FRANK KRAFT. Germany has contributed her quota, not only to the upbuilding of McLean County, but a goodly portion of the United States, and within the boundary lines of this county we find a large number of that class of citizens. Prominent among this number is the gentleman of whom we write, and who is pleasantly located on his fine and productive farm on section 17, Towanda Township. Mr. Kraft is a son of Joseph and Mary A. Kraft, natives of Germany, in which country they both died.
Our subject was the oldest son of his parents' children, and was born in Baden, Germany, June 7, 1829. He lived in the "Faderland" until the fall of 1855, when he emigrated to the United States. When sixteen years old our subject learned the trade of soap-making, and followed that occupation until he came to this country, with the exception of the time he was compelled to serve in the army. The laws of his native country required him to serve six years in the army, but two years before the expiration of his time he, desiring to emigrate to the United States, hired a substitute to take his place for the unexpired time, paying therefore the sum of $200.
On arriving in the United States our subject first located near Dayton, Ohio, where he lived about one year, working out by the month on a farm. In the fall of 1856 he came to McLean County and worked at farming by the month until his marriage. He then rented a farm, and for four years continued to cultivate rented land. At the expiration of this time he had accumulated enough to enable him to purchase eighty acres in Towanda Township, and which was located on section 17. On this tract he settled, and has there lived until the present time. By strict economy and energy he has been enabled to add to his original purchase, and is now the owner of 320 acres of good and valuable land, on which he has the best of improvements, and where he is meeting with more than ordinary success.
Mr. Kraft was married at Bloomington, Ill., March 13, 1859, to Paulina Fiebig, daughter of Gotlieb and Banety Fiebig, natives of Germany, and in which country they both died. Mrs. Kraft was born March 25, 1836, in Germany, and came to this country when twenty years of age. The result of her union with our subject has been two children: Oscar W. and Lewis H.; the former married Miss Alice Phillipps, and they are living in Towanda Township; Lewis H. resides at home, and assists his father in the cultivation of the farm. Mr. Kraft has been School Director, and in politics is Republican.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 727. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.
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