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 Eilert Ernest Louis Harfst

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Eilert Ernest Louis Harfst

  • Birth 31 Jan 1895 Havana, Mason County, Illinois, USA
  • Death 12 Nov 1957 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, USA
  • Burial Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, USA
  • Plot Section 4, Lot 754
  • Memorial ID 51038091

Some records indicate the spelling of his middle name as "Ernst", some as "Earnest", and some as "Ernest". Since he and my grandmother named my father "Ernest" and spelled his name that way, I am going to go with "Ernest" until I locate a copy of his birth certificate. However, "Ernst" is the German spelling, and his father was a German immigrant. Any of the three is possible.

Eilert liked the ladies very well indeed, and marriage did not stop his peccadillos. He was a rich handsome young man about town, as the old saying goes. To the best of family knowledge, he had no other surviving children aside from my father Ernest, but one of his lady friends did miscarry a set of twins which were his. Eilert was a twin; his mother was a twin. Her father was a twin. In each case, it was a set of male and female fraternal twins.

Although his marker indicates "Oklahoma", he served in World War I as a soldier from Illinois, not Oklahoma. He lived in Oklahoma at the time of his death. He was sent to Camp Wheeler, Georgia for training, and Iva, his wife, went with him. It was summer there, and although they were both from southern Illinois, she said that the dirt was red, and it was the worst climate she ever endured in her life. Horribly hot, miserably humid, and the bugs were huge. I do not believe she ever visited Georgia again in her life, although she and her second husband did like to travel.

As I never met him, I did not get Eilert's opinion of his time in the Army, nor of Georgia. He did go to France, but he did not go to the front lines. I was told that his unit was scheduled to go up as replacements on Nov. 11, 1918, but that story may be apocryphal. It just seems rather dramatic. (Armistice Day? Really?) Nevertheless, that is what I was told. He did get to Paris; I have a bracelet he bought there for his wife.

Eilert's father was significantly older than his mother, and died when Eilert was young. So, he lived with his mother until she died, even during the sixteen years of his marriage to Iva Thomason. Eilert was a police officer in Havana, IL, during that time. Iva's father was the Chief of Police. His mother had Parkinson's Disease, and could not live alone.

In 1926, he and Iva drove to San Francisco or Oakland, to visit his aunt. He considered moving there and joining the police force, but they decided against it. I do not know why, nor do I remember which town she lived in. Even after they were divorced, Iva remained good friends with Eilert's aunt, and they wrote letters until his aunt died. I believe her name was Grace.

I was told that he worked in security in Oklahoma, after he moved there after the death of his mother. I do not know for whom, or where he worked.

Eilert had red hair, and his eyes must have been brown, as Ernest Harfst had brown eyes, and Iva Schmidt had gray eyes. (Ernest could not have had brown eyes otherwise.) He was a tall man, and an alcoholic. He had a very unfortunate upbringing, as the only spoiled child of a rich, ill, uneducated woman. Of all the persons who knew him with whom I discussed him, only one ever said good things about him, my father's cousin Norma. When she was a child, he took her and some of her brothers swimming. She thought he was fun to be with.

I wish I had known him. I look like him, and I was born with his red hair and brown eyes.

Family Members




Gravesite Details There is a one-day difference in the date of birth on the memorial between the marker and the death certificate used to set this up. Until I locate his birth certificate, I will leave things as they are, and leave this note for explanation.





  • Created by: Sue Ann Harfst
  • Added: 13 Apr 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 51038091
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Eilert Ernest Louis Harfst (31 Jan 1895–12 Nov 1957), Find A Grave Memorial no. 51038091, citing Rose Hill Burial Park, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, USA ; Maintained by Sue Ann Harfst (contributor 46972179) .