Johann Ludwig Riedesel was born August 5, 1822 in the small Wunderthausen house known then as Haase. He was the third child and second son of Ludwig and Florentine (Althaus) Riedesel. His father had inherited the tenancy through marriage. Following local custom he was known by his middle name.
Some time in 1844, J. Ludwig set off for America in the company of his first-cousin, Ludwig Dürr and the latter’s (single) mother. They traveled to New York on the ship Lesmona out Bremen, landing on June 24, 1844, but their destination was Crawford County, Ohio, where another aunt, Maria (Althaus), and uncle, Christian Gerhard, were living (the nature of this connection is a good story).
The following year, all of the immediate family left Wunderthausen to come to Crawford County. Also in the party was Catherine Schneider whom J. Ludwig married on July 1, 1845. As far as we know, none of the Riedesels owned property in Ohio, but either worked for other farmers or rented land. This was in the Jackson Township close to both Crestline and Galion. J. Ludwig was naturalized in Crawford County on November 11, 1854.
J. Ludwig and Catherine remained in Ohio until 1855 when they moved on to the Wheatland, Iowa, area. They had four surviving children by this time and five more were born to them at Wheatland (three unnamed children died young). They owned 160 acres of land north of Wheatland in the Liberty Township (section 32).
Before the founding of St. Paul’s Church in 1861, he is recorded as a founding member of a German Reformed congregation or community (Gemeinde) in 1857. In 1881, they moved again to a place north of Glidden, Iowa. Catherine died in 1894 and J. Ludwig subsequently lived with various family members. At the end of his life he was living with his daughter, Florentine Beckman in Wheatland, but died at a hospital in the county seat of Clinton. J. Ludwig and Catherine are buried in the Merle Hay Cemetery at Glidden. He had outlived all of his siblings.
Photos and Documents:
- J. Ludwig in old age
- Four generations beginning with J. Ludwig about 1910
- Anna and Florentine, the youngest daughters of J. Ludwig and Catherine
- Daughter Florentine in her younger years
- Daughter Florentine in her later years
- The family of daughter Florentine and Dietrich Beckmann (a large photo) about 1911
- George and John Conrad, the youngest sons of J. Ludwig and Catherine
- Son John Conrad Riedesel and his wife Mary Launspach had six children before she died.
- Son George and his wife Nellie Fobes
- Girl’s gloves, crocheted by Catherine
- Son Louis A. Riedesel (1850-1922) as a young man
- Sophia Wetter (1857-1938), wife of Louis Riedesel, as a young woman
- Fine portraits, probably between 1915-1920, of Louis and Sophia.
- Louis A. and Sophia Wetter Riedesel family, c. 1904
- Laura, Ralph and Lillian Riedesel, children of Louis and Sophia. About 1900
- This map of the Liberty Township of Clinton County in 1874 shows J. Ludwig’s land. It lay north of Wheatland. Close by was the George Wetter family into which two of their children would eventually marry.
- Daughter Anna married Henry Wetter and had eight children. Front: Beulah, Henry, Hilde, Anna (Riedesel), Albert. Rear: Esther, Lawrence, Robert, Otto, Ruby. (Thank you to Susan Studier for the picture).
- Son Franz settled in Charter Oak, Iowa, where he was a furniture dealer and maker. Here is a small portrait from 1879. He is shown here with a grandfather clock he built.