GRAHAM, John (d.1755), of Killearn, Stirling.
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Family and Education
1st s. of John Graham of Killearn, M.P. [S] Stirlingshire 1703-7, by Catherine Dow. suc. fa. aft. 1722.
By 1715 Graham had succeeded his father as chamberlain, i.e. factor, to the Duke of Montrose, his ‘near relation’,1 and as deputy-sheriff of Stirlingshire. During the rebellion Lord Mar wrote to him:
I cannot doubt of your good wishes to your rightful King and your oppressed country, and I know the interest you have with my Lord Montrose’s men, friends and following; and now, in his absence, what can you do better for the service of all than being instrumental in getting them to join the King’s [Pretender’s] forces when we come into your neighbourhood ... I have already sent an order to most of them in his Majesty’s name for this effect, but your hearty concurrence and joining with them will, I know, very much forward it, and will be doing what is expected of one of your name and family.
Graham sent this letter to Montrose, who handed it to George I, and subsequently praised Graham’s ‘good service’ to the Government against the rebels.2 Like his father, he was closely involved in the feud between Montrose and Rob Roy Macgregor, the outlaw. In 1716, as deputy-sheriff of the county, he led a party of soldiers in an attempt to capture Rob Roy, missed him, and burnt down his house. On 21 Nov. of that year Montrose reported to Townshend:
Mr. Graham of Killearn ... having the charge of my Highland estate went to Monteith, which is a part of it, on Monday last, to bring in my rents, it being usual for him to be there for two or three nights together at this time of the year, in a country house, for the conveniency of meeting the tenants, upon that account. The same night, about 9 of the clock, Rob Roy, with a party of these ruffians whom he has still kept about him since the late rebellion, surrounded the house where Mr. Graham was with some of my tenants doing his business, ordered his men to present their guns in at the windows of the room where he was sitting, while he himself at the same time with others entered at the door, with cocked pistols, and made Mr. Graham prisoner, carrying him away to the hills with the money he had got, his books and papers, and my tenants’ bonds for their fines, amounting to above a thousand pounds sterling, whereof the one-half had been paid last year, and the other was to have been paid now.
At the end of a week Graham was released unharmed, with his books and papers but without the money.3 In the spring of 1717 he was sent by Montrose to see Rob Roy with ‘sweet offers of life, liberty, and treasure’ if he would ‘bear false witness against ... Argyll’, Montrose’s rival, by accusing him of Jacobite intrigues. Rob Roy refused, published the details of the transaction in a letter, and placed himself under Argyll’s protection.4
In 1722 Graham was returned for Stirlingshire on the Montrose interest, defeating a candidate backed by Argyll, but in 1727 he was defeated by Henry Cunningham, Ilay’s most experienced boroughmonger. He died c.1775, when his will was proved.5