Lydia Kimble Graham

Charleston Daily Mail
February 10, 1936

Pension for War of 1812 Still Being Paid to West Virginian

Mrs. Lydia Graham, 98 Years Old, Is Widow of Drummer Boy

More than 120 years after the end of the War of 1812, one name remains on the federal pension rolls as a beneficiary of a soldier of that conflict, a striking illustration of the length of time that a government pays war costs after the clash of arms has halted. The last pensioner of the struggle with England is Mrs. Lydia Ann Graham, 98, of Brushy Run, Pendleton county.

Widow of Isaac Graham, drummer boy of 1812, she was married to the veteran in 1869, when he was an elderly man and she was a woman of 32. Graham died in 1881. Now Mrs. Graham dwells alone in her mountain cottage, raising chickens and cultivating her garden, living comfortably on the $50 check which she receives each month from the veterans' administration.

She has no modern conveniences - running water, lights, or gas - but still uses kerosene lamps and carries in her own fuel.

The one great annual event in her life is the family reunion at her home. She has three daughters, all of whom have large families.

While the pension list of the War of 1812 has dwindled to one beneficiary, several thousand veterans and widows of veterans of the Civil war still are receiving checks from Washington, and officials estimate that this century will be drawing to a close before the last one has passed away.

If pensions are granted to widows of World war soldiers, which is expected to be the next goal of veterans' organizations, the government will be paying them well into the next century.

Military and Wartime