Jackson Kemper (1789-1870)
Missionary Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church, he was the pioneer clergyman of
the denomination in Kansas as Chaplain at Fort Leavenworth in 1837. William Graham was
an active church member.
[Church of St. John Chrysostom, Wisconsin]
William Graham (1815-1897) was born in Drinhome, County Donegal, Ireland and died in Corvallis, Oregon. His Scots-Irish ancestors had emigrated in 1826, first settling in Pennsylvania and later in Ohio. [Pioneers of Benton County Oregon] He moved to Kansas with his extended family in 1855, settling in Douglas County near Palmyra. Doctor Graham and fellow free-stater, Henry Barricklow, had a disagreement that caused Graham to relocate two miles southwest and found the town of Prairie City. Flourishing for a few years, Prairie City did at one time boast of 25 houses, 2 churches, a school, 4 stores, a hotel, a depot, a grain mill 2 blacksmiths, a newspaper, 2 doctors, a leather shop, a limestone quarry, a saw mill and a 10 acre park. Nonetheless, it failed in 1883 and became a ghost town. [Dyer, Ghost Towns]
Doctor Graham was an active churchman and was a founder and trustee of Heber Institute, a school for boys organized by the Episcopal Church in 1856. The institute failed in 1858 and a public school district was organized. [Butell, Prairie City, 17] Graham attended the First General Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas as a delegate from Christ Church, Prairie City in 1859, and the National Convention in that same year. Christ Church had been founded entirely as a lay effort by Graham and others. [Haupt, Protestant Episcopal Church, 362ff] Graham was a known in the community as a free-state man. He was a delegate to the Topeka Convention, declaring himself a National Democrat. In the fall of 1856, a company of Missourians led by Henry Clay Pate camped in Douglas County at nearby Black Jack, harassing the local citizenry. . [Griffith, Battle of Black Jack, 524] In a raid on the Palmyra community, six of Pate's men took several prisoners including Barricklow and Graham. In Prairie City, the people were in church when the raid began and services were "immediately closed, without formality of benediction" and the shooting began. Pate's company rode off, but the next day John Brown and his followers arrived, seeking to encounter Pate's company. The "Battle of Black Jack" ensued and Graham was able to escape by running directly through the Missouri line and across to Brown, falling down from time to time to avoid Missouri rifle shots. When he reached the free-state line, Graham told Brown that he could capture all 75 Missourians if he persisted. [Cutler, History, Part 34] Brown and Pate then negotiated a truce and withdrawal and what the Kansas Senate resolved to be the "First Battle of the Civil War" ended. [Lawrence Journal World, May 1,2006]
Active in Territorial affairs, Graham was a founder of the Republican Party in Kansas in 1858. [Butell, Prairie City, 23] and of the Kansas Medical Society in 1859. [Connelly, History, 993] Immediately following the Civil War, however, the Graham family moved to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, where Doctor Graham practiced medicine for a number of years. He was the leading spirit of the very modest congregation of the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan and a seminary for boys in its church building in Corvallis. . [Pioneers of Benton County Oregon].