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  • Ann D. Watson

An Ancestor I'd Like to Meet: Sallie Graham

What was it like for a girl who grew up in a Pennsylvania town to become the wife of a Texas rancher in the late 1880s?

This was my great-grandmother Sarah "Sallie" Graham.

Born in 1859 in Monongahela City, Pennsylvania, Sarah, who was a member of the first graduating class of Monongahela City High School [1] started out as a schoolteacher. Her father worked in iron foundries and eventually bought one.

Sarah married Cassius "Cash" C. Auld of nearby Washington, Pennsylvania on February 22, 1887. Celebrated at the "parental mansion," Sarah's wedding appears to have been somewhat of a society wedding, being described in detail in the Monongahela Valley Republican and announced on the front page of the Daily Republican. [2] Sarah wore a bronze satin dress, made of "Rhadame" silk, which is a heavy fabric with a twill weave,. It was trimmed with "brocaded plush" and "natural rose buds." For wedding presents, Sarah and Cassius received a silver tea set, table linens, silver tea spoons, two silver "pickle casters," a silk umbrella, a white satin fan, a silver carving set, a silver jardiniere, and much more. An "elegant collation" was served at the reception.

Sarah and Cassius headed to Texas about three weeks later, where Cash, who had recently earned his degree in business at Jefferson College, planned to try his hand at ranching. While in Texas, Sarah bore four children: Eva Mansfield (my father's mother), Sara A., Cassius Graham, and James Emory. It must have been a shock for a girl who had grown up in a large town to live on a ranch in the wilds of Texas. My sister Wendy passed on the story that "Ranch life was rugged... The Aulds made their own soap; repaired their own machinery; made their own harness." [3] Dad remembered his mother telling him that each of the kitchen table legs stood in a can half full of kerosene to prevent fire ants from crawling up onto the table.

Wendy also reported that the ranch was "gigantic;" but that hasn't been verified. The family story goes that Cash had a business partner who absconded with the money; who knows? In any case the Aulds were back in Pennsylvania by 1900.

I'd love to meet Sarah and find out what it was really like to bear four children on a Texas ranch.



1. "Log Houses First Schools Here: First H.S. Class Graduated in 1878," The (Monongahela, Pennsylvania) Daily Republican, 17 September 1946, p. 26, col. 2; ( : accessed 26 January 2019).

2. "Graham—Auld," The (Monongahela, Pennsylvania) Daily Republican, 23 February 1887, p. 1, col. 2; image, ( : accessed 26 January 2019).

3. "Artists and Food: My Grandmother," Wendy Watson's Blog (the : accessed 26 January 2019).

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