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Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  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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JACOB GRAFF is a prominent and well known farmer residing on section 20, Ora Township, Jackson County. As he is widely and favorably known in this community we feel assured that the record of his life will prove of interest to many of our readers and therefore gladly give it a place in this volume. He was born in Somerset County, Pa., April 6, 1831, and is a son of William and Rosanna (Imhoff) Graff. They were married in 1829, and in 1841 removed with their family to the west, taking up their residence in Levan Township, Jackson County. The father was a farmer by occupation, and here followed agricultural pursuits until his death, which occurred September 25, 1878. His wife, who was born and reared in Somerset County, Pa., was a member of the Lutheran Church in early life, but afterward united with the Christian Church. She passed away on the old homestead, September 25, 1892.

In the family were the following children: Henry, John O., Jacob, Andrew; Elmira, who died at the age of twelve years; and Mary, wife of Tolbert Boucher. The father was a consistent member of the Lutheran Church. In politics he was a stanch supporter of the Whig party in early life, but when the Republican party sprang into existence he joined its ranks and was one of its stalwart advocates during his remaining days.

The subject of this sketch was a youth of ten summers when brought by his family to Illinois, where he was reared in the usual manner of farmer lads. On the 27th of December, 1855, he married Mary E. Levan, daughter of Samuel and Amy Levan. Her father was a native of Somerset County, Pa., and became one of the pioneer settlers of Jackson County, Ill. When the township in which he lived was organized it was named in his honor. He improved a large farm, and at his death, which occurred June 25, 1890, was the owner of a valuable property. In his native county he married Amy Husbands. They were both faithful members of the Christian Church, and in their family were the following children: Mrs. Graff, O. J., F. M.; H. H., who died in the army in 1864; Ann A., widow of Christian Whistler; Adeline, wife of William Kelly, and one daughter who died in infancy. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Graff were born seven children: Harmon L., born September 20, 1856; Granville, January 13, 1859; Oliver, who was born November 23, 1860, and died April 21, 1890, leaving a daughter, who resides with her grandfather; Adeline, who was born December 29, 1862, and is the wife of Robert Redfield: Henry, born January 22, 1866; Dora, who was born April 8, 1870, and died April 24, 1873; and Samuel W., who died in infancy.

Since voting for John C. Fremont in 1856, Mr. Graff has been a stalwart supporter of the men and measures of the Republican party. For fifteen years in early life he was a member of the Baptist Church, after which he united with the Christian Church at Pleasant Hill. He has been an Elder in the same for several years, and his wife is also one of its faithful members and active workers. When this worthy couple began their domestic life they resided in Levan Township, where our subject improved a good farm. In 1870 he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 20, Ora Township, and has since made their home thereon. He placed his farm under a high state of cultivation and stocked it with a high grade of horses, cattle and hogs. He is now practically living retired, being surrounded by all the comforts of life, which were secured to him by his labor in former years. His career has been an honorable and up right one and he has the respect of all.

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This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

View additional Jackson County, Illinois family biographies here: Jackson County, Illinois Biographies

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