Joseph Graff, who is engaged in stock-raising near the city limits in Sheboygan township, is one of Sheboygan county's enterprising native sons, his birth having occurred in Holland on the 18th of January, 1855. His parents were Nicholas and Marian (Seigler) Graff, who located here during the pioneer period.
The father was born in the grand duchy of Luxemburg in 1812, and there he passed the first thirty-six years of his life. In 1848 he emigrated to the United States, settling in the state of New York, where for six years he was engaged in truck gardening. He gave this up in 1854 and came to Wisconsin, locating in Sheboygan county. He purchased eighty acres of land in Holland township that he cultivated for two years, then selling it he removed to the city of Sheboygan and bought eighty acres adjoining the city limits. This has since been taken into the city and is the property of the South Sheboygan Land Company, who have surveyed and subdivided it into residence lots. He prospered in his agricultural pursuits and later he extended the boundaries of his farm by the purchase of another tract of one hundred and twenty acres, making his holdings aggregate two hundred acres, all adjacent to the city. He resided on his farm until his death in 1888, but lived retired during his latter years.
Mr. and Mrs. Graff were married in New York state shortly before coming to Wisconsin, and to them were born eight children, five of whom are living. In order of birth they are as follows: Joseph, our subject; Margaret, the wife of Henry Kane of Sheboygan; Barbara, who married Philip Sonneborn, of this city, by whom she has one child; Mary, the wife of Thomas Dunn, a farmer in Wilson township, and the mother of three children ; and Anthony, a resident of Sheboygan, who is married and has three children.
The education of Joseph Graff was acquired in the district and German parochial schools of this county, during which time he was also assisting his father with the work of the farm, thus qualifying himself to become an agriculturist. He has long made a specialty of stock-raising and has been very successful.
On the 28th of November, 1882, Mr. Graff was married to Miss Frances Roltgen, a daughter of Bartholomew and Jennie Roltgen, both natives of Germany. When they first came to this country they located on a farm in the state of New York, but later they removed to Sheboygan county, where the father bought a farm that he operated during the remainder of his active life. Both are now deceased, the mother having passed away on July 7, 1896, and the father on the 24th of March, 1911.
Mr. and Mrs. Graff have had eight children, seven of whom are still living: Jennie, the wife of Michael Mannebach, manager of the Palace Meat Market, Ravenswood, Chicago, by whom she had three children; John, a farmer at Greenbush, this county, who is married and has two children; Jerome, who is living in Chicago; Bartholomew, Eva and Joseph, who are at home; and Mary, who is a sister in St. Agnes' convent. The family are all communicants of the Roman Catholic church, in the faith of which the parents were reared.
Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL