This page was last updated 9 Jun 2011 -- rak.

Reserved for his photo

image caption

My great grandfather, David Kraus, was born 12 May 1843 to Maria Dorothea (Nagel) and Johann Peter Kraus in Schilling, Balzer Kanton, Saratov Province, Russia.

In Russia, although born a farmer, he became a gunsmith, which when it came time to do his military service got him a rather choice position in the Russian navy as a gunsmith on a navy ship plying the waters of the Volga. I have seen some of his gunsmithing tools and one or more of my Kraus cousins must still have them.

He was short, barely 5'4" and was reputed to have a serious temper, usually safely under control. My first wife's uncle Harley Witt, as a boy, would go fishing with the elderly David. Harley told me that David had a pretty impressive temper. He told me that one time when fishing with David, they caught a nice bunch of bullheads and put them on a stringer left hanging in the creek while they fished on. When it came time to return home, they found only the heads left. David said "Yust un minut!" threw his line back in and fished until he caught the hungry turtle. He threw it on the ground and jumped up and down on it all the while cursing it in German and/or Russian. That turtle had made its last two mistakes!

David was quite formal, even continually wearing a wool 3 piece suit and tie when farming and harvesting out in the boiling hot Kansas fields.

He knew his bible very well and took his religion very seriously. At several periods in his life he worshiped in Mennonite churches. In those days, Mennonite Sunday "morning" worship services tended to be some 3 hours long. It happened during one period that the Mennonite preacher was David Schmidt, my first wife's great grandfather. During that period church attendance broke all records because people for miles and miles around would come to see the show. Virtually every Sunday, David Schmidt would be preaching away when he would say something which David Kraus saw as in error. At such a point David Kraus would jump up out of his pew shouting "Nein, Nein" ... and go on loudly explaining David Schmidt's "error". The two men would then engage in a heated and lengthy debate. These debates are legendary to this day among some Kansas families. Our eldest son was named in honor of his two great-great-grandfathers -- David.

He died 19 February 1922 in Roxbury, McPherson County, Kansas. He was buried along side his wife just in back of the little Arlington Mennonite church.

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