Grandma Ladendroff - Bunker Hill IL - Macoupin County IL
©2002 Lula Vaughn


By Lula Vaughn
(written and contributed by Lula Vaughn)

Josephine Emiley Ladendroff was born March 18, 1857 in Hillsboro Mo. to Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Frank Kuehn .They immigrated from Austria. They moved to Bunker Hill when she was 2 years old. Most of her life was spent in Bunker Hill. She met Ferdinand Ladendroff who was born in Hamberg, Germany, and they were married Dec 15, 1879. They were married in St. Louis, Mo.

Mr. Ladendroff was a rope splicer in the German Navy. He joined the German Navy at the age of nine. He jumped ship a few times and finally immigrated to America in 1874.

They were the parents of six sons, Frank, Charles, Ferdinand, Edward , Otto and William. They also had two daughters, Sophia and Cassie Mae who passed away at the age of 8 months.

Mr. Ladendroff had a grocery business in Bunker Hill for 60 years, where he started out making deliveries by wagon from house to house. After his trade was built up they established a store and it was in the same building for half a century.

After his death , she continued on with the store but did not sell in large quantities as before. Most of their sales were "meat's". They received a Leur's buggy once because they sold so much meat. Naturally the buggy had the name Leur's on the side as an advertisement.

At one time she had a small cooler and she sold summer sausage and crackers.

Along with selling candy she also sold tobacco both plug, and pouch tobacco, and bread.. Her son Charles always chewed Beechnut tobacco and he would buy it from his mother, and he would buy 3 packages at a time, and he made sure that he paid her, as he didn't want to cheat his mother. She raised very truthful and trustworthy sons. And she bragged about them, and if anyone bragged about their families she just let it slide as she was only interested in her family. One day Fredinand ran out of tobacco and one of his sons (Roy) was to bring him some. Well like a kid will do he came home without it, His dad was so mad that finely Ferdy went to town to get him some, rather than listen to him "growl".

Grandma could manipulate people, she would give someone a little piece of candy to go get her mail, and anything so she didn't have to leave the store. In later years she sold mostly candy,and she had Bill Baker do a few things for her. He would read her electric meter and kid her about using the curling iron to much.

At one time there was a well and pump out in front of the store, almost in the street and many people came and got water there. Her grand-daughter Marie Kempworth has a picture of the well.

Marie remembers that grandma had double marshmallow candy with a marble inside. That would not go over today.

Grandma was totally confused when she had to start paying sales tax. Sometimes she would just did not do it or just guess about it and didn't get into trouble. One day Fredy came in to buy bread and she didn't have any. He was going do go down and buy a loaf from Fahrenkrog's grocery, but she wouldn't let him. She bought it so she wouldn't have to pay tax. ,and he would. .

She had many friends and they would come to the store and set with her. Some of them were Mrs.Anna Baker, Mrs. Grovo, Mrs. Mamie, Mrs. Truesdale and Mrs. Crookshank. But sometimes there was no talking going on as they would be setting in their chairs, their heads hanging down and all of them asleep. She never left the store much as she was afraid she would miss a sale. She was Lutheran , but didn't go to church as she couldn't leave the store, so the preacher would come by and talk to her, and they would talk in German. In later years she became "rusty" with her German as not many people spoke it any more.

She was a very good seamstress, and made many a wedding dress for the new brides in Bunker Hill.. She could crochet and one Christmas she made each of her sons a crocheted rug, with a wooden crochet hook. . She had a tub in the back of the store where she did her wash. And there was a little garden in the back, that different people helped her with. Jerry O'Brien was one who came in and helped do her chores. Mr Ed Baker came in with a chew of tobacco in his mouth looking for a place to spit .

He tried to spit in the cracks in the floor behind the counter. And she would have to tell him to hunt some place else to spit. Raymond Wadsworth came in and bought two "Whiz" bars each week. Then he and his girlfriend would eat them after the show.

Otto Wieseman lived south of Prarietown, and each Sat. he and Harold would have to bring Walter in for school at the Zion Lutheran Church. Otto had been blessed with a "sweet tooth" all his life. So they would have to stop and get candy. But, they could not afford to do this every Sat.

Fred Robert's said he went in and bought a pack of gum from grandma for 5 cemts. He then went out and being with other boys, gave it all away. He went back to buy another pack, and she wouldn't let him have it as he already bought some that day. " I guess she thought , he had ,had enough for one day" Mary Cornelison Rhoads's says she can remember one candy that looked like bacon. It had coconut in it and it came in brown, pink and white stripes You could buy a small bag of hard candy for 5 cents and if you ate it all, it would probably make you sick.

The big summer pleasure in town was Sat. nights when the bands played and the merchants had their stores open; Grandma's friends and relatives all came to have a seat in front of her store; they listened and visited. She always had plenty of chairs for all.

Grandma had a sister who married John B Daschley a shoe maker. She died in child -birth in 1873 She died leaving 4 little children. Their names were Emma, Josephine, Francis and Maria.

As grandma grew older , the family usually gathered for her Birthday on March 19. At first it was at her store and then later at some relatives home for a potluck meal. She retired from the store when she was 90, and went to live with her daughter, Mrs Sophia Brummer in East Alton. She passed away May 2, 1949.

My thanks to grandma's grand children, Marie Kanpworth and Fredy Ladendroff for their help and permission in writing this story about a lady who had a lot to do with "Bunker Hill History"

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