A Biographical Sketch of the Graham Family
— as related by Tilden J. Graham in 1926
Over the front door of the residence on the homestead of the late Charles M. Graham in the Marshland section, four miles below Clatskanie, is an ox yoke bearing the date, “1865.” This was the year the two Graham brothers, Charles and Samuel, came across the plains by ox team explained Tilden.
Samuel M. first settled at Beaverton, in Washington county, where he remained for three years, before he came to what is known as the Midland district which is a part of the Marshland section. There he bought 40 acres of land and later added 27 acres more to his holdings upon which he made a home.
The Grahams were natives of Indiana, but they removed to Des Moines, Iowa, where Samuel M. Graham was married to Sarah Ann Maags who accompanied him across the plains to Oregon. The trip was comparatively uneventful except that in the Grand Ronde valley Mr. Graham was accidentally shot in the leg with a charge of buckshot and the entire party had to remain there for six weeks until he sufficiently recovered for them to resume their journey.
“The yoke above the door of my uncle’s house was not used in crossing the plains,” explained Tilden Graham. “Rather, it was one used in breaking calves, as it is quite small. I and my cousins made it a business to break the calves while quite young,” said Mr. Graham. “and when they grew up we had a pair of oxen to sell. I have broken many a pair of calves in this way. The yoke is simply a momento of the days that were, and is used to signify the year the Grahams came to this part of Oregon, as well as the method of transportation used in coming.”
There were six sons and five daughters in the family of Samuel M. Graham, but a number of them have passed on, there now being six of them living: Arnold S. of Seattle; Silvo of Clatskanie; Tilden of Marshland; Mrs. Henry Warren of Carma, Cal.; Mrs. R. D. Kent of Centralia; and Mrs. D. W. Bush of Olympia.
Tilden was born at Marshland on June 22, 1875. He has resided continuously at the place of his birth except that he spent one year in San Francisco where he was employed as “gripman” on the cable street cars; one year in Clatskanie where he conducted a meat market; and six months in the Klondike country in 1897 when he and two of his brothers ran a pack train from Skagway to Lake Bennett over the White Pass.
“I have always remained at home and worked the farm.” said Mr. Graham, in explanation of his presence at the spot his father chose to make a home in the far west after a long journey out from Iowa in ’65.
Tilden J. Graham’s first schooling was in a subscription school which lasted only three or four months of the year. That was in 1883. His wife was a pupil in the same school, she also having been born and reared in the Marshland section. The schoolhouse was built of rough lumber and had homemade benches, explained both Mr. and Mrs. Graham.
Mr. Graham remembers making early trips to Clatskanie by boat, landing near the old Tichenor house which has just recently been torn down. There was not very much to Clatskanie in those days. He can also remember when the trail to the Nehalem was built. It was not a road, but a mere trail which permitted pack horses to pass over it single file.
Tilden J. Graham’s wife was Susie A. Colvin. They were married on September 26, 1906. Five children have been born to the Grahams: Arnold, Mervin, Elnora, Ethel, and Eugene.
Mr. Graham resides on the farm of his brother, Arnold. It is a large one comprising 518 acres and is highly improved. He has occupied the place for the past 15 years, and has endeavored to build up a herd of the noted Guernsey cattle.
Mr. Graham obtained his first Guernseys, a male and female, from the Ladd Estate in Portland 16 years ago. His herd now consists of 30 head and they are headed by “Clearbrook Buster,” a grandson of the noted “Langwater Travels,” an imported bull from the G. L. Giles farm of Chinook, Wash. Mr. Graham’s herd is an especially fine one.
The milk is almost as rich as that of the Jersey, while the flavor is superior and better for table use. His herd stands high in the cow testing association.
The Graham farm, know as “Maple Grove Farm” is also noted as a fruit ranch. The orchards were set out in an early day. Last year it produced at least 300 boxes of apples besides a large quantity of apricots, plums and pears. The trees are loaded with fruit this year.
Mr. Graham’s father passed away in 1911, his mother in 1897.