Elf Home
Family Tree
Essay Page
Email Us

Jacob Joseph Elfner

When I was growing up, my father, Eliot, had mentioned his "Grandpa Jake" to me.  All I knew was that he lived to be an old man and lived with my father's family for a bit toward the end of his life.  I liked the name and ultimately named my son Jake as well.

As I started researching some family tree information, I began to find some interesting parallels.  Jake was born in 1866, I was born in 1966.  Jake was married in 1892, I was married in 1992.  Jake lived until 1949 and celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with Rose in 1942...I can only hope.

According to Manitowoc County marriage records, Jake married Rose Pelisheck on June 21, 1892.  The marriage record lists her as "Resa Pelisheck", but my dad knew her as Grandma Rose. 

Jake and Rose had six children, Vivian, Hugo, Roy, Dewey, Elmer and Joseph Sherburne, my grandfather.  My dad recently made contact with a distant relative who provided this family photo.  Judging by the young age Sherb, who was born in 1907, we can date this photo to the early 1910's.

Here's a picture of Jake and Rose on their Golden Wedding Anniversary, June 21, 1942.


Evidently the family threw quite a party for them.  I only recognize their oldest daughter, Vivian McDermand (our Aunt Viv), on the far right and Viv's son, David McDermand, standing behind her.  I don't see my grandparents, but perhaps Sherb was in Europe serving in the Army, and Dit was home with the baby (Eliot.)

We do not know what his job was, but a 1923 Manitowoc City Directory lists him as an "Attendant" at the Manitowoc County Asylum.  According to that web page, "The county asylum was not actually an insane asylum, but rather a facility to assist in the aid of those with T.B.(tuberculosis), physical health ailments, or mental health ailments. The facility also housed the poor."

Another picture I really like of Jacob and Rose really places them in their time.  It is late summer, 1939, on a Labor Day visit to Fish Creek.  Jake and Rose are all dressed up and standing near the water on a beautiful sunny day.  Rose is holding a newspaper.  The visible part of the headline reads "...TLER BEGI..."  My reading of this is, "Hitler Begins."  Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, so this picture is evidently from September 2.  The other interesting thing about it is that it appears the world knew what he was up to.  Since it says "Hitler Begins" instead of "Germany Invades Poland", it would seem that everyone knew what he was planning, and the news was just that he started.  I can't make out the name of the paper, but I would like to track down that issue on Microfilm and see the rest of the story.  

We also learn from this picture that Jake was a pipe smoker.

Eric Elfner
April 2007