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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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JOHN A. GRAFF. In Levan Township, Jackson County, lies a valuable farm comprising two hundred and forty acres, the property of the gentleman with whose name we introduce this sketch. The soil, through excellent methods of fertilization and proper rotation of crops, has been brought under a high, state of cultivation, and yields large harvests of the various cereals. The improvements noticeable here are the result of Mr. Graff’s efforts. He has erected suitable and substantial buildings, conspicuous among which is the cozy and commodious residence erected in 1888.

The paternal grandfather of our subject, John Graff, was the proprietor of a tavern in Somerset County, Pa., and was a man of some means. His third son was William, father of our subject, and a native of Somerset County, born in 1808. He grew to manhood in the home district, and thence in 1841 removed to Illinois, settling in Levan Township, Jackson County. The land which he purchased was unimproved, and the surrounding country was a wilderness. On coming here he was in moderate circumstances, but possessing an abundance of energy and perseverance, he gradually gained large landed estates. In politics he was first a Whig, and later affiliated with the Republicans, always taking an active interest in political affairs. In religious belief he was a Lutheran, in which faith he passed away in 1877.

Four sons and two daughters were born to William and Rosa Ann (Imhoff) Graff: Jacob, a resident of Bradley Township; Henry, whose home is in Levan Township; Elvina, who died at the age of twelve years; John A., of this sketch; Mary, Mrs. Smith; and Andrew, of Levan Township. Our subject was born in Somerset County, Pa., January 4, 1839, and was only two years old when his parents came to Jackson County. His opportunities for schooling were very limited, and his education has been mainly acquired through his unaided efforts.

At the age of twenty-four years, Mr. Graff married Adaline, daughter of John Bowers, of Jackson County, Ill. The following children were born of this union: Andrew and John, who live in Levan Township; Luellen, who is married; Laura, the wife of Thomas Moore; Joseph and Julia, who reside at home; Daniel, Robert and Franklin, who are conducting their studies in the district schools. The wife and mother, who was a devoted member of the Methodist Church, and a sincere Christian, died June 1, 1884, mourned not alone by the immediate relatives, but also by all her acquaintances.

Politically, Mr. Graff is a Republican, but does not take an active part in public affairs. He is interested in educational matters, and is now serving his second term as School Director. In religious belief he is identified with the Lutheran Church. Both as a farmer and as a citizen, he has proved himself capable, progressive and honorable, and he justly occupies a high place in the regard of his fellow-citizens.

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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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