W. B. Graul came from Pennsylvania to Nebraska with his father; Levi Joseph Graul arrived at Milford, April 1, 1871. They settled on a farm one and a half miles north west of Goehner, in Seward County, where the mother still lives; the father was killed by lightning on May 19, 1897.

Their first night in Nebraska was spent in visiting with William Bivens, the wind that evening was so strong that it upset their wagon. When the father commenced farming he had only a team of horses and five dollars, so he rented a small house; which was guaranteed waterproof if there was no rain, the rent having to be paid mostly by labor. The chief food for the family of eight people was corn meal, potatoes, and milk, and glad indeed were they that these were forthcoming to meet their daily need. Their struggles toward success were made greater by the loss, through death, of one of the horses during the first year, then having secured another horse, it was not long before the other horse died. Such discouragement caused Mr. Graul to trade the new horse for a team of oxen, and these did service for many years.

The children received but little schooling, and what they had was secured after a two and a half mile walk to the school house. During the 1873 blizzard, so often referred to in these stories, the Graul‘s had to save their horses and chickens by bringing them into the house.

The Indians were frequent visitors to the home, and as many as three hundred were at one time camped within half a mile of their place, but they were always civil, their visits being usually of the begging kind.

W. B. Graul was married to Miss Mary Hougham and settled on a farm four and a half miles north east of Exeter. After farming one year at that place they moved to Goehner, where they lived three years; afterwards moving to Beaver City. As a result of their experiences there during the dry weather, they went back to Goehner and lived one year, then they moved onto Crane’s farm two and a half miles north east of Exeter, where they lived four years, but again misfortune crossed their path, being again burnt out by hot weather, so they went to Kansas, living for two years at Olatha.

They came back to Exeter and settled on a farm four and a half miles north east of town where they lived six years, moving into town eleven years ago. He afterwards bought the W. C. Woodworth undertaking business which he has carried on successfully for nine years. Now after a varied experience and the opportunity of living in so many places, he says that Exeter is, when all things are considered, the best place in which to live that he knows of.

Pioneers of Fillmore and Adjoining Counties


Source: Pioneer Stories of the Pioneers of Fillmore and adjoining Counties, by G. R. McKeith, Press of Fillmore County News, Exeter, Nebraska, 1915