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William S. Grafft
Born October 28, 1850


After many years devoted to agricultural pursuits, William S. Grafft is now living retired in Central City, Iowa. Throughout life he has been identified with the interests of this state and has done much toward its development and improvement, especially along agricultural lines. He was born in Jones county, five miles from the village of Olin, on the 28th of October, 1850, his parents being David W. and Christina (Byerly) Grafft, both of whom were natives of Ohio, though they were not married until after their removal to Iowa. At an early day our subject's paternal grandfather became a resident of Jones county, establishing his home near Olin, and after a short time later, in 1846, was joined by his son D. W. Grafft, who continued his residence here until called to the world beyond, May 11, 1903, at the age of seventy-eight years. Throughout his life he followed farming but also devoted considerable attention to the blacksmith's trade. It was on the 30th of March, 1843, that he was united in marriage to Miss Christina Byerly, a daughter of Francis Byerly, who was born in Fairfield county, Ohio, March 8, 1826, and died in Jones county, Iowa, January 16, 1899, having come to this state in 1846. From girlhood, Mrs. Grafft was an earnest and consistent member of the United Brethren church. She was the mother of nine children: William S., of this review; John H., who is living on the old home farm in Jones county; Mary Catherine, the wife of Lewis Porter, of Cherokee, Iowa; James Albert, a resident of Clovis, California; David Edward, of Rock Rapids, Iowa; Della Jane, the wife of Robert McMurren, of Cherokee, Iowa; Francis Marion, a farmer of Jones county; and Elizabeth Elba, the wife of William Lusk of Jones county.
The common schools of his native county afforded W. S. Grafft his educational privileges and he remained at home until he attained his majority, giving his father the benefit of his services in carrying on the home farm. On leaving the parental roof he worked as a farm hand for a time and then operated his father's farm for three years, at the end of which time he purchased land north of Central City, to the improvement and cultivation of which he devoted his energies for three years. He then purchased one hundred and sixty-eight acres, which he still owns and was engaged in the cultivation and improvement of that place for several years but now makes his home in Central City, having retired from active life. Besides this farm, which he still owns, he has other property in Marion, Iowa. He was a progressive and up=to-date farmer and the success which he achieved was well merited.
Mr. Grafft was married March 3, 1880, to Miss Alice Kratzer, who was born in Davis, Illinois, a daughter of Samuel and Malinda (Drake) Kratzer. Her father was a native of Ohio, his birth place being near Cincinatti, but at an early day he removed to the Prairie state. His family consisted of ten children, namely: Lewis R., who resides near Walker, Iowa; S. N., living near Central City; Mary Ellen, the wife of John Allemang, who is living retired in Kansas City; Martha Ann, whose home is near Center Point; Lucy Jane, deceased; David William, a farmer of Center Point; Alice, the wife of our subject; Sarah Malissa, the wife of Henry Barr, whose home is near Edgewood, Iowa; Emma Lavina, the wife of Charles Dilley, of Maryville, Missouri; and Hanna Maria, also living near Maryville, Missouri.
To Mr. and Mrs. Grafft have been born five children, as follows: Earl Gray, a mechanic of Waterloo, Iowa; Edna Blanch, the wife of George Masterhan, a farmer of Marion county; Flossie May, attending school in Cedar Falls; Mary Ida, deceased; and Stacy Fenton, who is also attending school.
The democratic party finds in Mr. Grafft a staunch supporter of its principles but he has never been a politician in the sense of office seeking. Both he and his wife are members of the Mystic Toilers and she is also identified with the Methodist Episcopal church, which he, too, attends. During their residence in Central City they have made many warm friends and throughout the country they are both widely and favorably known.

Source: The History of Linn County, Iowa, p. 589, Chicago, The Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911.
Note: For more information about the Grafft Family you can download Family History: Hans Graf Family descendants: Lancaster County, PA, Early Generations & Later Generations by Allen Donald Tallman at the Lancaster, PA USGenWeb Archives.

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Last updated on Wednesday, 09-Apr-2014 20:36:56 MST