William Gragg, who is engaged in the real estate business and in his operations manifests the enterprising spirit which has been the dominant factor in the upbuilding of the middle west, was born in Macoupin county, Illinois, on the 10th of November, 1844. He was reared to manhood in that county and received the educational advantages afforded by the common schools. Upon the home farm he remained until early manhood and when about eighteen or nineteen years of age came to Montgomery county, settling upon a farm near Raymond. He rented this land for two or three years and then removed to another farm near Nokomis, where he carried on agricultural pursuits for about eight years.

William Gragg was married in Woodburn in 1863, when nineteen years of age, to Miss Amanda Drennan, a native of Macoupin county, and the young couple began their domestic life upon his rented farm before mentioned. At a later date Mr. Gragg removed to Madison county, where he continued in the operation of rented land for about four years. He then returned to the vicinity of Nokomis and purchased hundred and forty acres of land, constituting a part of the farm upon which he had previously resided. There he continued to engage in the tilling of the soil until 1888, when he sold the property and took up his abode in Raymond, where he began dealing in grain and operating an elevator, following that pursuit for nine years. He purchased the elevator, but at a later date disposed of that property and went to Oklahoma, where he was engaged in the grain business for a few months. Returning, however, to Raymond, he purchased a racket store, which he conducted for three years and then sold out. Turning his attention to the real estate business, he has conducted many important realty transfers during the fifteen years of his connection with this line of business activity. He has dealt in real estate in Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas and South Dakota, as well as in Raymond and the adjoining districts, and has secured a good clientage. He has made large purchases and sales, and his business has constantly increased in volume and importance, bringing to him richly merited success.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Gragg has been blessed with three children: Alfred, who is married and resides in Litchfield; Clara, the wife of Harvey Denhum, of St. Louis, Missouri; and Fred, who is married and makes his home in Raymond. They also lost one child, Eddie, who died in infancy. Politically Mr. Gragg has been a life-long Democrat, casting his first presidential vote for General McClellan and his last for W. J. Bryan. He served for one term on the town board and is now township clerk, but has never been an active politician in the sense of office-seeking. Fraternally he is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, has filled all of its chairs, and is now a past grand and was twice representative to the grand lodge of the state. He is also connected with the Modern Woodmen of America. Mr. Gragg is well known throughout Montgomery county as a man of integrity and worth, and from a humble financial position he has steadily worked his way upward to one of affluence, employing only such business methods as will bear the closest investigation and scrutiny.

Extracted 11 Apr 2020 by Norma Hass from 1904 Past and Present of Montgomery County, Illinois, by Jacob L. Traylor, pages 19-20.

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