Granddad Ufkes Would Have Been 100 Years Old


27 January 2017 would have been my grandfather’s 100th birthday.

His baptism on 18 February 1917 is recorded in the records of the Immanuel Lutheran Church south of Carthage and east of Basco in Hancock County, Illinois. I’ve always assumed his parents were living on what’s known as the Ufkes homeplace (purchased by his grandfather, John H. Ufkes in 1881) on the Basco Blacktop at the time of Granddad’s birth, but I’m not really certain. I always surmised that Granddad’s father, Fred, lived on the home place to assist his own father with the operation of the farm. Granddad’s parents married in March of 1916 and Fred’s father would have been in his late seventies at the time.

The church baptismal entry gives his name in German–Johann Heinrich Friederich. That’s the exact same name as his paternal grandfather. His maternal grandfather was John also, but his actual name in low-German was Jans and not John.

Granddad attended the Union Grade School which was a few miles west of his home. He attended high school for three years at Basco and then finished out his fourth year of high school in Carthage. Like many of his generation, he remained home to help his father with the farm.

There were many questions I wish I had asked Granddad about the “old days,” but unfortunately I did not. I did remark to him one time that his father had to purchase it from the estate at price preset in the will: $200 an acre. That was in 1924. Granddad didn’t have much to say, but he did comment that it was no wonder his parents sometimes struggled to make the payments. Apparently $200 an acre at that point in time was quite a price and great-grandfather’s share of it that he got back would be small as there were nine other children besides him to inherit the estate.

Granddad smoked a pipe until he had his heart attack in the early 1980s. I remember it was so unusual being in their house the first time after he had the heart attack. The ash tray was gone. The can of Sir Walter Raleigh in the den was gone. My cousin (Granddad’s niece) insists the den area always smelled like tobacco, but I simply don’t remember that.

And there’s the genealogy reminder in this–others may either remember things that you do not or may remember the same things in a different way.

We’ll have a few other posts about Granddad this year–in honor of his 100th birthday and because as I write this I realize that I’ve not written much about him.

There’s genealogy reminder number two: are there relatives that you’ve not written about?



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