Rose Elker Slaps a Masher

Rosa or Rose Elker was born in St. Louis on February 5, 1890.  Aunt Rose was my great-grandmother, Magdalena Elker’s, youngest sister.  On Saturday, September 22, 1906, the 16-year-old Rose was walking to her job at the Plows Candy Factory in St. Louis.

Aunt Rose was walking about 8 am in the morning, when she started to cross the 18th Street Bridge.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Aunt Rose was a pretty blonde.  As she crossed the bridge, a young man threw his arms around her waist and hugged her.  “Hello, honey.  You look good to me.”  The unknown man continued to squeeze her more tightly to him.


Eduard, Magdalena and 12 of their 14 children from the July 5, 1934 edition of the St. Louis Star-Times

Aunt Rose told him “I’m not the kind of girl you think I am!”  She punctuated her remarks with a hard slap to his cheek.  The young man let go of her and walked off the south side of the bridge.

Aunt Rose was shaken up by experience but saw St. Louis Police Officer Murphy as she was exiting the north side of the bridge.  She told Officer Murphy about what happened.  Officer Murphy, aroused with a chivalrous spirit, escorted Aunt Rose back across the bridge with the intent of apprehending the miscreant.  However, the masher was smart enough to flee the area as quickly as possible.  Aunt Rose described the young man as about 5’02” with a slender build and blonde hair.

Besides dealing with this disturbing incident, Aunt Rose lost both her parents in this same year.  August Elker died in February 1906.  Bertha Elker nee Lipke died on October 19, 1906 after a six month battle with cancer.

I don’t have very much information about Aunt Rose.  She married a man named Marshall Tharp in St. Louis during 1910.  They moved to Iowa prior to 1925.  At some point, it looks like they settled in California.  If I gather more information about her, I will add it here.

It’s amazing what you find about your family in newspaper archives. You can leave a comment or ask a question about this or any post in the comment section below, on my Facebook pageTwitter profile and Google+ page.

Sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 22, 1906, p. 7 and September 23, 1906, p. 40


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