Biography of E. M. Cramer

E. M. Cramer, born May 10, 1849, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, moved with his family to Sterling, Illinois, in 1866. After working in Clinton, Iowa, he settled in Plankinton, South Dakota, in 1882, where he claimed a homestead and later established a successful general merchandise business. Cramer’s store, a significant local enterprise, grew alongside the town’s development. A committed Republican, Cramer also actively participated in the Methodist Episcopal Church and several fraternal organizations. He married Anna Heckerman on October 21, 1875, and they had two children: Mabel, who married G. H. Bryan, and Noble, who died young.

E. M. Cramer claims the old Keystone state as the place of his nativity, having been born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on the 10th of May, 1849, and being a son of Henry and Ann (Smith) Cramer, who were likewise born in that state, being representatives of old and sterling families of the commonwealth. The father of the subject was a butcher by trade and was engaged in the meat-market business in Pennsylvania until 1866, when he removed to Sterling, Whiteside County, Illinois, where he engaged in the general merchandise business, in which he successfully continued for a period of fifteen years, while that town continued to be his home until his death, which occurred in 1897. His widow, who has now attained the venerable age of eighty-three years, still resides in Sterling and is a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, as was also her husband. They became the parents of eleven children, of whom six are living.

The subject received his educational training in the public schools of Pennsylvania and was about seventeen years of age at the time of the family removal to Illinois, where he continued to reside until 1880, when he located in the city of Clinton, Iowa, where he was engaged in the retail grocery business until 1882, when he came to Plankinton, South Dakota. Shortly after his arrival, he took up a homestead claim six miles southeast of the town, and located on the same and began the work of improvement, eventually perfecting his title to the property, which he retained in his possession until 1889, when he disposed of the same at a good profit. After proving on his claim Mr. Cramer took up his permanent residence in Plankinton, which had at that time a population of about one thousand persons, and here established himself in the general merchandise business, in which he has built up a large and representative trade, the enterprise having expanded in scope and importance with the upbuilding of the town and the settlement of the surrounding country. His present store building is a substantial and commodious structure and was purchased by him about twelve years ago, and in the same he has a large and comprehensive stock, selected with careful discrimination, so that he caters successfully to the demands of his extensive and appreciative trade, the stock representing an average valuation of about ten thousand dollars. In politics, he is a staunch advocate of the principles of the Republican Party, but has never been an aspirant for public office. He and his wife are prominent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and fraternally he is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Brotherhood of American Yeomen, and the Order of Home Guardians.

On the 21st of October, 1875, Mr. Cramer was united in marriage to Miss Anna Heckerman, who was born and reared in Hancock County, Ohio, being a daughter of Benjamin F. Heckerman, who was for a number of years a conductor on the Pennsylvania Railroad and who later owned and operated a sawmill. Mr. and Mrs. Cramer became the parents of two children, Mabel, who is now the wife of G. H. Bryan, who is engaged in the barbering business in Plankinton, and Noble, who died at the age of ten.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top