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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JULIUS O. BECRAFT, Postmaster at Dowagiac, formerly editor and sole owner of the Dowagiac Republican, was born in this city on the 27th of April, 1850. He is of German descent, his paternal grandfather having emigrated from Germany and settled in Orange County, N. Y., where he followed farming pursuits. In that county Isaiah S. Becraft was born, and there he grew to a stalwart manhood, meanwhile aiding in the work of clearing and improving the farm. Upon coming to Michigan he located in Macomb County, and thence in 1848 he removed to Dowagiac, where he followed the trade of a builder and contractor and erected some of the first houses in the place.

In Macomb County, Mich., Isaiah S. Becraft married Miss Lydia, daughter of James Wallace, and of Scotch descent. Two children were born of this marriage. After the death of his first wife, he again married in Macomb County and came to Dowagiac, where they lived happily until severed by death. One of the first merchants in Dowagiac, Mr. Becraft engaged in merchandising for a time here. He served as Deputy Sheriff of the county and as Treasurer of the township. At the time of his death, in 1865, he was filling the position of United States Deputy Provost Marshal and also held a commission in the United States Secret Service. In his political opinions he was first a Whig, and upon the organization of the Republican party united with its supporters and remained an adherent of its principles until his demise. Socially, he was identified with the Masonic order and was a charter member of the first Masonic lodge organized in Dowagiac.

Of his first marriage, Mr. Becraft, as above stated, became the father of two children. His second marriage united him with Caroline Wallace, sister of his first wife, and was blessed by the birth of five children. Julius O., one of the children born to the first union, was reared in Dowagiac and attended school until fourteen years old, when he became self-supporting. For about two years he was employed in a basket shop, but later secured a position as clerk in a dry-goods store at Kalamazoo. After working there for two years, he returned to Dowagiac and at first clerked in the post office; later he engaged in selling dry goods for a year or more, after which he became freight clerk in the depot at Cassopolis. He was in that position only a short time when he resigned and, returning to Dowagiac, accepted a position in the post office. A year afterward he was appointed station agent at Cassopolis for the Michigan Central Railroad. Two years were spent there and a like period in Dowagiac in the same position.

Having been appointed Assistant Postmaster, Mr. Becraft served with efficiency in that position for about nine years, when a change in administration caused the resignation of the corps of officials. He then embarked in business as a fire insurance agent and was quite successful in that line of work. At the time of President Harrison’s election, a change was made in the post office at Dowagiac and Mr. Becraft was appointed Postmaster, assuming the duties of the position on the 1st of January, 1890. Mr. Beraft was married, in 1870, to Miss Hattie Britton, a native of Albion, Mich., and the union was blessed by the birth of two children: Fred E., who is now postal clerk on the Chicago & Grand Trunk Railway between Chicago and Port Huron; and Charles, who died in infancy.

Politically, Mr. Becraft has always been a stanch Republican and has been influential in the ranks of his chosen party. For years he filled the position of City Recorder. He has been a member of the Republican Congressional Committee of the Fourth District for twelve years and is now its Chairman. He has been a prominent member of the Board of Education for a number of years, serving as its Secretary at the present time. Socially, his connections are with the Masonic fraternity, he being a Royal Arch Mason and a Knight Templar; he is also identified with the Knights of Honor and the Modern Woodmen of America, and has held official positions in both, organizations.

The Dowagiac Republican, of which Mr. Becraft was proprietor and editor, was established in 1858 and is the oldest paper in the county. His interest in it dates from the year 1890, and it is largely through his influence that it has maintained its position among the prominent political organs of the county. Strongly Republican in politics, it is nevertheless not partisan in preferences, but aims principally to promote the interests of the people of the city, irrespective of political belief.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Cass County, Michigan family biographies here: Cass County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Cass County, Michigan here: Cass County Michigan Map

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