It is always a pleasure to see true merit suitably rewarded and to behold the prosperity of those wbo eminently deserve it as does the subject of this review. At an early age he learned one of the great lessons of life—that there is no royal road to wealth—and therefore he toiled industriously until he has won not only a snug little fortune but also the esteem and confidence of the people with whom be has been associated for so many years. Work, the true friend of mankind, has developed his latent resources and brought out the strong self-reliant force of his character, and to-day he is accounted one of the prosperous residents of Lancaster, where he has long been proprietor of a fine greenhouse in conjunction with his son, business being carried on under the firm name ol Gravett & Son.


Mr. Gravett was born on the 12th of September, 1826, in the village of Billinghurst, county of Sussex, England. His father, Peter Gravett, was also a native of that country and throughont his life devoted his energies to the vocation of farming, passing away in 1842. His wife, who bore tlie maiden name of Lucy Reeves, was also a native of the locality in which her husband was born. After his death she came with her children to the United States, settling in White county, Illinois, where she remained until called to her final rest in 1872.


Having acquired his education in the public schools of his native land, John Gravett then became connected with the nursery business and also acquired a comprehensive and accurate knowledge of the best methods of conducting a greenhouse and propagating flowers and trees, having four years experience in the business before he came to America. The year 1850 witnessed his emigration to the new world. Attracted by the broader opportunities and business possibilities of this country he bade adieu to friends and native country and sailed for America, before the other members of the family left England. He landed at New York and made his way direct to Buffalo and thence to Lancaster, Ohio, where he has since resided. Soon after his arrival he purchased six acres of land on East Wheeling street, planted a nursery and for several years conducted a general nursery business, but in 1864 he enlarged the scope of his labor by erecting and equipping a small greenhouse. As his business grew he enlarged his facilities until he now has ten thousand feet under glass. His flowers are of the choicest varieties and kinds, his selection being made as the result of long experience in the busiriess. His son is a practical florist and the plants are always kept in a healthy condition. From his care in this direction Mr. Gravett has built up a large and growing business, and his trade has reached extensive proportions locally and also extends to the surrounding towns and villages, while large shipments are made to Columbus. The greenhouse is heated throughout by hot water and all modern equipments and accessories for carrying on the business have been added, for Mr. Gravett and his son are men of progressive ideas and keep in touch with the advancement of the times. His sale of carnations and roses is constantly increasing in Columbus and he makes large shipments of these flowers at stated intervals.


Before leaving his native land Mr. Gravett was married in England, in 1849, to Miss Ann Mallars, who was born in London and was a daughter of Thomas Mallars, a successful merchant there. This union has been blessed with ten children and all have reached mature years. All but one were born in this city and are as follows: Ella, the wife of W. W. Brown, a resident of Denver. Colorado; John, also a resident of that state, who married a Miss Kagya, of Fairfield county, and is in the employ of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, holding the position of agent at Salida; Jennie, a professional nurse and resides at home; Lucy, the wife of James A. Cary, of Demopolis, Alabama; Anna, the wife of the Rev. Judson Lamb, of Cleveland, Ohio; Etta, who married Arthur A. Walker, an attorney of Cincinnati, Ohio; Florence, the wife of Charles Zeisler, of Lancaster; George, at home, who is a molder in the employ of the Hocking Valley Railroad; and Carrie, the wife of Milton McClane, who is employed in a shoe factory in Lancaster.


Since gaining the right of franchise Mr. Gravett has supported the Democratic party and for twelve years he served as a member of the school board of the city. For a similar period he was a member of the Fairfield Agricultural Society and fraternally he is connected with Charity Lodge, I. O. O. F. He belongs to the Presbyterian church, has held most of the church offices and for the past thirty-five years has been one of its elders, doing all in his power to extend its influence. His residence is a substantial brick structure, well furnished and is situated at No. 803 East Wheeling street. He thoroughly enjoys home life and takes great pleasure in the society of his family and friends. He is always courteous, kindly and affable and those who know him personally have for him warm regard. As has been truly remarked, after all that may be done for a man in the way of giving him early opportunities for obtaining the requirements which are sought in schools and in books, he must essentially formulate, determine and give shape to his own character; and this is what Mr. Gravett has done. He has persevered in the pursuit of a persistent purpose and gained the most satisfactory reward. His life is exemplary in many respects and he has ever supported those interests which are calculated to uplift and benefit humanity, while his own moral worth is deserving of the highest commendation.

 

From A Biographical Record of Fairfield County, Ohio, S. J. Clarke Publishing, New York and Chicago, 1902