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Fayette County, Iowa
Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910
Author: G. Blessin
B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana
Vol. I, Biographical Sketches
"The subject of this sketch, a successful merchant and farmer of Scott, Iowa, is a native of Nassau, Prussia, and inherits many of the sterling qualities of head and heart for which the Germanic nationality for centuries has been distinguished. His parents, Peter and Anna Marie (Kalb) Kraft, were born at the place above mentioned and there lived until immigrating to America, in 1862. They settled in Dubuque county, Iowa, where the father worked at the cooper’s trade, which he had previously learned in the Fatherland, and also devoted a portion of the ensuing eight years to agricultural pursuits. At the expiration of the period indicated, he moved to Fayette county and purchased one hundred sixty acres of land in section 22, Scott township, later securing an additional two hundred acres, mostly in its natural state, which in due time he improved and converted into a good farm. Peter Kraft was a man of industrious habits, economical and thrifty and in the course of a few years he became one of the well-to-do farmers and enterprising citizens of Scott township. He reared a family of four children, whose names are as follows: William, a farmer, of Scott township, and a thrifty tiller of the soil; Charley, a farmer, of Scott township; and Jacob, who lives on the old homestead and is one of the substantial agriculturists of his neighborhood.
Peter Kraft, whose birth occurred on January 4, 1852, received his preliminary education in the Lutheran schools of his native place and after coming to the United States attended for a while the public schools of Dubuque. He lived at home, assisting in the cultivation of the farm, until January, 1887, when he married Frederika Doerfler, and immediately purchasing two hundred forty acres of excellent land in sections 14 and 15, Scott township, which he still owns and which, devoted to general farming and stock raising, has proven the source of a generous share of the ample competency now in his possession. Soon after moving to his place, he started a creamery which he conducted with gratifying success for a period of eight years, when it was purchased by the Welch Brothers, who in turn sold it to a company composed of several neighboring farmers, by whom it is still operated. In the year 1899 Mr. Kraft engaged in merchandising at Scott, where he is still at the head of a large general store and doing a very successful business. He served as postmaster of that town for several years, was also a member of the school board and from time to time has been elected to other positions of responsibility and trust, including the office of township clerk and treasurer of the school board, in all of which he demonstrated ability of a high honor and discharged the duties incumbent upon him to the satisfaction of all concerned. In politics he is a Democrat, and as such is highly esteemed by his political associates, being a judicious adviser in the councils of his party and an influential worker with the rank and file.
Mr. Kraft has been successful in all of his undertakings and is today one of the enterprising farmers and stock raisers of Fayette county, as well as an influential factor in commercial circles. He carries on general farming and keeps from ninety to one hundred head of fine Durham cattle, in the breeding and raising of which he has achieved much more than local repute. He also devotes considerable attention to high grade draft and driving horses and Poland-China hogs, besides raising a large number of chickens of the Plymouth Rock breed, his poultry comparing favorably with the best in his part of the state and proving quite profitable from a monetary point of view. In his mercantile establishment at Scott Mr. Kraft carries full lines of dry goods, boots, shoes, groceries, agricultural implements and machinery in fact, his stock, which is quite large, is general in character and includes everything in the way of merchandise for which there is any demand. His relations with his customers have always been mutually agreeable and it is to his faculty of winning and retaining warm friendships, as well as to his integrity and strict sense of honor that he attributes much of the success with which his business career has been crowned. He is widely known throughout the county of Fayette, enjoys to a marked degree the respect and confidence of his fellow citizens and has so stamped the impress of his individuality upon his own community as a leader and trusted adviser among those with whom his lot has been cast.
Mrs. Kraft was born in the state of Wisconsin, and is a daughter of John Doerfler, who came to this country a number of years ago and was one of the early settlers of Clayton county, Iowa, where he spent the rest of his life as a prosperous tiller of the soil. To Mr. and Mrs. Kraft eight children have been born, namely: Lena, Willie, Bertha, Peter, Jr., Cecelia, Minnie, Laura and Matilda, all living and members of the home circle. Lena attended the business college at Oelwein, where she completed the prescribed course of study and is now an expert stenographer and typewriter. Bertha, a well educated and accomplished young lady, who for some time past has been one of the county’s efficient and popular teachers. The rest of the children received their educational training in the home schools and are fitting themselves for future usefulness in various fields of endeavor.
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