The Grahams were English from Lincolnshire. Lincoln was the second largest and wealthiest city in England at one point in history with wool products playing a major role. The wealthy Graham family bought land in Ireland in 1669.
In 1848 James Stuart Graham of Dublin sent his second son also named James to live with his wife’s brother, Sir Charles Coote, 6th Baron Coote of Coloony. The Baron was from a long line of tyrants, madmen and misusers of women. Bellamont his estate and the Palladian house in Cootehill was much to James Stuart Graham’s liking.
Graham and Coote busied themselves with designing many gardens, drinking copious amounts of poteen and breeding horses. Born at this time in Co. Monaghan was “Crazy Jane” a veritable horseflesh comet. Crazy Jane was an unbeatable racer running, The only problem was that she was not a Graham/Coote horse. When Hugh Jackson of Creeve would not sell Coote the fast bay mare, A plot was hatched to steal the mare and breed her with a good English hunter owned by James Graham. She would be returned in due time after a colt was born. The deed was done and Hugh Jackson was livid and heart broken all at the same time over the loss of Jane. He posted a reward, but the horse was not found. A year later she just walked in the stable yard at the Jackson Farm as if nothing had ever happened.
James Graham married Ellen Bleckley in 1868; she was the daughter of Revd. John Bleckley, and said to be a saint of a woman who prayed night and day for her husband.
In 1872 Owen James Graham was born and grew to be a very upright young man, due to the training of his devout and saintly mother. At nineteen he came to know the story of” Crazy Jane”. Owen felt it only right to report his father’s misdeed to old Hugh Jackson. His father came at him with a long-pick. His mother soon with great haste sent him to North America.
Owen became a Banker in Chicago, Illinois. He married Catherine Hogan, a Catholic from Cork. My mother, Catherine Agnes Graham was Owen Grahams second child born in 1918. I was born to Catherine Agnes in 1945 as a cutie-patootie of the first order.
My beloved grandfather died in July of 1949. He was one of the kindest men I have ever known, a joyful spirit with a big heart. He never once talked about life in Ireland.