Profiles from the Archives: Lonnie T. Graham

Matthew M. Peek, Military Collection Archivist

Lonnie Thompson Graham was born on May 2, 1894, in the small community of Jackson Springs in Moore County, N.C., to John McGregor and Laura J. Graham. Lonnie’s father was a farmer in Moore County. John Graham died on Christmas Eve in 1908, leaving a widow and around nine children to run the family farm. By 1906, Lonnie Graham would go on to attend the Jackson Springs Academy. At the age of 20, Lonnie Graham was attending Carthage (N.C.) Graded School, and was in the ninth grade by the 1914-1915 school year. It is believed that Graham may have attended North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering (present-day North Carolina State University) in Raleigh, N.C., around 1917 or 1918.

By the time of his draft registration for World War I, Graham was working on the family farm, helping his mother in Jackson Springs. Lonnie T. Graham was inducted into military service for WWI on July 13, 1918, in Carthage, N.C.. He ended up attending college at Clemson Agricultural College (present-day Clemson University), and served in the Students’ Army Training Corps (S.A.T.C.) at the college until his discharge from military service.

During 1918, Graham—along with other members of Clemson’s SATC—at Camp Gordon, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. While at Camp Gordon, Graham was assigned to the 24th and 30th Companies, Commissioned Officer Training School (C.O.T.S.). Graham would become very ill during 1918, and was constantly in military medical facilities during this period of his service. Graham was discharged from military service with the rank of private on November 29, 1918.

After the war, Lonnie Graham returned to the family farm in Jackson Springs, N.C. He lived in the family house and continued supporting his mother. The farm had tenant farmers, and operated a saw mill that employed two laborers by 1920. A lifelong bachelor, Graham would remain on the family farm the rest of his life, and frequently visited with his family members around the state. In April 1938, Lonnie Graham undertook some medical treatments, as his family reported, at the Veterans Administration hospital in Columbia, S.C. Throughout 1938, Graham was in and out of veterans’ hospitals, until his death of various heart conditions in the Veterans Administration hospital in Columbia, S.C., on December 11, 1938.

To learn more about Lonnie Graham’s WWI service, check out the Lonnie T. Graham Papers (WWI 43) in the WWI Papers of the Military Collection at the State Archives of North Carolina in Raleigh, N.C.

This blog post is part of the State Archives of North Carolina’s World War I Social Media Project, an effort to bring original WWI archival materials to the public through the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ (NCDNCR) various social media platforms, in order to increase access to the items during the WWI centennial celebration by the state of North Carolina.

Between February 2017 and June 2019, the State Archives of North Carolina will be posting blog articles, Facebook posts, and Twitter posts, featuring WWI archival materials which are posted on the exact 100th anniversary of their creation during the war. Blog posts will feature interpretations of the content of WWI documents, photographs, diary entries, posters, and other records, including scans of the original archival materials, held by the State Archives of North Carolina, and will be featured in NCDNCR’s WWI centennial blog.