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"ALLS" stands for Ada Louise Ludeke Smith: Ada Ick in childhood, Ick at college, Icky to her husband, Mom to her daughters, Louise to her in-laws, Momine or Grandma or Goppy to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Smitty as a senior citizen.  Her informal memoirs were written 1983-96, including the Sketches of Family Members (SFM) below.

Internet sources are indicated by tildes (e.g. ~internet).  A complete list can be found on the Sources page.  Due to the transient nature of Internet entries, only a few hyperlinks will be provided to outside webpages; such as ~a (, ~f (, ~g (, and ~w (  The United States Federal Census records for 1850 through 1940 cited below are available at ~a (except for 1890's, which was badly damaged in a 1921 fire and later quietly destroyed).

            L-4    Ada Ick


Ada Louise Ludeke was born Apr. 7, 1907 at 1106 Vine Street in Hamilton, Ohio: the only child of William Michael Ludeke and Mary Adelaide (Addie) Schneider.  Apr. 7th was the acknowledged and unchallenged birthdate till 2006, when ALLS's nursing home requested that all patients verify their citizenship.  The present author contacted the Butler County OH Probate Court and was promptly sent a certified photocopy of the court's Record of Births.  This turned out to be a handwritten ledger with the "L" surnames herded together, listed neither alphabetically nor in date order, mixing 1907 with 1906 (and one 1908).  Ludeke Ada Louisa / 1907 Mar 17 appears alongside ditto marks for an earlier entry's Fairfield Township birthplace.  Her parents are entered as "William Ludeke" and "Adelade Snider" [sic] and their address simply "Fairfield Tp."  (The Probate Court added a fresh degree of muddlement by referring to "Louisa Ada Ludeke" on their cover letter.)

St. Julie Billiart Parish provided the present author with a Baptismal Record from St. Stephen's Church±:

The records of the above noted church do certify that Ludovicam Adelheid Ludeke, child of Michaele Gulielmo Ludeke and Adelina Schneider, born on April 7, 1907, was baptized on April 14, 1907 according to the Rite of the Roman Catholic Church by P. Ignatius M. Wilkens, OFM, the sponsors being Leonardus Schneider and Christina Schneider.

—that is, her maternal grandmother and eldest uncle Leonard.  Given that ALLS stated (in a very late memoir-essay on "Faith") that "when I was one week old I was christened," and considering the jumbled appearance of Butler County's birth register, the present author concludes that Apr. 7th was the correct birthdate, with Mar. 17th a "typo" by a court employee posting from a heap of random papers.  Nevertheless, Mar. 17th found its way onto approximately half of ALLS's medico-financial records; miraculously, no bureaucratic logjam ever resulted from this.  (By 2006 ALLS was nearing the century mark, and her explanation for the two birthdates—March 17th and April 7th—was: "They're both accurate.")

Vague Snippets

When ALLS first began to talk, she abridged her name to "Ada Ick," and she would be called Ick by her friends for decades to come.

She remembered only "vague 'snippets'" of her earliest life: "Riding in a rowboat with my Mother on a canal near our house in summertime...  In the winter, going to Grandma Ludeke's for the family Saturday night 'get together' (dinner etc.) being pulled on a sled in the snow by my Dad.  One night on the trip home, we 'hitched a ride' (Mother and Dad in the back part of a wagon—me on the sled, tied to the wagon—Ha!).  I dreaded Christmas Eve because of an old German custom—some neighbor would dress up as Santa and visit each home that had children—he always said the same thing to me: 'I heard you were not a good girl, so you do not deserve gifts, only this bunch of twigs (or switches, for punishment I guess).  Half crying and ready to accept the punishment—[then] Santa would change his mind and hand me gifts.  DUMB???"

The 1910 census shows the following household at 1106 Vine in Hamilton's 3rd Ward, next door to the Schneiders at 1102:

     * Wm. M. Ludeke (aged 27) Ohio-born, as was his mother; father German-born; occupation clerk in a foundry office
     * Adelaide Ludeke (aged 27) Ohio-born; both parents German-born; married four years; one child (one living)
     * Ada L. Ludeke (aged 3) Ohio-born, as were both parents

The spelling of "Adelaide" is, for once, unambiguous; as in that year's Hamilton city directory, where "Wm M" and "Adelaide M" Ludeke reside at 1106 Vine.

A Dreadful Experience

ALLS: "My Mother was ill with T.B.—in fact, bedfast in our home for one year prior to her death.  What a 'lovely' place to raise a child (me).  Dad would wash the breakfast dishes before he left for work and it was my job to put them away (a big job for a 4-5 year old).  I remember standing on a stool to reach the dishes—then putting them in my wagon and pulling it to the pantry to put them away...  [I was living] with my father whom I seldom saw, and my mother (in her closed door bedroom fighting tuberculosis) whom I never saw.  A lonesome life for me, with permission [just] to sit on my front steps, and go to the privy in the back yard..."

Although the Schneiders were next door and Aunt Rose Hecker down the street, ALLS said only that "they checked on me occasionally" and took care of her lunches.  "I remember as a lonesome four-year-old telling my dog, my only companion, my innermost secrets."  This beloved collie was named Prompta; his parents were Commodore (male) and Commotion (female).

"My Mother's Death (April 20, 1912) was a dreadful experience—the funeral being held at home, of course.  Everyone seemed to say to me, 'Oh you poor child, whatever will happen to you now!'  The worst thing I could think of, was having to live with Aunt Rose...  And all the crying and wailing and lifting me up to look at my Mother in the casket, didn't help!  Someone gave me a penny and I ran to the backyard, clutching it and crying!  Uncle Bob [Ludeke] came out and asked me if I would like to come to Grandma's house.  I said, 'For all the time, not just on Saturday nights?'  When he assured me it would be my home, I was the happiest child on earth.  No one had a better home from then on, than I did...  I realize it was a tragedy losing my Mother so young—but also, I was so blessed being raised by a wonderful grandmother, two aunts, two uncles plus a father!  One big happy German family..."

The vintage Hamilton newspapers online at ~a and ~w are unfortunately sparse for April 1912.  The only issue of the Daily Republican News is for Wednesday the 3rd; there are three Thursday editions of the Butler County Democrat (4th, 11th, 18th); and four Fridays of the Evening Journal (5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th).  None make mention of Addie Ludeke's death and funeral—though the Apr. 26th Evening Journal does have a testimonial ("New Tuberculosis Remedy Based on Medicine") by Edna Finzer of Rochester NY, to the wonders of Eckman's Alterative [sic]: effective not only in treating consumption but bronchitis, asthma, hay fever, throat troubles, lung troubles, "and in up-building the system."

Just before the centennial of Addie's passing, her original death certificate became accessible on ~f.  It confirms her name to be Mary Adelaide (~a had transcribed it as "Mary Adeliade"); that she died aged only 29; her occupation was "Housework (wife)"; and that her funeral took place at St. Stephen's Cemetery on April 24th.  ALLS: "I think on [my Mother's] grave marker it says 'ADDIE Ludeke'—and I know she was buried on the Schneider plot in the Catholic part of Greenwood Cemetery in Hamilton, O."  (A photo of the marker, uploaded to ~g in 2012, reads: "ADDIE SCHNEIDER 1882-1911 [sic] / WIFE OF WM. LUDEKE.")

Most significantly, the certificate reveals that Addie'd been attended by a doctor from Mar. 1, 1912 till death at 8:03 pm on Apr. 20th; and that the duration of her pulmonary tuberculosis was six months.  Implying that she was bedfast for a considerably briefer stretch than her daughter would remember it, and allowing a longer period—perhaps the entire summer of 1911—for vague yet happier snippets to take root.  It may be that ALLS had commingled what she'd been told of her mother and grandmother Christine Schneider's final illnesses, since Christine had suffered from TB for a full year (Oct. 1908 to Oct. 1909) before death.

Every Precaution

In the Feb. 15, 1912 issue of The Journal of the Indiana State Medical Association (viewable at Google Books) Dr. W.T.S. Dodds presented a "Synopsis of Home Treatment of Tuberculosis" on pp. 101-102:

At present the consumptive is excluded from all institutions and has no choice in the matter unless he is financially able to change his conditions...  Home management of a tuberculosis patient presents many difficulties...  Home management of advanced or mixed cases requires much greater care than incipient cases.  They are not physically able to look after their own wants and must have almost constant attention.  In this kind of a case the family must care for the invalid, as it is almost impossible to get nurses to stay in a home where a patient is bedfast with consumption.  This means that the entire family turns nurse, and indeed children are compelled to do most of the work.  This is not good sanitary practice, and one or more of these people are going to contract the disease.  The consumptive must be made to realize to the utmost that he is a source of danger to his associates unless he observes every precaution for their protection.  It requires constant endeavor and persistent determination for a consumptive to live the life necessary to be of no danger to his fellow man.  If we wish to stamp out this disease, we must insist that this state, this city, this county, provide suitable institutions for segregation, isolation and treatment of advanced cases of consumption.  Until this is done we will continue to treat the same number of tuberculous patients.  No specific treatment for tuberculosis, though good food, fresh air and rest do good...  Tonics have their place.  Various antiseptics do harm, as they disturb digestion and interfere with assimilation.  Must look to artificial immunization for greater help.

In several late memoir-essays ALLS would recount the illness and death of her mother, and her own feelings of lonely isolation during this impressionable time.  Unmentioned is who tended to Addie during the day while Will was at work.  Presumably Addie wasn't left to her own devices the whole time, given that she survived for at least six months if not (as ALLS would state) a full year.  Here perhaps we may introduce the fearsome legend of Rose Hecker, Addie's older sister: "Aunt Rose was the tyrant of the family, a large, take-charge type, and she frightened me always."  We could imagine Rose coming over from 1116 Vine after Ada Louise put away the breakfast dishes, and ordering her out to sit on the porch.  ("Stay there till I call you for lunch, keep quiet and don't let that dog in the house!")  Any four-year-old's questions—What's happening?  Why can't I see Mama? etc.—might have been brusquely dismissed, to the point where Ada Louise would indeed say "after my Mother's death, I was so afraid [Rose] would take me to live in her home."

Other possible caregivers were mentioned in the July 24, 1912 Evening Journal:

ADELINE LUDEKE'S WILL.  The will of Adeline Ludeke, admitted to probate Wednesday, gives the estate to the husband, Wm. Michael Ludeke in fee simple and names him as executor.  The will is dated April 20, 1912, and witnessed by Josephine Reigart [sic] and Philomela [sic] Fuersich.

The latter lady's obituary at ~fuersich states that Philomena Alf Fuersich (1859-1935), wife of George J. Fuersich (1856-1925), "gained a wide circle of friends who will remember her as a devout Christian woman whose kindly acts of charity were bestowed upon many.  Mrs. Fuersich was... a member of St. Stephen's church.  She was affiliated with the many societies of the church including the Third Order of St. Francis."  Among her survivors was a sister, Mrs. Joseph Rickert (1870-1945), whom ~rickert says was born Francis/Frances Josephine Alf in 1870, marrying Joseph Anthony Rickert at St. Stephen's in 1893.  It is a fairly safe bet that Josephine Rickert was the other witness to Adeline's will; not only was she Philomena Fuersich's sister, but in the 1910 census both lived near the Ludekes—Mrs. Rickert three blocks or "squares" away at 1012 Greenwood, and Mrs. Fuersich just down the street at 1031 Vine.  Perhaps they also arranged for a priest to come give Addie last rites.

A significant element missing from the story is how Addie felt: not simply about being bedfast with tuberculosis, but the additional separation from her little girl.  Did she approve of this, even insist upon it, to "observe every precaution" for Ada Louise's protection from the disease?  If so, she succeeded—but not by a very wide margin.  "As a young adult," ALLS would remark, "from having routine X-rays taken it was discovered I had a healed lesion in my left lung.  Probably as a young child in that germ-filled home, I too was starting T.B.!  Fortunately, being raised in my grandmother's home with good food and fresh air—I conquered the 'BUG.'"

Grandma's House

"After [Grandma Ludeke] got her brood safely grown and on their own—I was dumped in her lap.  Not really fair!...  The family dog (fox terrier) threw a tizzy because my dog (collie) was part of the packaged deal—Ha!  [The fox terrier] was very old and never did adjust—fighting with my dog and chasing me also (I remember climbing onto the huge kitchen table for safety)—so soon, he had to be 'put to sleep'!!  Uncle Ed's 'adjustment' took much longer—HA!"

Ada Louise's "one big happy German family" was "jammed into five small rooms (plus one toilet only—no real bathroom)" at 120 North Front Street.  The cottage was "crowded with too much furniture, but every bit needed for the family of seven!  Front parlor for instance: large piano—two or three small tables—large horsehair couch—many chairs (mostly rockers)—Victrola—fireplace mantle with mirror—ceiling gas light fixture—folding doors—also portieres when doors not in use.  This isn't the right name maybe, but they hung in strands—wooden beads (or glass?) and jangled when anyone walked through them.  Two huge clothes racks in small space at foot of narrow stairway to second floor.  Two bedrooms (front one with two double beds for four females—back one with one double bed and one cot)."  Grandma and Irma shared one bed, Frieda and Ada Louise another, Will and Bob the third, and Ed got the cot.

"Dining room: built-in china cabinet—buffet—large round table—many straight chairs—another couch affair—two smaller tables.  Kitchen: huge coal fired range—another round table and chairs.  Sink—pump at one end—wash stand, mirror, small hand bowl (just large enough to hold enough water for one person to 'tidy up').  Baths were done in bedrooms—Saturday only—two large wash tubs—oh me!"

Grandma's Workweek

"Grandma was a very capable, no-nonsense HausFrau—hardworking, but never complaining.  She 'ruled the roost'—her word was LAW—but was not dictatorial!  She cooked three big meals each day—good nourishing German food—baked and cooked all desserts—all food 'from scratch'—sometimes bread, but when I lived there, usually bread was 'store bought"...  She had help with housework from Aunt Irma (later, Aunt Annie at 124 N. Front)—but she did all the planning.  I remember seeing Aunt Frieda, Uncle Bob, Uncle Ed, and Dad come home from work on pay day with their individual envelopes and so much money from each was given to Grandma to 'run the house'—she in turn had separate envelopes: Rent (120 was owned by Aunt Marie [Martin]), Food, Insurance, Clothing (cloth to make articles, also thread, buttons, etc.), Medicine, Church, Doctors, various sundries—ETC.  She ran a 'tight ship'—never seemed to have financial problems!  We all lived 'MAKE DO,' however."

Grandma Ludeke "bought staple type foods in bulk and stored in cellar (barrels of sugar, flour, etc.—other more perishable types in crocks).  The cellar at #120 was a 'disaster area'—one room jammed with provisions—furnace—everything...  The cellar [at #124 next door] was two rooms: provisions storage room had a wooden floor—other room with furnace, coal and kindling just [a] dirt floor...  I must mention the chopping block near the furnace—chickens (plus all fowl) lost their heads here—UGH!  Were bought live in market (Grandma [used to have] her own chickens before I arrived—thank God!), brought home and beheaded.  I tried to be away when this happened!  The awful screeching!!"  (Grandma Ludeke always did the chopping herself.)

"The weekly routine: monotonous—but the best way to accomplish everything, I imagine:
     Monday—wash day—water heated on stove—put into metal tubs—clothes rubbed clean with homemade yellow soap on washboards!  Wrung by hand—after rinsing and starching and more wringing, carried in huge oval basket to backyard, hung onto clothes line with big wooden clothes pins.  In bad weather, drying done in attic!
     Tuesday—ironing day—using heavy irons, heated on stove.  Everything needing mending, sorted out.
     Wednesday—mending (darning sox etc.)—all laundry put away.
     Thursday—to Farmer's Market downtown... [they] sold their produce around the Courthouse, Front and High Streets—all four blocks—a huge affair.
     Friday—cleaning the house (sweeping—dusting etc.—broom and carpet sweeper).
     Saturday—the big shopping day: Farmer's Market again...  Also to bakery, butcher shop etc.  Did baking (cake, pies, coffee cakes, etc.).  Planning and fixing ahead for Sunday meals.
     Sunday—Sabbath: Sunday School and Church—not supposed to do any work.  A small break for Grandma and her sore bunions—Ha!!"

"Poor soul—I don't think she got much rest, day or night.  Uncle Ed walked in his sleep and [Grandma] lived in terror he would fall down the stairway (sometimes towels wrung out of cold water and put by his bed would wake him).  Dad had nightmares and would shout out and thrash about (one night, hit Uncle Bob in the face with his fist—drew blood)."  Another time the milkman complained that, while delivering milk at 4 a.m., he'd been scared out of his wits by the fast-asleep Will's gruffly shouting: "Hey!... Hey!..."

The Great Flood

In 1913, Easter Sunday fell on March 23rd; so did a lot of rain on southwestern Ohio.  The rain continued Monday, followed on Tuesday the 25th by almost twelve inches falling on frozen ground, which caused the Great Miami River and its tributaries to overflow.  Levees failed, inundating the city of Dayton (as will be noted in Chapter S-6) and severely flooding Hamilton, Piqua, and Troy as waters crested on Wednesday the 26th.  This was and remains the worst natural disaster in Ohio state history.  In Hamilton the west side of town was worst hit; four bridges over the Miami were lost and over 300 people were killed, 2,300 buildings destroyed, and 10,000 made homeless.

ALLS: "The 1913 Flood!... of course I lived through it also.  When the water started rolling down Front Street, Lida Belle Charles offered to take the child (ME) to her home, where the waters would not reach (Ha! famous last words).  Uncle Bob hailed someone passing in a horse and buggy and rode with me to High Street to meet L.B.C.—water rose so fast he could not return home, went into a hotel and I went with L.B.C. on foot (about seven blocks away).  Natch! the flood stretched that far and soon—but she managed to get food etc. to the second floor and there we stayed in a front bedroom.  Heated by a fireplace, and she even managed to heat some food over the coals!  Not bad, until some man shouted ([he] was in a boat) that thirty more feet of water was coming soon—so [Lida Belle] boosted me into the 'crawl space' (not really an attic) by standing on the basin in the bathroom and then crawled up herself.  This wasn't any fun.  [We were there] all night.  But other than seeing an entire house floating past the Charles home, with a family on the roof screaming the next day—I really enjoyed the unusual visit!!  Dad came after me after the waters subsided (couple of days, I imagine)—said it took him most of a day to scramble through all the 'messes' to walk those seven blocks!  I rode on his back on the return trip!"

"The family [had] decided Grandma should leave the house and go to a hotel [at] Front and High Streets, owned by Grandma's second cousin...  But—when her feet got wet (Uncle Ed was carrying her to a boat in our dining room—she refused to leave.  Uncle Ed was swirled away by the current and he too [like Uncle Bob] was stranded uptown.  Dad was left with all the females [Grandma, Irma, Frieda] and my DOG!"  Aunt Maggie Latterner had left 124 North Front Street, but Aunt Annie Koeppendoerfer was still there.  Will stretched some shutters over the space between the houses, and everyone from 120 (including Prompta the collie) got over to 124, taking with them half a loaf of bread, some butter, and Easter eggs.  Across the street, "the old-maid Huber sisters kept calling for help—'Mr. Ludeke!  There's a HORSE stranded in our tree!'"  (Will's reply was said to be "gruff," and the unfortunate horse ended up freezing to death.)

The hotel at Front and High was the St. Charles, whose proprietors were ex-Mayor Charles S. Bosch and his wife Mary—a second cousin of Grandma Ludeke.  Mary's identity and the whole Bosch-Schwab Connection was deduced in 2008 after the present author found a note by ALLS reading "Hotel St. Charles (Mary Bosch)" in an envelope of postcards picturing the 1913 Flood.  (Click on the thumbnail to the left to see the Ludekes and Hamilton's Front Street, post-Flood; and on the thumbnail to the right to see before-and-during views of Hamilton's High Street.)

After the floodwaters receded, Uncle Bob's employer—William Cullen, manager of the Miami Foundry, away in Florida at the time—let the reunited Ludekes stay at his house around 9th or 10th and High, where the flood hadn't hit as badly.  The Cincinnati Red Cross provided food while the state militia kept guard, complete with Halt—who goes there? demands.  "The 'cleaning up program' must have been horrendous—but to me, a happy six-year-old, it was just a lot of fun!!... an adventure for the child, rather than a hardship."  (Although her rag doll "Big Ox" floated, bloated, to the top of a tall debris-pile, and Ada Louise was told to forget any idea of recovering it.)  Prompta the collie, on the other hand, suffered from a water phobia ever afterward; he would never step into a rain-gutter, and practically had to be chloroformed at bathtime.  However, Prompta did not die till old age—unable to dodge one police wagon too many.

The Stepmother

On Jan. 28, 1914, "Wm. Michael Ludeke" and Drucilla Catherine Llewellyn were married by Rev. Isidore Veerkamp in the St. Stephen parsonage; like first wife Addie, Drucilla was a Roman Catholic.  She was also only 19 years old (to Bill's 31): born Aug. 26, 1894, the daughter of William Marfield Llewellyn Jr. (1860-1937: a papermaker with Champion Paper & Fibre) and Mary Louise Hilbert (born 1868, married 1892, died 1956).

"I can't remember being upset over the event," ALLS would say.  "I was perfectly happy living at Grandma's house and as long as I didn't have to leave there, all was well.  I remember Dad asking if I wanted to live with him (them)—my answer, an emphatic 'NO.'  I halfway remember my first meeting with Drucilla and receiving instant vibes that she did NOT like me...  There was little warmth between her and the whole Ludeke 'clan'—which must have been hard for Dad to take.  Dad was supposed to clothe me (his contribution to my upkeep) but instead of giving a certain amount of money to Grandma each month for this purpose—I was taken on shipping trips, with guess who?  How I dreaded these—she dragged me to Cincy via the old traction line—one old car run by electrcity... and the odor from whatever was used to run the darned thing made me deathly sick—so I usually puked going and coming—ghastly!!!"  (On one occasion the conductor tried to console her, and settle her stomach, with a stick of wintergreen gum—which only resulted in ALLS being unable to bear the taste of wintergreen for the rest of her life.)  Drucilla's "tastes were vastly different from mine—'fussy' clothes—loud colors—she always made the decisions, so I never liked anything that was bought and hated wearing them..."

We lack Drucilla's side of things here.  How did she, a teen bride, feel about her husband's little girl who would one day say, "Remember in children's books, stories about the 'Wicked Stepmother'??"  But the fact remains that a lasting estrangement resulted; and not simply between Drucilla and Ada Louise.  "After I married and moved to Kansas City, there were years when I did not see Drucilla at all!  When your mother [Ada Louise's daughter Mila Jean] was very young I would take her (in buggy etc.) to Dad's office at Niles Tool Works so he could at least see her each summer.  In later years the frictions eased, to the extent that Drucilla had a dinner at her home and not only Granddad [Ada Louise's husand F. S. Smith] and I were invited... but the Ludeke family also (what there was left of it)..."§  Yet Mila Jean can recall only one encounter with her grandfather, though "he was always good at sending a dollar at birthday time," and she would remember his beautiful handwriting, suitable for an accountant.  When Mila Jean married George Ehrlich in 1956, a greeting card was sent inscribed simply "The Ludekes."  There was scarcely secondhand contact between her sons and the remote figure ALLS referred to as "Grandpa Ludeke."

  (Example of Bill's calligraphy, taken from his 1914 marriage license application.)


Bill and Drucilla adopted two children, Betty Jane Ludeke and William D. Ludeke.  Bill Sr. retired in 1954 after 55 years with Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton (previously Niles Tool Works±); he had also served as a tabulator at the Board of Elections for fifty years, and as secretary for Dr. Lee Good of Hamilton for thirty-two, doing the doctor's bookwork at night.

"Mrs. Ludeke maintained a keen interest in young people," remarked Drucilla's obituary: she was active in the St. Stephen Parent-Teacher Organization (1946-58), then served as housemother for Delta Tau Delta at Miami University (1958-68).  She died Jan. 25, 1970 and was buried with her parents in St. Stephen Cemetery.  ALLS said, "I guess Dad found happiness with her and that is all that really counted!!"  During the next few years Bill lived with Betty Jane at 360 Hartford Drive in Hamilton, from which address he sent ALLS some old keepsakes such as the autograph album mentioned in Chapter L-3.  He wrote a few letters to "Ada & all" in a crabbed but vigorous-looking hand: "I am still going to the Bingo every Tuesday [in Aug. 1974] and it is the only time I ever go anywhere."

ALLS: "I think the last time I saw Dad before his death—we dropped by his home—he was cutting grass under a broiling summer sun... when asked 'What are you DOING??' he matter-of-factly replied, 'Cutting grass.'  He stopped and we had a nice chat...  He seemed fine."  In his early nineties Bill still walked a couple of miles each day to keep in shape, and often boasted that they'd have to shoot him to finish him off.  William Michael Ludeke died aged 92 on Feb. 16, 1975 at Mercy Hospital in Hamilton, and was buried in St. Stephen Cemetery.  His daughter Ada Louise sent flowers to his funeral.

"My Parents"

ALLS grappled with her feelings about Will/Bill/Dad to the end of her life.  In an SFM about him, she wrote:

My Dad left High School at the age of fourteen to help his Mother financially.  She was struggling to raise five children alone, with not enough money, after the death of her husband.  He worked in different jobs, six days a week, until the family finances grew more secure.  He then married too young and became immersed too soon in many problems.  After five [sic] years, a daughter was born (Ada Louise) and soon after his wife's health became fragile.  Her family had a history of tuberculosis, and unfortunately she contracted it also.  The last year of her terminal illness was spent in bed with small help from her family, who lived next door, and also her husband.  Dad worked in an office at Niles Tool Co., six days a week, also trying to keep up the housework, and caring for his young daughter.  It is apparent for a young man, he had too much sadness and responsibility to handle.  But I never saw him crying or showing his emotions.  He was patient, calm, and thoughtful.

He enjoyed sports, but played on a city team of baseball only while living with his Mother and family.  He seemed to have no relaxation, working long hours in his office job, plus one or two nights in a doctor's office, taking care of the bookkeeping.  He worked for the election board, counting ballots all night at the court house, coming home at 6 a.m. for breakfast, then going to his office job.  I admired his great ability to make instant decisions, and usually being correct also.  He possessed a great sense of humor, but I seldom heard him laugh heartily.  I had love for him, but so many years passed without either of us showing any affection for each other.  I must forgive him, because I realize blame is no way to get through life.  I certainly am not perfect either.

Another memoir-recap, written about the same time, was titled "Child Abuse":

I feel it is for the best of all our society that child abuse is no longer hidden, and is dealt with openly.  But recently I suddenly realized that as a youngster I suffered a form of child abuse.  I lived with my parents and had no brothers or sisters, only my dog for a companion.  My Mother was terminally ill with tuberculosis, and as was the custom then, kept in her dark bedroom alone, with only help from two family members who lived next door.  My Dad worked as an accountant in an office, five or six days a week, only home long enough to keep our house clean, help my Mother, and prepare some food for me.

He was a tall handsome man, very athletic in appearance, having played baseball on a city team before marriage.  He always seemed to possess an unusual sense of direction and dedication, and could succeed in solving all problems.  He was a very kind husband, and provided a good home for his young daughter.  But I needed his support and recognition as badly, and he never showed his love for me in any way.  He was always polite and kind, never physically harming me in any way, but no personal conversation with me ever, not even reading a story to me.  I idolized him, and tried so hard to do things to please him, but nothing seemed to work.

After my Mother died when I was four [sic] years old, I was taken to my paternal Grandmother's home to live, and I sensed almost immediately the great love in that home of happy people.  So my Grandma because my father figure, I presume.  My Dad remarried after only one year, to an extremely possessive and jealous woman, so that completely annihilated [sic] him from me.  If I show any criticism or regrets, whether of myself or others, I must let it go.  My self esteem is based on a consciousness of being loved, and also being loving.  I hope I have lived my life rejoicing in the love that is mine to receive, and express to others.  In closing, I feel there is an immense crumbling of moral values, something that has gone hugely wrong in our American way of life to cause this wide spread of child abuse, and frankly it bothers me immensely.

P.S.  Pain and suffering are unavoidable, but misery is optional.

A very late coda was provided in the essay "My Father":

When I was two [sic] years old, my Mother was stricken with incurable tuberculosis, and my Father worked in his office six days a week to earn enough money to pay all bills.  On the seventh day, he completed all household duties, so I saw little of him again.  My Mother died when I was four [sic] years old, and my father and I moved in with his mother and her grown children.  My hopes of talking with my Dad were again unsuccessful.  His short time home after supper was used to read his mail and newspaper, and when I tried to talk to him, I was always told to be more polite!  When he married a very possessive woman a year later, even though he lived in the same city, I seldom saw him.

So "Father's Day" meant to me to send a card to my Dad, and [as an adult] always visit for short visits when we were in his city on vacations.  He was always polite, and seemed to be happy.  So I left feeling better also.  When the Ruskin Heights tornado struck [on May 20, 1957], I received a long distance call from my Father, asking if I was alright.  He said reports in his local city were that Kansas City was in serious trouble.  I assured him that it happened in a suburb only!  He sighed, and said, "Thank goodness, I was so worried about you and your family."  So finally, I realized he did love me.

No, I was never pessimistic during the past years, because I always had the deepest of love and care from my Grandma, her family, and my own married life also, but it was sad never to have had the love from parents also.

And in "November" she tried to gather all the better memories:

In the Autumn season of my life, I realize only too well I was denied love of parents for much too short [sic] a time.  But in those few years, they gave me splendid attributes that helped form my character in life forever.

I remember scarcely nothing about my Mother, but things told to me in later life by relatives reassured me that she loved me, and taught me a great lesson to have no fear of water, for instance.  We had a Canal near our home, and she took me out in a rowboat often to enjoy the experience, and watch ducks and insects skip the surface.  Later in life I became a good swimmer, and enjoyed canoeing by myself!  She sent me out to our privy, in back of our house, alone in the dark at night with no mention of fear of darkness.  At night we sat in the back yard, watching fireflies, owls, stars and the moon.  All lovely things in the dark.  Also I remember my parents and myself going outside during rainstorms, to watch the zigzag of lightning in the sky, and to listen for the deep echo of thunder like the rolling of drums!  I still enjoy storms, taking proper precautions of course.  In the daytime, going outside with my Mother, we looked at flowers and bees extracting their sweets from them.  Listened to birds singing, watching squirrels and rabbits.  All things to instill the love of nature in a very young child.

My Dad enjoyed sports, and taught me in the winter time how to use my sled, build an igloo, and throw snowballs.  Unfortunately, my Mother contracted tuberculosis, and lived one year feeling too ill to do much of anything.  The second year of her life [sic] she was bedfast.  A cruel way to treat the disease, but the usual method in those days.  Somehow I suddenly felt alone, and didn't quite understand why I was not permitted to go into her closed door bedroom.  But Dad explained she needed quietness, omitting to me the fear of contact, that I too might get the disease.  Dad taught me to have no fear of being alone in the house while he was at work, so I adjusted to loneliness and felt comfortable with my dog as a companion.  He also taught me patience, to accept some responsibilities of life (getting my small breakfast, washing dishes, etc.).  And finally when my Mother died, when I was only four [sic] years old, he as an example showed me how to cope with tragedy.

But I still feel the loss of realizing I never was held on laps and had stories read to me while there.  I can't remember hearing them saying, "I love you."  So in a way, yes I do miss my parents greatly.  But, acquiring habits of knowing no fear, enjoying all things outside provided by nature, and accepting loneliness and death, taught me those priceless lessons when very young, and remained with me forever!



† ALLS stated the address was 1104 Vine Street; but this number does not appear on either the 1910 or 1920 censuses—there 1102 is followed by 1106.
‡ Louise Ludeke's brood might have been "on their own," but they all still lived together in a small cottage for the next several years.
§ The Nov. 11, 1926 Evening Journal mentioned that Mr. and Mrs. C. W. McClung hosted a dinner for Mrs. Marie Martin of Bellevue NE.  Among the guests were "Mesdames William Ludeke and daughters Ada Louise and Betty Jane, Ed Ludeke, Walter Charles, Ed Volkenstein [sic], F. J. Deuschman [sic], Mrs. Lou Ludeke, Bob Ludeke, Mrs. Val Steinle, [and] Mrs. Lou Peterson of Cincinnati."  Their hostess was the former Doretta "Etta" Eisel, who'd married Fire Chief Charles W. McClung; they lived in a "pretty apartment" (according to the Evening Journal) at 513 South Third Street.  Mrs. Deutschman was Etta's sister Sophia, who lived down the street at 519 South Third; Mrs. Steinle was their sister Minnie from Cincinnati.  For more about the Ludekes's Eisel cousins, see Chapter L-3.
± Niles Tool Works merged with Hooven-Owens-Rentschler in 1928 to form the General Machinery Corporation, which in 1947 merged with Lima Locomotive Works to form Lima-Hamilton Corporation, which in 1950 merged with Baldwin Locomotive Works to form the Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation (BLH).  The Hamilton division moved to Eddystone PA in 1959, and BLH went out of business circa 1966.  (As per Wikipedia.)

●  Father Ignatius M. Wilkens (1856-1934), who baptized Ada Louisa as Ludovicam Adelheid, was the "best known composer of church music of the Franciscan Order in this country," according to a eulogy in The Caecelia magazine for March 1935 (~caecelia).  "He knew the limitations of 80% of the choirs, by reason of his long experience in Ohio and Kentucky.  He knew that it was necessary to put something in the hands of these choirs which was within their ability, which had an element of popular melody, yet which had a reserve and dignity worthy of church rendition."
●  In a later memoir, ALLS said that "Grandma Schneider checked on me off and on"—but Christine Schneider had died in 1909, two years before Addie became bedfast.
●  Addie's death certificate clearly gives the undertaker's name (Albert P. Wagner) but the attending physician's signature cannot be deciphered: it appears to be "H. L. Gurd MD," but no Gurds, Gunds, or Guds can be found in contemporary Hamilton city directories.
●  The ALLS quotes concerning Aunt Rose Hecker were taken from a very short SFM on the Schneiders that offered no other new information, and so was not included in Chapter L-2.
●  Spring 1912 was not the most cheerful of times in Hamilton or elsewhere: the Titanic sank on Apr. 15th, five days before Addie's death, and a month earlier on Mar. 14th the Butler County Courthouse had caught fire, its dome and tower collapsing spectacularly and killing three firemen.
●  W.T.S. (William T.) Dodds MD was a "Lecturer in Clinical Pathology and Medicine and Director of Clinical Medicine of the Indiana Medical College, the School of Medicine of Purdue University, Professor of Bacteriology Indiana Dental College, Lecturer on Bacteriology to the Nurses of the Deaconess Hospital, Pathologist to the Indianapolis City Hospital and the Indianapolis City Dispensary, etc."—as per the title page of the July 15, 1906 Central States Medical Monitor (Vol. IX, No. 7).  He was born in Bellefontaine OH circa 1874 and died aged 42 in 1916.  His obituary in the June 1916 Journal of the Indiana State Medical Association (page 252) states: "He had devoted most of his life to the study of tuberculosis and through his instrumentality the tuberculosis clinic of Indianapolis was organized...  He gave freely of his time and money in order to encourage tuberculosis work in this state.  When right, he was decided in his opinions and never faltered in telling the exact truth about any condition."  (Both journals are viewable at Google Books.)
●  Some details about the 1913 Flood were taken from Hamilton (by Cheryl Bauer and Randy McNutt, Arcadia Publishing: Images of America series, 2005) and ~butler/flood.
●  A photo of the Hotel St. Charles can be seen at ~stcharles.  It was originally called the Phillips House (and appears as such on the 1875 map of Hamilton's Front Street).  "In 1919 it was purchased by the Jewel Photoplay Company and the building became the Rialto Theatre."
●  The Charleses (Dan W., Lida B., Walter B., and Clifford C.) lived at 715 Heaton.  This is indeed seven blocks east (up to Dayton, along Dayton to N 7th, and up to Heaton: about ¾ mile) from the Ludeke house.  According to an 2011 entry on, the Charles house (built in 1900) still exists, with an estimated worth of $72,000.
●  Coming home during the Flood, Frieda Ludeke crossed one of the about-to-collapse bridges.  A cop tried to halt her, but Frieda shouted back: "Nobody's going to stop me!"
●  "Wm. Cullen" (occupation foundry manager), with his wife Grace and servant Perl [sic] Bryant, have an obscured address in the 1910 census: it appears to be 520 High & Court, shared with four other households.
●  In 1870, Annie Koeppendoerfer worked as "domestic servant" in the Huber house at 127 North Front, across the street from #124.  The "old-maid Huber sisters" in 1913 were Alice and Lilian.  Alice Huber taught for fifty years in Hamilton primary and intermediate schools: "Of a serene dignity she preferred a quiet life and found her greatest happiness in the school room," said her fulsome obituary in the Oct. 22, 1935 Daily News Journal, adding that Miss Huber had "passed serenely on into the Greater Life beyond." 
●  After the Flood, dry firewood was so scarce that Will Ludeke resorted to sawing the legs off the family piano.  "Will," remarked his mother, "that’s a mighty expensive fire."
●  Drucilla's vitals and those of her parents were found in a Pedigree Resource File at ~f.
●  The Jan. 28, 1914 Evening Journal mentions "Wm. Michael Ludeke, 31, stock clerk and Drucilla Catherine Llewellyn, 19, both of Hamilton" as Licensed to Wed by Reverend Beerkamp [sic]; but (as with brother Bob's 1914 performance in Dolly Dimples) ~a's index transposes the digits of this article's year, making it "1941." 
●  The original marriage license application (viewable at ~f) notes that William had been 31 years old on the previous Aug. 19th—whereas Drucilla "is 20 years of age on the 26th day of Aug. 1914," a date seven months in the future.  The "20" is heavily entered, but a very faint "19" can be made out immediately above it; so we might conclude that either the bride or groom was attempting to shrink the difference in their ages.
●  The Rev. Isidore Veerkamp OFM had married Bill's (ex-)brother-in-law Leonard Schneider/Snyder to Mary Anna Vogt the previous June 4th.  Father Isidore was born Sep. 11, 1862 in Cincinnati and served as pastor of St. Stephens from 1910 to 1917.  "Father Veerkamp is one of the best known of the Cincinnati Franciscans, and is an eloquent and scholarly priest," reported the Dec. 20, 1911 Evening Journal (in a long article on "The Catholic Churches of Hamilton").  In 1911, the parish contained "about 435 families," and some 300 children were taught at its schools by the Sisters of Notre Dame.  During the Veerkamp pastorate, St. Stephens installed a new organ, church facade, several art glass windows, a marble baptismal font and wainscoting, three large bells, and an electric clock for the tower: "All these improvements were made during Rev. Fr. Isidore's regime."  (As per ~veerkamp.)
●  Some details about Drucilla's parents were taken from her father William's obituary in the Mar. 13, 1937 Journal-Daily News (as per ~llewellyn): he had been killed at age 75 when struck by a car.  The 1900 and 1910 censuses indicate the Llewellyns lived on Heaton Street in Hamilton; Drucilla was her family's firstborn, with younger siblings Gordon J. Llewellyn (born May 1896, died by 1970), Albert Dewey Llewellyn (born June 1898, died by 1970), Laura Llewellyn (born circa 1900: married Aureal D. Imfeld), and Myrtle M. Llewellyn (born circa 1903: married Wade Fisher aka Fischer).
●  1106 Vine Street was occupied in 1920 by Andrew and Emile Guppy (both from Alsace-Lorraine), their four children and a stepdaughter.
●  In the 1920 census of Hamilton's 3rd Ward, William and Drucilla Ludeke appear with an illegible address on a form marked "out of order."  William's occupation was "clerk in an industrial office."
●  Betty Jane Ludeke was born June 11, 1920, five months after the Jan. 1920 census.  She worked as a telephone operator and died unmarried in Cincinnati on Nov. 17, 1997, aged 77 (as per ~a's database of Ohio deaths) and was buried at St. Stephens.
●  Bill Ludeke was appointed Republican registrar for the 3rd Ward's Precinct C in 1920, and was a candidate in 1928 for the Third Ward's representative on the Republican Central Committee.
●  The 1930 census shows 47-year-old William Ludeke ("accountant, tool works") with Drucilla (aged 35) and Betty J. (aged 9) at 323 N. Third Street in Hamilton's 3rd Ward.  The same address appears below Bill's signature on his mother's 1930 death certificate.
●  On the back of a photo of "Mila Jean at five months," the present author discovered a truncated Christmas 1932 note from ALLS to her father: "Dear Dad—I'm awfully sorry you didn't get to see the baby this summer—she is such a big girl now—trying to talk and walk—and just..."
●  William D. (Billy) Ludeke was born Oct. 2, 1936.  In 1970 he lived in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
●  ALLS's stepdaughter Mellie Smith Nash recalls meeting Bill and Drucilla Ludeke at a party thrown by Bill's sister Frieda.  "He was a handsome man," states Mellie, and "she was good-looking too, circulating the room and speaking to everybody."
●  In the 1938-39 Hamilton city directory, "Ludeke Wm M bookkeeper" worked at 545 N 3rd; he, Drucilla C, and Betty J lived at 676 Hooven Ave.  In 1939-40 they have moved to 2464 Pleasant Ave; by 1940-41, Bill's employer is "Genl Mach Corp"; in 1942 they live at 748 Weller Ave; from 1944 through 1946, Drucilla is listed as "Priscilla."  Betty uniquely appears as "Eliz J" in 1945-46; her occupation is "inspr."  By 1947 the Ludekes have moved to 120 10th, where they remain through at least 1953, and Betty J is an "opr Tel Co."
●  In the 1940 census, "Ludeke William Sr." lives with Drucilla, "J. Betty," and "William Jr." at 2464 Pleasant Avenue (rental $60).  Like Bill, his wife and daughter left school after ninth grade; three-year-old Billy had not yet begun.  Bill's annual salary as "bookkeeper, machine tool" was $1760.  Drucilla's 72-year-old widowed mother Mary Llewellyn lived next door at 2460 Pleasant Avenue.
●  Drucilla's activities with the St. Stephen PTO and Delta Tau Delta were taken from her obituary, a newspaper clipping mailed by Bill to ALLS.  Drucilla died at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Covington KY.
●  Bill McDulin's "Got a Minute?" column in the Nov. 21, 1974 Journal-News recalled the Hamilton YMCA basketball team of 1899-1900, noting that 92-year-old Bill Ludeke was its only player still living.
●  The Ludeke headstone at St. Stephens reads "Drucilla C. 1894-1970" and "William M. 1882-1975"; as per ~g.
●  Bill Ludeke's obituary made no mention of ALLS, saying only that "survivors include a son, William D. Ludeke, Hamilton; a daughter, Betty J. Ludeke, Hamilton; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren."


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