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Thomas E. Graham. Self-acquired independence, liberal ideas, ambitions expressed in promoting farming and stockraising and simplicity in living, as well as unquestioned public and private integrity constitute the fundamentals upon which rest the enviable reputation of Thomas E. Graham, one of the prosperous and highly esteemed agriculturists of Wood County. Although now in his seventieth year, Mr. Graham continues to be engaged actively in the operation of his well-cultivated farm, located eight miles from Alva, on which he has resided since 1900.
Mr. Graham was born September 21, 1845, on a farm in Cass County, Missouri, and is a son of Aquilla and Mary (Wheeler) Graham. His father, born in 1820 in Cass County, passed his entire life in that part of Missouri, where he was known as an industrious and intelligent farmer, acquiring a modest competence and rearing his children to lives of honesty and integrity. He died in 1858, when still in the prime of life. In 1841 he married Mary Wheeler, who was born in 1823, a daughter of John Wheeler, a native of Knox County, Tennessee, and she died in 1907. They were the parents of two daughters and seven sons, as follows: Jane, John, Thomas E., Jacob, Hiram, Mary, Columbus, James and Andrew.
Thomas E. Graham was reared on his father’s farm in Cass County, and in his native vicinity attended the district schools, acquiring the education usually granted to Missouri farmers’ sons of his day. When he was ready to enter upon his own career he adopted farming as his life work, and continued to be engaged therein in Cass County until 1900, when he disposed of his interests there and came to Oklahoma. Here he purchased land in Woods County, located eight miles southeast of Alva, on which he at once began to make improvements. He now has a well-cultivated tract, with substantial buildings, modern machinery and appliances, and excellent improvements of every character. He has had the benefit of a many-sided experience and is now able to make his land pay him well for the labor he expends upon it. When he started to make his own way in the world, Mr. Graham could not have purchased one acre of this farm and its ownership means a number of years struggling against odds, and patient hoarding of savings for which he gave his best energies. His life furnishes an impressive illustration of what may be accomplished by industry, sobriety and persistent endeavor. Mr. Graham and the members of the family belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church. He bears an excellent reputation in the community as a public-spirited citizen, and his name is one honored in commercial circles for integrity and straightforward dealing in all of life’s business affairs.
On October 15, 1871, Mr. Graham was married to Miss Fatima Jane Wheeler, who was born March 25, 1853, in Cass County, Missouri, daughter of John B. and Irene Jane (Reed) Wheeler, the former a native of Tennessee and the latter of Missouri. Mr. Wheeler was born November. 18, 1824, and died June 6, 1897, while Mrs. Wheeler, born January 31, 1828, still survives and lives with her daughter and son-in-law. Mr. and Mrs. Graham have been the parents of two sons and three daughters, as follows: Franklin Albert, born October 30, 1872, who died the same day; Irene Frances, born October 15, 1873, married January 17, 1898, Tandy Douglass, and has two daughters, Verna Opal and Nina Aline; Charles Frederick, born November 30, 1875, married February 23, 1898, Daisy Allum, and has two daughters, Ada Margaret and Gertrude Cecil; Minnie May, born March 4, 1878, married March 3, 1901, Edward Kerstetter, and has two children, Alta Irene and Roy Evertt; and Emma June, born September 25, 1880, married March 3, 1901, David McNally, and has two sons, Orville Marvin and Harry Graham. Each of the four children own a well improved farm and are doing well. The two oldest, Irene and Charlie, live close to their parents. Minnie lives in Panhandle, Texas, eight miles north of Glazier. Emma lives seven miles northeast of Waynoka, Oklahoma.