|Birth: ||Dec. 19, 1746|
|Death: ||Jun. 8, 1799|
Reverend William Graham (1746-1799) was the Founder and first President of Liberty Hall Academy, which was the forerunner of Washington and Lee University.
William Graham was born in Paxton, Pennsylvania on December 19, 1746 to Scots-Irish parents. William graduated from what is now Princeton University in 1773 and later studied theology. He would eventually became a Presbyterian minister in Hanover, Pennsylvania in 1775.
Within a few years of the outbreak of the American Revolution, Reverend Graham moved to Virginia where he began teaching in a school, which was first known as "the classical school" in Mount Pleasant. In a few short years, Reverend Graham moved the school to the Timber Ridge Area of Rockbridge County, but eventually moved to the area of what is now known as Lexington, Virginia.
While in Lexington, Graham taught from his house until 1772, when the school was incorporated under the name of Liberty Hall Academy. The academy grew at a rapid pace, was granted a charter in 1782 by the Virginia State Assembly, and in time was renamed Washington College because it had been endowed by General George Washington (the very school is most recently known as Washington and Lee University).
In 1789, Reverend Graham became the first minister of the Lexington Presbyterian Church. Though the congregation originally met out of doors - finding coverage under tents or in the county court house as weather demanded - by 1799 the Lexington attendees eventually met in a newly constructed church building located within a portion of the current Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery.
The Reverend William Graham was to die in Richmond, Virginia on June 8, 1799. His body was initially interred in the churchyard of St. John's Church in the city (the site of Patrick Henry's famed speech where he exclaimed "give me liberty or give me death"), but his body and original gravestone was relocated to the Washington and Lee University campus in 1911, where he was laid to rest beside the Lee Memorial Chapel.
Mary Graham Bracken (1785 - 1863)*
Lee Chapel Museum
Created by: Ryan David Schweitzer
Record added: May 23, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 111051532