Edmund D. Graff

Edmund D. Graff, who has been a prominent figure in financial and business circles at Duluth, Minn., since the year 1880, is a resident of Worthington, Penn. He was born October 24, 1846, to Peter and Susan (Lobengier) Graff, both natives of the Keystone state. His grandfather, John Graff, immigrated from Neuivied, Germany, when a young man and settled on a farm in Westmoreland county, Penn., which he tilled, also operating a distillery.

Barbara Fried, whom he married, came of one of the colonial families of Pennsylvania, and when a child was captured by the Indians, being rescued and returned to her family by a savage whom she had befriended. She lived to an advanced age.

Peter Graff, our subject’s father, was a prominent man of affairs and for a number of years lived in Pittsburgh, being interested in the Union Line of canal boats that plied between Philadelphia and that city. He was also engaged in the wholesale grocery trade for a time and afterwards held interests in iron furnaces at Pittsburgh. As senior member of the firm of P. Graff & Company he had charge of furnaces at Worthington at a still later date and removed his home thither. But changes in business methods and modern appliances in time led to the abandonment of these furnaces and he became largely interested in the Buffalo Woolen Mills, which even today is the principal industry of Worthington. Both he and his wife lived at Worthington till their decease, his death occurring when he was eighty-two years old and hers at the age of eighty-six.

Our subject acquired a good preliminary education and supplemented his preparatory studies with a course at the Western University of Pittsburgh, where he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy in 1868. After leaving college he was for a time employed in the office of Messrs. Graff, McDevitt & Company, manufacturers, at Pittsburgh, of axes, hoes, shovels and hinges, and later succeeded to his father’s interest in the woolen mills at Worthington, Pa., though the name of the proprietorship, Peter Graff & Company, has never been changed. Mr. Graff began his operations at Duluth in 1880 as senior member of the firm of Graff, Little & Company, lumber manufacturers, and ever since that time has been a leading spirit in the affairs of the concern. Since the business was incorporated in 1889, and which is now known as the Scott-Graff Lumber Company, he has been one of the principal stockholders and president of the concern.

The company’s plant, which is the oldest sawmill in Duluth, still occupies the original site, though the mill itself has been rebuilt from time to time to meet the increasing demands of the trade which has grown apace with the growth and development of the city.

Among other enterprises in which Mr. Graff has been interested is the Howe Lumber Company, of Tower, Minn., which he helped to organize and of which he was president till its mill burned in 1900. Following this, the Tower Lumber Company was incorporated and he became a director and large stockholder in it. He is also a stockholder in the First National Bank of Duluth and a director of the First State Bank at Tower. For many years Mr. Graff has been active in state affairs in Pennsylvania.

He was a delegate to the Democratic national convention which nominated Grover Cleveland for the presidency in 1884 and is one of three members of his family who have served in the general assembly of Pennsylvania. Mr. Graff is a brother of Dr. Charles H. Graff, who for a number of years prior to his death, in 1889, had been a prominent physician at Duluth, and it was in memory of him that Peter Graff endowed a professorship in Pennsylvania College at Gettysburg, a prominent educational institution, on whose board of trustees our subject has served since the year 1900 and of which he is now president.

Sources:

  • Woodbridge, Dwight and John Pardee, eds. History of Duluth and St. Louis County Past and Present Vols. 1 – 2. C. F. Cooper & Company, Chicago: 1922.
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