John came to South Africa from Scotland, in 1806, as part of the British Military 93rd Regiment of Foot. This regiment fought in the battle of Blaauwberg, in Cape Town and they won and it established British rule in South Africa. John was the 13th Fintry of Stirlingshire. He was the son of the 12th Fintry of Stirlingshire Robert (1749-1815) and Margaret Elizabeth (Née MYLNE). He was born on 24 April 1778 in Dùn Dè, Scotland.
He was part of the Graham clan and later sold the family owned, Fintry Castle (build in the 16th Century) in Scotland, He was the Laird of the castle. The surname means “from a grey rock farmhouse” and its origin is both English and Scottish (GREUMACH).
The surname Graham is not that common and it’s more frequently used as a first name. He was known as “The Gallant”.
He obtained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and in 1811 moved to the Eastern part of the Cape Colony and settled there on De Rietfontein.On 24 July 1812 he married Johanna Catharina CLOETE (1790-1843) in the Anglican Church, In Cape Town. She was the daughter of Rudolph and Johanna Catharina (Née van BRAKEL)
The couple had the following children
b1 Johanna Catharina * 1813
b2 Robert * 16 January 1816 in Cape Town, † 28 September 1887 in Cape Town. He was the Civil Commissioner of Albany in the Cape Colony. He X Elizabeth Anne GRAY (1826-1911) on 27 May 1846 in Huntington, Port Macquarie, Australia. Anne was the daughter of Lt-Col Charles George and June ((Née GROGAN)
Two of their sons were knighted:
• Sir John James GRAHAM (1847-1928) knighted in 1905 by King Edward VII for his role as a legal expert. Sir John was the Secretary of Law of the Cape Colony.
• Sir Thomas Lynedoch GRAHAM (1860-1942) knighted in 1920 by King George V for his role as an Attorney-General of a British Colony. He was part of the Kings Council (KC)
b3 Elizabeth Margaret * 1817
b4 Isabella Hester Anne *23 June 1820, † January 22, 1901, X Sebastiaan Valentyn van REENEN (1819-1875) parents Sebastiaan Valentyn and Catharina Christina (Née CLOETE)
John died in Cape Town on 17 March 1821, ? Somerset Road Cemetery, in Cape Town. This Cemetery was levelled in 1922 and some tombstones we moved to the Woltemade Cemetery in Maitland. It is uncertain if John’s was moved. A window was created in his memory in Claremont St Saviour’s Church, Cape Town, in middle 1931. On a pillar of the Anglican Cathedral in Grahamstown the following inscription is seen: “In memory of Colonel John Graham, Commandant of Simon’s Town, Cape of Good Hope, who died 17 March 1821, aged 42” He died relatively poor as he supported his parents and his 9 unmarried sisters financially. The town De Rietfontein was later named Grahamstown in his honour. A monument was erected 100 years later (in 1912) in Grahamstown, at the place where he and Anders Stockemström decided to extend the area to a town.
• British military records
• Historical records regarding Grahamstown