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.

5 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

  2. Mrs. Gra­ham,

    I am a direct descen­dant of Jane Gra­ham, w/o Samuel Neil, d/o Robert Gra­ham,
    grd/o John Gra­ham and Eliz­a­beth Elliott?, Would be inter­est­ed in any Gra­ham
    info,

  3. So many rel­a­tives I have nev­er met. I am the 4th great grand daugh­ter of Col. Gra­ham. I am anx­ious to vis­it the Gra­ham House.

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