Elmer E. Brown from Iowa

Elmer Brown, Sheffield, Iowa

Little Elmer’s photo came to me from the same Etsy seller in the United States who sent me the photos of the Goppinger sisters, Lorena Storck and the Ellis sisters (please see my previous three blogposts). Although I have not been able to reach out to Elmer’s direct descendents, I have found an Ancestry family tree and a Find A Grave memorial for him. In the hopes that one day his direct descendents might find this photo in the world wide web, I’ll write a blogpost about Elmer’s family and life to go with the photo.

Elmer Edward Brown was born on June 6th, 1903, in Sheffield, Iowa, to parents David Isaac Brown and Anna née Holtz. His father David had been born in 1875 in Clayton County, Iowa, to English parents. Elmer’s mother Anna née Holtz had been born in the same year to German parents. David was a farmer. He married Elmer’s mother Anna in January, 1902, in Clayton. There is a beautiful wedding photo of Elmer’s parents on their wedding day linked with their Ancestry profile (Click HERE to view). Elmer’s father David passed away in 1950 and his mother Anna in 1955. Both are buried at the Rockwell Cemetery in Iowa.

Elmer was the couple’s first child. In June 1906, Elmer became the older brother to Alvin Johann Wilhelm Brown (1906-1975), and to Richard H. Brown (1908-1999) as well as to Delbert Edward Brown (1911-1976). In 1915, the brothers had a baby sister Alphia Hilda Brown (1915-1996, married Joseph Stanton Jones). Now the siblings were complete.

In 1920, the family is to be found in Richmond, Franklin. Elmer is working as a laborer on the home farm. Elmer married Emma née Sodawasser in 1923 and is found living with her and their children Lila Mae (born in April, 1925; Click HERE for birth registration), Melvin Lester (1926-1989), Gale Alvin (1928-1964) and Doris Maxine (born in 1929) in Pleasant Valley, Cerro Gordo, Iowa, in 1930 and in 1940.

Elmer’s oldest daughter, Lila Brown married Clinton Lander in 1940. She is said to be 18 at the time, but according to her birth certificate, she was just 15 at the time of her marriage registration. Perhaps there were pressing matters for the young couple to get married? I haven’t found them after their marriage and don’t know if they had any children. In Elmer’s obituary, Lila is said to be the wife of one Walter Giggs. So looks like she might have re-married.

Elmer’s son Melvin Brown married Patricia née Hopes in 1949 and they had 6 children.

Elmer’s son Gale Brown married Myrna née Endriss in 1950 and they had 5 children.

Elmer’s daughter Doris Maxine married Bernard James Switzer in 1947 and they also had 5 children.

Elmer’s wife Emma passed away in March 1941. I cannot make out the cause of death as written on the death certificate (Click HERE to view). Elmer quickly re-married Irene C. née Smith in May 1941. Perhaps they had been family friends and Irene was ready to step in as a step-mother to Elmer’s minor children.

Elmer was killed in a tragic explosion in July 1971. He is buried at Rockwell Cemetery in Cerro Gordo, Iowa.

Elmer’s obituary also names two more children of his, I suppose the children he had with his second wife Irene. Those are Cassandra Brown (born in 1942), wife of one Heins Rattay from Mason City, Iowa, in 1971. Another child mentioned in the obituary is one Robert Brown, also resident of Mason City, Iowa, at the time.

Like I already wrote in awe, Elmer’s family tree is so well researched! There is even a photo of his grandparents David P. Brown and Dinah née Dickinson on Ancestry (Click HERE to view)! And there is a photo of Elmer as a grown man too (Click HERE to view)!

Elmer was a grandpa many times over and those grandchildren and possibly great-grandchildren are out there! Perhaps one of them would like to have this photo one day!

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