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  • Writer's pictureNadeya Patel

Julius John Friedrich Graf (11/22/1851-2/12/1927)

German immigrant Julius John Friedrich Graf grew up in Posen, Germany, and immigrated to the United States with his parents at age nineteen. Initially, the family settled in Good Thunder, Minnesota.[1] Graf married four years later, on November 25, 1874, at age twenty-three to fellow German immigrant Bertha Meilicke, and to them three children were born.[2] Graf held many business interests up until he began his work in ministry, influencing the German population across Texas and the United States.

From 1889 to 1893, he served as an executive member of the Minnesota Conference.[3] On March 6, 1893, Graf achieved ordination as a Seventh Day Adventist Minister. He sold all his belongings and donated the proceeds to the church, and then entered the ministry. During his last year on the executive committee, he obtained a ministerial license for the Minnesota Conference.[4] At one point, the conference sent him to South America as a missionary. While there, he continued his work with German speakers in North America. In 1894, Graf spent his summer going from North Dakota to Canada, where he baptized new church members and organized new churches.

In 1900, the family moved to Nebraska to provide a better education and future for their three children.[5] Graf became a member of the Nebraska Conference and a counselor of the international publishing association at College View Nebraska in 1903. He climbed the ranks to become more involved each year. In 1906, he served as a member of the German foreign language committee of the publishing association, overseeing numerous editorial committees for periodicals.[6] Over the previous year, Graf found himself in declining health and decided to retire from his positions and relocate to a farm in Elida, New Mexico. From 1908 to 1910, he served as treasurer of the New Mexico Mission.[7]Following the short period of work in New Mexico, he relocated to Louisville, Kentucky, where he accepted a job as a minister for the local German population. After three years of service in Kentucky, Graf and his family moved once more to Berrien Springs, Michigan, where their oldest two children worked at a Missionary College. During his time in Michigan, he received honorary ministerial credentials. His credentials enabled him to spend time meeting with German-speaking churches near and far. His involvement in Adventist schools and German churches took him to various parts of Canada in 1916.[8]

In 1918, two years after his wife’s death, Graf moved to Arlington to live with his youngest son, Carl. He resided in Arlington until his death on February 12, 1927, at age seventy-five from a sudden attack of apoplexy.[9] The members of the Graf family are each at rest in different cemeteries across the United States. Graf’s daughter, Alma, is in California at Hillside Memorial Park. His sons, Otto and Carl, are in California at Monticello Memorial Park. Graf’s wife is in Michigan at Rose Hill Cemetery, and Graf himself is in Old Arlington Cemetery.[10] Graf may not have been an Arlington native, but his presence in the community still holds significance as it tells his influential history and contributions to the United States and its municipalities.

[1] “Apoplexy Causes Death of Mr. Graf Saturday,” Arlington Citizen, February 18, 1927. [2] “Apoplexy Causes Death of Mr. Graf Saturday,” Arlington Citizen, February 18, 1927. Meilicke immigrated to the United States in 1866, three years before Graf and his family [3] Denis Kaiser, “Graf, Julius J. (1851–1927),” ESDA, accessed June 26, 2021, [4] Denis Kaiser, “Graf, Julius J. (1851–1927),” ESDA, accessed June 26, 2021. [5] Denis Kaiser, “Graf, Julius J. (1851–1927),” ESDA, accessed June 26, 2021. [6] Denis Kaiser, “Graf, Julius J. (1851–1927),” ESDA, accessed June 26, 2021. [7] Denis Kaiser, “Graf, Julius J. (1851–1927),” ESDA, accessed June 26, 2021. [8] Denis Kaiser, “Graf, Julius J. (1851–1927),” ESDA, accessed June 26, 2021. [9] “U.S., Texas Death Certificates, 1903-1982,”, Operations Inc., 2013. Arlington was the location Graf stayed in the longest compared to his other numerous ventures and travels. [10] A headstone bearing Graf’s name is unable to be located physically or digitally in the cemetery. The recordkeeping of documents such as death certificates and newspaper archives are the only notations available that indicate Graf’s final resting place.

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