House of James Graham, Sr., at Lowell

The house is a two-story one, built of hewn logs, chinqued with stone, and is about 24×30 feet. The sills are of walnut, and, though near the ground, are in a good state of preservation to this day. There are two large stone chimneys. The fireplace in the front room is six feet wide and has a wooden arch five feet high. The chim- [42] ney at the east end has two fireplaces downstairs and one upstairs. There are three room downstairs, the front one being large and roomy. The rear is separated by a cross partition, making two rooms with a fireplace in each. There are also three rooms upstairs. The most notable part of this building is in the architecture of its roof. There are three principal pairs of rafters, one in the center and one at each end of the house, which are about seven inches square with a purlin running lengthwise of the house of the same size, framed together at the middle principal rafter. This frame serves as a support of the regular rafters, which are of themselves very large and strong. We do not hesitate to believe that the framework of this roof, properly protected from the weather, will stand the storms of centuries to come. This house was built before the days of cut or factory made nails and all the nails used in its construction were made in the blacksmith shop and called wrought nails. Likewise, was all the lumber sawed by hand [43] with the old-fashioned whipsaw. Tradition further tells us that the stone in the chimneys were boated in canoes from a point about a mile down the river called the “Narrows”. This house, at the time of its construction, was considered the best, if not the “finest” in all that section.

At the time that Graham first settled at this place, it does not appear that there was a previous settlement in this immediate locality. it will be remembered that, after the breaking up of the white settlement on Muddy Creek and Big Levels by the Indians in 1763, at which time all the white settlers were either killed, captured or fled for their lives beyond the eastern slopes of the Alleghany, no further attempt was made toward again settling the Greenbrier country until the year 1769. Even then those who saw fit to hazzard their lives by thus venturing into the wilderness, which had previously been made red by the blood of their friends, took the precaution to first occupy that portion of the coun- [44] try nearest the eastern settlement from which they came. Thus was the locality around Fort Union, now Lewisburg, and Donnally’s Fort farther to the northwest, settled before any attempt was made to venture farther down the river. Neither the pages of history nor the dim lines of tradition tell us of the order in which all the settlers occupied land or secured for themselves homes, as the tide of immigration pressed itself down the Greenbrier Valley, but sufficient is known that such valuable land lying up the river from Lowell, as the Riffe Bottom, Wolf Creek Bottom, Lanes Bottom and the bottoms on which the town of Alderson now stands, were not occupied until after the Lowell settlement; hence we conclude that Col. Graham and those who settled near him, were not only the first to occupy this territory, but that they passed by the then known limits of all white settlers on the Greenbrier and made their homes in this, then remote, wilderness.

2 thoughts on “House of James Graham, Sr., at Lowell

  1. Before my dad passed away in 1997, my parents, Jack and Evelyn attended the Graham reunion here and visited the cemetery. My father left me the family tree book. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it and would like some information how I can add my family and my children’s generation to the family tree.

    Thank you, very much.

    Kristi Graham

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