August H. Elker (1848 – 1906)
My second great-grandfather August H. Elker was born in Hanover, Germany on May 22, 1848 in the year of revolutions in Europe. Whether related to the revolutions or not, August’s family travelled to America in 1854. After landing in New York City, the Elker family made its way to St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis had a large German Catholic community, which attracted the Elkers.
Besides being a devout Catholic, August was a talented musician, who played in several Catholic bands. August played in the band for the Catholic fraternal organization, Knights of Father Matthew. When an early St. Louis Mayor, Arthur B. Barrett, was laid to rest on April 27, 1875, August and his fellow band mates played in the funeral pageant.
The Knights of Father Matthew was a temperance organization that believed in total abstinence from alcohol. The St. Louis Chapter was founded in 1872, when August joined it. When August died in 1906, he was buried in the uniform of the organization that he was a member for 34 years.
On October 28, 1878, August Elker married Bertha Lipke at St. Mary of Victories Catholic Church. August was 31 years of age, while Bertha was 28 years old. In 1882, they would welcome their first child Agnes H. Elker. In 1883, Clara E. Elker was born.
In 1885, their middle child and my great-grandmother Magdalena Elker was born. Magdalena married Eduard Mosblech in 1907. They would have 14 children including their sixth child, my grandmother Alvina Mosblech nee Ellis.
In 1888, they welcomed their only son, Joseph Henry Elker. The baby of the family, Rosa “Rose” A. Elker, was born in 1890.
August Elker died at only 57 years of age on February 7, 1906. I believe he died from the effects of diabetes but I’m not sure. I’ve never found a death certificate for August. The three newspaper posts about his death do not indicate what caused his demise.
I do not have any pictures of the Elkers either. I only recently discovered a newspaper picture, which included Eduard and Magdalena. I didn’t have pictures of them until this discovery. I don’t know if pictures exist of the Elkers but I will share them if I find them in the future.
Sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 27, 1875 edition, p. 4, and February 8, 1906 edition, p. 11