Saturday, March 19, 2011

Happy 145th Birthday, Joseph Grant Cramer (1866-1922)!

Wally's father

The first of several Joseph Cramers in the line! Joseph's middle name was undoubtedly inspired by Ulysses Grant's Civil War victories shortly before his birth to Hiram and Mary. 

Joseph was the fourth of the Cramers' eleven Pennsylvania-born children.  He attended business college in Pennsylvania, and then in his early twenties, went west to farm in Kansas with his uncle Derrick Kreger.

Joseph moved to Nebraska and at age twenty-seven, married Caroline Mendell.  Joseph then went into business with her brother Atley, and later owned a general merchandising store with his brother Charles Cramer until 1910.  He then worked for the Brown Lumber Company in Chester Nebraska until his death.

Joseph and Caroline had a dozen children, including a set of twins.  My grandpa Wally was number nine.  When Wally was just a teenager, his fifty-six year old father died while traveling to Missouri to attend an Oddfellows Convention (a fraternal order like the Masons).  Joseph left his widow Caroline with ten living children between the ages of nine and twenty-eight.  His son-in-law Cyrus Forrell traveled to claim the body.

Joseph's gun; Cramer brothers ad in Chester, Nebraska newspaper
notice of Joseph's death in newspaper
One of the things Wally remembered was how his dad "strained" coffee with his mustache.  Joseph's obituary reports that he was a "kind husband, loving father, obliging neighbor, an accommodating businessman, and a friend to all who knew him."  I would give Joseph some time with his children and grandchildren whom he didn't live long enough to know.


  1. cool! the ability to grow a mustache was lost somewhere along the line...

  2. I'd give him a modern coffee strainer--that would have been nasty in his mustache.

  3. Wow, Lew's GF born 2yrs after the end of the Civil War. That's a lot of history in three generations