February 15, 2013

George Edward Pflaumer, Grandfather

The young man, Ed Pflaumer
He hated the name, George.
His signature was almost always
"Ed Pflaumer" and in his youth,
he was probably known as "Eddie."
The inscriptions in his autograph
book tell us that.

When George Edward Pflaumer was born on February 13, 1878, his father was already 65 years old.  Ed was the youngest of his father's three children by a significantly younger second wife.  Born in Allen County, Indiana, Ed's whole life was spent there and in Dekalb County.  He lived the farm life with his parents and older siblings, William H. and Katherine.  By virtue of his father's age, one could assume that the children took on farm responsibilities early in their youth.

In the 1880 census, Ed appeared at the age of 2 with siblings, William, 9, and Katie, 6.  By 1900, Ed was the only child still at home with his parents.  In 1900, his father was 87 years old and undoubtedly, Ed, at 22, was running the home farm.

On February 6, 1901, when 23, Edward Pflaumer married Geneva (Eva) Hollabaugh, 22, a local girl.  According to a short family history written by their daughter, the couple moved right away to Fort Wayne where their first child, Laverne Ellsworth, was born in July 1901.  In the spring of 1902, stated the history, the couple moved to the Hollabaugh Homestead, east of the Dill's Bridge in Spencer Township on the Spencerville-Hicksville Road, Dekalb County, IN, several miles from the Pflaumer home farm.  There, seven other children were born to the couple: Lawrence Arvine (1903), Ethel Marie (1904), an infant son who died at birth (1906), Ernest Edward (1907), Violette Irene (1909), Floyd W.(1914) and Russell W. (1916).

 Edward's father died in 1909 at the age of 97, and since his brother lived in Fort Wayne, Ed spent time helping his mother and sister handle their affairs on the home place.  

On February 14, 1915, Ed was received into membership of the St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church in St. Joe, Indiana, by adult confirmation.  He was quite active all his life in this congregation, serving on the Church Council and in other capacities.  His funeral biography stated, "He will be remembered in the congregation, especially for the ease with which he was able to make visitors feel at home in the church services.

On September 12, 1918, Ed Pflaumer faithfully filled out his World War I registration form.  At almost 40 years old with seven children, he was not a likely candidate for service!  He described himself as of medium height, medium build, light brown eyes and black hair.

Taken about 1910-1911.

 The Pflaumer family of nine were still living in the Spencerville Road house in 1920, renting the house.  The children's ages ranged from 18 down to 3.  In this census, Edward stated that his mother tongue was German, which is completely understandable as both of his parents were first generation immigrants from Germany.  Sometime in the mid-1920's, the Pflaumers moved for the last time when they purchased a farm on the Spencerville-St. Joe Road.
Six of the seven Pflaumer children went on to further their educations beyond high school.  The oldest did not and remained on the family farm until both parents were deceased and he was in middle age, when he married and left.
Edward's sister died in 1924 and his mother in 1928 and Edward was called to help settle the Pflaumer estate after the death of his mother.

Family portrait, probably about 1912-1913.  From left, Edward, Laverne, Ernest, Ethel, Lawrence, Eva and in front, Violette

By 1930, six children were still living at home.  Only Ethel, who had been teaching, left to marry.  Lawrence and Violette were also teaching; Ernest was working in a print shop; Laverne was working on the farm; and Floyd and Russell were teenagers still in school.  All of the other children went on to marry in the 1930's, except the oldest, Laverne, who married in 1947 at the age of 47.

The 1940 census gives us the information that Edward had only a 4th grade education.  The necessity of helping his elderly father on the farm certainly must have been the reason.  At that time, he owned a farm worth $3000 and he reported that he and Laverne worked 60 hours a week.
In 1942, Edward suffered a stroke, yet he was still required to register for the World War II draft during the "old man's registration" period.  It seemed obvious from his signature on that document that he struggled to sign his name or even spell it correctly.
Back Row: Russell. and ?, Joe and wife Ethel P., Laverne, Irene?- wife of Lawrence; Violette P and husband Maurice. Front: Ballard, grandson, Ed holding Jerry P., Eva
George Edward Pflaumer died on February 24, 1947.  The funeral biography stated: "Excessive work and worry brought sickness and death to Mr. Pflaumer before he could enjoy the physical comforts of his remodeled home, but not even death can deprive him of the pleasure and pride he has had in his greatest achievement, his family and grandchildren."

His obituary in the Saint Joe News on February 27, 1947:
Edward G. Pflaumer, 69, died suddenly of a paralytic stroke Tuesday morning at his home one mile north of Spencerville.  He had been ill five years.  Surviving are the wife, Eva; five sons - LaVerne, Spencerville; Lawrence, New Carlise, O.; Ernest, Tipton; Floyd, Urbana, O.; and Russell, Dekalb, Ill.; two daughters, (Mrs. Ethel Leins, Auburn and Mrs. Violette Kline, St. Joe; 11 grandchildren and one brother, William, of Fort Wayne. Funeral services will be conducted Thursday at 2 p.m. t the St. Joe Lutheran Church with the Rev. Frank Stevenson officiating. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery, St. Joe."

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