THE WILLIAM RIEDLIN FAMILY
- In Cincinnati, OH & Covington, KY
WILLIAM RIEDLIN'S EARLY BACKGROUND
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 Bäden, Germany and in a small village of Vögisheim, adjacent to Müllheim. His birth name may have been Carl Wilhelm, but he went by the name of William Rüdlin (pronouced Ruedlin) before coming to America. He arrived with his brother August in Baltimore, MD, from Bremen, Germany on the SS Baltimore on July 2, 1870. It appears when the brothers boarded the ship, a American assembling the passenger list had difficulty understanding their surnames, and anglicized them to Riedlin. This became his new American surname. When Riedlin brothers arrived, they joined their mother, and William lived with her for a while. His mother had seven brothers who arrived to America earlier who fought in the Civil War for the Union Army; four survived. Reportedly, William arrived in Cincinnati with $1.15. His brother August eventually settled in Cincinnati and became a baker. (A photo of William taken in the mid 1870's is on the side.)
William's father Georg was a blacksmith and died when William was only eight years old. William learned the same trade as his father from John Auel at 701 Central Avenue where he remained until 1872. Afterwards, William worked for the MacNeale and Urban Safe Factory for about five 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 at a branch of this company in Cincinnati. While working at this safe company, William made a hammer in 1875, displayed on the left. One side of the hammer has his initials while the other sides has the date it was made. Those years at the safe company must have been meaningful for William, as he retained this item, as did his family members.
In 1877, William opened a grocery store and saloon at Green and Elm Streets in Cincinnati. Later that year, on August 6, 1877, William married Emma Hoffman. (Their wedding photo is on the right.) She was born in West Prussia, which is Pomerania, Poland today. Emma emigrated to America with her parents in 1872 and they settled in Cincinnati. A month after his marriage, William's mother (Anna Maria) passed away. A year after his marriage in 1878, William became the proprietor of Tivoli Hall, a large saloon and beer garden at 469 Vine Street (presently 1313 Vine Street) in the Over The Rhine (OTR) district of Cincinnati. According to the 1880 Census information, he and his family resided on an upper floor in the building next to it, at 467 Vine Street (now 1311 Vine Street. 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. In 1882, William learned of a partnership opportunity with a brewer in Covington, KY. It led to his investment in the Bavarian Brewery, which was a decision that would forever have a major influence on his life and his family's. By the end of 1882, William left Cincinnati for a different life on the other side of the Ohio River with his wife and two small children, Emma (3) and William Jr. (1).
THE WILLIAM & EMMA RIEDLIN FAMILY
William and Emma moved from Cincinnati to Covington, KY, so that they could be close the Bavarian Brewery where William began working. Shortly after they arrived, they had another daughter, Mary Anna Marie (Mayme) Riedlin, in February, 1883. A couple years later, 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. in Covington, KY.
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. Even though William was achieving success in expanding the Bavarian Brewing Co. in 1889 and had achieved a political accomplishment by being a City Alderman, between 1887 and 1895 the Riedlin family had family suffered the loss of two infant boys and a teenage daughter. As the Riedlin family entered the late 1890s, his family consisted of two sons (William, Jr., and Walter) and two daughters (Mayme and Lucy), along with his wife and her mother, Mary Hoffman Karweise. The Riedlin family were religious and attended the St. Paul Church in Covington, KY, a few blocks from their home.
William Riedlin was extremely active in community affairs, local politics, social groups such as the Covington Turners and German-American organizations and civic organizations and a brewing association, besides other business interests. For more information, please see Community Involvement.
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.
In approximately 1899, the Riedlin's decided to move from their home across from the brewery at 241 W. 12th Street (also known as Martin Luther King Blvd. today), to a much larger home at 925 (a/k/a 917) Main Street. It had an expansive lot and a carriage house in the back. At the landing on the main stairway and on the south side of the house, the family installed a stain glass window in remembrance 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. 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.
THE RIEDLIN SONS
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 c. 1885 photo (see Meyer & Riedlin Years) when he was with his father at the age of about 4 years old. (See the Riedlin Years of Bavarian.) On November 3, 1903, William Jr. married Norma Louise Wittgenfeld. The couple lived at 306 W. 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. Several years after the death of William Jr.'s mother (Emma) in 1912, William Jr. was remarried to 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 less than three weeks after the death of his father, William Sr. It's possible that the death of either the father and son, or both, could have been from the Spanish Flu. This was a pandemic that caused 650,000 deaths in the U.S. in 1918 and 1919. 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 was at home, it was reported in the local paper that he was found tied up in the basement 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 year 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, provided Rosemary with some assistance.
The photo above c. early 1890's is of William Riedlin, Sr., and his two sons, Walter on the left and William, Jr., on the right.
The above photo c. 1905, depicts the two Riedlin brothers; Walter is with his OMI uniform and Wm. Jr. is on the left.
The photo on the left c. 1905, appears to have been taken at the same time as the photo above of William's two sons. William Sr. is in the center with Walter on his left and William. Jr. is on the right.
THE RIEDLIN DAUGHTERS & GRANDCHILDREN
Mary Anna Marie Riedlin was born on February 12, 1883. Her family and friends called her Mamye (Mamie). She was seven years older than her sister Lucia (Lucy), four years older than Walter, but two years younger than William, Jr. At the age of 26, Mamye married Clarence Cobb in 1909. The following year the couple had a son, Clarence William Riedlin Cobb. In 1911 they had a daughter Marion who sadly died in 1912, the same year as the mother of the Riedlin family, Emma. In 1915, the couple had a daughter Martha Lucia Cobb. A decade later in 1925, Mayme became divorced from her husband and never remarried. Her son Clarence Cobb married Elenora Breadon and they had two sons, William Richard in 1929 and Clarence Riedlin, Jr., in 1932. Clarence divorced in 1936 and married Margaret Ruth White. Mayme's daughter Martha married LeRoy Sheldon Ferry in 1937 and had a daughter Ann Lynn Ferry in 1940. Ann married David Air White and had three children, Linda Ann White, Elizabeth Lynne White and David Robert White.
Lucia Riedlin was the youngest daughter of the Riedlin's born January 2, 1890. It appears she attended the School of the Brown County Ursuline's in St. Martin, OH. She married William C. Schott (Will), the youngest son of the Johan Michael Schott family from Cincinnati on September, 30, 1914. The marriage was held at the Riedlin home and the reception was held at the Bavarian Rathskeller for 100 people. Lucy and Will had two sons. The oldest, William Riedlin Schott (Bill) in 1915, married Catherine Sue Lake 1948 and had a son William Patton Schott in 1952. The youngest son, Louis Leuders Schott, married Virginia Erhardt in 1947 and had a son Louis Ried Schott in 1949.
The c. 1905 photo on the left below shows Emma Riedlin in the middle and her daughters Lucy on the left and Mayme on the right. The photo on the right was from 1916 and shows Mayme Riedlin Cobb on the left and Lucy Riedlin Schott on the far right. The children left to right are William (Billy) Riedlin Schott, Clarence William and Martha Cobb.
Emma Hoffman Karweise, the mother of Emma Riedlin, lived with the Riedlin family at their home on Main Street, until she passed away in 1915, the same year as Walter. By then the Riedlin home was becoming rather empty as Mayme had moved out when she married in 1909 and Lucy left in 1914 after she was wed. When William Jr. and William Sr. both passed away in early 1919, there were no immediate members of the Riedlin family remaining to occupy the Main Street homestead. Therefore, it is believed that shortly after the Riedlin men passed away, the Riedlin home was sold. It was reportedly converted to a funeral home in the 1920's, and was being used for this purpose nearly a century later. The home is and its carriage house (converted to an office use) are operating as the Covington Chapel of the Middendorf-Bulloch Funeral Homes. (Coincidently, William Sr. and Middendorf were both officers and investors in a business together, the Prosper Gold Mining Co.)
THE PASSING OF WILLIAM RIEDLIN & HIS SONS.
William passed away on February 19th, 1919, in Asheville, NC. He suffered from acute asthma and was visiting this resort in this town to improve his condition when he died. Four years earlier, his son Walter also died in Asheville, NC, and possibly the same resort. About three weeks later, on March 6, 1919, William Riedlin died in Covington, KY. Therefore, in a period of only four years, the men in the Riedlin family had all passed away.
William arrived in Cincinnati in 1870 spending almost 50-years in the area. He established and worked at what became Bavarian Brewing Co. for 37 years. Further, the brewery was owned and operated by his descendants until 1966 for a total of 84 years, and over 45 years after his death and the death of his sons.
A trunk that was passed down to Lucia Riedlin, and believed to be from her father, William, Sr., is shown above. (The initial C. may be for Carl, his christened name.)
The Knights of Columbus issued a Resolutions Respert in tribute to William Riedlin shortly after his passing. An obiturary and brief biography was prepared in caligraphy.
Wimberg, Robert J., Cincinnati Breweries, Ohio Book Store, Cincinnati, OH
Riedlin and Schott family items and information, including notations on photos by Lucia Riedlin.
The background page is the William Riedlin home from around 1899 until shortly after William's death in 1919.
Later, in either the 1920s ore 1930s, it became a funeral home for early a century.