Friday, April 9, 2010

Finding John Graham's Land 1797

One of my goals this week was to find where John Graham's Spanish Land Grant was. I found the map above at the Genealogical Society with the key below. (Double click to enlarge) His is that block in green across from the island. The other two which I've highlighted belong to the Quicks and Carricos who were friends who witnessed his son's probate. The Missouri River is at the top and the Mississippi to the side.
I was initially surprised that it was on the Mississippi River because I knew from other documents that he lived in the Cold Water/ Spanish Lake area which I associate with the Missouri River. I looked at that island in the water trying to find it on a map, but realized there had been a lot of floods and a major earthquake since John Graham's land grant.
Map shows Lewis and Clark's route going west and coming home. The blue river is today's river bed compared to what they witnessed in white.
If you'll look directly across from Spanish Lake, you'll see that island in the OLD riverbed (white) so that told me the island did not exist today.

I also found this map (1797-1798 in French)which shows a road (Columbia Bottoms) running parallel to the Mississippi River with houses marked. I think his house is the one closest to the confluence (above the third S in Mississippi), but I didn't know what that creek was that divided him from the other four settlers: Belhame. I don't know what it is called today, but I think I found it.
My librarian friend, Larry, happened to recall another atlas we could look at.
That was a huge help because it showed John Graham's land just below the intersection of Larimore and and Columbia Bottom AND it shows the land in proximity to Spanish Lake which hasn't changed in over 200 years unlike the river and islands.
So, I sketched it out on a current map. Fortunately there were driveways so we could pull off the road and take photos looking toward the river:

As you can see it is mostly bottom land being farmed today. For a pioneer, the location must have been heaven: plenty of hunting, trapping, fishing, farming---close to the main highways of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers with a lot of water. Sure, it flooded every now and then.
But, on the original land grant map, I noticed what looked like a parade of hills above his name "Juan Graham" which must be the hills on the other side of Columbia Bottoms Road.

We no longer believe this John/Juan Graham to be our ancestor, but hope this information can help others in genealogy.

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