GRAFF, WASHINGTON , (deceased), who was one of the most successful and highly respected pioneer agriculturists of Morgan County, was born in Nelson, Ky., in 1826, a son of David and Susan Graff. His father, who was also a native of Kentucky, brought his family to Illinois in 1834, locating about a mile and a half south of the site of Arnold in Township 15, Range 9, where he purchased a claim which had been entered upon by another man. Two years later he took up a quarter section of Government land located directly west of the site of Arnold, which he made his home for the remainder of his life. His energy was directed to the improvement of his land and the raising of stock, in both of which undertakings he was fairly successful. Politically he was a Whig and a stanch Abolitionist. He died February 4, 1850, and in the will which he left it is interesting to note some of the valuations placed upon livestock. While horses were appraised at $40 each, cows were quoted at $8, hogs at $1, and sheep at the remarkable value of seventy-five cents. The valuation placed upon wagons was extremely high, on account of the expense of making them in those days.
David Graff and his wife became the parents of the following named children: Two sons-George and Washington; and seven daughters-Susan Willett; Louisa, wife of Samuel McClure; Amanda, wife of Rector Gore; Mary, wife of James Thornton; Ann, wife of Eli C. Ransdell; Elizabeth and Parthenia.
Washington Graff was the youngest child in the family. He received his education in the subscription schools of the county, and was reared to a farming life. In 1849 he joined Captain Heslop's company, which traveled by way of the Sante Fe trail to California. After remaining two years in the gold camps of that State, he returned to Morgan County with about $2,000, the fruit of his operations in the mines and in general merchandising. This money he immediately invested in a tract of farming land lying near his father's homestead. About a year later he purchased a body of land lying on Indian Creek, near Prentice, to which he moved, and where he resided during the remainder of his life. So successful were his farming and stock operations that he accumulated 1,400 acres of land, all in one body, and most of which was exceedingly fertile and easily cultivable. He became one of the influential citizens of Morgan County, and exhibited a deep and abiding interest in the welfare of the community. A stanch Republican in politics, he was the choice of his party for the office of County Commissioner in 1876; and though the normal Democratic majority in the county at that time was about 900, he lacked but 60 votes of being elected. Mr. Graff was a devoted member of the Christian Church, and for a number of years filled the office of School Director. He was a firm friend of education, and invariably secured the best qualified instructors for the school in his district which it was practicable to obtain. He died November 7, 1895.
Mr. Graff was thrice married, and by his first wife, Almarinda Flinn, became the father of seven children: Mary E., William, Margaret, Franklin M., Zadock Wright, Grant, and one child who died in infancy. By his second marriage with Elizabeth F. Owen there were two children, viz.: Charles B. and Lula. His third wife and widow was Minnie Christen, who survives him, and now occupies the home farm near Prentice. She is the mother of the following named children: Almarinda, John W., Katie, Myrtle and Parthenia.