The Krauls
On February 6, 1947 the 74-acre property was purchased by Albert Kraul. Due to ill health, Tim Meier had put the farm up for auction the
previous October. For Albert and his wife Margaret, this was a return to farm life after spending most of the 1930s operating a grocery store
and tavern in Rock City. In the 1920s, the Kraul's had been tenant farmers near Davis.

Albert was a native of Ridott, Illinois, where he was born on April 1, 1897. His parents, John and Dena (Hippner) Kraul, were tenant farmers in
Ridott township. The 1900 U.S. Census shows Albert and his parents living in a rented farmhouse, along with an infant brother, Arthur.

In 1904, Albert's father was burned to death after becoming intoxicated. According to the Dixon (IL) Evening Telegraph, Dena Kraul brought a
$10,000 lawsuit against Charles Rohkar, who allegedly sold John Kraul the liquor, as well as the B&O Brewery in Freeport, which apparently
manufactured the liquor. She was awarded $950, but in 1905 sued for another $3,000 on account of her inability to support herself and Albert
(brother Arthur may have died as a child, as newspaper articles mention only one child of Dena's). The second lawsuit was once again brought
against Charles Rohkar, as well as the two owners of the B&O Brewery, Henry Baier and William Ohlendorf. Dena Kraul also separately sued
Elijah Shockey, owner of a saloon in Ridott where John Kraul was apparently served the liquor that contributed to his end.

The 1910 U.S. Census shows Albert living with his maternal grandparents, Carl and Louisa Hoepfner (later referred to as Hippner). Ten years
later, Albert was living with his mother in Ridott and was listed as head of household in the 1920 census.

Albert married Margaret Frances De Groote, of Pecatonica, on February 22, 1923. Margaret was the daughter of John and Martha (Frey) De
Groote. Albert spent at least some of the 1920s as a tenant farmer, at one point renting the Wurtz farm on the south edge of Davis. An
advertisement in the Freeport Journal-Standard promoted Albert's closing out sale on October 9, 1929. The Kraul's then moved into the village
of Davis, where according to the 1930 U.S. Census, Albert was a salesman. The Kraul's had no children.

Albert and Margaret would later operate a grocery store in Rock City in the 1930s. Albert had also been appointed as a state highway
maintenance patrolman, serving in that capacity until February 1933. After Prohibition was repealed, Albert was the first to open a tavern in
Rock City, next to the Kraul's grocery store. It's unclear how long the Kraul's operated the grocery store and tavern, but by 1938 the Rockey
family had taken over the grocery store. The  U.S. Census, as well as various newspaper articles, showed Albert as a milk truck driver in 1940.
The Kraul's continued to live in the Rock City and Ridott areas in the 1940s, until purchasing our property in 1947.

In January 1949, the Freeport Journal-Standard advertised Albert's closing out sale. The advertisement stated that he had rented out the farm
for cash, and was selling his half of the farm assets. Evidently Albert had a share lease that he was winding down, but it's not clear if he was
ending a lease with a tenant, or exiting a lease (or leases) with other owners. Either way, Albert Kraul's return to farming was brief. Two
growing seasons after buying the farm,he sold the property to
Glen and Grace Mullican on October 17, 1950. By then, Margaret had
developed health issues and was a frequent visitor of Freeport hospitals.

Margaret died in December 1953, at the age of 50. In July 1956 Albert married Elizabeth Fosler, who promptly filed for divorce in May 1957.
Until his retirement in 1960, Albert worked for the H.A. Hillmer company, a feed, grain, and farm service company based in Freeport. The same
year he retired, Albert married fellow widower Alice (Coon) Hartwig. Alice died on April 27, 1970.

Albert lived three more years before passing on September 26, 1973. He and Margaret are buried together in the Saint Paul's Epplyanna
Cemetery near Davis.
Above: After the death of Albert's father, his mother sued pretty much everyone who had
anything to do with the alcohol he drank before he was burned. The above article appeared in
the Dixon Evening Telegraph on September 17, 1904. The article on the right appeared in the
Freeport Daily Journal on February 21, 1905.
Above: The B&O Brewery was located on
Jackson Street, near Adams Avenue, in
Freeport. Above is a photo of kegs loaded
for delivery around 1900. Research by
Harvey Wilhelms, as described in the
October 11, 2009 edition of the Freeport
Journal-Standard, indicates that the brewery
was founded and operated by a succession
of Bavarians, including Henry Baier.
Above: In 1929, Albert advertised his closing out sale in the Freeport Journal-Standard. This was his
first exit from farming. He probably opened his grocery store in Rock City shortly after this.
Left: An early photo of Albert Kraul
and his classmates at the
Centennial Public School in 1908.
Albert is in the front row, third from
left. This school was located in
Rock Run Township. Most
references to Centennial School
point to Florence Township, just
west of Freeport. This one was
located at the southeast corner of
the Cedarville Road and Farwell
Bridge Road intersection. The land
around the school was owned by
William Spellman, who was on the
school board when Albert Kraul
attended. Charles Nath and William
Dailey were also nearby
landowners and school board
members.

(Info source and credit)
Above: When Prohibition ended, the United States opened its tankards once again. Albert Kraul was the first in Rock City to open a tavern. Kraul's Tavern is
shown in this totally awesome advertisement for Pabst Blue Ribbon beer in the October 23, 1934 edition of the Freeport Journal-Standard. A few names below
Kraul's Tavern is Tim Meyers of Dakota, Illinois. This is probably
Ransom "Tim" Meier, who owned our house prior to Albert Kraul and lived in Dakota in
1934. Tim operated a roadhouse called Shan-T-Town on Illinois Route 75, southwest of Dakota.

Side note: The village of Dakota voted to ban the sale of alcohol in April 1939. Dakota is a dry town today.
Above: Albert and Margaret are buried together in the Saint Paul's Epplyanna Cemetery.

Left: This advertisement for Albert Kraul's farm assets appeared in the January 26, 1949 edition of the
Freeport Journal-Standard.
The Kraul grocery store was located in this building, on the northeast corner of Main and Market Streets in downtown Rock City.