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John McKnight Graham
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Birth: Nov. 28, 1864
Anson County
North Carolina, USA
Death: Sep. 5, 1923
Mecklenburg County
North Carolina, USA

Son of:
- Benjamin Gist Graham & Caroline McKnight-Graham

- Bettie Martin, 10th Aug 1893, Paw Creek, Mecklenburg Co, NC

1. Carrie Martin Graham-Jenkins
2. Harriet Blanche Graham-Carr

Article/Obituary (The Charlotte Observer, Wednesday, September 5, 1923, page 5):


Two Dead and Three Injured in Auto Accident Near Hoskins. Car Driven by C. Phifer. John Graham, Veteran Printer of The Observer, Well Known Throughout State.

Funeral Services for John M. Graham, veteran printer of The Observer, who, with John Garrison Clemmer, was killed in an automobile accident early yesterday morning near Hoskins, will be held this morning at 10:30 o'clock from the residence, 24 West Park Avenue. The body of the young man, Clemmer, who also was killed in the double tragedy, will be conveyed to his home in Bessemer City this morning, a brother of the deceased having journeyed from there to Charlotte yesterday to arrange for the disposition of the body.

Mr. Graham, who was 59 years old, and who was one of the best-known men in newspaper shops in North Carolina, and Mr. Clemmer, age 24, a sailor of the United States navy, whose home was in Bessemer City, were almost instantly killed when the car in which they were riding shortly before 3 o'clock yesterday morning turned turtle at a point about three miles from the city near the Hoskins Drug Store, between Charlotte and Hoskins. Three other men, Crawford Phifer, who was driving the automobile, J.T. McGehee, of the local naval recruiting station, and Clyde B. Carpenter, of Bessemer City, were rushed to St. Peter's Hospital immediately following the accident. Graham and Clemmer were killed almost instantly. Their bodies were brought to the undertaking establishment of Z.A. Hovis and Son, where they were prepared for burial.

The five men were returning in the car from a ride out on the Rozzell's Ferry road, and were racing along a level stretch of road with another car traveling ahead of them according to the report made at police headquarters. The large car which overturned, a Hudson, was owned by George Newcomb, who was riding with Tiney Miller in the car which was racing the fatal machine, it was stated. It is understood that when the two machines left Charlotte Newcomb rode in the car of a friend, while Phifer drove the car belonging to Newcomb. The car said to have been racing with the machine which overturned was a Chevrolet, reported to have been driven by Tiney Miller. Newcomb, owner of the Hudson, is a former Charlottean, but at present resides in Detroit, Mich., and was visiting in the city at the time of the accident


Mr. Graham was thrown from the machine as it overturned, and his death was said by physicians to have been caused from a severe blow received on the back of the head when he struck the ground. Clemmer suffered death from a crushed skull, it was stated. Phifer, the driver of the car and the most seriously injured of the other three occupants of the machine, suffered painful laceration and bruises, but has no broken bones or internal injuries, according to information given out by hospital attaches. His injuries, while painful, are not thought to be serious. Carpenter and McGehee, the other two occupants of the machine, suffered cuts and contusions about the head and body, but after medical attention, were able to be about again. McGehee went to his residence at 15 Mint street following treatment of his injuries at the hospital. Carpenter was perhaps less seriously injured than the other two.

McGehee was riding beside the driver, Phifer, on the front seat, while Mr. Graham, young Clemmer and Carpenter were in the rear seat. The machine was badly wrecked when it turned turtle.

Tracks left by the Hudson in the dirt and grass at the side of the road near where the wreck occured indicate that the car was driven to the left, evidently in an effort to pass the Chevrolet ahead. The tracks lead on for a distance for about 50 feet in the shallow ditch on the left of the road, and swerve suddenly back on to the pavement. It was here, it is believed that the weight of the car being driven at an excessive rate of speed, caused it to overturn. Police officers, who visited the scene of the wreck shortly after it occured, state that the Hudson was facing back toward Charlotte, although the two cars were traveling in the direction of Mt. Holly when the accident happened.

The first information received by the Charlotte police department of the wreck was when Officer Bill McGraw, accompanied by Office Blackman, noticed an Oldsmobile being driven at about 40 miles an hour on West Trade street, near the Southern depot shortly before 3 o'clock yesterday morning. Overtaking this car, they found that it contained the bodies of Mr. Graham and Mr. Clemmer. McGraw ordered the bodies taken at once to the Hovis undertaking establishment, as he plainly saw the both men were dead. He then made a telephone report of the accident to police headquarters and drove at once to the scene of the wreck.

The bodies of Mr. Graham and Mr. Clemmer were brought into Charlotte by a resident of Hoskins, near whose home the accident occurred.

Clemmer and Carpenter, both of Bessemer City and both sailors, had spent Labor Day in Charlotte in company with the local recruiting office, McGehee. These three, with Mr. Graham and Phifer, were in a down-town restaurant before starting on the fatal ride. Mr. Graham's duties on The Observer for many years have been in night work, and his nightly labors were usually competed about 4 o'clock in the morning. On the one day in every week when he was not at work, his habit of staying up practically the entire night and sleeping in the day time, formed in years of service, caused him to remain up.


Mr. Graham has been connected with the Charlotte newspapers, The Observer and The Charlotte News, for 30 or 35 years and was on of the best known newspaper men in the state. He was a native of Anson county.

On the Observer, he was next to the head man in the composing room, and his duties consisted in "making-up" the morning paper, or assembling the type in order to turn out the well-known pages of The Charlotte Observer. For many years he was foreman of the composing room of the Charlotte News.

The officials of The Charlotte Observer and the men with whom Mr. Graham worked praise him highly as a faithful and congenial employee and fellow-worker; one who was always good-natured and who always wore a smile; a good companion and workman; and it will be there, in the shop of The Charlotte Observer, that he will be missed almost as much as by the loved ones in his home. Mr. Graham's fellow-workers, and all who knew him in Charlotte, expressed deep and sincere regret at his death.

Rev. W.B. McElwain, assisted by Ref. C.M. Short, will conduct the funeral services this morning at 10:30 from the residence, 24 West Park avenue, and interment will be in Elmwood Cemetery. Pallbearers will be from among the men with whom Mr. Graham had worked for years in the composing rooms of the Observer and The News. They are as follows: C.L. Granger, W.E. Adams, B.L. Green, H.L. Harris, K.A. Duke and G.S. Coble.

Mr. Graham is survived by his wife, Mrs. Betty Graham; two daughters, Mrs. R. W. Jenkins, of Charlotte, and Mrs. William Carr, of Denver, Colo; one brother, W.W. Graham, and two sisters, Mrs. W.L. Wallace and Mrs. W.L. Phifer of Charlotte.

Surviving Mr. Clemmer are his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Clemmer, of Bessemer City; three brothers, R. Lee Clemmer, of Gastonia, J.S. Clemmer, of Charlotte, and Clarence H. Clemmer, of Detroit, Michigan; four sisters, Mrs. Joseph I. Paine, Mrs. S.T. Tucker, Mrs. Julius Paine and Miss Elizabeth Clemmer, all of Bessemer City.

Coroner Frank Hovis, with a jury composed of H.C. Irwin, A.G. Epting, Richard I. Young, R.H. Shields, J.W. Elliott, and F.E. Robinson, held an inquest yesterday, and the following verdict was returned:- "That John Graham and John Garrison Clemmer came to their death as the result of reckless and careless driving of an automobile driven by Crawford Phifer."

Coroner Hovis sent to the office of the sheriff of Mecklenburg County, followiing an inquest, a warrant for the arrest of Crawford Phifer, driver of the automobile. Phifer is at present at St. Peter's hospital.

Note ~ from Death Certificate:
- Died of internal injuries resulting from automibile over turning at RR Crossing on Rozzell's Ferry Road. - Homicide - Lived at 24 W. Park Ave. in Charlotte.
Family links: 
  Benjamin Gist Graham (1839 - 1901)
  Caroline McKnight Graham (1845 - 1900)
  Elizabeth Lillian Martin Graham (1879 - 1940)
  Carrie Martin Graham Jenkins (1896 - 1973)*
  Harriet Blanche Graham Carr (1899 - 1988)*
  John McKnight Graham (1864 - 1923)
  Mary Teresa Graham Tomlinson (1866 - 1904)*
  William Walter Graham (1869 - 1930)*
  Lula Richards Graham Wallis (1871 - 1946)*
  Lela Worth Graham Tomlinson (1871 - 1900)*
  Roderick McCaskill Graham (1874 - 1914)*
  David Emmor Graham (1877 - 1878)*
  Carrie Gist Graham Phifer (1883 - 1960)*
*Calculated relationship
Elmwood Cemetery
Mecklenburg County
North Carolina, USA
Plot: Sec Q, Lot 165, Grave #1, So 1/2
Created by: J L
Record added: May 18, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26913191
John McKnight Graham
Added by: J L
John McKnight Graham
Added by: DSM
John McKnight Graham
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Robert A. Young, Jr.
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