Reminiscences of Albert G. Graham

Clyde's "Grand Old Man"

Albert G. Graham

From: The Clyde Herald, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 1925, front page


Feels Fine, Has No Set Rules for Longevity. Discusses Many
Topics of Interest to Young and Old

By Harold A. Nichols.

Clyde's Grand Old Man.

No title more befitting could be given to Albert G. Graham, who celebrated his 94th birthday anniversary last Sunday, August 20th. Mr. Graham certainly is one grand old man.

On calling at the home on Caroline street Sunday I was greeted by this robust old man, whose features radiated health, joy and contentment on this notable morning. Now most people are rather fussy about being interviewed and especially by a young person. Not so with Mr. Graham, however, for after learning my mission, this old man, who is seventy-five year my senior, told me that he would be only too glad to give me any information I might want. Treating young and old alike is one of the things that makes the grand old man the likable person he is.

Mr. Graham was born in the town of Huron in a little farmhouse on the shore of Sodus Bay on August 20th, 1831. Life in those days was far different than now. Schooling wasn't stressed as much as it is nowadays. If you received an education it was largely through your own efforts. Such was the way Mr. Graham got his education. As farming was the principal industry then the farmer's sons had to work hard on the farms. From nine to ten months of the year the youthful Albert Graham labored hard, in warm weather and cold, and sometimes by the moonlight. The other two months he spent in going to school.

"Winter school," chuckled Mr. Graham as he recalled his conquest of the three R's in a district schoolhouse.

Practically all the schooling Mr. Graham had was when he was between the ages of six and twelve. The rest of the time he educated himself. Indeed the youth of today has much for which to be thankful after learning of Albert Graham's education, typical of that time.

"What did you do in those days for your sport and amusement?" I asked hoping to bring out the contrast between the numerous diversions of today and the amusements of a yesteryear.

Mr. Graham understood my idea, I guess, for he went into detail in answering my question. He, not unlike the other boys trapped and hunted quite extensively. Woodchucks were plentiful when he was a boy and he had great sport killing them. He recalled one incident on a farm near his father's where he walked through a field swinging a club back and forth killing the chucks by the scores. Coon hunting was lots of fun then. While speaking of coon hunting the old man told me that he used to "kill, skin and tan" hides and make leather strings. The boys of today may well see a vast difference between their young lives and the lives of the boys many years ago.

"By the way, how did the young people do their courting in your time, Mr. Graham?"

Here's where I had a job on my hands for the grand old man didn't seem to want to talk about the courting days. Little by little I got the story. Husking bees, quilting parties, surprise parties and "paring parties" were very popular when Mr. Graham was a young man. Quite a lot of difference between the way the boys won their lady love in the 50s and the way they win her nowadays. Well, anyway, it was on a "paring party" when apples were being pared that Albert Graham met Miss Eliza L. Smith, daughter of Solomon Smith. In 1855/56(?) Miss Smith became the bride of the 24-year old Albert Graham. So you can see that this was a "pairing" party as well as a "paring" party.

Two children were born to the Grahams, Charles H. Graham, who resides in this town on one of his father's farm, and Emma J., recently deceased wife of E. C. Delano, of Sodus Center. Mr. Graham's first trip on the Sea of Matrimony was ended in 1866 when death claimed his wife. However, the following year he set sail again, marrying Theresa, wife of David Waldorf. She died nine years ago.

Mr. Graham owns the Redfield farm of 160 acres, located a mile south of this village, and the Gildersleeve farm of 102 acres, 2 1/2 miles north of here. Almost every day he visits one or the other. He is a familiar sight driving through the streets on his way to his farms. "Nig," the horse he drives, is 22 years old, according to Mr. Graham, and he is very fond of him.

Although his life Mr. Graham has been a loyal Democrat and has always voted the Democratic ticket. Here is a list of the Presidents who have been inaugurated in Mr. Graham's time: Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, Rutherford B. Hayes, William Henry Harrison, James Garfield, Wm. McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge.

The talk drifted to various present day subjects. Autos, airplanes, electricity, the radio, movies and all the modern conveniences are wonderful, Mr. Graham said. Although he thinks he might like to own and drive an automobile he says he probably never will. Auto accidents, caused, by reckless drivers, lead him to believe that he'll live just as long if he doesn't have a car. He likes to ride in automobiles though and frequently takes short trips. Just last week he went to Wolcott by auto and while there transacted some business.

When asked if he thought airplanes would some day be as common as automobiles, Mr. Graham said, "Yes sir, I do. I surely believe they will be some day. This is a wonderful age."

"What do you think of the girls and women bobbing their hair," I asked.

Mr. Graham thought for a second, then replied, "I think they are very foolish, very foolish," adding, with a chuckle, "and some of them look awful too."

There you have this wise old man's opinion of bobbed hair, you exponents of the shorn lock. And there is a lot of truth in what he says.

Mr. Graham keeps in close touch with the world's doings by reading the newspapers. Although having the use of only one eye, being blind in the other because of a cataract, the old man reads quite a lot and can talk on the leading topics. He says the Ku Klux Klan is serious detriment to the country. He intimated that the 18th amendment would be a good thing if it were enforced.

The grand old man rarely smokes but always keeps a box of cigars in the house to pass out when friends come to call. All through his life he has not been ill over a dozen times and of late years has never known an illness.

"Do you expect to live 100 years, Mr. Graham?"

"I would never make such calculations," he returned, "I may be here today, gone tomorrow. I am not the one to say how long I shall live."

"Have you any set rules for living," I inquired.

The old man laughed a bit, then replied, "No, no, my not' no set rules at all."

He eats meat and potatoes, fruits and vegetables in season, drinks tea and coffee. Mr. Graham usually retires around 9 o'clock every evening and arises early in the morning.

I noticed a typewriter on the desk in Mr. Graham's office and asked if he used it. He said he did. Judging from his writings he can handle the machine with the best of them. Back in 1915 a friend brought this typewriter, a Yost No. 4, to sell to Mr. Graham. The old man argued up and down that he had no use for one, in fact didn't know how to run one. Well, the friend was a good salesman and Mr. Graham is using the typewriter today.

Sunday was a great day for Mr. Graham. Relatives were with him all day and numerous friends dropped in throughout the day to call and talk over old times and wish the old man many returns of the day, Mr. Graham. As the day wore on to evening the hours slipped lightly by, friends came and went and all rejoiced that their best friend - Albert G. Graham - was still with them.

After the last had gone Clyde's grand old man retired to rest up for the next day's march toward his 95th birthday.

May he pass it, and many others.

Maple Grove Cemetery
GRAHAM A.G. 1831-19-(no date)
GRAHAM Theresa wf A.G. 1840-1916
GRAHAM Elizabeth wf A.G. 1835-1856
GRAHAM Eliza L. wf Albert G. 3 Dec. 1866 38y19d

From: The Lyons Republican, Friday, July 30, 1926

NOTE: this was an abbreviated version of an identical obituary, containing several additional sentences, that was published the day before in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Thursday, July 29, 1926. The added sentences are in brackets. The photo above illustrated the D&C article.

Albert G. Graham

Albert G. Graham, 94, a resident of the town of Galen more than sixty years, died late Wednesday afternoon at his home in Caroline street, Clyde, following a short illness, during which he had been under treatment in Clifton Springs Sanitarium. Up to his last days his mind retained its clearness of vision and his counsel was sought by his friends.

Born in the town of Sodus on the shore of Great Sodus Bay on August 30, 1831, he would have reached the 95th milestone of his life next month. [Farming was the principal industry in those days and the farmers' sons were required to work hard on the farms, from nine to ten months of the year, during the warm weather, cold and often by moonlight, and Mr. Graham was no exception to the custom. The other two months of the year he spent in attending "winter school." Practically all of the schooling Mr. Graham received was when he was between the ages of six and twelve; the remainder of his education was receivedin the school of experience.]

He was married when 24 years old, to Eliza L. Smith, daughter of Solomon Smith, who died in 1866. He was married again in 1867, to Tresa Waldorf, daughter of David Waldorf, who died in 1916. He had two children by his first wife, Charles H. Graham, of Clyde and Emma J., deceased wife of E. C. Delano, of Sodus Center.

During 1864, Mr. Graham bought the Redfield farm of 100 acres, two and one-half miles north of Clyde, and moved into this township. In 1876 he bought the Graham farm of 80 acres, and in 1882, the Gildersleve (sic) farm of 102 acres. [Both of these farms are located a mile south of Clyde and are occupied by his sons.] Since purchasing his village home several years ago, it had been a custom of Mr. Graham to visit one or the other of the farms each day, until the last year, driving a favorite horse, which he kept in his village stable for that purpose. All through his life, Mr. Graham was a loyal Democrat and seldom if ever voted other than a Democratic ticket.

He leaves one son, Charles H. Graham of Clyde; two brothers, Nelson R. Graham, of North Rose; and Archibald Graham, of Clyde, and two grandsons.

From: The Syracuse Journal, Saturday, January 13, 1923, page 2


Clyde, Jan. 13- Albert G. Graham, Clyde's well known nonagenarian, completed this week a half-century's membership in Clyde Lodge, F. and A. M., and having been in good standing all those years, was unanimously voted a life membership by his fellow members.

From: The Lyons Republican, Friday, June 8, 1928

A decree was entered judicially settling the accounts of Charles H. Graham, as administrator of the estate of Albert G. Graham, late of Clyde.

From: The Clyde Herald, Wednesday, January 26, 1916


Theresa M., wife of Albert G. Graham of this village, died of heart failure at the home on Caroline street at 1 o'clock Thursday morning.

Mrs. Graham was born in Galen, May 15th, 1840, and had always live here. Her marriage to Mr. Graham was solemnized on April 25th, 1867. She had been a member of the Clyde M. E. Church over fifty years.

Deceased was a woman whose estimable life and character, and extreme kindness and courtesy, won her a host of friends. She always entertained generously and though she grew old in years, never grew old in her appreciation and enjoyment of legitimate pleasures of life.

Monday evening Mrs. Graham entertained a few friends with her accustomed graciousness and seemed to be in the enjoyment of her usual health. Later in the evening she did not feel well and the physician was summoned, and she revived only to collapse and die suddenly at 1 a.m.

Mrs. Graham is survived by her husband, besides Mrs. E. C. Delano, of Sodus, and Charles A. Graham, of Galen, and two brothers, David Waldorf, of Manlius, and T. Jefferson Waldorf, of Wolcott.

Funeral services will be held from the late home at 2 o'clock Thursday afternoon. Rev. Arthur Copeland, a former pastor, assisted by Rev. F. B. Duvall and W. J. Johnson will officiate.

From: The Clyde Times, Thursday, Jan. 27, 1916, page 4


This community was saddened Tuesday morning to learn of the sudden death of Mrs. Theressa M., wife of Albert G. Graham, which occured at her home on Caroline Street at an early hour that morning, after an illness of a few hours. Mrs. Graham had, apparently, been in her usual health until Monday evening when she retired complaining of not feeling well, but the family did not apprehend that she was more than slightly indisposed. She grew rapidly worse and a physician was immediately called but at 1:15 a.m. she had passed away.

Mrs. Graham was born in Galen May 15, 1840 and has been a lifelong resident of the town of her birth. On April 25, 1867 she was married to Albert G. Graham, who survives her. The greater portion of their married life was spent on their farm one mile south of Clyde but for the past several years they have resided in the village. Mrs. Graham has been an interested member of the Methodist Church for more than fifty years and her long and useful life has been devoted to her friends. Though hers was home life, she thoroughly enjoyed the society of friends and neighbors and the quiet social gatherings at the Graham home were not a few. She was a woman of estimable qualities, generous, of a kindly bearing and gracious manner; these attributes coupled with a pleasing personality not only won but made lasting friends. Mrs. Graham did not grow old with years but was ever companionable to old and young. On the evening of her death a few friends had been to the hospitable home and found her the usual courteous hostess that she was.

Those surviving are the husband, one son, Charles A. Graham, of Galen, one daughter, Mrs. E. C. Delano of Sodus Center, and two brothers, David O. Waldorf of Manlius, and T. Jefferson Waldorf of Wolcott, the latter a twin brother of the deceased. Funeral services are to be held this afternoon at 2 o'clock from the family home, Rev. Arthur Copeland of Auburn, assisted by Rev. F. B. Duvall, and Rev. W. J. Johnson, officiating. Interment will be made in Maple Grove Cemetery.

*** This information about Albert G. Graham and his family was gathered for no reason other than curiosity about the local man behind the long reminiscence article, and to present it as a "human interest" story for our site visitors. For all inquiries about persons and places mentioned, do NOT email the site coordinators, as we have NO further information other than what you read above. We refer you in advance to do your own research via internet search engines, historical societies, and libraries.

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