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David Graham's 
History of the Graham Family (1899)
More concerning early settlement of Lowell

 
 
[ History of the Graham Family ]
[ Cover page ]
Preface
Grahams are Scotch Irish
From Scotland to Virginia
John Graham's Will
John Graham's Children
Anne, daughter of John Graham, Sr.
[ The descendants of Lanty Kincaid ]
[ Betsy, daughter of John Graham, Sr. ]
Florence Graham married
House of James Graham, Sr., at Lowell
Early settlement of Lowell
[ The descendants of Samuel and James Guinn ]
[ Other Early Settlers ]
James and Florence Graham's Family
Joseph and Rebecca Graham
Joseph and Rebecca Graham's children
More concerning early settlement of Lowell
Elizabeth Graham captured by the Indians
Col. Graham rescues Elizabeth from Indians
Elizabeth Stodghill, nee Graham
Civil jurisdiction of Lowell
James Graham's estate
John Graham, Joseph's brother
Robert Graham of Fort Chiswell
Michael Graham's family
Slaves of James Graham, Sr.
Clayton's balloon ascension
Having traced the lineage of John Graham, Sr., through the descendants of his daughter, Florence, and her husband, James Graham, Sr., to the present time, the attention of the reader is now directed back to the early settlement of the Lowell neighborhood. As has been previously stated, the pioneer settlers of this community located here at a time when the savage, red warrior was still to be seen treading stealthily in this valley, the dim paths known only to the hunters and warriors of his own people. Thus, were those sturdy and brave pioneers ever kept on the outlook for terrors daily expected. While some worked to clear away the heavy forest, others with rifle in hand watched for this treacherous foe. The cause of the strange barking of a cur, the snapping of a twig, the indications of fresh [89] footprints or the rustle of a leaf were looked into with as much scrutiny and precision as if their life depended on it, which, indeed, in many cases it did. Therefore, to better protect themselves from an attack from these marauding Indians, the pioneer settlers whom we have named, very soon after locating in their new homes, built a fort on the south bank of the river on the exact spot where now stands the Lowell hotel. This fort soon became a nucleus around which settlers sought homes and the protection it afforded. New homes were thus made more remote from the older ones, yet near enough that when an Indian alarm was sounded, they sought safety within the walls of the fort. It is to be presumed that many alarms, false as well as true, were heralded from house to house in these days of dread and terror. How often these alarms were followed by the actual presence of the Red man in these settlements or whether he was on missions of peace or painted for war, tradition does not say; but it is believed that this little community, though living in con- [90] stant fear, increased and prospered, with no known fatalities until the spring of 1777, when an Indian alarm was again heralded from home to home, which for once proved to be too true. This rumor seems to have been founded by a report of someone having seen Indian signs in the neighborhood. From this report the whole community collected themselves to the fort. After being in the fort for a short time, possibly two or three days, and no further signs of Indians having been seen or reported, James Graham, hoping the alarm to have been ill-founded, proposed to those in the fort that, if some of the men would go and stay with him a night, he and his family would go over home. Accordingly, they did so, some of the men in the fort volunteering to go with him. Shortly after he went home, either the same night or later, his house was attacked by the Indians. 

The assault was made in the after part of the night before daybreak. Not feeling well, Graham had luckily lain down on a bench against [91] the door with his clothes on. The Indians made the assault by trying to force the door open, which they partly succeeded in doing. Thus aroused, Graham and his men placed the heavy bench and a tub of water against the door, and in this way prevented the Indians from gaining an entrance. A man named McDonald (or Caldwell), who was assisting in placing the tub against the door, while reaching above the door for a gun was shot and killed, the ball passing through the door. Thwarted in their effort in affecting an entrance into the house, the Indians next turned their villainous assault upon an outhouse or kitchen standing near the main dwelling. in this outbuilding slept a young negro man and two of the Graham children. The negro, whose name was Sharp, tried to escape by climbing up the chimney (chimneys in those days were large and roomy), but when discovered was ruthlessly hauled down from his hiding place, tomahawked and scalped. As this tragedy was being enacted, the cries of the two children who were sleeping [92] on the loft above next directed the attention of the Indians to that quarter. They shot up through the floor and wounded the eldest of the two, a boy named John in the knee, then dragged him and his sister down and out into the yard. Finding that John was wounded so badly that he could not stand upon his feet and that he would be a burdensome prisoner, they at once dispatched him with a tomahawk and carried off his bleeding scalp as a trophy of their crime. 

While this bloody scene was going on in the kitchen, Colonel Graham had gone upstairs and was shooting through a porthole at the Indians in the yard as best he could. The men in the lower part of the house loaded the guns and handed them up to him and he did the shooting. About the time they were trying to make the wounded boy stand up, several of them huddled together and fired at the bulk; when they suddenly dispersed. It is believed that one or more of the Indians were killed or wounded.