Biography of William Graham
Prominent Persons in Virginia, Biographies





Graham, William, was born in Paxton township, Pennsylvania, December 19, 1746, son of Michael Graham, who emigrated from Ireland to America about 1725, and settled in Pennsylvania. William graduated from the College of New Jersey, A. B., 1773, A. M., 1776; studied theology, and was assistant to the Rev. John Brown in a classical school established in a log schoolhouse at Mount Pleasant, Virginia, which through amalgamation with Augusta Academy grew into Washington and Lee University. On October 26, 1775, he was received as a minister by the Presbytery of Hanover at Timber Ridge. Virginia. In 1774 he became rector of the log schoolhouse then known as Augusta Academy. which becathe Liberty Hall, May 6, 1776; John Montgomery being his assistant. He also filled the chair of moral and intellectual philosophy and he added to his duties those of pastor of two churches and manager of a farm on North river near Lexington. The academy was removed to Timber Ridge in 1777, and to near his farm at Lexington, Virginia. in 1782, when it was chartered by the Virginia assembly. The first class was graduated in 1785, the name having been changed in 1784 to Washington Academy, in recognition of a gift by Gen. Washington, of 100 shares of stock of the James River Canal Company valued at the time at $50,000. He resigned the presidency of Washington Academy in 1796 and went to the Ohio. where he purchased land with the design of settling there with his family and a few chosen friends. He was on a journey from the Ohio to Richmond, Virginia. when he died at the home of his friend. Col. Gamble, and was buried near the south door of the Episcopal church on Church hill, rendered historical by the oration of Patrick Henry. President Graham was a trustee of Liberty Hall Academy, 1776-82, and president of the board of trustees of Washington Academy, 1782-96. He was a member of the convention of 1784 to form a plan of government for the proposed State of Frankland. and drew up a plan of constitution which was not preserved, the project falling through as it infringed on the rights of the state of North Carolina. He died in Richmond, Virginia, June 8, 1799.


FROM:
Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography
Volume II
By: Lyon Gardiner Tyler, LL. D.
Lewis Historical Publishing Company
New York 1915



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