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
April 18, 1840
It was after twelve-days of Graham's lock up that his staunchest defender in his ordeal would arrive in Monterey, Thomas Jefferson Farnham, a lawyer who would end up writing biased books and newspaper articles about the arrest of Graham that would make Graham, almost, a national hero in the United States and arguably be the beginning of the end of Californio and Mexican rule in the province. Arriving in Monterey via Hawaii, on the ship, Don Quixote, on April 18, immediately upon hearing of the foreigner's arrest's, Farnham went to Governor Alverado and tried to persuade him into trying the prisoners quickly, or releasing them, threatening that the United States of America might get involved regarding the treatment of their citizens on foreign soil. However, Alverado washed his hands of any suggestions regarding the fates of the men. His mind was made up. He would expel them to San Blas.
"The doors of the prison opened; its emaciated tenants came out, some of them with no clothing except a ragged pair of pantaloons. The Spaniards had robbed them not only of their cattle, horses, mules, but also of their freedom. Poor old Graham seemed utterly heartbroken. The 40 men came out of their single cell and marched between two files of soldiers to the shoreline."
Farnham then reported that he yelled to Graham, "Be brave! Let no Tennessean ever think of yielding in this way. Raise your head and keep it erect. Once landed at San Blas, you are safe. I will see you when you land!"
Farnham wrote; "Graham, binded in irons, atop the shoulders of several Indians replied; I never can be a man again after having these feet bound by a Californian; never again! I could bear to be a prisoner to a brave and decent people, but to be cooped up, chained and exported like a tub of lard, by these here scabs of mankind, is mighty bad! No, I never shall be a man again, Mr._____. Here, take my hand. We should have been riddled with bullets if you had not been here, could the rascals have drawn a head close enough to hit us! I never shall be a man again! Irons on the legs of a man who fought for them, who made the cowards what they are! with my fifty rifles about me, I could drive the devils from the whole coast or lay them away to rot. But I won't think on't. I never can be a man again!"
Another tactic Thomas Jefferson Farnham used in making Graham a sympathetic figure, was to write about him not as a hard drinking, hard fighting, rowdy man, but as a romantic figure straight out of a romance novel. "...a stout, sturdy backwoodsman, of a stamp which only exists only on the frontiers of the American States-men with the blood of the ancient Normans and Saxons in their veins-with hearts as large as their bodies can hold, breathing nothing but kindness till injustice shows its fangs, and then, lion-like, striking for vengeance.
"This trait of natural character had been fostered in Graham by the life he had led. Early trained to the use of the rifle, he had learned to regard it as his friend and protector; and when the season of manhood arrived he threw it upon his shoulder and sought the wilderness, where he could enjoy its protection and be fed by its faithful aim. He became a beaver hunter-a cavalier of the wilderness-that noble specimen of brave men who have muscles for riding wild horses and warring with wild beasts, a steady brain and foot for climbing icy precipice, a strong breast for the mountain torrent, an unrelenting trap for the beaver, a keen eye and a deadly shot for a foe. A man was this Graham, who stood up boldly before his kind, conscious of possessing physical and mental powers adequate to any emergency."