Several years ago, I tracked down Jacob and Anna's daughter, Martha, who was living in northern Pittsburgh. Martha's father, Jacob, was a professional carpenter and furniture maker; his cabinets were sold in Pittsburgh's well-known Department store, Joseph Horne Company. As Martha invited me into her house to see some of the fine furniture her father had made, I noticed a handsome portrait of Jacob in Military Uniform (see the first image below). I knew he was originally from Germany and I presumed he had served in the Prussian Military. Martha showed me a smaller, black and white, cabinet card of the same image. On the reverse, someone had written what looked like Jacob's regiment including a few numbers and symbols that I couldn't decipher. However, I wrote the information down in my journal like a good family historian. More recently, a friend referred me to a web site that had information on Prussian Regiments, and fortunately, I was able to identify Jacob's regiment. (Thank you, Jon von Briesen). Jacob served in:
"Grenadier Regiment Graf Kleist von Nollendorf, Nr. 6 (1. Westpreußisches)", and probably in the 10th Division. "Graf" is a title meaning count. How Jacob got from the Frankfurt area where he was born to being recruited in a Prussian regiment in Posen is still a mystery.
IMAGE: Jacob Imfang in Prussian military uniform. He is wearing his "Dunkelblau" (dark blue) tunic. On the side table, lies his Picklehaub (spiked helmet) with black-colored, parade plume made of horse hair. The epaulets on shoulder, the color and design of piping, the design of buttons and medallion on helmet, all identify Jacob's unit in the military. Darn, if I knew all that BEFORE I took the picture, it sure would have helped. Sorry about the reflection on the convex glass which covered the framed portrait.
Martha also showed me a newsclipping featuring Jacob and titled, "Native of Germany celebrates his 90th [birthday]. I folded the clipping to fit into the image below. The article did not mention Jacob's Prussian service, but it did tell about his interests in dancing and a men's singing group called a "Mannechor" in German, and his hobby working with wood. Also, it told about an incident in Jacob's childhood when he attended his neighborhood school with former President, Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1890s. Apparently, Roosevelt's parents thought it would be healthy for their son, who was afflicted with Polio, to spend several summers in Bad Nauheim, a health resort famous for its baths (Die Bad). I was wondering how I could confirm this family tradition- but see "References" below.
(click image to enlarge)
Sometimes we forget to realize that millions of German immigrants who came to America in the late 19th century, including my own ancestors, had to turn around in a generation or two and do battle with their former countrymen during two world wars. That is truely ironic.