Biography of Frank Graham
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





FRANK GRAHAM. - For almost half a century a resident of Humboldt county, and during all that time engaged in occupations that have closely identified him with the life of the community and with the development of the natural resources of the county, Frank Graham, of Arcata, is indeed a pioneer, and a splendid type of the men who have made California a "front door" instead of a "back door" to the nation. He has been associated with the various forms of the lumber industry for more than forty five years on the coast, and was before that engaged in logging in the New Brunswick and Maine woods. For more than thirty years he has been superintendent of the logging department of a mill on Blue Lake, at Korbel, which he helped to build, and for which his industry is largely responsible. He is prominently associated with the best interests of Humboldt county, banks, railroads, telephones and farming and dairying interests all receiving their share of his ability and energetic strength of mind and body. Throughout the county he is known as a man of more than ordinary worth, and his word is as good as his bond. He is especially well liked by the men in his employ, each one feeling that in his superintendent he has a true friend in time of need and a wise counselor at all times.

Mr. Graham is a native of York county, New Brunswick, where he was born near Fredericton, February 25, 1844. His father, James Graham, was a native of Ireland, but left the Emerald Isle when he was quite young and came alone to New Brunswick. There he found employment on a farm where he remained for several years, saving his money with great care, and eventually accumulating enough to purchase the farm himself. There he engaged in farming until his death about twenty years ago. The mother of Mr. Graham was Marguerite Miller, also a native of Ireland, who came to New Brunswick with her parents when she was a child, and there her life was passed. She was married to James Graham in 1841, and became the mother of twelve children, of whom Frank Graham is the eldest son, but the second born, there being one daughter older than he. Mrs. Graham passed away in 1860. The father married again, and two children were born to the second wife.

The boyhood days of Frank Graham were passed on his father's farm in New Brunswick, where he attended first the grammar school and later a private school until he was fifteen years of age. At that time he went to work in the woods for the munificent sum of $6.50 a month. In 1868 he went into the Maine woods where he remained a year before returning to Canada. Reports of the opportunities offered to the ambitious young man in California reached him, and in 1869 he came to the coast, crossing the plains in one of the first trains to come to California. He located in Humboldt county in the fall of that year, and has since made this the scene of his operations. During the first year he worked by the month, running rafts, but the following year he commenced working by contract, running rafts on the Elk river, and continued here until 1872. At that time he began to work for Harris Connick in the woods at Ryan slough, and in the summer ran rafts on the slough up to the fall of 1873. That year he formed a company with his brother, Alex Graham, and James Kirk and bought out the property known as the old Baird claim, and engaged in logging. The acreage covered by this purchase was extensive, numbering some nine hundred or a thousand acres, and for a year the partners followed the new venture with great success, then, in 1875, sold their interests to Baird & Cotterel.

Following this venture Mr. Graham went to work for the Flanigin & Bronson Company, contracting in the logging business, and remained with this company for two years. In 1877 he entered the employ of John Vance, again contracting for logging, this time operating on Lindsay creek. Here he remained for four years. In 1881 he secured contracts under the Carson & Flanigin Company, and the following year formed a company with G. W. Chandler, Al Kendall and M. F. Henderson and bought land on Blue Lake, where they built a mill. Soon after the mill was completed Mr. Graham also purchased several hundred acres of land in the vicinity. In 1886 they moved the mill to Riverside, where they have manufactured lumber ever since. In connection with the work of the mill Mr. Graham took charge of the logging, and it is with this that he has been associated ever since. In 1889 the company bought out Mr. Chandler, and in 1886 H. W. Jackson had bought the interest of Mr. Henderson. This left Mr. Graham and Al Kendall as the only members of the company who were also a part of the original organization. In 1889 they incorporated the mills and lands as the Riverside Lumber Company and conducted the business under that name. This venture has prospered from the first and is now one of the oldest and best established business concerns in Humboldt county.

In 1903 the company bought out the lumber mill at Korbel, operated then by the Korbel Lumber Company, and consolidating this with the Riverside Lumber Company, incorporated the business under the name of the Northern Redwood Lumber Company, under which both mills are now operated. The mills cut annually about fifty million feet of lumber, which is brought by rail to their yards in Arcata and the Arcata wharfs, from which point it is shipped to the east as well as to Australia, South America, West Indies and Mexico. The company operates a large dairy farm near Korbel. Mr. Graham owns one hundred sixty acres on Arcata bottom which he devoted to dairying and farming for several years, giving his personal attention to this industry, but at present the farm is rented to tenants. Another of his interests is the tannery at Arcata, he with others buying out the old tannery about 1903, and it is known as the Devlin Tannery Company.

Mr. Graham has also been interested in the general merchandise business, being one of the founders of the store known as the Seeley & Titlow Company, the original business being purchased from a Mrs. Spring in 1902. He is interested in the creamery business in Arcata and the surrounding country also, and is a prominent member of the Arcata Creamery Association. He was also one of the founders of the First National Bank of Arcata, of which he is a director and a heavy stockholder.

A distinct line of public interest and welfare has been touched by Mr. Graham in his association with the telephone and railroad enterprises of Humboldt county. He was one of the founders of the telephone company operating between Arcata and Crescent City, and is at present one of the stockholders in the company. His railroad interest is in the line from the Arcata wharf to Korbel, where he is interested in the mills.

In politics Mr. Graham is a Republican, and he has always been keenly interested in the doings of his party and in the general welfare of the state and nation from a political standpoint, while his interest in local issues is vital and influential. He is a progressive and always on the side of social betterment and civic uplift. In fraternal and social circles he is well known and deservedly popular. He has a host of friends in every walk of life and in every grade of society who admire and trust him, and who esteem his friendship as a jewel of rare price. He is associated with a number of prominent fraternal organizations, among which may be mentioned Eureka Lodge No. 652, B. P. O. E., Humboldt Lodge No. 77, I. O. O. F., in Eureka, and the Hoo Hoos.

The marriage of Mr. Graham occurred in Eureka, March 4, 1875, uniting him with Miss Martha Adeline Montgomery, a native of Texas, where she was born December 30, 1857. Mrs. Graham came to California with her parents when she was a small child. They located first in Modesto, soon afterward going to the Sacramento valley, and later, in 1872, they removed to Humboldt county. Mrs. Graham bore her husband eight children, as follows: James Francis, deceased; Addie Lu, now Mrs. Bert Hill, of Arcata; Henry, deceased; Norman A., of Arcata; Fred Osborn, deceased; Hazel, the wife of Ernest Tierney, of Eureka; Mildred and Earl. The younger generation of Grahams are all well and favorably known in Humboldt county, where they were all born and educated, and where they all reside. Mr. and Mrs. Graham are members of the Presbyterian church.

Mr. Graham at present makes his home in Arcata, where he has a comfortable residence, and where his business interests center. He is a notable figure on the streets, and an important factor in the affairs of his city and county. He is a splendid type of the pioneer men who have made Humboldt county a land of beautiful homes and fertile farms, and the transformation through which he has witnessed the county pass is great indeed. Yet he has ever kept abreast of the times, and is today modern and progressive in the broadest sense of the word.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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