THE ELIZABETHTOWN POST FEB.27, 1908
JAMES MCKINLEY GRAEFF
Following an operation for appendicitis, which was performed at his home in Westport Monday night of last week by Dr. Barton of Willsboro. ex-Assemblyman Graeff died about four o'clock Saturday|mornIng, leaving a wife and two children, a boy and a girl, to mourn his loss. The operation was successfully performed but from the first his recovery was considered doubtful on account of an infection from gangrene. However, a day or two after the operation he seemed to be gaining, but this was only temporary and was followed by gradual wasting away of his strength, until death mercifully brought to an end the agonizing pain from which he suffered. Almost up to the end he calmly made arrangements for the disposition of his large business interests James McKlnley Graeff was born in Pottsville, Pa., in 1862 and was graduated from the engineering department of Lehigh university. For several years he was an importer and dealer in wools in Philadelphia and later was at the head of a boot and shoe company. This enterprise proved a failure and his next venture was in farming in Westport Coming to that town he bought up a number of the best farms south of the village and united them in the present Westport Farms, comprising some 1800 acres of the finest of land. His farming operations were carried on along scientific lines and on his broad acres were to be found the latest agricultural implements and the best of different kinds of highly bred stock. In connection with his farming he conducted a large creamery business, maintaining creamery stations in Essex, Clinton and Washington counties and in Vermont.
Mr. Graeff had not been long in Westport before he began to take an interest in politics and his activity and personal popularity soon made him one of the leaders in Essex County politics. In 1900 he was elected member of assembly on the Republican ticket and for four successive terms represented the county in the legislature. In that body he took high randk and was rewarded with assignments to some of the most important committees in the house. His prominence in state affairs and as a farmer led to his appointment as one of the state fair commissioners and, it is believed, that had death not intervened his fond dream of appointment as commissioner of agriculture would have been realized.
Those who knew Mr. Graeff best knew him as a genial, whole-some gentleman of culture and refinement, loyal always and active in matters of public concern in which he might be interested. A natural leader, he early took upon himself the task of engineering Westport’ fight for the county seat and to his efforts the success of his town thus far is largely due. Thus it is, in his activity in town affairs, that Westort has suffered a seer blow in his death.
The funeral services were held from his late home at one o’clock Tuesday afternoon and were attended by prominent men from all parts of the county and from Clinton and Warren. Members of De Soto Commandery of Plattsburgh escorted the remains to the cemetery, where Sisco Lodge, F & A. M. had charge of the services.
He is survived by a widow and one son.
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