Lizzie Wienke’s Story (4)

I wrote this in 1999.

[Do you have a photo of Elizabeth Wienke? of Joe Nash? Please contact me: ([email protected])

Lizzie Wienke Nash was 35- years-old when she was appointed to serve out her deceased husband’s term, the first woman in California to hold the important office of county clerk. Voters enthusiastically returned her to office in the next election.

Lizzie’s aging parents, Jurgen and Meta, moved into the Redwood City home, and a year after Joe’s death, her father passed away and was buried in famous St. John’s Cemetery in San Mateo.

A few years later, Lizzie became romantically linked with County Surveyor George Kneese, a widower. They had much in common. Born in San Francisco in 1885, George Kneese was the son of German parents, as was Lizzie. Six years later, the Kneese family, then operators of a San Francisco hotel, moved to South San Francisco where they opened a grocery store.

After attending local schools, George Kneese studied civil engineering in Germany. Returning to the U.S., he joined a San Francisco engineering firm.

Later he surveyed and platted the town of South City, becoming its city engineer and superintendent of streets. Reportedly, he held the same positions in Daly City, San Bruno, Hillsborough, Atherton, San Carlos, Belmont and Colma.

Committed to improving the county’s roadways, George Kneese was appointed County Surveyor in 1918, while still engaging in private practice.

At the county courthouse in Redwood City, Lizzie and George had adjoining offices; in the course of routine business their romance blossomed, culminating in a marriage proposal. County residents enjoyed her sense of humor when Lizzie announced she would be issuing herself the marriage license.

(Next Part 5)