Franklin Elsworth Delk
14 Jul 1893 to 22 Nov 1967


Franklin Elsworth Delk was born July 14, 1893 in Dunkirk, Jay County, Indiana. He was the first child born to the marriage of Martha Luticia Maitlen and Ekmer Elsworth Delk.


Military Service

June 1, 1917 --- Frank joins the U. S. Army in Des Moines, Iowa. Document 76 is the small notice published in the Leon, Iowa newspaper on June 7, 1917. Document 77 is from a Des Moines, Iowa newspaper. These brief notices do not tell all of the story. The first thing is that the Selective Service Act was pass May 18, 1917 and by June 1st it was already determined that two of the four Delk boys would enlist and the other two would not be drafted. The two picked to enlist were Charlie and Russell. Frank and Ira would stay home. The second part of the story is as follows:

Weldon, Iowa had a high school. Students from farms around Weldon would ride their horses to town and lodge them in Bart Davis's barn. His property was across the street south of the Methodist church and a couple blocks north of the school. A saddle was stolen from one of the students and was later found in Elmer Delk's barn. Frank was accused of stealing the saddle. He was given the option of enlisting in the army or standing trial for theft. He chose to enlist. Dr. Jamison had the job of seeing to it that Frank got enlisted. Charlie Delk was Dr. Jamison's driver. Why George Hall went with them to Des Moines is not known. (The Bart Davis mentioned above is the father of the Bart Davis who married Lillie May Delk.) It was later discovered that one of Frank's friends (nicknamed 'Mule') had actually stolen the saddle. Frank's mother was extremely upset that now three of her sons would be in the service and one unjustly.


Frank admitted to five marriages. He had no children by any of the marriages but he had step children by two of them. Four of the marriages are documented and it is believed that each of the four preceded Frank in death.

There is evidence that Frank got married to a German girl while he was in the U.S. Army during WW I. If this is true then the wives are as listed below:

Gretel Neimann. The following items are evidence that Frank was married to Gretel--
(Note: Some material has been translated from the German and some is Gretel's English.)
September, 1919: This photograph (photo 97) is a picture of Gretel. On the back it says: "I think you like this picture the best. Do you remember me? Souvenir of your little dear wife. September, 1919, Germany."
October 5, 1919: Document 78 is actually a postcard from Gretel. It was contained in an envelope where the address and stamp were placed. It contains the words, "your little dear wife."
December 5,1919: Document 79 is another postcard. It does not use the word 'wife,' but does say "Thousands of kisses at my dear sister Mary."
Yulanda L. Steen. Frank married Yulanda on May 6, 1927.
Sarah Gearhart. Document 16 is a small article from the Leon, Iowa newspaper announcing the marriage of Frank to Sarah Gearhart.
Neva Wilson.
Elizabeth (Esther).


  • Franklin Elsworth Delk, Infant
    Baby Photo
  • P000018
    Franklin is standing
  • Franklin Elsworth Delk 1918
    Taken before he left for Germany in 1918
  • Franklin Elsworth Delk 1917
    Taken before he joined the army in 1917
  • Franklin Elsworth Delk, Weldon, Iowa
    Taken at his parent's home in Weldon, Iowa
  • Franklin Delk, WWI Portrait
    Franklin E. Delk, circa 1917; World War One Uniform
  • P000095
    From left to right: George Delk, son of Dr. Jim Delk, Dr. Jim Delk, Franklin E. Delk, Russell L. Delk.
  • P00097
    Sent September 1919
  • P00097b
    "I think you like this picture the best. Do you remember me? Souvenir of your little dear wife. September, 1919, Germany."
  • P000098a
    Picture of Gretel (R) Neumann and another woman.
  • P000098b
    Back of 98a, "Here is a little girl you never seen, Gretel from Coblenz."
  • P00148
    Included with Postcard sent September of 1919
  • P00149
    Included with Postcard sent September of 1919
  • P00153
    Franklin Elsworth Delk (L), George Delk (son of Dr. J.W. Delk) and Russell Leland Delk
  • P00155
    Elmer Ellsworth Delk and Martha Luticia (Maitlen) Delk with children. Frank (L) then Charles, Russell and Ira. Lillie Luticia is the baby on the right. Taken in 1898 before the September death of Lillie.
  • P00161
    L-R Bart Davis (husband of Lillie May Delk) John (?) Russell Leland Delk, Elmer Elsworth Delk, Chester Roosevelt Delk, Franklin Elsworth Delk, 1921
  • P00181
    Standing: Mary May Delk (L) & Franklin Elsworth Delk. Seated: Unidentified (L) Martha Luticia (Maitlen) Delk (cent) and Neva Wilson (right). Neva was married to Frank.
  • P00182
    Unidentified (L), Franklin Elsworth Delk and Martha Maitlen Delk