detail that may depict the arrival of the Graham Brothers.
in a Pecan Shell
Settled by brothers Gustavus and Edwin Graham, who had bought 125,000
acres in Young County
after the Civil War, the town began around 1871.
A saltworks was bought by the brothers in 1872, and Gustavus Graham
surveyed the future town. Lots were sold and the first store was opened.
A post office was granted and after a short dispute with Belknap in
1874, Graham was declared county seat of the newly organized Young
A frame two-story courthouse was built in 1876 and was replaced by
a three-story limestone courthouse eight years later.
The current courthouse
replaced the 1884 courthouse that was demolished in 1932.
In 1877, the Cattle Raisers Association was organized in Graham. It
has since evolved into the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
Dr. J. E. Ryus built a large brick drugstore on the west side of the
square in 1879 and leased the
upper floor to the Federal District Court for seventeen years before
it relocated to Abilene.
The Chicago, Rock Island and Texas railroad arrived in 1903 from Fort
Worth when the population of Graham was about 1,000. After the
discovery of oil in 1917, the population more than doubled, but Graham
was spared the uncivilized growth of other boomtowns.
By 1940, the population had exceeded 5,000.
According to the Handbook of Texas, in the mid-1960s Graham had seventeen
churches, seven school buildings, a hospital, a radio station, two
libraries, three parks, and two newspapers. Ranger
and Cisco junior college satellite campuses
provided higher education.
The population of Graham has increased slowly but steadily. Graham
states on a downtown
mural that they have the largest town square in America, but it
is the overall neatness of the town that makes it a popular destination.
|The old Young
County jail, used from 1878 until 1921, now serves as an antique store
and gift shop.
Photo courtesy Terry
Jeanson, April, 2006
Photo courtesy Mike
Price, October 2007
|In Memory of
who died defending the records of Young County
Feb. 24, 1915
Photo courtesy Barclay
Kirk by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales" Column)
"...The killing of Sheriff Kirk stands out as an Old West shootout
worthy of any Hollywood Western... Kirk has a nice marker in the
Graham cemetery. Where they buried the outlaw who murdered the sheriff
stands as a mystery today." more
Lion and a Boy by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales" Column)
Texas has had no shortage of colorful oilmen, and Charles Edward
Hipp, though lesser known than many of his wheeler-dealer contempories,
rises near the top of the oil drum.
I was surfing
the net this afternoon and found your website. I was looking at
the photo of the National Theater in Graham and the caption “One
of the two theater buildings on the square in Graham”. Actually
there is a third. I believe it was called The Palace. The other
theater is the Leon. The Palace is located north of The National
about 2/3 of the distance between it and the Leon. I don’t know
what the building is now but it was remodeled and opened as a Whites
Auto Store some time in the late 1950s, approx. The original sloping
floor was leveled by a lumber false floor built over the concrete.
I don’t know why all three theaters are in the same block. Maybe
it was the natural slope that more easily accommodated the theater
seating. The photo is of the west side of the square, looking west,
and the slope is toward the rear of these buildings.
If you ever go to Graham, walk around behind the National and look
at the north side of the theater building near the rear. You will
see a large 8’ diameter (approx) circle in the brick. That is where
the windmill fan was installed to air condition the theater. I understand
that the fan was electrically powered and there was a large intake
covered by evaporative cooler padding, and this created an early
evaporative cooler, sort of.
Incidentally, I was born (11-08-1946) and raised in Graham. I attended
12 grades of public school. I moved away for the last time in 1977.
Isn’t this silly. I can’t remember breakfast but I do remember something
that happened 45 years ago. - Don Wignall, Carrollton, TX, January
There is an
historical error in the information listed on Finis,
"1889: A shootout between a lynch mob and the Marlow brothers
sent two of the brothers to the Finis Cemetery. This incident was
later screen-written into the movie The Sons of Katie Elder."
This shootout between a mob and the Marlow brothers did not happen
in or near the town of Finis. The incident occurred near Graham,
TX. Three of the Marlow brothers are buried in the Finis cemetery.
This historical incident was a loosely interpreted in the mob attack
in the movie "The Sons of Katie Elder." But the movie is in no way
a complete representation of the Marlow brothers or the event in
history. - Sincerely, Dorman Holub Chairman, Young County Historical
Commission Graham, TX, April 12, 2004
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history
and vintage/historic photos, please contact