Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery

GRAFF, BENJAMIN

p. 1234

Surnames: GRAFF, STAMM, KINDT, MURIA, TROWITZ, MILLER, KIEFFER, ADAM, KREIDER, FAUST, HAAK, LUDWIG, STUMP, KEENY

Benjamin Graff, one of Heidelberg township's venerable citizens, who for some years before his death, which occurred in August, 1909, lived retired from active pursuits, was born Aug. 8, 1823, in Bern township, Berks Co., Pa., son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Stamm) Graff.

Jacob Graff, the progenitor of the numerous Berks county family, was a native of Germany, who emigrated to Maiden-creek township, Berks county, where he died in the winter of 1806. He owned upwards of 200 acres of land and left a large estate to his children. He and his wife, Catherine Margaretha Kindt, are buried at St. Peter's Church in Richmond township. They had these children: Abraham obtained the old homestead; Sebastian, John and Jacob each received 200 pounds in lawful money of Pennsylvania; Eva Maria, m. Jacob Muria; Elizabeth m. Adam Kindt; and Catherine m. Jacob Trowitz, each of the daughters receiving 150 pounds of lawful money of Pennsylvania; and Rosina, who married a Miller, by whom she had three children, - Rosina, Susanna and Hannah, all of who were provided for in the will. Abraham Graff, of the above family, lived on the homestead for some years, where he carried on farming, and later removed to Reading, where he died. He was married to a Miss Kieffer, and they had two children: Isaac and Abraham.

Jacob Graff, grandfather of Benjamin, was born in 1762, and died in 1841. He was a lifelong farmer, and owned a tract of 180 acres near Gernand's Church, where he is buried. He married Rosina Adam, and to them were born the following children: Jacob, a farmer of Maiden-creek, who married and died at Reading; Daniel, who died unmarried; Samuel; John, a farmer of Maiden-creek, buried at Gernand's Church; Isaac, who was a farmer on the homestead; Solomon, a farmer of Upper Tulpehocken township; Elizabeth, who died unmarried and is buried at Gernand's Church; and Sallie, whose husband's name is not known.

Samuel Graff, father of Benjamin, was born in Maiden-creek township Nov. 17, 1793, and died Sept. 11, 1876, in Centre township, in which district he settled after his marriage. He owned a farm at Belleman's Church, where the cemetery is now situated, his tract consisting of 136 acres. He erected a house in 1849 upon the farm on which his son, Isaac, lived until after his marriage. He was a prosperous man and a good, useful citizen and a member of the Reformed congregation, of Belleman's Union Church, of which he was deacon and elder. He married Elizabeth Stamm, born Jan. 27, 1797, who died on Sept. 26, 1877, daughter of Nicholas Stamm, and they had seven children: Mary, who died young; Benjamin; Isaac, who lives on the homestead in Centre township; Catherine, m. John Faust, of Reading; Sarah, m. Elias Kreider, of Bern township; Samuel, deceased, who was a farmer of Centre township; and Anna Eliza m. John Haak.. The parents are buried at Belleman's Church.

Benjamin Graff was educated in Bern township in the pay schools of his day, at Belleman's Church, and for a short time at the Quaker meeting house in Maiden-creek township. He attended an English school a short time only, but later educated himself in various ways, and became well informed on general topics of the day. Until twenty-three years old he worked for his parents, but in 1853 he began operating for himself in Centre township, on his father's farm, continuing farming until 1882. In 1860 he located in North Heidelberg township, but in 1872 purchased his late home, a tract of 113 acres, where he afterward resided. Since 1890 his farm has been tenanted by his son Samuel, and prior to that time was occupied by his son James. Fine limestone is found on this farm in great quantities, and in addition to carrying on agricultural pursuits, the Graffs sell hundreds of bushels of lime yearly, having four lime kilns.

Mr. Graff was a Democrat in politics, and served as delegate to various conventions. He was honest and upright in dealings with his fellow men, and had the respect and confidence of the community to a large degree. With his family he belonged to St. Paul's Church, of Robesonia, though previously he was a member of the Corner Church of Robesonia, as well as of North Heidelberg church, in both of which he was an official.

Mr. Graff was married Jan. 9, 1847, to Magdalena Ludwig, born Jan. 6, 1824, who died Feb. 12, 1899, and was buried at Corner Church. To this union there were born children as follows: Annie, deceased, born April 23, 1848, m. Jonathan Stump, and died Oct. 24, 1902; Allison, born Dec. 4, 1849, died Feb. 10, 1862; Mary, born in October 1851, died Feb. 11, 1862; James L., born Feb. 5, 1856, is a farmer in Spring township; and Samuel, born July 5, 1868, m. Ellen Keeny, farms upon the homestead, and has three children, Milton, May and Laura.


GRAFF, GEORGE

p. 611

Surnames: GRAFF, HIMMELSHEAR, MOHN, KUNKEL, FREY, FRAI, ZIMMERMAN, REINHARD, BILLMAN, EMORE

George Graff, a farmer of Albany township, Berks county, now living retired in his comfortable home at Albany Station, is a native of Neubeuern, Germany, born Aug. 11, 1835, a son of George Michael Graff.

George Michael Graff was born in Bayern, Germany, May 23, 1793, and died at his home near Wessnersville, Berks county, June 29, 1879. He came to America in 1839 bringing his family, and first lived for a few years in Philadelphia, from which city he came to Berks county, and made his first location in Greenwich township, on the place where William Emore now lives about Klinesville, About 1848 he moved to Albany township, and located where his son Christian now lives near Wessnersville. He owned this farm, which first consisted of fifty-six acres, and this he cultivated until a new years before his death. He was a Lutheran in religious faith, as was also his wife, and they are buried at Friedens Church at Wessnersville, of which they were members. Mr. Graff had been a tanner in the Old County, but never followed that trade in America. He was a man of medium height with very black hair. His second wife was Anna Maria Himmelshear, who was born March 13, 1813, and died April 21, 1881. They had four children: George and Michael, both born in Germany; and Christian and Catharine (m. Samuel Mohn, of Round Top, Albany township), both born in America. Of these children, Michael lived some years in Albany township, and then moved to West Penn township, Schuylkill county, where some years later he sold out his farm, and then went to Tamaqua. He married Polly Kunkel, and their children were: Thomas, George, Charles, Alvin, Jonathan, Mary Ann, Missouri and Cora. Christian Graff, son of George Michael, a shoemaker by trade, also carries on farming on the old homestead in Albany township. He married Polly Frey (spelled Frai in German), sister to George Graff's wife, Sarah, both daughters of Napoleon Frey. To Christian Graff and wife have been born: Oscar, Mantillis (m. Amanda Zimmerman, daughter of Noah Zimmerman, Richard (m. Alice Zimmerman, sister to Amanda). Irwin, Elmer and Herbert.

George Graff accompanies his parents to America, and in Greenwich township he learned the shoemaker's trade under Peter Reinhard, and this he followed fourteen years. During the Civil war he enlisted in Company G, 167th Pa V. I. And served nine months. After the war he engaged in farming in Albany township, and has a nice farm of 110 acres located in the potato belt on the Ontelaunee. He built in 1883 the present barn on his farm, and he retired in 1889, having the previous year built at Albany Station the brick residence near the railroad, where he now lives. The large lawn is most attractive. Mrs. Graff is a great lover of flowers and has been very successful in their cultivation, and the beautiful blossoms attract much attention, not only of the passers-by but also of the passengers on the trains of the Schuylkill & Lehigh railroad running close to the house. Mr. Graff is a man of intelligence and is well posted on public questions. He takes great pleasure in reading. He and his wife have erected their monument at Friedens Church cemetery.

In 1860 Mr. Graff married Sarah Frey, daughter of Napoleon and Kate (Billman) Frey, the latter a daughter of Jacob Billman (whose children were -- Sallie, Leah, Betsey, Hettie, Kate, Polly, Jonas and Reuben). To Mr. and Mrs. Graff have been born no children. Mr. Graff is a Democrat in politics, and he and his wife are Lutheran members of Friedens Church.


GRAFF, GEORGE M.

p. 539

Surnames: GRAFF, SCHAEFFER, STAHLE, REIFF, HART. MORRIS, BECHTEL, SNYDER, HAIN, GERNANT, KLINE, EPPIHIMER

George M. Graff, general manager of Kline & Eppihimer's department store of Reading, was born in this city Jan. 30, 1840, son of John and grandson of Jacob Graff.

Jacob Graff was born in Maiden-creek township, Berks county. He married a Miss Schaeffer and they had three sons: William, of Reading; Frederick and John.

John Graff, son of Jacob, was born at Reading in 1804, and died in that city in November 1876. By trade he was a wool hat maker, and followed his calling many years. In religious faith he was a member of the Reformed church, and he is buried in the Charles Evans cemetery. His wife was Catherine Stahle, daughter of Major William Stahle, a prominent citizen of Reading, who from 1838 to 1849 served Berks county as coroner. Among other things he wrote a business history of Berks county that is regarded as one of the best records of the earlier records of the county in existence. Mr. and Mrs. John Graff had these children: Sarah; Joseph; Mary; Susan; Marks; George M.; Catherine, m. to Henry J. Reiff, of Reading; Rebecca and Rosa, all deceased except George M. and Catherine.

George M. Graff was educated in the public schools of Reading, and was one of the first pupils to attend the Reading high school, but he left before completing his course to earn his living. He became a bundle boy, now called cash boy, with Hain & Gernant, who conducted a store in the Old Fellows hall on Penn street, now called Library hall, and was still in the employ of this firm when they retired from business. He was then employed with Asa M. Hart, a dry goods merchant on Penn square, but after several years his employer died. In 1870 he connected himself with the concern of which he is now general manager, as bookkeeper, and was gradually promoted until in 1885 he became general manager which responsible position he still holds.

Mr. Graff was a member of the Old Salome Lodge of Odd Fellows until it was suspended. He is a member of the Order of Red Men; of Keim Post, No. 76, G. A. R. and takes a deep interest in Post work, he having served as a private in Company H, 11th Pa. V. I. Mr. Graff and his family are members of St. James Lutheran church and since 1895 Mr. Graff has been a member of the vestry. For many years he has sung in the choir, and he takes a deep and active interest in church affairs.

In 1863 Mr. Graff was married to Hannah Morris, daughter of Israel Morris of Reading. They have two children: Charles C., of Reading, m. Susan Bechtel, and has two children ? George and Leonore; Edna m. George A Snyder, of Pine Grove, now of Reading, and has two children ? Donald and Josephine.


GRAFF, ISAAC

p. 1354

Surnames: GRAFF, KINDT, MURRIA, TROWITZ, MILLER, KIEFFER, ADAM, HAAK, STAMM, FAUST, KREIDER, HAAK, LOOSE, BUCKS, ZERBY, BECKER, RENTSCHLER, MAST

Isaac Graff, a retired farmer of Centre township, Berks county, was born Aug. 5, 1825, in Bern township, and is a member of the fourth generation of the family in this country.

Jacob Graff, great-grandfather, was a native of Germany, and emigrating to this country settled in maiden-creek township, Berks Co., Pa., where he died in the winter of 1806. At that time he owned over two hundred acres of land, and left a large estate to his children. He and his wife, Catherine Margaretha Kindt, are buried at St. Peter's Church in Richmond township. They had these children: Abraham, who obtained the old homestead; Sebastian, John and Jacob, who each received 200 in lawful money of Pennsylvania; Eva Maria, who married Jacob Murria; Elizabeth, who married Adam Kindt; Catherine, who married Jacob Trowitz, - each of these daughters received 150 of lawful money of Pennsylvania; and Rosina, who married a Miller, by whom she had three children, Rosina, Susanna and Hannah, all of who were provided for in the will. Of this family Abraham Graff lived on the homestead for some years and there carried on farming, later moving to Reading, where he died; he was married to a Miss Kieffer, and they had two children, Isaac and Abraham

Jacob Graff, grandfather of Isaac Graff, , was born in 1762, and died in 1841. He was a lifelong farmer, and owned a tract of 180 acres near Gernand's Church, where he is buried. He married Rosina Adam, and to them were born the following children: Jacob, a farmer of Maiden-creek, who married and died at Reading; Daniel, who died unmarried; Samuel; John, a farmer of Maiden-creek, who died and was buried at Gernand's Church; Isaac, who was a farmer on the homestead; Solomon, a farmer of Upper Tulpehocken township; Elizabeth, who died unmarried and is buried at Gernand's Church; and Sallie, who was married.

Samuel Graff, father of Isaac Graff, was born in Maiden-creek township Nov. 17, 1793, and died Sept. 11, 1876, in Centre township, in which district he settled after his marriage. He owned a farm at Belleman's Church, where the cemetery is now located, his tract consisting of 136 acres. He erected a house in 1849 upon the farm on which his son Isaac lived until after his marriage, was a prosperous man and a good, useful citizen. He was a member of the Reformed congregation of Belleman's Church, and served as deacon and elder. He married Elizabeth Stamm, born Jan. 27, 1797, died Sept. 26, 1877, daughter of Nicholas Stamm, and they had seven children: Mary, who died young; Benjamin, a retired citizen of Heidelberg township; Isaac; Catherine, who married John Faust, of Reading; Sarah, who married Elias Kreider, of Bern township; Samuel, who was a farmer of Centre township; and Anna Eliza, who married John Haak.

Isaac Graff attended the public schools and was reared to farming, which he followed throughout his active years. He lived for many years on the old homestead, in 1887 buying his present place of 124 acres in Centre township. He has been retired since 1893. Mr. Graff gave his time principally to his private affairs, though he has served his township as school director. He is a Democrat in political sentiment, and in religion an adherent of the Reformed denomination, holding membership in Belleman's Church, which he has served as deacon and elder.

Mr. Graff married Mary Loose, born Sept. 2, 1830, died Nov. 3, 1891, daughter of Daniel Loose, of Centre township; she is buried at Belleman's Church. A large family was born to this union, as follows: Daniel, living in Centre township; Isaac, of Reading; Samuel, of Reading; Milton, of Dauberville, Pa.; Adam, of Kansas; Aaron, of Leesport, Pa.; Fred, of Kansas; Catherine, who married Frank Bucks; Ella, who married Howard Zerby; Sally, who married Levi Becker; Ida, who married Milton Rentschler; Mary, who married Samuel Mast; and Jacob, of Kansas.


GRAFF, SAMUEL L.

p. 1345

Surnames: GRAFF, LOOSE, RICHARD

Samuel L. Graff, a contractor and builder of Reading, who as senior member of the firm of Graff & Brother, has handled some large contracts in Reading and the surrounding country, was born in 1856, in Centre township, Berks county, son of Isaac S. and Mary (Loose) Graff.

Mr. Graff received his educational training in the schools of Centre township, and worked upon the home farm until twenty-one years of age, when he learned the carpenter's trade with Backenstose & Co., with whom he worked three years. He was then employed in bridge building for about one year for the Wilmington & Northern Railroad, and then came to Reading, where he worked as a journeyman carpenter until 1897. In this year he formed a partnership with his brother Isaac L. Graff, under the firm name of Graff & Brother, and this partnership has continued to the present time, the brothers meeting with great success in their business.

Samuel L. Graff was married to Sidney Richard, born in Penn township, Berks county, and to this union there were born three children, one of whom, Eve, survives. She married and has one child, Irma. In religious belief Mr. Graff and his wife are connected with the Reformed Church. Politically he is a Democrat.


GRANT, JEREMIAH K.

p. 1324

Surnames: GRANT, KNAUSS, DIETRICH, BOYER, WEIDNER, BRUNNER, LIVINGOOD

Jeremiah K. Grant enjoys the distinction of being one of Reading's foremost professional men. He was born in Pike township, Berks county, Oct. 24, 1847, son of Charles and Catharine (Knauss) Grant.

Charles Grant, the father, was a native of Berks county, and was a relative of that distinguished American, Ulysses S. Grant. He was highly respected in his section, and died in 1875, aged sixty-seven years. His wife Catharine Knauss, was a daughter of William Knauss, a farmer and miller in Amity township. To Charles and Catharine K. Grant were born nine children: Ephraim; William K., who was killed at Petersburg, while serving in the Union army; James K., who died in 1875; Mahlon K., who died in 1895; Hannah (died in 1902), wife of William G. Dietrich; Sarah, wife of Horace K. Boyer, a descendant of the founders of Boyertown; Hiram K., who died in 1907; Mary K., who married William G. Weidner, and died in 1909; and Jeremiah K.

Jeremiah K. Grant was educated under the private tutorship of eminent instructors, in the Keystone State Normal School and in the Department of Law of the University of Pennsylvania. He registered as a student-at-law in the office of William H. Livingood, of Philadelphia, and was admitted to the Bar of that city in 1877, on his certificate from the Law Department of the University of Pennsylvania, and at once began the practise of his profession there. In 1878 he removed to Reading, and he was admitted to practise in the several courts of the counties of Philadelphia and Berks, in the Superior and Supreme Courts of Pennsylvania, and in the United States District Court, and he has enjoyed a lucrative practice. He officiated as district attorney for Berks county from 1886 to 1889, having been elected on the Democratic ticket; and in 1903 he was elected county solicitor.

Mr. Grant has been interested in a number of important business enterprises. He erected the "J. K. Grant Building" at Sixth and Washington streets and many other buildings, thus adding greatly to the material development of the city. He is a director in the Berks County Trust Company. He has taken an active part in the political affairs of the county as a Democrat from the time he located in Reading, and has been a prominent member of the Americus Club for many years.

On March 20, 1878, Mr. Grant married Caroline Brunner, daughter of Samuel and Mary Brunner.


GRANZ, AUGUST

p. 702

Surnames: GRANZ, HEINIG, WEBBER

August Granz, superintendent of the Reading Glove & Mitten Company, has been a resident of this country since 1888, when he came hither from his native Germany.

Born in Kaufungen, Saxony, Jan. 31, 1856, Mr. Granz was there given the solid education bestowed on all his countrymen and later served his time in the German army, holding the rank of corporal at the time of his release. While still hardly more than a boy he learned the trade of a baker and followed it, except for the time in the army, until 1878. He then gave it up to learn glovemaking, served a thorough apprenticeship and acquired a further knowledge and experience of every detail of the business by continued work in that line in Germany. In 1888 he set his face toward America, landing at Castle Garden, September 1st, and worked first in New York and New Jersey. In the beginning he found it easier to secure employment at his original trade of baker, but before long he was able to get work at glove making again, and has ever since been engaged in that line. His wide experience of the business and his ability attracted attention, and he was offered the place of Superintendent of the Reading Glove & Mitten Company in 1904. He entered upon his duties Dec. 17th of that year, and has since that time established himself thoroughly in the company's confidence. He does all the buying for the firm and in every act has demonstrated his fitness for the responsibilities of his position.

While residing in Germany Mr. Granz was united in marriage in 1877 to Miss Mary Heinig, also of Kaufungen, Saxony. They have only one child, a daughter Hattie. now the wife of Theodore Webber, of New York City. Some years ago Mr. Granz became interested in the work of the I. O. O. F., and joined that organization, in which he has made an assured position for himself in the esteem of its members. For two years he has been a member of Teutonia Lodge No. 367, F. & A. M. of Reading; and he also belongs to Workingmen's Sick and Beneficial Association.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:54:16 EDT

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