Graham, Malcolm Duncan (1827–1878)

By: Thomas W. Cutrer

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: January 1, 1995

Malcolm Duncan (Daniel in some sources) Graham, Confederate legislator and judge, was born on July 6, 1827, in Autauga County, Alabama, the son of John and Jeanette (Smith) Graham. He attended Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, where he studied law. He subsequently returned to Alabama, began his legal practice at Wetumpka, and in 1853 was appointed clerk of the House of Representatives. In 1854 he moved to Texas and settled in Henderson. In 1857 he was elected to the Senate of the Seventh Legislature as a Democrat and in 1858 was elected attorney general in the Sam Houston administration. He was a secessionist and, in the presidential election of 1860, a John C. Breckinridge elector. When Texas seceded from the Union he raised a regiment but left it upon winning a seat in the House of Representatives of the First Confederate Congress. He served on the Ways and Means Committee and later on the committee to establish a bureau of foreign supplies. His only substantive proposal was the unsuccessful attempt to exempt from military service all men on the Texas frontier. He was an opponent of most taxation legislation and condemned the imposition of martial law by the military commanders in the Trans-Mississippi Department-Earl Van Dorn, John B. Magruder, and Edmund Kirby Smith. Otherwise he was a supporter of President Jefferson Davis and the Confederate war effort. In the summer of 1863 he ran for reelection and was defeated by the popular John R. Baylor. In May 1864 Davis appointed him judge advocate of the Trans-Mississippi with the rank of colonel. Graham was captured while attempting to cross the Mississippi River on his return trip from Richmond, Virginia, to Texas and imprisoned at Johnson's Island in Lake Erie until his exchange in February 1865.

After the war he moved to Montgomery, Alabama, where he continued the practice of law and politics. In 1876 he was elected chairman of the executive committee of the Conservative Democratic party. Although his name was prominently mentioned with regard to the governorship of Alabama in 1877, he declined to run. He was married to Amelia Cunningham Ready; the couple had two sons. Graham died in Montgomery, Alabama, on October 8, 1878, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

Jon L. Wakelyn, Biographical Dictionary of the Confederacy (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood, 1977). Ezra J. Warner and W. Buck Yearns, Biographical Register of the Confederate Congress (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1975).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Thomas W. Cutrer, “Graham, Malcolm Duncan,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 15, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995