Eldon Graham 1923-2020

Eldon Graham, my wife’s grandfather, passed away on November 19, 2020. I would like to remember him with this blog, and few records I found about him.

The first census record where Eldon Graham appears is 1930.  Eldon was born 25 April 1923 in Girard, Kansas.  The Crawford County, Kansas census[1] shows Eldon as a six-year-old boy with his parents and a sister.  Dig how the census taker spelled Marilyn.

1930 Census Crawford County, KS

Graham Berl H head R (rented) Yes (on a farm) male, white, 35 married at age 25, no school last year, can read and write, birthplace–Missouri. Frieda A, wife, age 33, married at age 24, born in Missouri. Eldon L, son, 6, single, yes went to school last year, and yes can read and write, birthplace–Kansas. Morilwin, daughter, 2.

The 1940 census still lists the family in Crawford County.[2] 

Beryl was renting the farm he worked for $10 a month.  The record shows the family was quite well-educated.  Beryl had three years of high school, Frieda four years, Eldon–at 16–had completed four years of high school, and Marilyn–12–had completed 6th grade.  Considering their ages, and knowing they probably attended one-room schools with all grades in one group–sounds like Eldon and Marilyn excelled at studies.  Eldon was an involved student and teenager!

Pittsburg (KS) Advertiser, Thursday, June 27, 1940, p. 10.

Indeed, Eldon was quite intelligent, and mechanical.  His bachelor uncle–I bet it was George Wasem–saw great potential and paid for Eldon to go to mechanical school.  Then World War II began. There were drafts and enlistments.

Draft registration card, front and back, Fold3.com

This then led to working at Beech Aircraft building airplanes—like the AT-10GF-Wichita, built in Wichita while Eldon was there, and then to the Army Air Corps flying American AT-6s. 

The AT-10GF-Wichita[3]                                         American AT-6[4]

 After the Air Corps, Eldon returned to Beech, and must have been a dapper and most eligible bachelor.

Eldon Graham, c. 1946

1946 brought the wedding of Eldon Graham to Irene Spurgin. 

Irene Spurgin, graduation photo, 1940
Belleville (Kansas) Telescope, Thursday, June 27, 1946, p. 2.

Five songs in this wedding! “Liebestraum,”[5] “I Love You Truly,”[6] “Because,”[7] “Lohengrin’s Wedding March”[8] and “Ave Maria.”[9] (See the footnotes for links to youtube videos with each song.) The bride wore a dress of teal blue crepe accented by a corsage of pink rose buds and white accessories.  Miss Doris McDaniel, maid of honor, wore a dress of dusty rose crepe (and the rest is unreadable in this copy). 

Dinner was at Droll’s English Grill, 3120 East Central Ave, in Wichita.  See pictures of the restaurant below.

Photos of Droll’s English Grill, banquet room and soda fountain found at wichitaphotos.org.

From here on, some of you know the story because you ARE the story.  Eldon and Irene set up a home, later building a house at 321 Sunflower Lane, Andover, and raised three children–Darwin, Lynda, and Gary—expanding to grandkids and greats and even great-greats.  Many pictures by that big tree planted in the yard–maybe 60-some years ago–show a lot of love floated above the carefully planned flower gardens around the house and along the border of the property.   I’m glad my son, Paschal, got to know his great-grandpa, Eldon.

Eldon and Paschal, April 2018

[1] 1930 US Federal Census, KS, Crawford, Crawford, ED 19-4, SD 13, Sheet 10A, Family 227.

[2] 1940 US Federal Census, KS, Crawford, Crawford, ED 19-4, SD 3, Sheet 6A, Family 130.


[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_T-6_Texan.

[5] Youtube video featuring the song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpOtuoHL45Y

[6] The song was recorded in 1901, again in 1945 by Bing Crosby, and featured in the end of It’s a Wonderful Life in this clip. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nq1CxLTRwEk

[7] A later recording of the song by Perry Como. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN5QyIkbf8U

[8] The Wedding March we are most familiar with: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJLQpdnvAXA

[9] A 1946 version of “Ave Maria.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXE7W4njs7Y

Women and Colonial Law: Four cases of illegitimate births in 1704, Charles County, Maryland

On March 14, 1703/4, four women were “presented” in court for the crime of bastardy.[1]  That’s the official word for bearing an illegitimate child. The year was 1704, but during this time in Maryland, the new year started in March–old style–while some started the year on January 1–new style.  To accommodate both views, until new style was firmly established, a system of double dating was used from January through March–thus, 1703/4.

Court was called to order in these words, “Att a County Court of Our Sovereigne Lady Anne by the Grace of God of England Scotland France and Ireland Queen Defender of the Faith etc~ held att Portobacco in Charles County, ye Fourteenth Day of march in the Third Years of her said Majestyes Reigne Annoqe Domini1703/4 Before// Major William Dent.” (325)

Dent was the magistrate for Maryland. 

Nine justices were seated, appointed and authorized to convene court.  They were Col. James Smallwood, Capt William Barton, Mr. William Wikinson, Mr. Joseph Manning, Mr. Philip Briscoe, Mr. Richard Harrison, Mr. Robert Yates, Capt. Henry Hardy, and Mr. William Harbart.

Along with them, 15 jurors were also seated by the High Sheriff, Capt. Thomas Smoot.  Foreman, Matthew Barnes, Ubgatt Reeves, John Theobalds, Jos. Thomas, Henry Tanner, Stephen Cawood, Jn. Booker, Oliver Burch, Wm. Penn, Matthw Compton, Gerrd Ocane, Thomas Coleman, Edw Phillpott, John Dent, and Thomas Dixon.  The men arraigned four women in court in the following words–each woman was presented separately, but the verbiage was essentially identical:

“The Jurors of Our Sovereigne Lady the Queen…upon their oaths do present:”

Mary Maggatee by Information of William Newman One of the Constables of Portobacco Parrish for having a Bastard Child.” (325)

Close-up of Liber A2, p 325.

Mary Goddert by Information of William Newman One of the Constables of Portobacco Parrish for having a Bastard Child.” (325)

Mary Pilkins by Information of William Bishop One of the Constables of Durham Parrish for having a Bastard Child.” (326)

Elizabeth Browne Servant Woman to William Barker by Information of Peter Villet constable of Benedict Leonard Hundred for having a bastard Child.” (326)

The four women were returned to court on April 4.  As the record states (again similar wording for each):

Itt was Commanded the Sheriff that he Should Cause the Said Mary Maggatee to Come before the Justices of Our Sovereign lady the Queen att the Next Court to be held here on    the fourth day of Aprill Next to answer unto the presentments aforesaid (387)

Close-up Liber A2, p 387

att which  Day here  cometh William Stone who for Our Sovereign lady the Queen Doth Prosecute~

And the Sherriff Now Returneth that he hath taken the body of the Said Mary Maggatee.               Thomas Smoot, Shf.

And now here att this Day (to witt) the Said fourth day of Aprill here cometh the said Mary Maggatee in her Propper Person and Itt being by this Court demanded of the Said Mary Maggatee how she would acquitt herself of the Trespass and Misdemeanor as by the Presentment aforesaid against her is Supposed . She humbly acknowledgeth and Confesseth the fact and Submitts herself to the Mercy of the Court and humbly Prayeth that the Corporall Punnishment due for her said Crime may be remitted and instead thereof that a fine may be accepted– Whereupon itt was by this court here demanded of the Said Mary Maggatee who was the father of her Said Bastard Child  She sd Thomas Morris is the father of her Said Bastard Child.

Therefore itt is considered that he Said Mary Maggatee be Taken to Sattisfy unto our Sovereign Lady the Queen the Summe of Twenty Shillings Sterling[2] for a fine for her Trespass and Misdemeanor aforesaid.

And Thereupon Came into Court Patrick Maggatee father of the Said Mary Maggatee and paid Eleven Shillings part of the said fine and Engaged for the Remainder.

Together with all Cost due to the Severall and Respective Officers of this Court.” (388)

Close-up of Liber A2, p 388

Mary Pilkins, likewise, petitioned the court for mercy and a fine, after naming Robert Gows as the father of her baby.  She was fined twenty shillings sterling or four hundred pounds of tobacco.  Her fine was paid by Richard Harrison, one of the justices of this court. (388-89)

Elizabeth Browne, the servant of William Barker, also confessed and asked for mercy from the court and a fine to aver the corporal punishment due the offense.  The father of her baby was not entered into the record. Her master, William Barker, paid her fine and costs. (389)

What was the “Corporall Punishment” due the offense?

Full punishment was meted out on Mary Goddart, who, after confessing, and making an oath that John Godshall was the father of her child, “itt was considered that the Sherriff take the Said Mary Goddart and Carry her to the Whipping Post and there to Stripp her Naked from the waiste upwards and give her Twelve Lashes well Laid on Upon the bare back for her Offense against Allmighty God.” (390)

Close-up of Liber A2, p 390

After her lashings, Mary Goddart was still responsible for her court costs.

Mary McAtee, daughter of Patrick and Rosamond McAtee, later married William Boswell. The gender and name of her child by Thomas Morris is unknown, as are the names of all the children of these “offenses.”

[1] Charles County MD Court Record Liber A2. https://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/coagserm/cm300/cm376/000000/000022/pdf/msa_cm376_22.pdf

[2] Using the converter at the link, that would equal roughly $236 today. https://www.uwyo.edu/numimage/currency.htm