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George D. Draut – Larned Cemetery

George Daniel Draut was born in Germany on June 3, 1847. He came to America as an infant, and the family settled in Louisville, Kentucky.

Against his father’s objections, George enlisted with Co. K 17th Kentucky Cavalry. He served six months at the end of the Civil War; nevertheless, his rank was corporal upon discharge.

After the war, George returned to Louisville and learned the trade of painting and wallpapering. On April 11, 1872, George married Elizabeth Reichard. Shortly after the birth of their son, George and Elizabeth headed west, arriving in Pawnee County in 1876.

Their homestead was eleven miles southeast of Larned. Like most settlers, their first home was a sodhouse “14 by 20 feet, with walls three feet thick. The roof was of boards and there was also a board floor, and the interior was plastered with what was known as ‘homesteader’s lime.’ He also built a sod barn, the roof being covered with hay. His farm became widely known as the ‘Halfway House’ and on it was the only well between the ‘Rattlesnake’ and Larned.”[1]

Those early years were a struggle as George needed to find work elsewhere to provide for his family. He served as a farm hand, shearing sheep, and a railroad section hand. The income from the railroad provided the lumber to build a one-room frame house. In the following years, George constructed a barn to house his team of horses, oxen, and a dairy cow. However, years of back-breaking physical labor to its toll as George sold his farm, and he and Elizabeth moved into town. When they first arrived in Pawnee County, George’s house painting skills were not needed as few homes were built of wood. He opened his own business and claimed “Oldest Practical Painter and Paper Hanger in Larned.”[2]

Elizabeth passed away in 1929, and George in 1932 at age eighty-four. They are buried in Larned Cemetery with their son.

The rest of the story: George’s father, Conrad, was a locksmith in Germany. He also played a role in the uprisings in Germany in the 1840s. As a result, Conrad was forced to leave the country and emigrate to America. Once established, he sent for his wife, Rosa, and infant son, George.

[1] Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society.

[2] Larned Chronoscope March 24, 1905, p.1

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