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Capital City Museum April 2013 040Ongoing observances of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War present opportunities to recall many nearly forgotten episodes that occurred during that conflict.  The Capital City Museum has received a donation that illustrates a bitter tidbit of local history.

In October, 1864, nine-year-old William Nicholas “Nick” Graham saw his father – Robert Graham – shot dead by Confederate raiders.  The Graham family lived at Indian Gap Hill in northern Franklin County.  A band of Confederates pillaged supplies from the nearby Peaks Mill store.  While there, they heard that Robert Graham, a pro-Union man, had acquired a fine, new gun.  They set out to take it from him.

Attacking the Graham home by night, they tried to batter down the latched front door.  Through a window, the guerilla leader – John Marshall, son of Confederate General Humphrey Marshall – saw Robert Graham reach for the much-desired gun.  Marshall shot Graham dead.

While the raiders were distracted stealing a horse from the nearby barn, Mrs. Marshall summoned help from neighbors, blowing on what probably was a primitive hunting horn.  After crashing through the now unlatched door, the attackers grabbed the gun.  They quickly rode away, taking gun and horse, but leaving behind the provisions they had stolen from the store.

The guerillas were captured later.  Most of them, including John Marshall, were hanged for their parts in the murder of Robert Graham.

Before the Graham log house was demolished to make way for the United States Fish Hatchery, Nick Graham built a scale model of it, preserving in a way a site of Civil War blood-letting.  He died on December 12, 1954, just two months after reaching the age of 100 years.

Now, almost 150 years after the bloody night brought to mind by this model, the Graham family has donated the model to the Capital City Museum.  And the great-grandson of the murdered man was none other than former Frankfort Mayor Gippy Graham.

The Capital City Museum is at 325 Ann Street in downtown Frankfort.  It is open from 9AM to 4PM Monday through Saturday.  Admission is free.  The City of Frankfort’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Sites operates the museum.  For more information, call 502-229-9064 or email frankforthistory@gmail.com.