Sunday, January 15, 2017

Anna Love Graham

Anna Love Graham circa 1895 at the age of 19
Anna was my paternal grandmother. She was born in 1876 on a farm in Townsend, Schuyler County, New York. The County Seat being the town of Watkins Glen. The county is located at the southern end of Seneca lake in New York's Finger Lakes Region. Three boys were also born to her parents, but the oldest and youngest did not survive infancy. She was the oldest of the two survivers. Her surviving brother was named Samuel Wesley Love. Anna was named after her father's first wife who had died.

Anna’s heritage was Irish on both sides. Her father William was a ‘Love’ and ‘McClintock’, whose parents were married in 1844 in the Ardstraw Presbyterian Church in County Tyrone, Ireland. Her mother Eliza was a ‘Killen’ and a ‘Graham’, also from County Tyrone. To reinforce the tight Irish connections, following the death of Anna’s father, her mother Eliza married a ‘Graham’ who was the cousin of her first husband as well as her own cousin.

She attended the one room school in Sugar Hill through 8th grade. She was sent to school in Philadelphia in 1892 for a year after her mother’s second marriage. She went to Starkey Seminary for High School where she graduated in 1897. After Starkey she attended Cook Academy, Montour Falls, New York for teacher’s training for 2 years.

Watkins Express, Oct 23, 1918
She taught country school in Schuyler County until she married Hiram Graham (no relation to her mother's family so far as we know) in 1903. During his life, Hiram was a coal and vegetable dealer, New York State Assemblyman for a term, and a land agent for the New York Central Railroad. Anna and Hiram bought a house and settled in the Schuyler County village of Beaver Dams. They had four children, three girls and a boy.

The boy, Joseph, was named after Anna's stepfather and would become my father. The three girls were Mary, Hebe and Irene. Mary was named after Hiram's widowed mother. Hebe was named after Anna's cousin and best friend, Hebe Love. Irene was born when Anna was 45. Anna decided when she arrived that she was going to give her a name she had always loved.

Anna never went to the hospital to have babies, they were all delivered at home by the only doctor in the village or by a midwife.

As reported by her youngest daughter, Irene; Anna was a beautiful woman with long black hair which she wore in a bun. Stood about 5’6”. Dad admired her good looking legs. She hated housework. She was never happy living in the house in the small village of Beaver Dams, NY. She dreamed of living elsewhere. The days in Albany, NY around 1918-1919, when her husband Hiram was a member of the New York State Assembly, were the happiest of her life. She was a very social woman in Beaver Dams with friends dropping in daily. She was kind, gentle and very direct. She said exactly what she thought.

Washing the car (Circa 1915, one of the first Model Ts in Beaver Dams) in the front yard - Anna sitting on porch steps, mother Eliza standing on porch, Hiram standing with hose behind car with son Joseph next to him & daughter Hebe by the rear wheel

Mother's dreams enriched her life while she made the best adjustment she could to living in Beaver Dams. She was active in church and the 'Ladies Aid'. There was no library in the village, but she and some other ladies formed a book club. They would take turns buying books and passing them around. She did take some magazines. She liked those that had articles about flowers and 'fancy work'. She gardened in the summer and loved crocheting and embroidering in the winter. At the County Fair she always entered some of her work.

Anna remained a resident of Beaver Dams almost to the end of her life. She died at the age of 79 in 1955 at the home of her oldest daughter in Cazenovia, New York, a town on the south end of Cazenovia Lake on the eastern edge of the Finger Lakes Region. Beside her four children, Anna had 13 grand children.


Parental relationship

The family relationship of Anna's parents serves to illustrate the restricted social climate of rural western New York State - an area that had been the frontier only 50 years before Anna's birth - and the significance of homeland connections for marriage decisions among the first generation of Irish immigrants. Young people met future marriage partners primarily through church and family connections. For Anna's parents the latter would prove crucial. The chart below illustrates those connections.

Anna's father, William Love, had a farm in Schuyler county, New York. In 1872, he lost his first wife, Anna Caldwell, to unknown causes when she was 26. They had a son who did not survive infancy. After her death, he traveled to Philadelphia where lived the sisters of his Uncle Isaac Graham, also a farmer in Schuyler County. These sisters had all immigrated to Philadelphia from Ireland in the 1840s. One sister, Nancy Graham Killen, still remained in Ireland. Her oldest daughter, Eliza Killen, had immigrated in 1865 from Ireland. William met and married Eliza in Philadelphia and brought her back to the farm within a year of Anna Caldwell's death.

William Love died of spinal meningitis in 1885. Seven years later Eliza Killen Love married Joseph Graham, a farmer in Schuyler County and a cousin both of her and her late husband William Love.

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