-  In Cincinnati, OH & Covington, KY

Like many who lived in Cincinnati in the late 1800's, William Riedlin had emigrated from Germany.  He was born on November 20, 1850, in the province of Baden, Germany and in a small village of Vogilsheim, adjacent to Meullheim. His birth name was actually Carl William Ruedlin (or Rüdlin). He traveled to America from Bremen, Germany on the SS Baltimore, with his brother, August, and they  arrived in Baltimore, MD, on July 2, 1870. When the brothers went through immigration, a processing administrator apparently had difficulty understanding their surnames, which caused them to be changed to Riedlin.  Further, William only used the forename William, not Carl. Shortly thereafter, William traveled by train on the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) line to Cincinnati to join his mother and her brothers surviving the Civil War.  Seven of her brothers had arrived several years earlier, but three had died in the war. Reportedly, William arrived in Cincinnati with $1.15.  His brother August eventually settled in Indiana and became a baker.  (A photo of William taken in the mid 1870's is on the side.) 


Apparently William was trained as a blacksmith by his father in Germany and he found employment in this trade upon arriving in Cincinnati. Afterwards, he worked for MacNeale and Urban Safe Factory for about four years. Their main factory was located in the City of Hamilton and during its peak had 600 employees that produced over 50 safes daily. Presumably, William may have worked for a branch of this company in Cincinnati.  Evidently while working at this safe company he made a hammer in 1875.  Those years at the safe company must have been meaningful for William, as he retained this item, as did his family members. Images of the head of the hammer can be viewed to the left. On one side he identified the head of the hammer with his initials, and on the other side he added the date. 

On August 6, 1877, William married Emma Hoffman. She was born in West Prussia, which is Pomerania, Poland today. Emma emigrated to America with her parents and settled in Cincinnati. William acquired a grocery and tavern at the northwest corner of Elm and Green around the same time the couple was married.  (Their wedding photo is on the right.)  Approximately four years year later, he sold that business to become the proprietor of Tivoli Hall in 1878, a saloon at 469 Vine Street (presently 1313 Vine Street) in the Over The Rhine (OTR) district of Cincinnati. According to Census information, he and his family resided on an upper floor in that building. The Riedlin's had children shortly after their marriage including Emma (the same name as her mother) in 1879 and William F. Riedlin, (Jr.) in 1881. While working at Tivoli Gardens, William learned of a partnership opportunity with a brewer in Covington, KY. It wasn't long afterwards that Riedlin made a decision that would forever have a major influence on his life and his family's. In 1882 he acquired an interest in the Bavarian Brewery in Covington, KY. Shortly thereafter, he and his family left Cincinnati for a different life on the other side of the Ohio River. 


Several years after William and Emma married they moved from Cincinnati to Covington, KY, so that they could be close the Bavarian Brewery where William was working.  They established a residence at 241 West 12th Street in Covington.  At that time, the Riedlin family consisted of a daughter, Emma (3 yrs.), and son, William Ferdinand, Jr. (1 yr.). In 1883, they had another daughter, Mary Anna Marie (Mayme) Riedlin. Then in 1886, a couple years after the Meyer-Riedlin Brewery Co. was formed, the Riedlin's had a son Eddie who died at only 5 months. In 1887, the couple's second son was born, Walter Ferdinand. William gave the middle name Ferdinand to both of his sons. A close friend of William, who was also from Baden, Germany, was Ferdinand Ruh.  It's possible that Walter and William, Jr., derived their middle names due to the friendship William, Sr. had with a family of brewmasters at Bavarian.   In 1890, the year after William acquired John Meyer's interest in the brewery and incorporated it as the Bavarian Brewing Co.,  the Riedlin's last daughter, Lucia (Lucy), was born.  The Riedlin's had one more child, Carl, born in 1892, and probably named after William's christened first name. However, Carl died the following year before he was 2 years old. Tragically, the family lost their first born, Emma, a few years later in 1895 from typhoid fever at the young age of 16. A photo of her when she was only about six years old is shown on the side. Therefore, as William was establishing Bavarian in the late 1890's, his family consisted of two sons and two daughters, along with his wife and her mother, Mary Hoffman Karweise. The Riedlin family were members of the St. Paul Church in Covington, KY.


The Riedlin Home, 925 Main St., Covington, KY c. 1910. 

This house is separated from the carriage house in back by  a large back yard, which is now used for parking. 

Before 1900 the Riedlin's decided to move from their home on 12th Street (also known as Martin Luther King Blvd. today), which was next to the brewery shortly after Emma's death. They acquired a much larger home just a block or two away from the brewery at 925 Main Street. At the landing on the main stairway and on the south side of the house, a stain glass window was placed in memory of Emma. A picture of this window is above. It was quite visible and striking from the foyer, and the thoughts of Emma must have continued with the Riedlin family after they moved into their new home in about 1899. A picture of this home approximately a decade after it was built, is shown above.  This home, the stained glass window of Emma and the carriage house still remain today.


William Ferdinand Riedlin was referred to as William Riedlin, Jr., even though it seems that Ferdinand was not the same middle name as his father, William Riedlin, Sr.   William Jr. was born on July 7, 1881, and was the oldest child of William and Emma Riedlin.  His brother Walter Ferdinand was born in 1887 and his sister Emma died in 1895. As the oldest son and child after Emma's death, William, Jr. was the apparent Riedlin family member to take over the Bavarian Brewing Co.  He had exposure to the brewery at a very early age, as evident from a 1902 photo where he was with his father at the age of only 11. (See the Riedlin Years of Bavarian.) On November 3, 1903, William Jr. married Norma Louise Wittgenfeld. The couple lived at 306 Pike Street, very close to the brewery.  He became a Vice President of the brewery around 1906 when he was in his mid-twenties.  Tragically, only six years after they were married, Norma had complications following an operation for appendicitis and died on October 19, 1909. She passed away at the young age of 26 and William Jr. was a widower at the age of 29. After the death of William Jr.'s mother in 1912, William Jr. remarried Lena Theresa Hoffman on June 19, 1918. The marriage lasted less than a year, as William Jr. died on March 6, 1919, in Covington, KY, at the age of 37. This was only three weeks after the death of his father, William Sr.  William Jr. had no children from his marriages.  Prohibition hadn't officially begun, and Wm. Riedlin Sr. and his two sons had all passed away, and in a span of just four years. 


Walter Ferdinand Riedlin attended the Ohio Military Institute (OMI) located on Hamilton Road in the College Hill area of Cincinnati, OH.  In 1904, when he was only 16 and living at home, it was reported in the local paper that he was tied up in an apparent burglary. However, there was some family speculation that it may have been a failed kidnapping. At the age of 22 in 1909, Walter married Rosalia (Rose) Elizabeth Beierle in Dearborn, IN. Around that time, he became Superintendent of the Bavarian Bottling Department. Later that same year they had a daughter, Rosemary Norma. The following year, they had a son William C. Riedlin, who unfortunately died a year later. In 1913 they had another son, Walter C. Riedlin.  A couple years later when the Riedlin family was vacationing in Asheville, NC, Walter died on March 16, 1915. The death of Walter at the age of 27 was at an even younger age than his brother William Jr., who would pass away just four years later. Walter's wife Rose became a widow at the age of 25 with a 6 year old daughter and a 2 years old son. About a decade later, Rose died in 1926, leaving a 17 year old daughter Rosemary to look after her 13 year old brother. However, it's believed that the late wife of William Jr., Lena and/or Mayme, may have provided Rosemary with some assistance.