Joseph Hall Graham was born May 18, 1848 to Spencer Corp Graham and Nancy Venters Graham in Denton County, Texas. Both of his parents died in the mid to late 1860s. Joseph married Marianne (or Marian) Elizabeth Johnson of Tarrant County, Texas in 1879. The census in 1880 shows them to be living in Young County and they were raising cattle. Their family consisted of the two of them and three of Joseph’s younger siblings, all in their twenties. They also began their own family that same year with the birth of their first child, a daughter named Alice. By 1900, the census showed that all seven of their children lived with them at home in Midland, Texas and Joseph was a rancher.
Around that time, Joseph bought the Allen ranch in what was then Eddy County, later to become Lea County. The ranch was called the Rock House Ranch, which had previously been owned by the Causey brothers. The Causeys had built a rock house in 1883 located about 15 miles south of Lovington to the east of Arkansas Junction Road. The house was built from native stone in the area and the ranch took its name from it. The Causeys had another ranch house about 5 miles south of Lovington and northwest of there that predated the Graham house by a few years. It had a similar look to the Graham rock house. The northern most house is believed to be the oldest standing structure in Lea County. Joseph Graham ran a cattle and horse ranch out of the Rock House Ranch location for many years and was a founding member of the “Plains Pool” which was a group of ranchers who banded together to run cattle in the land between the Pecos River and one fence close to the old Eddy and Chaves county line before other settlers and land owners began fencing off their property.
The Joseph Hall family were witnesses to the early days of Lea County from the open range days to the fencing and subdivision of the land, the development of settlements and towns, the discovery of oil in the county, and many other landmark events. Some of their children moved away, but several remained in the area. Those that remained included Jody (Joseph Jefferson Graham), Spencer and Rebecca.
Joseph Hall Graham died in 1931 at the age of 83. Marian Elizabeth survived him about another 17 years until her death in 1948. Both are buried in Lovington Cemetery.