Letters from John Crawford Graham to niece
February 26, 1943
Mrs. Eunice Lee
If you are Eunice Graham Lee then I am your Uncle John Graham. I left Piedmont, Missouri in 1905 to come to Alabama. After father died I brought the other children down. There are four of us living now, Charley, Jesse, Grace and myself. I have a large family. They are all married. Charles has nine or ten;Jesse has three. Grace has none. If you are my niece please write us and I will tell you all about ourselves and how we are getting along.
Your Uncle, John C. Graham, Romulus Alabama
I am writing a little more. I didn’t tell you how glad to get your letter. We were all tickled pink and you didn’t realize you were writing your first letter to me on my 66th birthday. 9THE 3RD OF March)I HAVE 3 HOLIDAYS A YEAR. Christmas, Father’s Day and my birthday. I get lots of presents. Grace sent me a fine wool sweater this birthday and the rest all sent money. We are living in a good community with lots of people, two churches within a mile and a 5 teacher school just back of our house. . We have electricity in our houses and have good gravel roads. We raise cotton, corn, hay, and everything anyone would want. Daughter Lucille and James and their family have just been here and have gone to see the river. It had a 55 foot rise on. Preasha went with them.
So I must thank you for the letter and you must write again when you feel like it. JCG
Buhl, Alabama March 21, 1943
Dear Eunice and all,
I received your last letter 2 weeks ago but have been so busy just put it off and now I have so many letters to write that we run out of news sometimes. You see, our kids are so scattered out. I will give you a list of them and where they live and the number of kids they have, so you can see it’s a man’s job keeping up with all of them.
Eula, 43,was born in Missouri has 2 girls. She lost her first husband and is married again with 3 stepchildren. She lives at Hold and has been teaching for 22 years.
Raymond, 41, was born in Missouri and has been in the navy 23 years. He is an ensign Instructor and taught Navy boys Engineering at the University of Illinois last year. But lives in California now. He has a girl and a boy.
Lawrence, 37, was born in Alabama but lives in Pascagoula, Mississippi where he works in a government shop. He is married with 3 kids. Loyd, 35 has been with the government 15 years, He was inducted din the Army last fall and is now a Leutentant . He is an instructor at Swift Camp in Texas, is married but no children/
Lucille, 31 is married, lives close and has 2 boys and 2 girls. She taught school several years. Her husband is a mule dealer.
Freda, 28 is married, has 2 girls and lives in Mobile where her husband is a welder.
Estelle, 24, married but has no children. HUSBAND WORKS IN A SHIPYARD.
Sara, 21, Married, lives in Mobile where he is an airplane mechanic, they have no children yet.
Brother Charley lives in Tuscaloosa, that is our home town but we get mail from Buhl, Jesse lives close, Toney died 7 years ago.They have 4 children..Sister Grace who was the little cripple, is well, now big and strong and lives in California.
So you can see wee are pretty well spread out. Just us two here and we are very busy all the time raising chickens and farming. We have a Negro servant here that does the rough work and we go to the curb market.
Last week we had a cold spell and lost 95 chicks, but we have the brooders full again. I have not worked for12 years though I am well and fat. I spent 31 years in the sawmill business and I will give you a good idea of a business man. I went into the sawmill business on my own in 1909. In the year 1912 I cleared $13,000 then I bought another mill, then a store, then a lot of mules.
While we lived at Buhl, I owned a store, 2 sawmills, a barber chop, soda fount, pool rooms, a good farm and about 15 houses.
Then in 1914 I drifted down here to Romulus 8 miles south of Buhl, bought 4 good farms and a world of timber. I had a store here and one in Tuscaloosa. Then I bought a house in Tuscaloosa, then a filling station and garage, and bought and sold cars at the same time. I owned a Telephone 16, helped a central girl and made bushels and bushels of money. I helped my kids off to school until every one graduated.. Now they love me for what I done for them, so when the timber was gone I quit.
During that time I wore out 29 cars and trucks, then the depression came and we all had to help each other so I am about like I was when I started. Only we have a fine bunch of kids, raised them all, and now they have homes of their own. When one handles all the business I had he can say that he had his hands full and to start with nothing, too. I leave it all to good health and hard work
.You and my wife are about the same age. She is my second wife. She was Preasha East. We married near Williamsville, Missouri in 1905. Came down here the next year and have been back many times.
We live close to the Warrior River that runs through Tuscaloosa, Get a map and you can locate us. Buhl is gone, just a school, post office, and a few stores. I put the first mill in Buhl, layed off the streets and planted shade trees. Now there are about 16” through. At one time there were 600 houses there. Now they are gone. Only two are there. Write us again soon, Come to see. Us.
Your Uncle John Graham