We have a birthday boy from Wittenberg today. He was the only child in his family to be born in this little river town. The search for his family’s history took quite a few twists and turns. Milton Rudi was born on March 20, 1912, but before we discuss his life, let’s go back to look at his roots.
The Rudi family actually has a history similar to that of the Wukasch family we highlighted yesterday. Rev. Christian Carl Rudi (Milton’s grandfather) arrived in America by coming through Galveston, Texas in 1860. He was a teacher at the Lutheran congregation in Serbin, Texas (where the Wukasch family attended church) until 1865, when a new congregation was being formed in Swiss Alp, Texas. It was there that a son by the name of Francis Rudi was born. Here is a map that may help you follow this story.
It was here also that Rev. Rudi’s first wife, Anna, died. When Rev Rudi died later, his body was brought back to be buried in the United Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery in Swiss Alp. However, while he was still in Swiss Alp, he remarried. He married Johanna Balko in January of 1870, and in October of that same year, their son, Francis, was born.
In 1877, Rev. C.C. Rudi became the first regularly called pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Prairie Hill, Texas (see map). Here is a photo of that church in 1910.
Rev. Rudi served this congregation until 1880, but he is still shown to be in Prairie Hill in the census for that year. Francis was ten years old by then, and he must have had his father as his teacher in the Lutheran school there.
Here I lose track of what happened to Rev. C.C. Rudi, but we do know that his son, Francis must have gone off to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis to be trained as a pastor. In 1896, Francis received his first call to the Wichita Falls, Texas, area where he served eight different preaching stations. He married Wilhelmina “Minnie” Graul in 1898, and this couple began having children while he still served in Wichita Falls. Minnie was the daughter of a medical doctor in St. Louis, but she, too, has a family history with its roots in the same area of Texas as her husband. Dr Jacob Graul was living within blocks of the Lutheran Hospital, so he may have been working there. Rev. Rudi remained in Wichita Falls until 1901.
I think it was Francis’s marriage to Minnie that began his connection to the health care business. The next time I find Francis, he is included in the 1910 census for St. Louis, and he and his family are living with his mother-in-law.
Francis Rudi and his brother-in-law are both listed as druggists. Dr. Jacob Graul died in 1904.
The Rudi family may have moved to St. Louis to help Minnie’s mother cope with his death.
One year later, in 1911, we find Rev. Rudi in Wittenberg, Missouri, serving as the third pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. The only records in the church books there for the Rudi family are two children being confirmed, and the birth and baptism of Milton Rudi in 1912. In 1913, Rev. Rudi would leave and take the position as chaplain of the Lutheran Hospital in St. Louis.
The 1920 census for St. Louis shows Francis Rudi as a druggist running his own store. We see the same in the 1930 census.
This census is difficult to read, but in addition to Francis being a druggist, it also shows that another son, Herbert Rudi is a 30 year old physician. Here we see yet another connection to the medical profession.
But what happened to the birthday boy, Milton. In the 1930 census, he is 15 years old. If you look above the Rudi family on the 1930 census you will find 13 year old Ruth Leilich. A little more than ten years later, these two neighbors would get married. Milton would attend St. Louis University and become a dentist. I am sure his experience working in his father’s drug store helped him along the way.
Here is a photo of Milton when he was a senior at St. Louis University and Ruth when she was a senior at Roosevelt High School.
I did find a bit of evidence that there was another Milton Rudi attending Lutheran High School South in St.Louis in 1962. He may have been the son of Milton, Sr.
Francis Rudi died in 1957. Here is his death certificate.
He died at Lutheran Hospital where he had once been a chaplain. His son, Dr. Herbert Rudi was the informant. His occupation is given as retired pharmacist, not retired minister.
One last fact is special to me. My father was born in Wittenberg in 1913 and baptized at St. Paul Lutheran Church . The pastor who baptized him was Rev. Francis Rudi.