Graham boarded a steam-boat from Market Street in Philadelphia. He described the scenery of the places that he passed. While in DC, he visited a navy ship, Senate Chamber and Congress Hall. It was in Congress Hall that he began to think about his legacy.
When I view any thing which recals the recollection of departed worth and greatness; at first it produces a triumphant and pleasing emotion, which is speedily followed by feelings of a very different cast—I say to myself “why cannot I be distinguished! why cannot my name be consecrated in the recollection of men? Must it in a short time perish everlasting with me? Can I leave no useful no honorable trace or memento behind- Alas I fear not-poor infirm and of an obscure profession It is true that I am yet young but futurity thou art not at my command-“This night thy soul shall be required off the, may be my next message—Such reflection produce deep and pungent repression upon my feelings; an effect which I cannot override Why are these aspirations for fame and greatness; continually rising up in the breast of man? We may grasp at wealth or fame and by a fortuitous concurrence of circumstances obtain them : but they can never satisfy the cravings of an immortal and rational soul – a being made in the immage of divinity. I believe that nothing is so well calculated to cheer and brighten the spirit of man; as the well founded hope of a glorious and eternal existance beyond the grave.
After a brief stop at Major Grattan’s house, he returns to Abingdon to start his practice.
When Graham returned to Abingdon and proposed to practice medicine; he found the people of the village but little disposed to encourage him. They were cold, reserved and distant. What does that little fellow expect to do here at the practice of medicine? was a question frequently asked, And none felt interest enough in the fate of Graham to answer. Except the family of Gen Francis Preston by whom he was always treated with the utmost kindness and cordiality. Col Wm P Thompson introduced Graham to the first practice which he had. The family of Mr Miles living at the Ebbing and flowing Spring were all sick with a bilious fever. They were neglected; too poor to employ a physician. Col Thompson went with him to the place; Said, he had brought a young Doctor with him, who would attend to them and cure them. Graham was diligent, zealous and faithful in his attentions. They all recovered – except one child that died.
Graham gets a consult from Dr. Clements about the patient whose arm needs to be amputated. Graham comes to his aid.
Graham held a long consultation with Doctr Clements from which he could very easily gather, that this oracular man was disposed to have the arm of Wassum amputated; and that he did not believe any other remedy would be effectual, Graham however was only disposed to amputate the finger believing that course might answer the purpose: arguing that if it did not they could then resort to the other remedy.
The success of this operation led to his fame.
He performed the operation with perfect self possession and in a very short time; the old man recovered and Graham, or the little Doctor as they calledhim was now regarded as a superior man to the redoubtable Clements. His fame spread rapidy through Chilhowie and the region round-about;
Because of his success, family members of previous patients showed their gratefulness.
The old woman would take him by the hand; with tears in her eyes, would say- Ah William I am glad to see you for you saved Nicholases life And the girls looked as gay & smiling as the green Meadows of Chilhowie;
The next patient Graham treated was Mr. Moore who’s leg had been amputated years before in the Revolutionary War.
Mr. Moore had been wounded at the battle of King’s Mountain; and in consequence of a severe fracture from a ball, it became necessary to amputate his thigh. […]when the Doct[o]r paid him a visit he complained of nothing but a severe pain in the leg, and toes of the leg; that had been amputated. He continued to use at intervals a febrifuge Mixture of Cremor Tartar [toota?] Emet. In eight or ten days he was perfectly well.
A “Malignant Epidemick” hit Virginia and many people were dying from it. Graham was very successful in his treatment of this “Malignant Epidemick,” which propelled his medical practice forward. But eventually Graham was unsatisfied with his life:
But Graham had now arrived at his ultima thule for this country. He had all that he could acquire as physician; with the population of this country it gave him very little reputation for talent, it gave him no character as a man he was considered a good Doctor, just as the people regarded a good blacksmith, or a good shoemaker, Graham now became discontented. He sighed for further conquest, he had in him a native spark of ambition, which was always stimulating him to some exertion.