Charles Aleck

We know much already about Charles Aleck and his ancestry. There is not much that I can add to what has been published in The Smart Aleck by Vivetta Aleck Jorgensen Emmer and Eileen Aleck Albert.

Charles was one of about 12 children by our Aleck immigrant ancestors Xaver Aleck and Christiane Geiger (sp). He was born 17 September 1873 in Iowa and, in fact, one of our few known ancestors to have spent their entire life in one area (down to the county, Harrison County, Iowa). He died on 1 September 1953 and is buried in Logan Cemetery, Harrison County, Iowa.

Charles Aleck’s funeral card, front and back.  Private collection of blog author.
Charles Aleck’s funeral card, internal.  Private collection of blog author.

On 12 February 1902, he married Elizabeth Kucks, daughter of Ohlrich Kucks and Margaret Hinkel (sp). They were married in Magnolia, Harrison County, Iowa.

Ledger showing the marriage return for Chas. H. Alick and Lizzie Kucks.  Their license was issued on 11 February 1902, the minister reported performing the wedding on 12 February 1902 and the return was registered on 22 February 1902.

Charles and Elizabeth had two children; Edward Ohlrich and Hilda Lucille.

Grandma tells many stories about her Aleck grandparents. Two that makes her laugh on reflection involve mischief on her part. My grandmother and her family lived next door to Charles’ farm for many years. At night, the farm was very dark, but grandma and her sister were able to sneak around without a light. Once, the girls tried to sneak up on their grandparents (Charles and Elizabeth) late at night – for reasons not disclosed to me. They crept up to the house with a plan to enter through the cellar door, but when the yard-gate shut it made an audible “click” that woke up the dog. The dog began to bark and make a ruckus, scaring the young girls back to their home and startling their grandparents awake.
Her second fond memory was back in the days when the Sunday paper was delivered on Monday (working on Sunday wasn’t commonplace). Charles had the paper delivered to the farm and the girls would get up early to sneak out to the farm and steal the funny papers before he woke up.

Grandma says that Charles and Elizabeth met by performing at the same local dances.  He played the violin and she played the piano.

Excerpt from The Smart Aleck:

Charles (Better known as Charley or by his nickname, Bruce) was raised on his father’s farm in Cass Township, Iowa.  While a boy, he acquired a violin which was thought to be homemade and looked old when he got it.  He learned to play this instrument, playing by ear – he did not read music.  He and Elizabeth would play for neighborhood dances – he would play the “fiddle” and Elizabeth would chord on the piano.  This violin provided much enjoyment for Charley throughout his whole life.

Before Charley was married he worked for the Winterhalters in Lilly Lake, Illinois.  In about 1915 Charley took his family to Lilly Lake on a return visit with the Winterhalters.  Whether the Winterhalters were relatives of the Alecks or just good friends cannot be determined.  Mrs. Winterhalter was referred to as “Aunt Winterhalter.”  The Winterhalters lived next door to the Alecks in Riegle, Germany.

After marriage he farmed east of Logan in Cass Township.  In about 1910, due to Elizabeth’s poor health, the farm was rented and they moved to Logan where they lived in the house that his father Xaver had lived in.  They lived there only about one year then returned to the farm where they stayed until retiring in 1945.  After selling the farm they moved to Logan where they lived the remainder of their lives.

Charley was a small man – short and slight of built.  He smoked a pipe which was in his mouth most of the time.  He liked cats and would often times have one following him around.  He never claimed any church affiliation.

He was the victim of arteriosclerosis which affected his eyes and in later years did not see well.  Ultimately he became disoriented and would run away from home.  He had to be placed in a nursing home in Council Bluffs where he died.