Clan Graham

The Clan Graham

Our Graham line comes from Scotland. In what way we connect to the Highland Graham Clan is still a mystery. However, I'm including here a little history of the Highland Graham Clan and hopefully one day we'll know how we tie into it better.

David, son of the Scottish King, Malcolm III, came to the Scottish throne in 1124. David, before his accession, was Earl of Huntingdon in England. Upon becoming King David I of Scotland it was his intent to bring change into the country. That change was to bring feudalism and Norman techniques north of the River Forth.

When David I took up the throne, he brought with him his companion, his ally, his friend, William de Graham. William de graham was an Anglo-Norman, and represented the kind of change David wished to bring to Scotland. From David, William obtained the lands of Abercorn and Dalkeith in Midlothian.

William the Lion, who reigned from 1165 to 1214, was the donar of Kinnaber, the Clifton lands in Midlothian, and other lands near Montrose. That was the time at which the Grahams moved northwards.

Grahams served Scottish kings faithfully and a few were kings themselves, but it wasn't until about 1270 that the Graham clan gained a foothold into the Highlands. Sir Patrick de Graham (circa 1245-1296) married into the great Celtic dynastic house of the Earls of Strathern. He, through loyalty and bravery, was granted Lock Corrierklet and land on the banks of Lock Lomand.

During the Wars of Independence, Sir Patrick de Graham fought with gallantry until his death while carrying the King of Scot's banner against the English at the Battle of Dunbar in 1296. Sir Patrick's grand nephew, Sir John de Graham, was William Wallace's closest friend. William Wallace, one of Scotland's most beloved heroes, was a major leader in the Wars of Independence. Sir John fought bravely beside Wallace, but was slain by the English at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298. The Graham Clan also fought beside Robert Bruce and helped finally to win the Wars of Independence.

Sir Patrick's son, Sir David of Kincardine, was the signer of the memorable letter to the Pope in 1320, asserting the independence of Scotland; and his son, also David, fought and was captured at Durham in 1346. He is called Lord of "Auld Monros" - the latter word being a singular one in form, and very posibly explains the origin of the name of the Monroes, the greatest of the Graham Clans.

Over the next century, the Clan of Graham greatly expanded its holdings around Loch Lomond and the River Forth, and northeastward to the River Tay.

In 1413, Patrick Graham, Earl Palentine of Strathearn, was slain by the Drummonds. He left his infant son to the care of his own younger brother, Sir Robert Graham of Kinpont. In 1427, King James I seized the boys's rich earldom, giving him instead the Highland parish of Aberfoyle and part of Port of Monteith, wih the almost empty title of Earl of Menteith. At the same time he sent the boy to England as a hostage, who was imprisoned twenty-six years. The boy's uncle and guardian, Sir Robert de Graham, protested in vain. Sir Robert organized an opposition and tried to arrest the king in full Parliament, publicly renounced his allegiance to a tyrant, and finally raided Perth, the old Scottish capital, at the head of his Highlanders and slew the king himself: for which he was publicly tortured to death in the most revolting manner.

Over the next two hundred fifty years, the Clan of Graham fought many feuds and battles, holding onto most of their lands.

During the last half of the seventeenth century, James Graham, Chief of the Graham clan, and the 3rd Marquis of Montrose regained the original Graham lands on Loch Lomond and also the whole of the Buchannan Chief's estates. In 1680 William Graham, Earl of Menteith and Airth, being childless and in debt, turned over the inheritance of all his lands and earldoms to his chief, this same James Graham. This line of the Dukes of Montrose is till in existence today.

Previous to this, James Graham, 1st Marquis and Fifth Earl of Montrose, came to be the most famous of all Grahams. He was born in 1612. He succeeded his father as Earl in 1626. From 1637 to 1640 he was a leader of the Coveanters (Scottish Presbyterians) in their revolt against England. In 1640 James led the Scots across the Tweed and in a sweep around Berwick, turned the English army back at Newburn on the Tyne, and occupied Newcastle. Here James controlled London's vital coal supply.

In 1642 civil war broke ut between the English Parliament, aided by Scottish Prebyterians, and King Charles I, a Stuart and Scotsman who was King of Scotland and England. Parliament gained the upper hand and Charles I fled London to raise an army against Parliament, declaring war on August 22, 1642. James Graham, who had been a Prebyterian leader before the civil war, chose to aid his king. A march on London failed in late 1642 and led to a series of defeats for the Royalist. By the end of 1643, Parliament was in control over most of England. They had secured as their military leader, Oliver Cromwell.

James Graham had offered his sword early in the war to King Charles I, but had been received coolly because of his leadership of the Covenanters earlier. Finally the King listened to the overtures of the bold, handsome, eloquent young man. Then in the spring of 1644, James was offered the commission of Viceroy and Captain-General in Scotland. Not wanting to arouse jealousy, he declined. James went to Scotland with the title Lieutenant-General.

Cromwell had defeated the Royalist at Marston-Moor, putting all of England into the hands of Parliament. James had to disguise himself in order to make his way into Scotland. He found recruiting difficult. He even had trouble recruiting from his own clan. Suddenly help came from the west. One thousand Irishmen and Islemen landed on the coast. Around this small core James was able to gather a very small army, but with which he achieved a series of astounding successes.

Erupting suddenly from Blair, he routed Lord Elcho at Tippermuir on September 1, 1644, and occupied Perth. On the 13th he sacked Aberdeen. Then, just as suddenly, he vanished into the hills. In December, having crossed passess deemed impassable in mid-winter, he swept through the land of the Campbells. Upon his retiring back into the hills he was pursued, but he surprised his pursurers at Inverlochy in February 1645, and inflicted a bloody defeat upon his eni=emies. In April he seized Dundee. Turning north again, he beat Presbyterian armies at Auldearn in May, and at Alford in July. In August he won a pitched battle at Kelsyth (between Stirling and Glasgow) so completely that the lowlands lay at his feet.

He planned to cross the border with a great army and take the fighting to the south. However, he found few recruits, his Highlanders melted away, and on September 13, 1645, he was surprised and routed at Philipaugh. Leslie, the opposing general, made the attack spiritedly with his veteran troopers, and James, heading his own horse in person, made as spririted an effort to repulse the enemy. Indeed, like Napoleon in the closing conflicts of 1814, the Marquis never exerted himself so energetically as on this unfortunate day. The falling hero did not succumb without a struggle - harpooned as he was, he showed himself dangerously, like the whale, in his last flurry. And, when driven at last from the field, he turned again and again on his pursurers, and actually carried off from them two standards, usually (but not here) the signs of victory. James escaped and tried to raise the highlands again, and marched on Glasgow, but with little success. In July 1646, at the order of the King, James disbanded his army and then sailed for Norway.

In 1647, King charles, a prisoner of the army, escaped. In 1648, he returned at the head of an army. He was easily defeated and recaptured. In January 1649 he was beheaded.

Charles' son was proclaimed King Charles II by the Scots in 1649. He persuaded James Graham to return and raise an army, although publicly he disowned James. James did his best, but his venture failed disastrously; on April 27, 1650, James' forces were crushed. James was taken to Edinburg, brought before Parliament and sentenced to be hanged on a gallows and his body dismembered.

From first to last, after his seizure, he bore himself nobly, though indignities were heaped upon him cruelly and unnecessarily. He was drawn into Edinburg in a cart, pinioned, and exposed to the gaze of the whole city-rabble. When James appeared at trial, he defended himself almost solely on the plea of loyalty. All that he had done was in the cause of the rightful king and the monarchy.

James' resolute speech before his judges, and his undaunted courage gave him a place in the hearts of Scotsmen which he still holds. On May 21, 1650 he was hanged and afterwards his body was cut into pieces.

An old Scottish litany speaks of the pride of the Grahams:

"From the greed of the Campbells,
From the ire of the Drummonds,
From the pride of the Grahams,
From the wind of the Murrays,
Good Lord, deliver us."

A proud Graham was Thomas Graham of Balgowan, husband of "The Beuatiful Mrs. Graham" immortalized by Gainsborough. She died off the south of France during the French Revolution. Her husband was bringing her corpse home when French Revolutionaries insisted on breaking open and searching her coffin. Thomas took service against the French, personally raised a regiment which become known as "Graham's Grey Breeks," became a general and defeated the French Marshal Victor at the Battle of Barrosa: ending up as Lord Lynedoch.

Grhams have played a major role in the history of the British Isles and Scotland in particular. They have been military leaders, leaders of clans, the confidents of kings, and even kings themselves. Grahams have been members of parliament, Cabinet members, inventors, designeers, and explorers. They have proven themselves as natural leaders.

The third Duke of Montrose, as a member of Parliament, helped repeal the statutes against highland dress; thus restoring the tartan. Another Graham invented the Aircraft Carrier during the first World War. A Graham led the Home Rule movement in Scotland and another was a major leader in British Rhodeshia. The list goes on and on.

The whole gallant history of the Grahams shows that, to the enemies of what they believe to be right and true, a pride of Grahams is more dangerous than a pride of lions.

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