An Unknown Town

The following research summary has been provided by Keith Schmidt.  Thank you Keith for taking the time to put this together for our blog.

—- gmsc


An Unknown Town

by Keith Schmidt

I felt bad having to leave Louisa Best at her father’s house with two children and a missing husband, even knowing I had nothing to do with it. But…as I dug around searching and searching for stories of my great-grandmother and her husband I kept running into Louisa, mostly by accident, but sometimes because she intrigued me. You could say I became attracted to her.

May 1854. She was born in Cleveland to Michael and Margaret Bauer Best.

Louisa Best is the cousin of my great-grandmother Louise Best. She lived in Cleveland most of her life, born and raised one might say. At our first introduction she was confused, wandering around looking for her husband. Someone decided she could be married to Louise’s husband. Well…that wasn’t working out very well so, she got her own husband named Unknown Town. Two children were born to Unknown and Louisa, Charles and Daisy.

June 1880. I found Louisa with her two children living with her father on Center Street. She is married, but no husband is listed at the residence. That’s the last time I saw Louisa for a while, we parted and went our separate ways. I didn’t worry too much about her, she had plenty of family around; brothers, sisters, cousins. All glass factory people from a long line of glass workers. Like I said, I didn’t worry but, I kept wondering…..

One evening, while hitting nothing but dead ends with my Louise, I decided to drop in to see Louisa’s father, Michael. I went back to the 1880 US Census. Michael, just in conversation, let me know that the father of Louisa’s two children was born in New Jersey. I bid him farewell and off to Cumberland County, New Jersey I went. I knew the way having been there several times for my own people. Southern New Jersey has been called the cradle of American glass and at some point many of our towns-people had worked in the area. I have counted up to eight glass factories during the years 1845 to 1938.

When you get close to an answer you can feel it and an excitement runs through you like a river that has just received a good rain, it’s darn well worth staying up past your bedtime, so I did. I kept looking and sure enough…..enter Oliver Wright Town.

1849. Born in New Jersey to Oliver Wright Towne and Julia Stolar.

Oliver grew up in parts of Pennsylvania and Maurice River Township, Cumberland County, N.J. By 1871 Oliver, a glass cutter like his father is in Cleveland NY where he is introduced to a beautiful young woman by a fellow glass worker. The woman’s name is Louisa Best. The two of them hit it off and are married in 1872 in Cleveland, NY. Everyone celebrates, the town is abuzz. A child is conceived.

October 22, 1873. Charles Henry Town is born in Bernhards Bay, NY to Oliver and Louisa Town. (The “e” at the end of the Towne name becomes less and less frequent as time goes on.)

1876. Their second child is born in Cleveland, NY. They call her Daisy, but her full name is: Leona Daisy.

Now our Unknown Town becomes Oliver Town whose ancestors can be traced all the way back to 1747 to Simon Towne, born in Oxford, MA. There was Simon- 1747, Joel-1776, Oliver-1812 and Oliver-1849 with a history in glass working. Many sources have told me Oliver’s father worked at several glass factories in New England and Pennsylvania as a glass cutter.

1880. This will be a very busy decade as you will see. Oliver seems to disappear, Louisa and kids are living with her father, and one would wonder what tragedy Oliver met with. I felt bad for him; he seemed to have a bright future. I once worked in a foundry for a short period in my young life. An old guy that had been there forever came up to me one day and through his tobacco stained teeth said: “kid, there’s two kinds of people that work here, one learns the hard way, the other kind we carry out” Two weeks later I showed him another kind; the kind that quits before he finds out what the hell he was talking about. I wrote Mr. Town off, as dead. It seemed like the right thing to do.

This is where things started to get interesting. I could not find where Mr. Town was buried, so every once in a while I would just give a little review to things I had already looked at, thinking that if he wasn’t buried he may still be alive. On one of those occasions I was at fultonhistory.com and just on a whim I typed in Louisa’s name using Town as her last name instead of Best as I was accustomed to do and this is what came up:

May 27, 1880. Lakeside Press, Cleveland, NY. Louisa Town vs Oliver W Town. Oliver W Town summoned by publication by order of Honorable James Noroh? Attorney for the Plaintiff; A L Wilder.

Wow, I was looking in the wrong place and using the wrong premise. I bet he went back to New Jersey! I would go look but, first I had to finish reading through the list of news stories. Another piece of pertinent information came to light.

September 14, 1880. Louisa Town vs Oliver W Town. Decree of divorce granted. Supreme Court, special term. Published in The Palladium Times, Watertown, NY.

The neighbors may have had a clue that something was going wrong in their marriage and maybe her father and mother did, but I sure didn’t. This was an unusual turn of events. Did he abandon her and the kids? Did he go to a blow in a factory in another state and not come back? Did he dip too many times in the bucket of beer? Did she drive him out with her constant…….well, I guess you can jump to your own conclusions; the exercise will do you good. While you are doing your exercising I will go back to New Jersey.

June 28 1880. Oliver Wright Towne marries Katie Conklin in New Jersey, a nice little Irish girl, I’m sure. June hey?

I had to leave him there and get back to Cleveland. I could look in on those two later. I expected they were not considering entertaining the likes of me at this time. I know where his father died, where his sister died, where his daughter died but, I don’t know where he died, yet. It’ll have to wait.

I figured I’d go back to visit Louisa. On arrival I find Louisa has a suitor. She and he have known each other for a good long time, living next door to each other when she was a teenager on Center Street and he 8 years her junior. Well, well. Who is this, none other than Charles Edward Ladue? All grown up now, he is a long time Cleveland resident and another glass factory worker.

1862. Born Charles Edward LaDue in Bernhards Bay, NY to Henry LaDue and Sarah Bristol.

Charles had five sisters. Enough said about that. The Ladue family came from Canada (spelled Ladoux) and before that France. They came to Cleveland by way of Redwood, Jefferson County, NY. The rise and fall of Redwood mirrors that of Cleveland. If one takes a look up there in 1864 you will find Henry Ladue, Charles’ father and some Senecals, yes our very own Senecals, working at the glass works in Redwood owned by W W Butterfield. Henry was a glass blower. Typically you will see glass workers going from town to town with their families, one child born in one town, the next child born in another. They rented or stayed in boarding houses. In some cases they stayed with relatives. If the man was single he could rent a room over the local hotel, but only for a short time until he could find cheaper accommodations.

Can you imagine a prominent figure named Mr. Butterfield in 1860? Not unlike our own Mr. Landgraff, I bet.

February 1,1875. Rome Sentinel. A list of prize drawing winners includes the winner of a painting, a certain Henry Ladue. Superintendents of the drawing were the Hon W Foster, Charles Kathern, H J Caswell, Crawford Getman and Giles W Lane.

May 17, 1883. Charles Ladue marries Louisa Best. You knew that was coming!

They move in with Louisa’s mother and father.

Dec 17 1889. Louisa’s mother dies.

April 10 1893. In the Oswego Daily Times, under the real estate transaction column we find that Louisa’s father sells to Louisa Ladue, for the sum of one hundred dollars, his property in Cleveland.

1894 Two of Louisa’s children die.

1899 In the Cleveland Village Directory on Center Street. Michael Best, widowed, is living in the house owned by his daughter Louisa, her husband Charles and two of her children. There was Charles and Louisa all this time. I just did not make the connection until I read the 1893 Oswego Daily Times.

December 7, 1899 Louisa’s father dies.

Louisa’s mother, father and at least one child die just before Christmas in three different years.
Louisa and Charles had four children along with two that came with the marriage. They lived in Cleveland until 1900, and then they go to Ithaca, Tompkins County. Before they moved two of their four children had died at a young age and in the same year. I have yet to learn why. This is a real tragedy for Louisa, as one could imagine.

August 11, 1909. Louisa Best Town Ladue dies and is buried in the Village Cemetery.

I had fun hanging out with Louisa. When I visit her I will remind her that her daughter Edith married Ollie Greismyer and that was a good thing. (Because of her my generation all got milk delivered to our homes.) Also, that her 2nd husband Charles must have loved her dearly for he never remarried, dying 30 years after her death.

Charles moved back to Cleveland after his wife’s death to spend the remainder of his days in his hometown, our town, Cleveland, NY.

It’s interesting to see a photo linked to Henry Greismyer Jr labeled 1933 Cleveland Old Timers and look at Charles Ladue and his step-son Charles Town. How nice it was for me to see them together. Henry Greismyer’s son Frank looked just like him. I have a photo of Frank I will share, when I can find it again.

As an aside Charles Town and Frank Greismyer worked together in the glass industry. Charles was listed as a flattener on Frank Greismyer’s cutter report from Kane Pa and Jeanette Glass Co. This is after the glass factories here had closed their doors for the last time. Who was Frank Greismyer? Frank Greismyer was Ollie Greismyer’s brother, married to Maude Schmidt. Maude was the daughter of Louise Best, the cousin of our subject Louisa Best. From this information, the reader from Cleveland should start to get an inkling of why we are all such wonderful people!

We know now Louisa Best first married Oliver Town, had two children, divorced Oliver then married Charles Ladue and had four more children, two of which died young and then she also died at what could be considered a young age 55. Two sentences from someone, to give a voice to the dead, are better than just a name and a date on a tombstone.

Children of Louisa Best:

  • 1873-1944 Charles Henry Town
  • 1876-1933 Leona Daisy Town
  • 1884-1967 Frank Ladue
  • 1887-1894 Floral Ladue
  • 1893-1894 Henry L Ladue
  • 1894-1970 Edith Ladue.

Mysteries to unravel that came to light while I was running around with Louisa are two, one of course is the death of her two children. The other has an additional layer to it. While I was up north in Redwood I bumped into two young girls running down the street. They were sisters, Mary and Margaret Senecal, but they lived with two different Ladue families. One Ladue head of house said the girl Margaret Senecal was his grand-daughter, the other Ladue head of house said the girl named Mary was his niece. That’s a father and a son taking care of a daughter/sister’s children. Why? Where are the parents? Who are the parents?

If anyone out there in the world of ancestry buffs that can shed some light on either of these two mysteries I would be grateful.

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