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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Graham, William Alexander

26 July 1873–3 July 1943

A photograph of William Alexander Graham (1873-1943) taken sometime after 1905. Image from the Library of Congress.William Alexander Graham, farmer leader, was born at Forest Home, Lincoln County, the son of William A. and Julia R. Lane Graham. Educated locally, he attended Horner Military Academy and was a student at The University of North Carolina in 1897–98. A farmer, member of the Grange, and president of the county farmers' alliance, he was named North Carolina commissioner of agriculture in 1923 to succeed his late father. He held that post until defeated for reelection in 1936. Graham served three terms in the state senate, the first in 1923 when he was chairman of the agriculture committee and again in 1939 and 1943. As an active Democrat he was a member of the state Democratic executive committee. In 1928, he was president of the National Association of Commissioners of Agriculture and also served on the executive committee of the Southern Association of Commissioners of Agriculture. He was active in the Baptist church, a member of the Knights of Pythias, and served as president of the North Carolina Society, Sons of the American Revolution, and as vice-president of the South Atlantic district.

Graham never married. He was buried in the cemetery of Machpelah Church near his home at Iron Station.


Alumni records, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Daniel L. Grant, Alumni History of the University of North Carolina (1924).

Raleigh News and Observer, 4 July 1943.

Sons of the American Revolution Magazine, 38 (October 1943).

Additional Resources:

William Alexander Graham Papers 1898-1900 (call #: MS46). Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives. Wake Forest University. (accessed March 14, 2013).

Image Credits:

Harris & Ewing. "GRAHAM, WILLIAM ALEXANDER". LC-H25- 990007. Photograph. [between 1905-1945]. Harris & Ewing, Inc. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. (accessed December 16, 2013).