Johan or John Jacob Graf was born 1 December 1813 in Rebstein, St. Gallen, Switzerland to Joseph and Anna Ruedisuehli Graf. He first married Elizabeth Kehl 17 October 1837. They were later divorced. He then married Anna Barbara Graf. She was also born in Rebstein 7 January 1831.
They joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Switzerland and came to Utah. They were called to settle in Santa Clara, Utah with the Swiss Company. They were the parents of the “Old Graf’s” as they were called. A cousin came in 1863 and was the beginning of the “New Graf’s” in this area.
To this union were born ten children. The first four were born in Rebstein – Johann Jacob, Samuel Traugott (died at one year), Johann Traugott, and Anna Barbara . The next six were born in Santa Clara. Joseph (first boy born after the Swiss Company came), Lydia Wilhelmina, Paul Arnold, Walter Alfred (never married), Vernon Henry Andreas (never married), and Andreas (died as a child).
John Jacob died 2 December 1880 in Santa Clara, Utah at the age of 67.
Anna Barbara married Samuel Pollock 8 December 1881. She died in Santa Clara on 6 March 1912.
Jacob Graf Jr.
John Jacob Graff was born 27 April 1853 in St. Gallen, Rebstein, Switzerland to John Jacob & Anna Barbara Graf Graf. John was baptized 18 May 1866 by John Huber at Santa Clara, Utah. John sailed on the ship Emerald Isle from Liverpool, England with his father and mother, also a brother and sister. John was just six years old when they landed at Williamsberg, New York in 1859. John’s parents were converts to the LDS Church and so they crossed the plains to Utah along with other early pioneers. John’s folks settled in Tooele, Utah, just to the west of Salt Lake City, here they resided for about one and a half years, when they along with other members of the LDS faith from Switzerland, were called to help settle Santa Clara, Utah. This is called Utah’s Dixie because of the similarity in climate. This little community was all of Swiss descent. John Jacob Jr. grew to manhood in this little community, he married his first wife, Margaret Ann Ford, they were married and endowed and sealed 23 May 1878 in the Temple. After a few months time had elapsed on coming home from his work at a tannery one evening John to his amazement found his wife was gone and never seen or heard of her since.
It was a short time after the disappearance of his first wife that John went to live in Salt Lake City, Utah. Here he was employed in the construction of the Strawberry Canal. While he was working on this canal he resided at Wallsberg, Summit County, Utah. It was here that he met Lucy May Bramall, who with her parents Charles Bramall and Sarah Ellen Walker Bramall had emigrated from Manchester, England. Jacob continued to work in Summit County, where he and Lucy fell in love and were married 11 September 1879. Jacob with his bride and her mother along with Sarah Ellen Walker Bramall and her sister Mary Bramall Noakes, who had separated from her husband, returned to Santa Clara, Utah to make their home. It was here that John Jacob Jr. had an accident involving a stick which pierced his right eye and left him blind for the remainder of his life.
John Jacob Graff Jr. stayed for just six months in Santa Clara and then went to Payson, Utah. It was here in Payson that my oldest brother Charles Jacob Graff was born. Then father moved to Heber City, Utah but stayed here just a short time, when he decided to return to Santa Clara. It was here in Santa Clara once again that I, Joseph Graff was born on 14 May 1883. Becoming discontented again John Jacob Jr. Moved to Cannonville, Utah where I was blessed, that is (Joseph). Having a restless spirit my father moved from Cannonville northward to Charleston, where my mother’s sister Sarah Elizabeth was born. The family stayed here for a year and a half, and then returned to Cannonville, Utah. It was here in Cannonville that another son was born to my father and mother, this son was named George William Graff. Here in Cannonville was to be home for my father and mother for the rest of his life. Another son was born to Mom and dad here, this son was named Samuel Trogrett Graff.
John Jacob Graff Jr. had about four acres of ground, a fine orchard and enough hay for his horses and three milk cows. He would go to Panguitch, Utah to peddle his fruit, also here he would work in the brick yards. He also would work on the tail-end of the thrashing machine for wheat to get his flour. Dad never loafed, he worked all one winter at Lee’s Ferry, Utah helping to build a road with pick and shovel. They were working on the east side of the slope of the Colorado River, also he worked wherever he could get a job, he worked for a man in Cannonville, Utah over two months for a work horse, and upon completion of the employment, the man told him ‘your horse is over southwest about seven miles at the head of Sheep creek, with a band of wild horses, if you want him go catch him.’ Jacob said ‘No, I can’t catch the horse’ so he lost all his wages for his work. The horse weighed about 850 pounds and was so wild he led the band of wild horses, he was finally shot by the same employer. Dad worked grubbing brush for a horse that wasn’t worth five or ten dollars a piece. Dad worked hard all of his life. He took up a homestead and raised a few cattle. The cattle were placed just below Cannonville in a small valley called Death Valley, and the cowboys stole them all but one cow and one calf. Another brother Walter Eugene, was born 26 February, 1892. Our mother passed away 7 December 1893. Jacob was in bed with typhoid fever, at the same time mother was in bed with the same illness, this illness took her life. Mother was only thirty years old when she succumbed. Father, after recovering from his own illness, and the loss of his young wife, went to carrying mail to the old township of Pahreah, this was named from the creek with the same name running through town.
John Jacob Graff Jr. was now forced to an act that he always regretted. The children were placed out to different homes. Our Uncle William E. Pearce who married our Aunt Mary took baby Walter Eugene. Our Aunt raised this baby Walter, George William Graff my brother and Joseph Graff (myself) were also raised by Aunt Mary. She was certainly a sweet and gracious woman. My brother Samuel Trogrett was placed with a family by the name of Smiths at Thurber, Wayne County, Utah. My sister Sarah went to live with an Aunt in Kannarrah, Utah, and in a year or two went to Long Valley, Utah looking for a wife, that is my father did. He found and married Ada Bennett in the St. George Temple.
Father took his new bride to Cannonville where there were two sons born of their marriage, also one daughter. Father, though he worked very hard all his life, had a very scant living. Dad contracted asthma and one day came home complaining of lung trouble. Dad passed away at the age of 61 on the 11 June 1914, and was buried in the Cannonville, Utah cemetery.
Dad was a great believer in the LDS Church. I have come across him many a time in the prairie having his secret prayers. Jacob was well read, he knew the scriptures and was a highly spiritual man, having as some folks have asserted the gift of healing. Dad could quote verbatim many scriptures. I have heard him bear testimony to the truth of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the truths he revealed, that he was in very fact a true prophet of God. He taught his children the Gospel, and that they should go to church regular. Father never beat any man out of a red cent, he was honest all through his life. Dad loved every man he ever came in contact with that loved that Christ taught we should have one for another. Dad would do anything for his fellow man that was asked of him. This is a true history of our father Jacob Graff Jr. Dad was a good violinist, and had a wonderful tenor voice.
By Joseph Graff, his son
Written by Sherri G. Anderson with information obtained from Doug Tobler, Bessie Edwards and Mildred Hunt
Johann Traugott Graf was born 24 January 1857 in Rebstein, St. Gallen, Switzerland to Johann Jacob and Anna Barbara Graf Graf. Traugott sailed on the ship Emerald Isle from Liverpool, England with his father and mother and a brother and sister. They landed at Williamsberg, New York in 1859. Traugotts parents were converts to the LDS Church and so they crossed the plains to Utah along with other early pioneers. They settled in Tooele, Utah where they resided for about one and one-half years when in October conference they, along with other members from Switzerland were called to settle Santa Clara, Utah.
They first lived in a wagon box. They later made adobes and built a house. They had no furniture except some homemade chairs and a bed and table. They brought with them a chest full of clothes from the Old Country so they had quite a few clothes. Johann Traugott grew to manhood in this little community. It was here he was baptized and attended school and church. Times were very hard in the early days of Santa Clara. They had to work long days and had very little to eat. They ate pigweed greens and pout berries. Their homes were made of whatever materials they could find. I am sure they often longed for their beautiful homeland in Switzerland.
Traug went to help settle Bunkerville, Nevada. His sister Lydia Wilhelmina who was only twelve at the time went with him. This was authorized by President Brigham Young in 1877 when he picked twelve to fifteen families to live the United Order there.
On10 May 1881, Traugott married Emma Barbara Graf, a distant cousin, who had crossed the plains in the same company he had come with.
He along with Henry Frehner, Samuel Reber and a few others later became dissatisfied and moved up the Virgin River about fifteen miles to settle what later became Littlefield, Arizona. It was here their first child Lillian, was born 21 February 1880. Their second child, another daughter Hulda was born 29 August 1882 in Santa Clara.
While attending a 4th or 24th of July Celebration in Santa Clara, Traugott was kicked in the stomach by a mule and later died – 17 August 1884 leaving his wife and two small daughters.
Anne Barbara Graf
By Verna Gladys G. Laub, her youngest daughter
As I remember her telling me, she was born in Rebstein, St. Gallen, Switzerland, the first daughter of John Jacob and Anne Barbara Graff. She had three older brothers, Jacob, Samuel, and John Traugett. Mother, Anne Barbara, was just a baby when they left their home in Switzerland and sailed for America in the spring of 1859, arriving in Santa Clara November 1861 where their fourth child was born, a little boy Joseph. He was the first baby boy born in Santa Clara and was born in a wagon box on January 4th , 1862. Then on the 12th of August 1865 there was a baby girl born, who was named Lydia Wilhelmine. On June 21st, 1869, a brother, Paul Arnold, and on October 12th, 1872 another brother Walter Alfred was born and the last child, Vernon Henry was born on the 21st of October 1875. So that was all of the children of John J. Graff and Anne Barbara Graff.
As we all know, it wasn’t easy to come from such a beautiful country where everyone was happy and settled in a nice little home. Things were much more comfortable there than in this unsettled place of Santa Clara where it was necessary to establish a new livelihood for your family, with no home; just to start all over again, with floods at first; then, drought and heat and Indians all to make things so much worse.
Mother used to tell how her parents would go away all day and leave her with the children. And their poor little home, how they hardly had anything to eat! The children would cry, and how hard she would work to keep the little home clean and try to find something for the children and her parents to eat in the evening. I remember her telling how her parents had traded something to the Indians for some pine nuts. One day when her parents were going to be away for the day her mother told her to roast some of the nuts for the children to eat during the day., She told Mother to put the pine cones in a pan with some coals to roast them. She was getting along just fine with the task when a big old Indian came in the house. Mother was so afraid she covered the pan which contained the pine nut cones and coals with her skirt so the Indian wouldn’t see them. He took all the bread she had. When the Indian left she could small something burning and, turning around, she could see that it was her skirt covering the pine nuts. Besides having to mix another batch of bread, she was afraid her mother might punish her.
In the winter it wasn’t quite so hard on the children because their parents would be home more. But in the summer they would be away working in the fields. Grandmother would glean after the grain had been cut with the cradle and Grandfather would run the cradle. That way they would have enough grain for flour and cereal during the year. Then in the fall they would go away to dig potatoes for the winter.
Little Mother said that they often thought about the beautiful things back in the homeland where Grandfather had a good way to make a living. He wasn’t very strong and it was very hard on him, but he was always so kind and good to his family. Mother said that her father was a very good singer. Her mother was a good singer too, was also a good dancer, and loved to do both. She was much more jolly than Grandfather. He was quiet, but Grandmother could have enough fun for the two of them. I can still remember how she loved to dance. And as the children got older and things began to get better for them, they all kind of came out of that hard old shell that hardships and trouble can build around you. Things appeared and went much better for quite a few years. My mother apparently inherited her beautiful singing voice from her parents.
Then Grandfather got real sick, and like I have said before, he wasn’t very strong, so he didn’t live too long afterwards. The strain had been too much and he passed away. I think Mother took care of him most of the time. He just seemed to think she just knew how to best care for him. She said that this made her very sad and that she missed her father very much because he was very kind to everyone.
Grandmother remarried Mr. Pollack and moved to Kanarraville. She seemed to be real happy with this man. So after that, Mother and her sister Mina took care of their brothers. As time passed, Mother married Mr. Hugh. His family came here to settle but didn’t stay very long. They all moved to the state of Oregon, except Mr. Hugh and Mother. Mr. Hugh and mother’s brothers built a little home right here where we live now. Mother and Mr. Hugh had two children, a daughter, Jennie, and a little boy who died when he was just a baby. It wasn’t too long after that Mr. Hugh passed away leaving Mother and baby Jennie, who was one of my dear sisters.
Mother’s younger brothers came to live with her to help her, so it wouldn’t be so hard for her to make a living. The Hugh family wanted Mother to move to Oregon where they had relocated but she liked it much better here. Mother loved her little home and baby girl and her brothers who were very good to her, and she loved her sweet good sister, who was always so jolly and happy. They would work and do things together. They were very dear to each other.
In a few years, Aunt Mina married a stepson of Grandmothers, a Mr. Wallace Pollack and she moved to Kanarraville. On January 25th, 1886, mother married my Father, William Alden Gray. Their first child was born on November 5, 1886, a little black-haired girl who they named Alyce Wilhelmina Gray. Then on September 20, 1888, their first son was born. His name was William Alden Gray, Jrs. On December 19, 1890, another little girl was born names Caddie May Gray. Their next son was born on February 29, 1892, and he was names Wallace Gray. In April, 1895, another little girl was born who they named Grace Gray. She died very young. On November 8, d1897, another baby girl was added to the Gray family. Her name was Verna Gladys. In the Fall of 1898, their last child was born, a little boy named Merlin Gray who died just a baby. These were the children of William Alden and Anne Barbara G. Gray.This made quite a family to take care of, four girls and two boys. Both Mamma and Papa were very good workers and between them they made a pretty good living for their family. Papa had to be away from home most of the time. He was a freighter. He would be away for a week at a time in all kinds of weather, because it took so long to make a trip in those days going by horse and wagon. Were we ever happy when he would come home for a few days.
Mamma was a wonderful housekeeper, cook and seamstress. Besides making all our clothes, she would sew for everybody to help make a living. I can remember when I would go to tell the ladies that their clothes were finished. If little Mamma could have gotten what we have to pay now for her beautiful work she would have thought she was a millionaire, but I doubt if she would have ever charged so much, because she was real generous and kind.
Seems like as the years roll by things just have to change. The children get older, finish grade school, then go away to higher schools. That is what happened with our family. The two older girls and brother went to Cedar City to school. They wouldn’t come home every weekend, like now, but only for the Christmas holidays. I can well remember when Papa would get his fine horses and wagon ready to go bring them home. It would take quite a few days. How happy we would all be and what a good time we would have together! I remember how Papa and the boys would kill the nice hogs we had raised, and how Mamma and all the girls would take care of the meat, and how we would all work to have so many nice things cooked for the Holidays; and, also, for the young folks to take back with them to school. Oh, but those days were really something to be remembered! In the spring when the weather would get warmer, Mamma would go for a little visit with her dear sister in Kanarraville while Papa would go on to Milford for freight. She would have a real good time with her sister and family.
My sister May then also went to Cedar City to attend school and it was the same thing over again as with the other three, Jennie, Mina and Alden. Neither Wallace nor I went to school away from home. By this time Papa was getting up in years, so Wallace took over his job with the freighting. Little Mamma’s health was not very good, so I stayed at home to do the work for Papa, Mamma, Wallace and myself. All the others had finished school, some of them had married and some were working at jobs away from home, so they didn’t get home very often.
Those were happy days that Mother and I spent together. She still did sewing for other people. I would do the housework and hand work. I loved to embroider and try to sew. I would start sewing on many different things, then I would talk dear little Mamma into finishing them. She used to tell me if I ever did learn to finish a piece of clothing I would need a sticking plaster. How many times I have wished that she could see all the things I have started and finished. Mamma wasn’t much to be in the public, but she did work in the Relief Society and Primary for quite a few years and was always good to help folks who were in trouble or had sickness. She would have made a wonderful nurse because she just seemed to know exactly what to do and when. I can well remember when any of her brother’s family were sick, she would stay right there until she felt that they were much better. Sometimes it would take several days and she would only come home long enough to take a bath and have clean fresh clothes, because she was always very neat and clean. And Mamma had so much faith and believed so much in prayer and being kind and good to everyone, she never took any part in talking about anyone. She always said if you can’t say something good just keep still. Mamma loved her friends and neighbors and was always very thoughtful of them and she loved to have them come to see her. She was thoughtful of older people and taught all of us children to be the same.
I remember when she and some of the other ladies would sing in Church. Little Mamma had a beautiful alto voice. We would sing together while we were working. And how we could cook together! She was such a wonderful cook in every line of cooking. She could make preserves and jellies that were fit for kings. I remember that a lady once came to see Mamma about how to make tomato preserves. Mamma said to her, “Don’t make so much at one time and don’t be afraid to add a little extra sugar, and if you cook it real fast it will be nice and thick and very clear and shiny.” So that is the way I try to do, for it is better to have something that is real nice than a lot just half good. Mamma never had a cookbook in her life, but the things she made were the best you could find.
Mamma enjoyed cooking for her family, and when there were just the four of us at home she loved to cook for Papa and Wallace. Wallace was always so thrilled and happy over everything she would do. He praised her, put his arm around her and loved her. Wallace was always very tender to his parents and always appreciated what they did for him. He and I had such good times together. It seemed like I always found time to go down to the corral with Papa and Wallace and help Wallace tend the horses. We sure had good times together. I used to tell Mamma and Papa how I wished Wallace and I had a couple of race horses so we could go to the races. I can hear Mamma now when she would say, “Who ever heard of a girl going to a horse racing track?” How Papa, Wallace and I would laugh and Papa would say that really would be fun. I guess I am still the horse-woman of the family for I love every minute of it.
It was nice when my sister Mina came to live with us while her husband was on a mission. She had two darling little boys, J. Alden who was the oldest and V. Gray who was the baby. We all enjoyed having them here with us and they loved Papa and Mamma so much. I really don’t think we helped them much because we spoiled them so much that no one could please them, except their Mother and the four of us. They loved to go everywhere with Papa and Wallace when they went with the horses. They enjoyed riding with Wallace on his pretty little black riding horse. But when they wanted something to eat it was Mamma, their mother or myself who they would turn to for assistance. How they did love their dear Grandma to rock them and sing to them. I guess we really did a fine job spoiling them. Those were really good years and we enjoyed every day of them, and was happy to help.
Things went on as usual for quite a few years and we were really happy here in our little home. Things weren’t so hard. Little Mamma seemed to be much better and we were all very happy. It even got so I could go to see my sisters once in a while. Mamma would go up to Provo to spend the hot summers with the two older girls which she enjoyed very much and I would keep house for Papa and Wallace. Our older brother Alden, who was married, together with Wallace would run a binder and thresher during the summer. I really had a full time job for just a young girl, but Mamma and Papa thought I did a good job. I would do the canning and make preserves while little Mamma was up North. But my, how happy we would always be when Papa would go to meet the stagecoach that came from Lund, Utah. Mamma would come that far by train and then take the stagecoach from Lund to St. George. She was always so happy to be back home.
Then came that awful time when the First World War started and they began to draft the boys from our little town. Dear Wallace was drafted with the second ones to go. He left here in October, 1917. That was one of the saddest days of our lives. We were all so very worried about precious Mamma, because she wasn’t strong. We were afraid she might never be able to stand such a strain as that imposed by the war. Neither she nor Papa could hardly eat a bite for days, but after a while she was sure she could carry on if God would help her and take care of her precious son. I’ll never forget about the many times she prayed during the day and night for each and everyone who had to go to war.
After two long years it was over and we could hardly wait to hear the grand news, but then we received a letter from a boy from Santa Clara telling us Wallace had been killed just four days before the Armistice was signed. That was just about all the Dear folks could take, especially little Mamma. But Mamma was always trusting in our Father in Heaven. So even under all this she made another strong try and made another come back. No one will ever know the anxious hours Papa and I had when we watched over her and prayed for her to be all right. Everyone of her children, no matter where they lived, did everything they could to help make her happy, but I think the thing that helped the most was when dear sister Mina and her husband, “Uncle John”, as I always called him, let their little boys take turns coming to stay with us. They surely did help. They loved their dear little Grandma and Grandpa very much and they also helped me a lot for I was so very lonesome without dear Wallace, my pal.
Seems like life goes on even though you feel like you can’t make it. So Mamma, Papa and I who were here at home had to try to make other plans even though it was a very hard task. After a while Mamma seemed to be a little happier and relaxed. Many was the times she would say, “Well, there is one big reason to be thankful for.” She at least knew he was out of that awful war and all was well with him. I remember little Mamma was real happy when Papa fixed up the place and our little home was always clean and quite nice for those days.
I’ll never forget how close Mamma and I were, and how she would plan what she would do when I got married. We made a lot of pretty things for me, beautiful quilts and pillow cases with her beautiful handmade lace on them, and pretty little things to fix around the home I was to live in. She used to say that she hoped I would live near her and Papa, so they could come and see me. I wanted it that way, too. It was only four years after the war ended that Andrew and I were married. She loved Andrew very much. She and Papa wanted us to live here in their home with them. We were married on October 11, 1923. On January 14th, 1924, darling Mamma passed away. That seemed to me the worst thing that could ever happen to our family, and what a hard, sad winter that was. Poor dear Papa was so sad and lonely. I was so sick because we were expecting our first baby in the fall. I just thought I could never go through with it without precious Mamma, but Papa and my dear husband were so good to me.
On October 16, 1924 our darling Jay Andrew was born, bringing us renewed joy. It’s so wonderful how God can do things to give one new hope, love and life, for that is what the baby did for dear Papa, Andrew and myself. And we knew that darling Mamma must be happy to see us all happy again.
I have never been sorry for not being able to do the other things that my sisters and other girls in my crowd did, like going away to school. I am happy for the love and life I had with my dear parents.