Joshua Groft was born December 23, 1844, in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, and died December 2, 1920, WaKeeney, Kansas. He married, as his first wife, Mary Agnes Farrell of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, on June 24, 1873. She died October 1, 1879, WaKeeney, Kansas. No children were born to this marriage.
He married, as his second wife, Nancy A. Turner, on December 11, 1884, at WaKeeney, Kansas.. She died on October 8, 1886, at WaKeeney. One daughter, Mary Elizabeth Groft, was born to this union. Mary Elizabeth Groft was born June 20, 1885, and died July 16, 1979, at WaKeeney, Kansas. Mary was a retired elementary school teacher and a former superintendent of Trego County Schools.
Joshua Groft married as his third wife, Luella Bramlette Murrah, on December 20, 1887. Luella was born October 14, 1861, in Adair County, Kentucky, and died April 7, 1928, at WaKeeney, Kansas. Seven children were born to this union: Anna Allen (Mrs. Henry DeWitt), born December 17, 1888, and died March 30, 1961. and Andrew Joshua, born October 16,1891, died and is buried at Vacaville, California; Earl Murrah; Audley Fetterman, born September 14, 1894, and died January 27, 1935, WaKeeney; William Bert, born November 16, 1896, and died in 1951, WaKeeney; Eveoline Gertrude, born November 1, 1898, died November 1, 1967, at Stockton, Kansas; and Arch Dale, born April 23, 1902, and is buried at Salt Lake City, Utah.
Joshua Groft, as a young man, attended Westminster College at New Williamsburg, Pennsylvania, and was graduated from that school with a B.A. Degree on July 5, 1873. After receiving that degree, he studied Technology and became a preacher. Prior to receiving his education, he was a member of the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry, which was in turn a part of the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War. He rose to the rank of Sergeant and took part in several well-recorded skirmishes in West Virginia, Virigina, Pennsylvania and Maryland. He received injuries during an engagement of the Stone Bridge and was later to receive a pension as a result of those injuries. He was mustered out of the Union Army at Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1865.
Joshua came to Trego County on October 8, 1878. He took a homestead on a quarter of land located southwest of WaKeeney and received title to it on April 29, 1882. He later served as Justice of the Peace for this area and officiated at several trials for horse stealing, murder and other offenses as recorded by the Kansas Historical Society and Trego County records.
Joshua entered the coal business in WaKeeney and built the home located at 111 South Main. He kept a very comprehensive diary, in his own handwriting, of the events in WaKeeney, Trego County and Western Kansas. The History of Trego County, published in the Western Kansas World's 100th Anniversary Issue, published in April 1979, was compiled from his diary.
Earl Murrah Groft was born March 3, 1893, WaKeeney, Kansas, and died November 22, 1936, at WaKeeney. On April 20, 1930, he married Berneice Beulah Weldon. To this union were born two children, Richard Murrah and Sharon Berneice.
Earl was an abstracter and associated with the WaKeeney State Bank for many years prior to his death in 1936. Berneice Weldon was born January 17, 1905, at Beloit, Kansas, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harry T. Weldon. After Earl's death in 1936, she served as Deputy County Clerk and later County Clerk of Trego County for twelve years. In 1948, she attended Cosmetology School in Salina and later opened a beauty shop in her home, which she operated until her death. Berneice married Mr. E. L. Albin in WaKeeney on July 16, 1952. She died March 9, 1973.
Gayle M. Garrett ....WaKeeney, KS