As we continue to catalog negatives in the Free-Hostetler collection, we were tickled to discover that the young man in this image was born on February 14, 1897 and given the first name of “Valentine!”
Valentine was born in Lincoln Township to Gustav and Bertha Eckermann. After serving in the First World War, he worked on the family farm, as he would continue to do for the rest of his life. He married Mildred Wiese of Walcott on March 14, 1923; the couple had two children, Myrtle and Clifford. Valentine and Mildred celebrated their love for each other by hosting a dance in March 1948, on the occasion of their 25th wedding anniversary.
Valentine passed away a just a few years later. This photograph appeared with his obituary in the Daily Times for February 4, 1952.
Although she lived nearly 40 years longer than her husband, Mildred Eckermann never remarried.
Valentine Eckermann had only one contemporary with the same first name: Valentine Buchmeier (1905-1998, a barbershop owner in West Davenport, not born on February 14th), but in the previous century it was a fairly common name among German (and one French) immigrants to Scott County.
Valentine Scheiner to Catherine Bolt on April 16, 1849 is the earliest local marriage we can find of someone with that first name. They were married in St. Anthony’s Church by pioneer pastor Rev. Pelamourges and the union endured: the Scheiner’s celebrated their Golden Anniversay in 1899; Catherine died in 1910 and Valentine in 1914. Both were buried in St. Marguerite’s.
1857 is the earliest marriage date of someone with the last name “Valentine” in the area: George W. Valentine to Mary Ann Snow. George, a bricklayer and contractor, lived for many years with his family at 108 W. 18th Street in Davenport. His two sons, Lee H. and George S., carried on the heart-shaped name.
The surname “Valentine” also belonged to a well-known member of the African American community in Davenport. Jennie Valentine, born a slave, was freed from a plantation in North Carolina by northern soldiers and brought to Iowa at the conclusion of the Civil War, according to her obituary in the Daily Times for September 30, 1912. She lived in Davenport for 45 years, working as a domestic and attending Bethel A.M.E. Church. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of “Pretzel Alley” in 1904 (Democrat and Leader, 15 May) she was elected Police Matron. Jennie’s daughter Sylvia Jones (later Barnes) carried her father’s name, so “Valentine” did not continue on to the next generation. Sylvia also lived in Davenport for a time, and her daughter, Jennie’s granddaughter Florence Jones Dudley Murray Howard, spent nearly her whole life in the city. It was in Florence’s home that Jennie Valentine died; she is buried in Oakdale Cemetery.
Any “Valentine’s” in your Scott County family history? Search our Local Database to find out!
Happy Valentine’s Day from the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center of the Davenport Public Library!
(Posted by Katie)