Wednesday, August 25, 2010

James and Hannah Tucker Reed Graham and Christiana Gregory (extra)

James Graham was born 11 Oct 1804 in (or near) Enniskillen, in Fermaner (Fernanaugh) County, Ireland, the son of Robert Graham and Anna (or Ann) Barrow (or Barrows). His mother may have died while he was young because his father Robert, born 2 Oct 1774 in Banbridge, Down County, Ireland, married a second time on 8 Feb 1808 to a widow named Catharine Russel Marshal, who had no children in her first married. Robert, Catharine, and young James came to America around 1809, and settled in Pleasant Hill, Delaware. Nothing is knows of the early life of James.

James married Mary Ann Butler of Newcastle County, Delaware, about 1824. They lived in Laurel Hill, Chester County, PA, from 1825 to 1837. They eventually had eleven children, the first six in Laurel Hill, Chester, PA. These six were Eliza, Ann Isabelle, Robert, George, Elenor, and Mary Elizabeth. In 1837, James and his family, along with his father Robert and his family (Robert and Christina had ten children, all born in America) moved to Hancock County, Illinois. There James and Mary Ann became interested in Mormonism and joined the Church. James was baptized 15 Nov 1845 at the age of 41. He received a patriarchal blessing at the hands of Hyrum Smith at Nauvoo on 19 Jan 1842. He was ordained a high priest and was commissioned to preach repentance. The record states that he was received into the High Priest Quorum in Nauvoo 10 Aug 1844. James and Mary Ann had five more children in Hancock County, Ill. (two in an unidentified area of the county, one in Bear Creek, and two in Nauvoo, the last one born in April 1846). These children were Margaret, James, Joseph Smith, Samuel, and Brigham.

The Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register shows that he received his washing and anointing and endowment 30 Jan 1846. In August 1846, Mary Ann died. James married Orilla Crandall either on 3 Feb 1846 or 3 Feb 1847, but they were soon divorced (no children). When the Saints were finally driven out of Nauvoo in 1847, James went with them to Utah. Nothing is known of his trek across the plains nor if any of his children went with him. On 28 Feb 1848, he married Sarah Thompson at Winter Quarters, but as far as is known, there were no children from this marriage.

Hannah Tucker Reed (love story): Hannah was born in New Jersey in 1821. Her father died when she was 11. When she was 20, she fell in love with James McCowan. They kept company for over a year and wanted to marry, but her mother did not care for James and persuaded Hannah to marry Alexander Jamison. They were married by a Baptist minister and had a son named John. When the baby was one-year-old, Hannah and her husband separated. Around this time, Hannah and her mother heard of Joseph Smith and the restored gospel and both joined the Church. Some time later, they took little John and joined other Mormons and sailed on the Ship Brooklyn around Cape Horn to California. Hannah and her mother paid their way by taking care of the Captain’s wife and her baby as well as doing washing and ironing. Hannah’s mother was blessed to be a midwife. After being in San Francisco for two years, they went to the Sacramento area near the gold mines where they found and nursed a 12-year old orphan girl named Mary Martha Donnor, one of the survivors of the Donnor Party. The doctors wanted to amputate her feet, but Hannah and her mother persuaded them hold off. They helped her learn to walk on crutches. In September, 1848, President Brigham Young called the Saints in California to come to Salt Lake, and Hannah and her mother answered the call. They wanted very much to take the little Donnor girl with them, but her only relative, an uncle, did not want her to join the Mormons. A year later, Hannah was married by Brigham Young to James Graham. (A short time later, James Graham also married Hannah’s mother who was in her 60’s.) Hannah and James had two children, a boy and a girl. After four years of marriage, James was called on a mission to Australia and became the first Mormon missionary to open up Queensland. After his two-year mission, he and his companion and other Saints boarded the ship Julia Ann for San Francisco. Another story in itself is how they survived a shipwreck in the Tahitian Islands. Unfortunately, a year after he returned safely home, James died, leaving Hannah a widow at the age of 36 with three children, living near Bear Lake in Idaho. Hannah raised her children and supported herself for the rest of her life as a midwife. When she was 75 years old, Hannah’s cousin who still lived in New Jersey met on the street one day James McCowan, Hannah’s old sweetheart. Mr. McCowan inquired if Hannah was still living. When he learned that she was a long-time widow living in Idaho, he got her address and wrote to her, then came to see her. “The spark of true love was still burning for each of them. He joined the Church and in the Fall of 1896, they were married…” 55 years after they first fell in love. They spent 8 happy years together until Hannah died at the age of 83.

Brooklyn ship summary: The voyage of the ship Brooklyn was perhaps the longest continuous sea journey of any religious outcasts in history. The Pilgrims of 1620 crossed the Atlantic, a voyage of about 3,000 miles or more, and were on the water for sixty-three days. These Pacific Pilgrims (Mormons) crossed the equator on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, went from icy Antarctic to the tropic Hawaiian Islands, and thence to California, a voyage of 24,000 miles. There were 120 Pilgrims; the Pacific Pilgrims numbered 238 souls. The two groups were alike in many respects. Each was composed predominately of young people with small children. They had dauntless courage, intrepid daring, matchless faith, and trust in God ( See also

On 9 Sep 1849 in Salt Lake City, James married for the fourth time, to Christiana Gregory, and on 13 Sep 1849, he also married and was sealed in the Endowment House, by Brigham Young, to his fifth wife, and Christiana’s daughter, Hannah Tucker Reed. Hannah’s story states that James married her first and then her mother. Hannah had had a previous marriage to Alexander Jamison on 12 Dec 1844, in New Jersey. They had one child, John Clark Reed Jamison, born 11 Oct 1843, who was sealed to Hannah and James. They had two additional children of their own, Christian (or Christiana) Rachel Graham, born 15 June 1850, and William Benona Graham, born 24 Mar 1852, in Riverdale, Weber, UT. Christiana later married Franklin Ed Weaver, and William Benona married Margaret Hope Williams.

Christiana Gregory was born 19 Mar 1795 in Philadelphia, PA, the daughter of George Gregory and Hannah Mathews. She first married John Haines Read (Reed) 17 Feb 1819 in the county of Philadelphia. They had seven children, the first one living only six years, and the second one being Hannah Tucker Reed, my great-great grandmother. Christiana was baptized 1 Apr 1843, at the age of 48. She may have been married to James Graham on 13 Sep 1949 – needs to be verified. The record in my PAF says she was endowed 6 Sep 1852, at the age of 57. She died 22 Mar 1874, at the age of 79.

Hannah was born 10 May 1821 in Lower Eversham, Burlington, NJ.

According to the Utah Federal Census, in 1851, James had a household of 22 and a real wealth of $50, with no personal wealth. James is listed as a farmer.

In 1852, James Graham was called on a mission to Australia. In the History of the Church, it states, “Of the one hundred and eight missionaries called at a special conference of the Church held in Salt Lake City in August 1852, nine were sent to Australia.” A footnotes states, “Their names were: Augustus Farnham, William Hyde, Burr Frost, John Hyde, Josiah W. Fleming, James Graham, John S. Eldridge, Paul Smith, and Absolom P. Dowdle.” James served in Queensland, Australia. After their release, James Graham and John S. Eldridge set sail 7 Sep 1855 on the sailing vessel, JULIA ANN, for San Francisco. They were shipwrecked, but James Graham and his companion John S. Eldridge, survived the experience. (The Life and Times of James Graham, manuscript….)

Considerably more detail on the Wreck of the Julia Ann is found at
Among the accounts of the “Wreck of the Julia Ann” are the following summaries:

The Wreck of the Julia Ann: On September 7, 1855, the American barque Julia Ann departed Australia for San Francisco with fifty-six passengers. The ship was commanded by Captain Benjamin Pond. Immigrating to Utah, twenty-eight of the passengers were Latter-day Saints, several of whom had played important roles in the history of the Church in Australia. The voyage went relatively well until October 4, when the ship hit and lodged against a coral reef. With the ship breaking apart, a member of the crew swam with a rope to the relative safety of a rock in the reef. Many of the passengers made the dangerous crossing on the rope or were providentially brought to the rock on a piece of the ship, but several people drowned. From the reef, the group managed to reach a series of uninhabited islands where they obtained fresh water and fed themselves on crabs and sea turtles. After making extensive repairs on a small quarterboat and with the aid of some nautical tools that had been saved, Captain Pond and ten crew men set out for the nearest source of help, Bora-Bora of the Society Islands. Eventually a rescue ship was secured, and sixty days after being shipwrecked, the fifty-one surviving passengers of the Julia Ann were brought to safety. The United Board of Masonic Lodges helped to care for the destitute travelers until they could make arrangements to continue their journey. Despite the tragedy, the passengers spoke well of Captain Pond and his leadership during the crisis. Remarkably, though thousands of LDS converts sailed to Zion between 1840 and 1890, the Julia Ann was the only vessel to be shipwrecked where Mormon passengers drowned. (

The Wreck of the Julia Ann: The Julia Ann made two voyages towards San Francisco from Australia. "Towards" because she didn't arrive on the second voyage; she was carrying 350 tons of Newcastle coal and 42 passengers, including 28 members of the LDS Church, and broke apart on a coral reef near the Society Islands on Oct. 3rd, 1855. When she struck the reef, the ship broke in two, the stern section lifting onto the reef and the bow falling into deep water. Five Mormons, two women and three children, died in the shipwreck, about 400 miles from Tahiti in French Polynesia. (

James died 9 Dec 1857, in Ogden, Weber, UT. Rumor/report of his death by hanging (Aunt Jean)?


  1. Hello there. I came across this blog entry while doing research on the Graham family. I'm a descendant of James Graham's wife Sarah Thompson through her first marriage and have spent a lot of time the last few years getting in contact with other researchers/descendants and piecing things together. That being said, I've never heard of Christiana and Hannah's life before or after James Graham and found this to be great fun reading and very helpful. I would love to get in contact and swap notes if you'd be interested.

    Best regards,
    Justin James

  2. Oh, and as for the question of James being hanged, it was not James Graham Sr. but James Graham Jr. and his brother Samuel Graham who were hanged in Utah in 1857 for stealing horses...or cattle. I can't remember which off the top of my head though I have scanned original documents concerning their trial and executions. One of James’s sons-in-law Jason Reid Luce was in also executed, though for murder.

    Also, though every report I come across concerning James Graham Sr. says that he had no children with wife Sarah Thompson, I have evidence to the contrary as well as information concerning the both James Graham and his children's overland travels west (they did not come all together, as is often reported). I’ve also a photograph of Hannah Tucker Reed from another descendant you might be interested in. Anyhow, like I said, I would love to get in contact if you are interested as I think we would both benefit from it very much!

    Best regards,
    Justin James

  3. Hello,

    Cool history!! I did not know at all about the Donnor party connection.

    I am a descendant of Hannah and James' son William Benona Graham.

  4. Hi there Caren. Not sure why I didn't see your response earlier. Anyhow, I'd love to swap notes if you're interested. I've got a lot of really great information and stories about this family. If you're interested, drop me a line at

  5. For information on James Graham and his 5 wives, please see:

    FYI,I am a descendant of James Graham through his first wife, Mary Ann Butler.

    Brent J. Belnap