza Ann Graham), was born on 1 January 1868 in Searcy County, Arkansas during the time when Arkansas was part of the Fourth Military District.

The United States Congress re-admitted Arkansas into the Union on 22 June 1868.  The Fourth Military District was abolished when Mississippi was re-admitted into the Union on 23 February 1870.

Three Brothers, One World War

I had previously recorded in their separate entries that three of my grand uncles, Jessie Cornelius Graham, William Thomas Graham, and John Jasper Graham had all registered for the First World War draft in the city of Marshall, Arkansas.  What I failed to notice until I compiled the timeline was that they all registered on the same day, 5 June 1917.  In retrospect, that makes a lot of sense.  They probably travelled into town together from the family farm in Red River Township.


Timeline Thus Far

I thought it might be neat to take some of the dates mentioned in the articles on Graham Ancestry and arrange them in chronological order along with some other significant American historical milestones.

Nineteenth Century

4 July 1819.  The Territory of Arkansas was created from a portion of the Missouri Territory.

15 June 1836.  Arkansas was admitted into the Union as a slave state.

13 December 1838.  Searcy County, Arkansas was formed from a portion of Madison County.

June 1844.  Sarah F Scott was born in Alabama, USA.

1845.  Jesse Graham was born in Alabama, USA.

11 January 1861.  Alabama declared its secession from the Union and joined the Confederate States of America.

Civil War Began

12 April 1861.  The American Civil War began when Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

6 May 1861.  Arkansas declared its secession from the Union and joined the Confederate States of America.

15 April 1865.  United States President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC.

Circa 1865.  Jesse Graham married Sarah F Scott in Alabama, Confederate States of America.

Circa 1865.  William Graham was born to Jesse and Sarah Graham in Alabama, Confederate States of America.

20 August 1866.  United States President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation affirming the end of the Civil War.

Civil War Ended

1 January 1868.  James Newton Siler Watts was born in Searcy County, Arkansas, Fourth Military District.  The Fourth Military District was made up of Arkansas and Mississippi, both former states of the Confederacy that had not yet been re-admitted into the Union.

22 June 1868.  The United States Congress restored Arkansas to the Union.

13 July 1868.  The United States Congress restored Alabama to the Union.

5 September 1868.  Eliza Ann Graham was born in Alabama, USA to Jesse and Sarah Graham.

29 July 1869.  Mary Matilda Bohannon born in Arkansas, USA.

8 May 1870.  John Henry Graham born in Texas, USA to Jesse and Sarah Graham.

1879.  Mary F Graham born to Jesse and Sarah Graham in Searcy County, Arkansas.

1 June 1880The Tenth Census of the United States was enumerated nationwide.

5 August 1886.  James Newton Siler Watts married Eliza Ann Graham in Searcy County, Arkansas.

November 1887.  Elizabeth Watts was born to James and Eliza Watts.

3 October 1889.  John Henry Graham married Mary Matilda Bohannon in Searcy County, Arkansas.

2 June 1890The Eleventh Census of the United States was enumerated nationwide.

17 September 1890.  Evisa Jane Graham was born to John and Mary Graham.

2 February 1891.  James Madison Watts was born to James and Eliza Watts.

22 July 1892.  Jessie Cornelius Graham was born to John and Mary Graham.

1 October 1892.  Emma Sarah Watts was born to James and Eliza Watts.

1 September 1893.  Mary Ausidine Watts was born to James and Eliza Watts.

18 October 1893.  Callie Dona Watts was born in Oklahoma, USA.

20 February 1894.  William Thomas Graham was born to John and Mary Graham.

9 May 1894.  Virgie Viola Copeland was born in Arkansas, USA.

19 January 1896.  John Jasper Graham was born to John and Mary Graham.

January 1897.  William Jessie Watts was born to James and Eliza Watts.

23 August 1897.  Silas Midaner “Danner” Copeland was born in Arkansas, USA.

21 December 1897.  Mary Adaline Graham was born to John and Mary Graham.

4 March 1898.  James Newton Siler Watts died at the age of 30.

1 June 1900The Twelfth Census of the United States was enumerated nationwide.

16 June 1900.  Sarah Rosabelle Graham was born of John and Mary Graham. She was either stillborn or died shortly thereafter.

Twentieth Century

16 February 1902.  Emma Dorothy Graham was born to John and Mary Graham.

16 June 1904. Stella Viona Graham was born to John and Mary Graham.

16 October 1905.  Seven-year-old Mary Adaline Graham died.

7 December 1907.  Nona Elizabeth Graham was born to John and Mary Graham.

12 August 1909.  Daniel Paig Graham was born to John and Mary Graham.

15 April 1910The Thirteenth Census of the United States was enumerated nationwide.

World War I Began

28 June 1914.  World War I began with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.

7 January 1917.  John Jasper Graham married Silas Midaner “Danner” Copeland in Searcy County, Arkansas.

11 March 1917. Jessie Cornelius Graham married Callie Dona Watts in Searcy County, Arkansas.

United States Entered World War I

6 April 1917.  The United States Congress declared war on Germany.

5 June 1917.  Brothers Jessie Cornelius Graham, William Thomas Graham, and John Jasper Graham all registered for the World War I draft at the local board in Marshall, Arkansas.

29 October 1917.  Denver Etridge Graham was born to John and Danner Graham.

4 November 1917.  William Thomas Graham married Virgie Viola Copeland in Searcy County, Arkansas.

11 March 1918. Ruby Duell Graham was born to Jessie and Callie Graham.

8 August 1918.  Erman Zebedee Graham was born to William and Virgie Graham.

11 November 1918.  World War I ended with an armistice signed at Compiègne, France.

World War I Ended

Between 1917 – 1919.  William Thomas Graham honorably discharged from the United States Army.

1 January 1920The Fourteenth Census of the United States was enumerated nationwide.

19 January 1920. Albert John Graham was born to Jessie and Callie Graham.

30 July 1920.  Dempsey Ray Graham was born to John and Danner Graham.

10 January 1921.  Most of the Eleventh Census (1890) was destroyed by a fire in the Commerce Building in Washington, DC.

7 February 1920.  Pernie Willodean Graham was born to William and Virgie Graham.

12 September 1920.  William Thomas Graham died at the age of 27.

1922.  Julus R Graham was born to John and Danner Graham.

9 March 1924.  Virgie Viola (Copeland) Graham, widow of William Thomas Graham, married Grover Morley Condley.

5 January 1925.  Berlene V Graham was born to John and Danner Graham.

20 August 1925.  Alvin Jesse Graham was born to Jessie and Callie Graham.

Great Depression Began

29 October 1929. The crash of the stock market marked the beginning of the Great Depression.

1 April 1930The Fifteenth Census of the United States was enumerated nationwide.

Circa 1930.  DeLois Graham was born to John and Danner Graham.

1935.  Alpha Graham was born to Jessie and Callie Graham.

World War II Began

1 September 1939.  World War II began with the German invasion of Poland and Slovakia.

Great Depression Ended / United States Entered World War II

7 December 1941.  The United States entered World War II following a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by the Empire of Japan.

27 April 1942.  Jessie Cornelius Graham registered for the World War II draft.

21 September 1944.  Mary Matilda (Bohannon) Graham died at the age of 75.

2 September 1945.  World War II ended with the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender aboard the USS Missouri.

World War II Ended

24 April 1946.  John Henry Graham died at the age of 75.

3 August 1947.  Eliza Ann (Graham) Watts died at the age of 78.

27 September 1958.  Callie Dona (Watts) Graham died at the age of 64.

22 November 1963.  United States President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, USA.

10 December 1966.  Denver Etridge Graham married Opal Geeham in Morley, Missouri, USA.

20 July 1969.  The Apollo 11 mission successfully completed the first landing of humans on the Moon.

15 August 1975.  Jessie Cornelius Graham died at the age of 83.

August 1979.  John Jasper Graham died at the age of 83 in Morley, Missouri, USA.

28 January 1986.  Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed 73 seconds after the launch of its tenth mission.  All seven crew members died.

16 February 1990.  Opal (Geeham) Graham died in Missouri, USA.

31 December 1991.  The dissolution of the USSR was completed, ending the Cold War that had existed between the USSR and the United States since the end of World War II in 1945.

11 June 1996.  Silas Midaner “Danner” (Copeland) Graham died at the age of 98 in Oran, Missouri, USA.

Twenty-First Century

11 September 2001.  Terrorists attacked the United States with hijacked jetliners, destroying the World Trade Center in New York City and damaging the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, USA.

1 February 2003.  Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed during re-entry on its 28th mission.  All seven crew members died.

10 September 2004.  Denver Etridge Graham died at the age of 86 in Missouri, USA.

15 October 2010.  Graham Ancestry journal went online at WordPress.com.


John Jasper Graham

Revised 1 October 2013.

John Jasper Graham was the fourth child of John Henry and Mary Matilda Graham.  He was born in Watts, Searcy County, Arkansas on Sunday, 19 January 1896.

1900

The first census to record John Jasper was the 1900 census.  John was living on the family farm in Red River Township with his parents, older sister Evisa, brothers Jessie and William, and younger sister Mary.  John’s birthday appears to be estimated as January of 1895, which was written over 1894, and his age given as five written atop six.  This clashes with the birth year of 1896 given on later documents, which would have made him four at the time of this census.

1910

JJGrahamMarriageDetail

Marriage Document of John and Danner

The 1910 census recorded the family still farming in Red River Township.  John was recorded as “Jasper” here, age 14 (supporting the 1896 birth year).  Still on the farm were both parents, older sister Evisa and brothers Jessie and William.  Younger sister Mary had died in October of 1905.  Four new siblings were recorded: sisters Emma, Stella and Nona, and a toddler brother Daniel.  Jessie, William and John all have their trades listed as farmer, apparently helping their father keep the family fed and money coming in.

On Friday, 5 January 1917, John, age 21, paid a $100 bond for a license to marry Miss Danner Copeland, 19, of Oak Flat, Searcy County, Arkansas (Oak Flat was actually located in Van Buren County).  John signed the bond as “Jasper Graham”, and his older brother Jessie, listed as security, signed as “Jesse Graham.”  On Sunday, 7 January 1917, Justice of the Peace H.D. Barnes performed the marriage ceremony.

Silas Danner Copeland was born on Monday, 23 August 1897.  She was last child of Silas Richard Copeland and California Cypert.

JJGrahamDraft

Front of John’s draft registration card

On Tuesday, 5 June 1917, John registered for the World War I draft.  On his draft card is recorded his full name of John Jasper Graham, age 21, residing in Watts Arkansas, birth date of 19 January 1896, martial status was married (spouse’s name not recorded), and occupation a self-employed farmer.  He appeared to sign as “Jasper Graham”, with the “John” then appended slightly smaller in front of the signature line.  The back side of the card recorded his physical description as tall, slender build, blue eyes, with dark brown hair. It does not appear that John was ever drafted.

On Monday, 29 October 1917, John and Danner became parents to a baby boy, Denver Etridge Graham.

1920

Jasper and Danner 1920 census

1920 Census, Shady Grove Township, Searcy County, Arkansas

The 1920 census was enumerated in Shady Grove Township on 13 and 14 February 1920, and recorded John and Danner owning a farm.  John was recorded as “Graham, J. Jasper” and Danner as “Silas D.”  Their son Denver’s age was recorded as “2 and 2/10”.  Two-tenths?  Really? (Another unrelated entry on this census page appeared to record an age as 8 and 7/18!)

Also listed on this same census page, three farms down the road from John and Danner, was John’s first cousin Otis Bohannon and his wife Goldie, who was Danner’s half-sister. Next door to cousin Otis was John’s widowed aunt Eliza Ann Watts living with her widowed mother Sarah F. Graham.

On Friday, 30 July 1920, son Dempsey R. Graham was born.  This indicates that Danner was approximately three months pregnant at the time of the 1920 census.

Circa 1922, their son Julius R. Graham was born in Arkansas.

On Monday, 5 January 1925, their first daughter Berlene V. Graham was born in Arkansas.

1930

John and Danner 1930 census

1930 Census, Jackson Township, Pope County, Arkansas

The 1930 census recorded that John and Danner had moved to Jackson Township in Pope County, Arkansas, where they were renting a farm.  John was listed as “John J.” and Danner once again as “Silas D.”  Sons Denver (“Denva”), 12, and Dempsey, 10, were listed as farm laborers.  Son Julius, 8, and daughter Berlene, 5, were apparently spared from farm work as no occupation was given for either.

Some time in 1938 their last child, daughter Mary Delois Graham, was born in Arkansas.

Between 1938 and 1940 the Graham family moved to Missouri.

1940

The 1940 census recorded the Grahams renting a farm in West Township, New Madrid County, Missouri.

John and Danner 1940 census

West Township, New Madrid County, Missouri

The following education levels were recorded: John’s highest school grade completed was fifth, Danner’s was fourth grade, Denver had completed one year of high school, Dempsey had completed eighth grade, Julius had completed two years of high school, Berlene had completed eighth grade and was still in school, and Delois was not yet school age.

John’s occupation was given as farmer, with sons Denver and Dempsey working 20 hours a week for their father as farm laborers. Julius was working at “cutting bushes” for the Civilian Conservation Corps. Danner’s occupation was “working at home” and Berlene’s was “school”.

Tuesday, 4 February 1941, Dempsey and Julius were involved in an automobile accident that lead to the death of Noah B. Hayes, a local farmer. In the newspaper coverage, the Grahams were said to be of Matthews, Missouri. The city proper is in Big Prairie Township, but is close to West Township, where the Grahams were renting a farm. Matthews was likely cited as it was the nearest post office.

1950 and Beyond

John’s Social Security number was issued in Missouri prior to 1951, and Danner’s was issued circa 1958 in Missouri.

Thursday, 2 August 1979, John was admitted to the Southeast Missouri Hospital at Cape Girardeau. He died there on Saturday, 11 August 1979, at 9:40 p.m. He was 83 years old. Funeral services were conducted at the First Baptist Church in Morley at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 14 August 1979, with John being laid to rest at Old Morley Cemetery.

Silas Danner Graham died at 6:50 a.m. on Tuesday, 11 June 1996 at the Sikeston Convalescent Center. She was 98 years old. Funeral services were conducted at Amick-Burnett Funeral Chapel in Sikeston at 2 p.m. on Thursday, 13 June. Danner was interred beside her husband at Old Morley Cemetery.

Grave Marker of John and Danner Graham

Grave marker of John and Danner, Old Morley Cemetery, Morley, Missouri, 8 October 2012

Variations

John had the following name variations: “Graham, Jasper” on the 1910 census; “Graham, J. Jasper” on the 1920 census; “Graham, John J.” on the 1900 and 1930 census; “Graham, Jasper J.” on the 1940 census;  “Jasper Graham” on the marriage document; “John Graham” in the Social Security Death Index; “John Jasper Graham” on his draft card and his obituary; “J. J. Graham” on his grave marker.

Danner had the following name variations: “Copeland, Daner” on the 1910 census; “Graham, Silas D.” on the 1920 and 1930 census; “Graham, Danner” on the 1940 census; “Danner Copeland” on the marriage document; “Danner Graham” in the Social Security Death Index, her obituary, and her grave marker; “Silas M. Copeland” in John’s obituary; “Silas Mandanna Copeland Graham” in Dempsey’s obituary.

Danner’s first name is unusual to me. “Silas” is typically a male name, and indeed it was her father’s. I’ve seen Danner recorded as a male in some family trees as a result. Since her father died just four months before her birth, she was likely named in his honor.

Some family trees have recorded Danner’s middle name as “Midaner.” Danner’s middle initial was given as “M” in her husband’s obituary. In her son Dempey’s obituary, she was called “Silas Mandanna Copeland Graham,” a variation on Midaner. “Danner” itself could be derived from Midaner.

Sources

A complete list of sources appears on page 2.


The Great War and William Thomas Graham

Another “lost” second cousin of mine, Doran Marable, recently commented on my entry for his grandfather William Thomas Graham. Doran wrote that his mother Virgie told him that William had “died during WW1” from a nosebleed that wouldn’t stop. In my research I hadn’t even recorded that William had served in the military, so I hit Ancestry.com and began searching their military records. After a couple of false positives, I came across a WW1 draft registration card for a William Graham out of Searcy County, Arkansas. I browsed the scanned image of the card for the pertinent facts and determined it to be a match.

William Graham WWI Draft DetailName: William Graham
Age: 23
Home: Watts, Arkansas
Date of Birth: 20 February 1894
Occupation: Farming
Marital Status: Single
Physical Description: Tall, slender, dark brown eyes, black hair.

Registered with the local board for Searcy County, Marshall, Arkansas on 5 June 1917.

The great thing about this find is that it gave me an exact birth date for William. I had previously recorded his birth as circa January 1893 based on census documents.

Doran’s mother recalled that William “died during WW1”, or perhaps rather, during the time frame of the war.  The Arkansas History Commission has searchable World War I discharge records online, and reports that William was honorably discharged, though it does not state exactly when.  Remember, from my original entry, that the Arkansas Death Index recorded the “county of occurrence” of his death as Searcy, most decidedly not in Europe.  Also, World War I officially ended with an armistice on 11 November 1918, but William was recorded on the 1920 census as residing in Red River Township, then his death in the Arkansas Death Index as 12 September 1920, both occurring nearly two years after the end of the war.  Close enough for government work, as we say in the Army.

Doran also said that Virgie received government payments following William’s death.  That was likely a Section 306 Death Pension, which is defined as “a monthly benefit payable by the Department of Veterans Affairs to a surviving spouse or child because of a veteran’s nonservice-connected death.” This was payable to the spouse of any deceased veteran that had served more than 90 consecutive days of active duty during a period of war, as did William.

Sources

Ancestry.com:  Arkansas Death Index, 1914-1950;  United States Federal Census of 1920;  World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917 – 1918.

Arkansas History Commission:  Arkansas World War I Discharge Records.

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations:  Title 38: Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans’ Relief

Personal correspondence with Doran Marable, William’s grandson, December 2010.


Jessie Cornelius Graham

Jessie Cornelius Graham was born in Searcy County, Arkansas on 22 July 1892.  By my reckoning, he was the second child of John Henry Graham and his wife Mary Matilda (Bohannon), and their first son.  He was likely named for both of his grandfathers, paternal Jesse Graham and maternal William Cornelius Bohannon.

Jessie, age 8, was recorded on the 1900 census living with his parents, two brothers and two sisters, in Red River Township.  The middle initial C was recorded here.

The 1910 census recorded Jessie, age 17 and this time without the C, still living with his parents and then seven siblings in Red River Township.  It was recorded that two of his siblings had died, but without their names.

On 5 January 1917, Jessie signed as security when his younger brother John Jasper paid a $100 bond for a license to marry Miss Danner Copeland.  On this bond he signed his first name as "Jesse".

On 9 March 1917, Jessie himself paid for a marriage bond to marry to Miss Callie Dona Watts of Watts, Arkansas.  Jessie was 25, Callie 23.  Security on the bond was signed by a M. H. Watts, likely of some relation to Callie.  The bond and license were attested by Barney Castleberry, Clerk of the County Court of Searcy County.  On 11 March 1917, Justice of the Peace H.D. Barnes did, duly and according to law, solemnize the rite and publish the banns of matrimony – Jessie and Callie were married!  (Misters Castleberry and Barnes performed this same deed for Jessie’s brother William and his betrothed Virgie Copeland later that November.)

Jessie's WWI DetailOn 5 June 1917, Jessie registered for the draft for the Great War.  His draft registration card recorded his name signed as Jessie Graham, age 24, a married farmer living in Watts, Arkansas.  He was tall, with a slender build, light blue eyes and black hair.

One year after their marriage, on 11 March 1918, their daughter Ruby Duell Graham was born.

The 1920 census recorded Jessie and Callie making a living as farmers only two farms down from Jessie’s parents.  Between those two farms was the farm of Ezekial Henry Melton and his wife Minnie B (Graham), Jessie’s uncle and aunt.  (In fact, on this one census page, everyone is related somehow.  There’s Watts, Grahams, Bohannons, Meltons and Thompsons, and all of them factor into my family tree.)

Their son Albert John Graham was born on 19 January 1920.  Or was he?  That date of birth came from the Social Security Death Index, but the 1920 census was enumerated in Red River Township one week after, on 27 and 28 January 1920.  If that is the correct birth date for Albert, he should have been recorded on the 1920 census, but he was not.  Albert first appears on the 1930 census, enumerated on 12 July 1930, where his age was recorded as 10.  So, 1920 seems to be the right year for his birth, but either the date recorded by the SSDI is off or the census enumerator overlooked Albert!

The 1930 census recorded another son, Alvin Jesse Graham, born on 20 August 1925.

Alpha Graham, a son and their final child, was born circa 1935.

On 27 April 1942, Jessie registered for the World War II draft in Marshall, Arkansas.  This time his name was recorded as Jesse C Graham, age 50, still a married farmer living in Watts, Arkansas.  His height was 5’10”, weight 200 pounds, eyes blue, hair brown, and complexion light.  Callie was listed as the “person who will always know [his] address”.  He signed the card “J.C. Graham”.

Callie died on 27 September 1958 at the age of 64 and was interred at Rambo Cemetery, Searcy County, Arkansas.

Jessie died on 15 August 1975 at the age of 83 and was buried beside his wife at Rambo Cemetery.Jessie Graham Grave Marker His obituary was published in the Arkansas Gazette on 19 August 1975.

Name Variations

The census enumerators recorded these variations of Jessie’s first name:  1900 – “Jessee”; 1910 – “Jessie”; 1920 and 1930 – “Jesse”.  The SSDI recorded him as “Jesse”.  I have two examples of Jessie signing his own name, first as "Jesse" on his brother John’s marriage bond, and second as "Jessie" on on his Word War I draft registration card.  His name was spelled "Jessie" in his obituary and on his tombstone.  I have recorded him as "Jessie Cornelius Graham" in my tree.

I’ve seen one instance of Callie being called California Watts in a member family tree at Ancestry.

Some family trees have spelled Ruby’s middle name as Dewell.

Questions

What was the middle name for Minnie B?

Why wasn’t Albert recorded on the 1920 census?  Is his recorded birth date incorrect?

Did Jessie ever actually serve in the military?

Sources

Ancestry.com:  United States Federal Census of 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930;  Social Security Death IndexWorld War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942.

FamilySearch.org:  Arkansas County Marriages, 1837 – 1957.

Find A Grave:  Memorial 42275262 and Memorial 42275261.

Tombstone photographed by me on 10 April 2010 at Rambo Cemetery, Searcy County, Arkansas.

Personal correspondence with Michael Graham, Jessie’s grandson, December 2010.


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