Captain Isaac Graham
by Michael F. Kinsella
Captain Isaac Graham - Time line biography of his life that was written by Mr. Kinsella. The pages use to be available on the internet at another location and are no longer there. I have created these pages because Isaac was a true California hero worth knowing. I once played Isaac at the Everygreen Cemetery in Santa Cruz on May 1st, 1999. - Floyd D. P. Øydegaard
During the last 150-years, much has been written about Graham and the support he gave John Charles Fremont, John Sutter, Stockton and others during the Bear Flag Revolt. However, the truth is that after the murder of Henry Naile and the release of his murderer, by Monterey authorities, Graham went into a stupor of inaction and refused to take part in the Mexican War. It was during this period that when Graham was suffering through the worst period of his life next to his arrest by Jose Castro and transport to San Blas. Just after he had witnessed the bravest deed a friend could give to another, his life. That twenty-one Santa Cruz citizens signed a petition condemning him, one of these hypocrites, a long time Graham acquaintance, Joseph L. Majors, whose participation in the signing probably hurt Isaac Graham's faith in comradeship to the core.
"...is perpetually corrupting the peace of our vicinity and for the last six years has not ceased to invite or attempt revolutions, challenges for duels, assassinations, and disobedience of the laws even to the extent of arming himself when summoned....We are unanimously of the opinion that said Graham has been the sole cause of the death of his companion Henry Naile through the many compromises into which he had been lead by this dissolute man Graham."
July 4, 1846
Isaac and Catherine Graham became the proud parents of a daughter, Matilda Jane Graham (Rice), who, also was the first baby born in the region by American parents, Catherine's mother, reportedly, also softened her attitude somewhat after Matilda's birth.
September 4, 1846
Isaac Graham participates in a trial.
September 28, 1846
William Blackburn, a native of Virginia, and Santa Cruz, Alcalde, wrote to Walter Colton, regarding Isaac Graham's non participation in the California revolt, "I have been induced to write to you from having since my arrival heard of your appointing an administration on the estate of Mr. Naile. It is true it is customary in the states, but consider the unsettled state of this country now. Graham has by some means in this neighborhood rendered himself unpopular amongst men that are permanently settled near Santa Cruz-men who have taken no part for our flag in this controversy; they are at home now and have been during the whole affair, while there are others and all of them are yet with Fremont....All I ask is for you to defer the matter until we get home....."
One consolation in Isaac Graham's life immediately following his trail against Don Carlos Roussillon, was the arrival of his savior and friend, Thomas Jefferson Farnham. Having arrived sometime in 1846, leaving Arkansas, in April, Graham, still feeling beholding to his friend, assisted his old biographer in attaining ranch land only six miles from his own in August, 1847, for only $1 an acre from eleven Ohlone Indians. The name of the Farnham ranch was "Rancho Tres Ojos de Agua." While the name of the home was, "El Rancho La Libertad." Farnham apparently did not spend much time on the land, first preferring to live in San Jose for awhile before returning to live in Santa Cruz while working in the court of the Alcalde, William Blackburn. It was while working in the court that Farnham's next venture developed, building a schooner at Soquel landing (Capitola), beginning a freighting business to San Francisco and the Sacramento River, no doubt with the clear help of his friend, Isaac Graham.
However, it was prior to his obtaining the, El Rancho La Libertad, that just like his friend Isaac Graham being the first to participate in a jury trail, that Thomas Jefferson Farnham found himself being the defendant in the new state of California's first libel suit trial. It seems that the rhetoric Farnham had written in the pre-California years in defending the arrest of Isaac Graham in his book, The Early Days of California, was now coming back to haunt him.