23 September 2010

Ancestor Biography: Daisy Ellen Graf

Daisy Ellen Graf Fredrick
18 October 1892-26 October 1978

Daisy Ellen Graf, my maternal grandmother, was the third of seven children born to Valentine Graf and Nancy Mast.  She was born 18 October 1892 in Plevna, Howard, Indiana.  Daisy's brothers and sisters were:
  1. Henry Jerome (1890-1964) married Effie White
  2. Ernest Franklin (1891-1974) married Fay Keck
  3. Mary Ann (1874-1981) married William Tritten
  4. Margaret 'Maggie' Jane (1899-1986) married Henry Klingelsmith
  5. Nina Belle (1901-1990) married Thomas Johnson
  6. Martha Beulah (1905-1993) married Carlyle McDonald
Three more children were born and died at birth:  Willie (1896), Pearl Mae (1897) and an infant (1907).

1900 U.S. Census Population Schedule,
Liberty Township, ED number 68, p 3A, dwelling 49, Valentine Graf.

The first census that Daisy is found in is the 1900 United States Federal Census.  She is living at home with her parents in Liberty Township, Howard, Indiana; which is east of Kokomo, Indiana. 

The Valentine Graf Family
L-R Daisy, Mary, Valentine, Henry, Nina, Maggie, Ernest 'Frank'

Valentine and his family moved to Brethren in Manistee County, Michigan between 1901 and 1905.  My grandmother told the story of the family travelling by wagon train with other settlers to start the Brethren Church.  According to Walter Romig in his book "Michigan Place Names", Brethren was founded in 1900 by Samuel S. Thorpe as a colony of the German Baptist Brethren Church.

Michigan Marriages 1868-1925,
Otto Aug. Fredrick and Daisy Ellen Graf
Marriage Certificate Number 6318 1/2.  Found at pilot.family search

 Daisy Ellen Graf and Otto August Fredrick were married 12 December 1917 in Brethren, Manistee, Michigan.  Rev. Frank Gilbert officiated with Leonard Fredrick (Otto's Brother) and Nina Graf (Daisy's sister) as witnesses.  Otto is the son of Johann August Fredrick and Louise Zastrow.

The Otto August and Daisy Fredrick Family
Row 1 L-R:  Kathryn, Daisy 'Marie'
Row 2 L-R:  John, Norma 'Jeannie', Daisy, Otto , Norman, Harold
Row 3 L-R:  Leona, Ray, Otto Robert, Richard, Lola, Audrey

Daisy was 20 when she had her first child, Harold Clifton.  He was born 26 July 1913 in Manistee County, Michigan.  Daisy was not married at the time.

Daisy and Otto Fredrick had 11 children:
  1. Kathryn Louise (1918-)
  2. Lola Mae (1920-)
  3. Daisy Marie (1921-2004)
  4. Otto Robert (1923-1997)
  5. Richard Lewis (1925-)
  6. Leona Inez (1926-1996)
  7. John Leonard (1929-)
  8. Audrey Jane (1930-)
  9. Ray Edwin (1932-2001)
  10. Norman Eugene (1934-1995)
  11. Norma Jean (1934-)
1930 United States Federal Census Population Schedule, Dickson, Manistee, Michigan, ED  7, p 2B, , Otto A. Fredrick.

Otto and Daisy Fredrick
Fredrick Family Farm
Coates Highway, Brethren, Michigan

Daisy and Otto Fredrick lived their married life in Manistee County.  Their first home was on a farm not too far from Otto's parents.  Next, they lived on the family farm on Coates Highway before moving into Brethren and living next door to their daughter, Kathryn 'Kate' Tritten, on N. Coates Highway (Brethren Highway).  After Otto's death in 1968, Daisy lived with her son, Norman, on High Bridge Road in Brethren.
Graf Brothers and Sisters
L-R Maggie, Martha, Mary, Nina, Daisy
Ernest 'Frank'

Otto and Daisy Fredrick
Date Unknown

Otto and Daisy celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in December of 1967.  A party was held at my Aunt Kate's house.  I remember watching Aunt Leona decorate the cake and someone brought a money tree in as a gift. 

My grandmother wrote me this letter for my Confirmation in 1971.  I think it is a good representation of who she was.  She grew up with very humble beginnings and even after marriage lived that way.  She was a very easy going woman with a wonderful laugh.  She was a great cook, her recipes rarely had amounts listed, just ingredients.  She was a Christian woman and it showed in her writing.  The letter says she didn't think she would be able to make my confirmation, but she did come.  She bought me an engraved hymnal as a gift.

Grandma Fredrick and me 1971

Daisy Ellen Fredrick died 26 October 1978 at Manistee County Medical Care Center in Manistee, Michigan at the age of 86.  She had been in and out of the hospital after suffering numerous strokes.  Daisy is buried in Brethren Cemetery, Brethren, Michigan. 

Somewhere in time the Fredrick name became Fredricks. My mom believed it was because there were so many children, people would say Fredricks and it stuck. I have chosen to use Fredrick, in this post, as I believe that was the given name originally. I know many Fredricks cousins would disagree with me as their last name is spelled with the 's' on it.


  1. Brenda, I enjoyed your first bio. I would have loved Daisey, so true to herself, and kind. I'm glad she made the confirmation, and that she wrote the letter first. I wonder if she had a hard time with family, when she had her first child. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I have often wondered about how her family handled her first child, too. She lived at home after he was born, so hopefully it wasn't too bad.

  3. Of course I would have loved your Daisy. Anyone named Daisy is tops in my book.

  4. I happened to make a trip over to Germany in May 2010 and stopped for a couple of hours in Rockenhausen where the Graf family had migrated from. Love the old pics of Great Grandma Daisy and family--do you have any info on Otto August and/or Johann August? Been difficult to find any info. Thanks for sharing. Bob "Beaner" Fredricks

  5. I would love to go to Germany and explore more family roots. I have a little information on Otto but very little on Johann August. He is a hard person to research. I have pictures. Thanks for leaving a message, I enjoy hearing from 'cousins'.

  6. Thanks so much for all this info. I got the blog site from Joni Mezeske who is a friend and coworker at the Brethren School. I love all the pics and info you have put together.

    Your long lost cousin,
    Pam Rich and Micki's daughter

  7. Thanks for commenting, Pam. It was great seeing you in January. Feel free to email me at brae957@gmail.com if you have any questions.

  8. I am not related, but I buy old photographs if they have a name at flea markets, and I have three photos of a Nancy Graf and possibly her brother from early 1940's.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Hi Brenda, I enjoyed looking at all your information on Daisy Fredricks and family. Norman dated my Aunt Barb for several years back in the 60's. She lived in Alma, MI. I remember him being around when I was a child. He was such a nice man; we hoped they would marry but they never did. Norman always kept in touch with my parents and I would hear references about his mom, Daisy. It's nice to finally see a picture of her.

  12. Hi, Karin. Thank you so much for commenting on my blog. I remember your Aunt Barb. She visited us in Harbor Beach with Uncle Norman. Our family hoped they would marry someday too. She was a very kind and beautiful woman.

  13. Hi, Daisy's brother, Frank was my great grandpa. My dad, Clarence Graf, looks a lot like Daisy!!