[ Post Response ] [ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]

DeGraw & Bothel families, Clayton co. IA & Sioux Falls, SD


Posted By: Joel & Sheila Michaelson (email)
Date: 7/23/2012 at 17:17:06

History of the DeGraw and Charles Bothel family
as recalled by Mrs Charles (Grace DeGraw) Bothel.

Asa DeGraw was born at Strathway*, Ontario, Canada on November 4, 1815, and was the son of Daniel and Eunice DeGraw. He was one of eleven children, received very little schooling, and had to help support the family. Life, it seemed, was very hard for him. In 1845, grandfather married Mary Ferguson who gave birth to two children. Her health was poor and in those days there was a disease which was known as "lingering consumption more recently diagnosed as tuberculosis and she died with the disease at age 60. She and grandfather lived close to my father and mother, and when she died grandfather lived with my folks until he died in 1903. *(Strathroy, Ontario, Canada)

Ella Artelissa Butts was born in Erie County, Pennsylvania, in 1854. She was the daughter of Andrew Jackson Butts, who was known as "A.J." Her marriage to my father, Edmund DeGraw, took place in 1874 at Monona, Iowa.

Grandfather Andrew Jackson Butts was born in Lawrence, New York. When he was very young the family moved to Iowa, settling near Monona, Iowa in Clayton County. He joined the service to fight in the Civil War, and in so doing had to leave a young wife and five small children behind. An injury he received in the war caused him to be crippled for the rest of his life and he was restricted to light work from then on.

His wife, Eliza DeForce, was born in Erie County, Pennsylvania, and died in i888 at Monona, Iowa. After her death, grandfather lived with my parents - at the last becoming blind and more crippled than ever. Despite his infirmities he lived to be age 90. In 1916 death came.

My father, Edmund DeGraw, son of Asa and Mary DeGraw, was born in Ontario, Canada, near a small place named New London on August 16, l847. When my father was four years old, my parents decided to move to the States where they had relatives who had found it to be the land of opportunity. There were many things to consider - the distance involved, two small children, a strange rough country over trails and possibly hostile Indians along the way. The journey would have to be made by covered wagon drawn by horses and mules. The spirit of the adventurous early pioneers seemed to persuade them to make the move. They packed as many belongings as they could in the big wagon and set out on the 750 mile trip.

It was early spring and the weather was in their favor. They found the Indians to be amenable and traded with them along the way. The trip seemed endless for it took many weeks. Their bodies ached from the sharp jolting of the wagon.

Finally, they reached the border of the United States. This was indeed encouraging. The rest of the distance would be made easier. When at last they reached Iowa in its northeast extreme, they were much impressed. The land looked fertile and promising. The purchase of land was to be transacted with the Indians, and at last 130 acres was purchased. It was covered by timber which was cut down, then began the tedious and back-breaking job of digging out roots and burning out stumps. While this was being done, the family lived in the wagon. Soon a log house was built and it became their home for several years. For the first year or two, the family managed to clear enough land to put in a small crop. As soon as they could, they built outside buildings to accommodate horses and a few cows. The land produced bountifully.

The obtaining of supplies was one of the great problems since the nearest trading post was twenty miles away. The time involved to make the trip would encompass two days. In the next year, the number of settlers increased so that a store was built two and one-half miles from the farm. Later, a livery stable, blacksmith shop, and a post office came into being. The town acquired the name "Monona" in honor of one of the founder's wives. Although the town grew slowly, the surrounding area became thickly settled.

When my father was old enough to manage the farm, grandfather turned it over to him. Grandmother suffered from a lung condition which was diagnosed as "consumption"- which would now be known as tuberculosis. She became bedridden and my mother was hired to care for her, and it was then that my father fell in love with her. About a year later they were married, and my father decided that a new house should be built.

Four children were born in the log house, and in August, 1883, just before I made my advent, the family moved into the new house. The grandparents were moved into a small frame house close to the folks.

I remember going to visit my grandparents. By this time, grandmother could sit in a chair and was perfectly delighted to have us visit her. She wore a small, white cap on her head most of the time.

My parents brought eleven children into the world. One child died in infancy but the remaining ten grew to adulthood. At this writing, in 1970, only three girls remain alive.

Father lived on the farm for 59 years. By the time the boys were old enough to run the farm, father felt it was time for him to retire.

He and mother moved into Monona and two of my brothers assumed the job of running the farm. Father enjoyed the yard surrounding their house in town and in addition to gardening there were two Jersey cows for him to milk. Mother's health broke and she died January 30, 1924.

All the children were able to be home for the funeral - this turning out to be the last time the family were to be together. Living alone proved to be unsuccessful for father. When he became ill the next winter, a daughter came from Waverly, Iowa, and took him to their home to live. He recovered and enjoyed good health for several years before passing away in August, 1943, at the age of 89.

There are many fond memories of home. Perhaps the one that lingers with me most is the atmosphere of Christian teaching and the value of old fashioned virtues. Each day we had a devotional time. This was always at the beginning of the day with all members of the family present. There was a quiet, reverent attitude present in all of us.

Father would read a passage from the Bible and he would end with a prayer. Somehow, we were all made ready for the tasks of the day.

When I was five years old, my aunt, who had no children, asked my folks to let me stay with her and her husband. My mother was so burdened with work with her own family and the added care of the grandparents, she consented to my aunt's request. I had blonde curls and they were a great care to comb and care for. My aunt never seemed to tire of caring for me. During the two years that I lived in their home, I had many beautiful clothes and fine toys. They asked my parents to agree to an adoption, but my father pointedly said that he had no children to give away. I had been promised an education, including music lessons, if he and mother would allow my aunt to adopt me. When the denial was made, my aunt never quite forgave my father.

The children's names were:
Edith (the eldest); Ernest; Earl; Ross; Grace; Ethel; Glenn; Hazel; Cleo; Lyal and Maude (who died in infancy).

John Bothel was born in Pennsylvania in 1824 and died in 1903 at the age of 79. Rachel Magnus became his bride before he decided to migrate west. Eight children were born to them, and the family lived on a small farm outside Monona, Iowa. The sons helped to support the family, and none of them received much of an education. All of the children married except for Mattie who had poor health. These family members are all dead, most of them living to reach the age of 80.

Family members in order or chronology were: Mattie; Clark; Mae; Charles; Harry; George; Marlin;and Frank.

Charles was the son of John and Rachel. He was born at Five Points, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, on September 3, 1867. When he was 16 years old, the family moved to Monona, Iowa, where they settled on a farm. It was the duty of Charles to help with the family's support.

In October, 1902, Charles and I were married at a home wedding. Under an arch of beautiful fall leaves, we plighted our troth. We moved right away to a farm near Thompson, Iowa, where we lived until 1907 when we decided to move to Madison, South Dakota, to live on a farm there. Four children were born to us, three having passed away many years ago.

In 1931, we moved to Sioux Fails, South Dakota. The "thirties" were depression years and our living was indeed a struggle. In 1933 and 1934* Florence and Arthur died, and this sadness added to our struggle for existence. *(Arthur died in 1935)

In 1956 Dad (Charles) passed away after spending more than ten years in a wheel chair, finally to become bedridden. During a very cold winter day while on outside work, he froze the toes on his left foot. This necessitated the amputation of the leg when he grew older, and he spent many days in the wheel chair as a result.

Lucille has been the only child who lived, and she has made a home for both of us. Her husband passed away in 1951, and since that time she has attended college and prepared herself for a career of teaching, a profession she is currently engaged in. She has two sons who are both grown and doing well. My life has been blessed since I have had a home with her, and there are many blessings to be thankful for.

Dated April 1, 1970
(Her signature, Age 89)

Mrs. Charles (Grace) Bothel

Monona, Clayton County, Iowa & Sioux Falls, South Dakota
March 31, 1970


Clayton Biographies maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen


Post Response

Your Name:
E-Mail Address:
Principal's Name:
One Biography per submission please! Non-Biographies will be deleted!
Please include the source of the Biography.

If you'd like to include a link to another page with your message,
please provide both the URL address and the title of the page:

Optional Link URL:
Optional Link Title:

If you'd like e-mail notification of responses, please check this box:

Verification Test: Please type the two letters
before submission   (helps stop automated spam):  



[ Post Response ] [ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]