Bio: Graham, Hiram P. (1820 - 1902)


Surnames: Graham, Tolles, Cleveland, Cowen, Thompson

----Source: History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin (1914) pages 720-721

Hiram P. Graham, deceased. Standing prominent among the representative men of Eau Claire was Hiram P. Graham. He was born in Windham, N. Y., March 29, 1820. He was reared in his home town, where he received not only a physical training but also a moral education which was of an inestimable benefit to him in fashioning a successful career. He received his education in the common and select schools and early in life learned the trade of millwright. In 1844 he went to Canada, where he followed the same occupation for eight years, when he returned to Allegany county. New York, and engaged in the lumber business, purchasing a mill, which he operated for four years. The adventuresome spirit of the times made itself felt in Mr. Graham, and in 1856 he was induced to come to Eau Claire by the Eau Claire Lumber Company, in whose employ he remained some four years. The opportunities offered in Eau Claire were so much greater for advancement than in the East he decided to make this place his future home, and accordingly moved his family here in the fall of 1857. He was desirous of entering into business for himself, and in company with his brother-in-law, Robert Tolles, bought a planing mill, which they operated under the firm name of Graham, White & Company until it was destroyed by fire in 1875. In connection with this plant they had a foundry and machine shop. In the fall of the same year they rebuilt their factory, shops, etc., and continued the business as if nothing had occurred. The concern was organized into a stock company, known as the Phoenix Manufacturing Company, and as such has earned a name that is well known throughout the United States and foreign countries.

Mr. Graham was for many years connected with the Dells Lumber Company, of which he was president as well as being president of the Phoenix Manufacturing Company. He was financially successful and the high esteem in which he was held by the citizens of Eau Claire proved that his life's work was appreciated. His fellow citizens in Eau Claire and the State of Wisconsin showed their confidence in him and their appreciation of his worth by electing him to various offices. In 1862 he was appointed sheriff of the county by the governor to fill out the unexpired term of his predecessor, who had enlisted in the Civil War. When the village of Eau Claire was organized he was made one of the trustees and when the village was incorporated as a city he was elected its first mayor. He was appointed postmaster by President Cleveland and filled that office during the years of 1888 and 1889.

On February 1, 1848, while living in Canada, he married Miss Mary J. Cowen, a very estimable young lady of rare womanly graces and domestic virtues, who was born March 2, 1826, at Troy, N. Y. Their two children who grew to maturity are Mrs. Julia Thompson and Fred H. Graham.

The financial success of Mr. Graham was traceable to his fairness, honesty and integrity. He was not a strong partisan such men seldom are but his patriotism and desire for good and honest government prompted him to vote for the best men nominated. Such a life is a model for the young man who is sometimes tempted, amidst the only too great degrees of loose commercial morality, to think that success depends upon methods unapproved by conscience and public opinion. Mr. Graham achieved success and maintained his honor unspotted. He was well known in Eau Claire for his unswerving truth and probity. His career was in every respect one of credit to himself and to the city in which he so long lived and was so well known and his death, which occurred on January 24, 1902, was a great loss to the business and social interests of the community.



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