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

Part 21 - Such is Life

Isaac Graham is elected to the Santa Cruz City Council.

February the 11, 1859

Dear Father,
I received your letter this morning and thought that I would answer it immediately, for I know that you will feel uneasy about us we have got well of the measles. While I was sick we never took any doctor's medicine, our only medicine was a little sage and saffron tea, we drank plenty of cold water we was up every day but Sunday and Monday. Your letter lay in the stage office a week before we got it, this morning Mr. Harmond [?] called me and told me, and told me that he had a letter for me and you ought to see how I jumped. Mrs. Hammond [?] gives her respects to you Emma and Ann gives their love to you. I wrote to you Tuesday, I have been expecting you up for a long time, I believe this is all I have to say.

P.S. Sister Ann has written on the next page.

I remain your ever loving child
Jane Graham

San Jose, February the 25th, 1859

Dear Father,

I received your very kind letter and was glad to hear from you, but I cannot comprehend what you meant by sending that letter book? Do you mean to say as Mouche that I must write oftener, or that I must copy the letters out of it? I received the alphabet - full in rhyme and was much pleased with it - I have written to you several times but have never sent but one - I have also written to Sister Mary. Give my respects to all the good folks in town. Emma sends her love to you and her respects to Mr. Farnham's Hotel that is to say Mr. Farnham, Mrs. Jones and daughter, give my love to Mary and Uncle Billy. Mrs. Hammond sends her respects to you, come over soon and you will find when you get here your


Santa Cruz, Dec. 28 1862

Dear Father,

I am well and I hope these few lines will find you the same? Jane is well and sends her love to you. Santa Cruz is getting on very well. A man by the name of Wise was killed the other day by a Spaniard by the name of John Lorenzano. There were a few words between them and it was made up before there were several coming down in a wagon when they stopped at a creek, when Wise said he would go on and let the team catch him, when John Lorenzano said that he should not go on till the team went, to which Wise replied, that he was his own guardian, and turning round began talking to a man beside him when the Spaniard hit him over the eye and temple with a club, cracking his skull and entirely opening his brain. But strange to say he came on to town, had his head close up, walked round and at last went to bed when at about midnight a man came down and told the bar keeper that there was a man in the next room in distress. They went up and found it was Wise who was now speechless. Doctors were called but it was no avail, he died about 3 o'clock Christmas Day. 3 men were dispatched after the Spaniard and he was overtaken at the top of the mountain San Jose with his mother and wife. He was brought back and awaits his trial, doubtless he will be convicted of manslaughter. The Spaniard was not aware that he had hit him so hard thinking that at most that he had crippled him for a short time, and thought that he would go away for a short to escape a fine. That is all the news at present, with the exception that there were two other deaths besides the unhappy Wise.


Yours affectionately
Annie Graham

January 3, 1863
Isaac went to San Francisco on a business trip, staying at the Niantic hotel.

February 6, 1863
A newspaper obituary states: Miss Annie A. Graham. Aged 14 years and 1-month, died.
on the 31st of January, at the house of Mr. Rice, (brother-in-law of deceased)
Santa Cruz Sentinel

November 3, 1863
Isaac Graham dies suddenly. His body was brought back to his beloved Santa Cruz, where he was laid to rest for eternity next to his beloved daughter, Annie.

November 14, 1863, Santa Cruz Sentinel
Capt. Graham: This old resident who for thirty years has been identified with the history of this vicinity, and especially with its earlier traditions, died in San Francisco the 8th inst.(means this year) His remains were brought to Santa Cruz and buried in the cemetery(Evergreen )on Tuesday.

Although only 64 years of age, at his death, his entire system both mental and physical, had been breaking up for a number of years. This early decay may be partly attributable to the vicissitudes of a frontier life full of adventure and excesses.

He was born in Boutecourt county Virginia, but removed early in life to Kentucky, then the "dark and bloody ground" where he was conversant with the explorers and heroes of the border, among them Daniel Boone at whose death he was present. He afterwards went to Texas where he married, and Mexico; subsequently he roamed for years beyond the limits of civilization, through the immense Territory bounded by the Mississippi and Gila Rivers, the Pacific and British Possessions, and figured in many thrilling incidents, with the mountainers and trappers. About thirty years ago he came to Santa Cruz where he has since lived.

Before his decay by age he was engaged as a lumberman, distiller and ranchero, and was at one time very wealthy, but through litigation and excesses, very little of his property remained to him at his death.

He had a powerful frame, a persuasive address, an unerring eye with the rifle, and that daring which is always a concomitant of strength and power.

He was of litigious spirit and in his prime had both friends and enemies, but his last years of child-like age had pacified all enmities and he left none but friends behind him.

A rancher, living just outside of Fresno, for the past seven years was arrested. The sixty-three-year-old Jesse Graham was brought by train back to Santa Cruz California to stand trial for the murder of Dennis Bennett 38-years earlier. Jesse openly said that he spent the first six months after the death of Dennis, hiding on various parts of his fathers Natividad ranch. Then he joined the Mariposa County Rangers in the Indian Wars. He than traveled to Mazatland, Mexico, New Orleans and Havana before returning to Texas.

April 30, 1888
Jesse Graham is brought before the Santa Cruz Superior Court. His defense team had tried unsuccessfully during the prior three days to get the murder indictment dismissed by presenting arguments such as, the indictment in 1851, is now under California law invalid. John Daubenbiss, who was on the original Grand Jury, was called to take the stand by the prosecution. Then, former District Attorney William T. Wallace, then a Judge, also took the stand. The men apparently satisfied Judge Ferdinand J. McCann to disregard the motion from the defense to dismiss the charge. And the court date was set to begin, June 11, with District Attorney William T. Jeter and his assistant, Z. N. Goldsby for the prosecution. Russ Ward, would be the lead defense attorney along with two others, Edgar Spalsbury and Peter Wigginton for the defense.

June 13, 1888
The Jesse Graham trial begins. Jesse Graham was released. The jury had brought back a not-guilty verdict regarding the murder charge, and Jesse lived a long life.

Another interesting fact to point on regarding Isaac Graham and Catherine Bennett, is that while Graham was pointing out that Catherine was living a less than moral life while she was residing in Oregon, Catherine gave birth to a baby boy she named Frank, in December, 1852. She flat out lied to all listening when she testified before the custodial case earlier in June, 1852. Catherine married Daniel McCusker, an Irish born Immigrant, in February, 1853. He then adopted the Bennett child.

Isaac Graham was rumored by many to be the real father of Frank McCusker, however, the true father of Frank will probably never be known. However, from all accounts, Catherine's new husband provided a good home, including in evidence to this statement, is the fact that Daniel and Catherine McCusker would have a total of six children: Josephine in 1854, Albert in 1858, James in 1860, Alice in 1862, and Minnie in 1864, not including Frank nor her children with Isaac from her first marriage.

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