Right now, Perry County is gearing up for a very special event which will occur this August…..a total solar eclipse. People from all over our country and all over the world will be visiting our area for this astronomical phenomenon. These people will need places to stay. It is my understanding that all the hotels in this area are already booked. There are even a few hotels being built with the intention of being open in time for this event.
There have always been hotels and boarding houses around here. They were not usually very large. They did not have many rooms. In many cases, these hotels had residents who stayed in them who were tenants rather that just one or two night visitors. Also, with the advent of the railroad, more hotels started popping up near the tracks. The owners and operators of most of the early hotels were families who also lived in the same building. Hotels in those days probably more resembled what we call Bed & Breakfasts now.
Today’s story is about a couple who were married on this day and became hotel keepers. These two were married at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville on June 11, 1905. The groom was Rudolph Lueders; the bride was Edna Ross. Let’s go back and look at their family histories.
Rudolph was born in 1881 and was the youngest child in the William and Theresia (Lehner) Lueders family. He was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Rudolph’s father, William, ran a dry goods store in Wittenberg. There were ten children born into this family. Therefore, not all of them could be involved with the dry goods business when William would retire. Rudolph would have to find employment elsewhere. However, I am sure that growing up around a store and living in a river town had an influence on Rudolph’s future.
There is an interesting fact to be found on the marriage license of Rudolph and Edna. It says that at the time of the wedding, Rudolph was living in Woodburn, Indiana, which is more or less a suburb of Ft. Wayne.
In a previous post, Baptized with an Angel, Married to a Doctor, we told the story of Rudolph’s brother, Albert George Lueders, who became a doctor, and around 1900, moved his family to this area near Ft. Wayne. Rudolph must have moved out there for a short while also. He could not have been there long because he was listed as a communicant member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg in 1903 and was getting married in Perryville in 1905.
Edna was the daughter of George and Maria (Hoffstaedter) Ross. Both of Edna’s parents were born in East Perry County. George was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, and Maria was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. In 1900, when Edna was 12 years old, the Ross family was living in Perryville where her father was a dry goods clerk according to the census. Here is a photo of George and Maria.
In 1901, George bought a hotel in Perryville and it was named the Ross Hotel.
When she married Rudolph in 1905, Edna Ross was just 17 years old, and as you can see in the above marriage license, she needed special permission from her parents to get married.
One child was born to Rudolph and Edna in Perryville in 1906, but the 1910 census shows this family living in Kennett, Missouri where Rudolph was a hotel keeper. Kennett is a town located in Missouri’s Bootheel.
There was a cook, a waitress, and a porter living with the Lueders and working and living at the hotel. In 1913, the Lueders family added another child, and they were back living in Perryville. Rudolph was required to register for World War I, and on that form we see him stating that he was the manager of the Ross Hotel in 1917.
A nice photograph of the Ross Hotel can be found on the site of the Missouri State Archives. It is part of the Dobbelare Studio Photograph Collection which was contributed to them by the Perry County Historical Society.
You can find this collection of photographs at this site. Many other photographs can be found on this site which might be of interest to people who enjoy studying Perry County history.
The description of the Ross Hotel photograph says this:
“Brick residence with German construction influence. Historical Society members have identified this as the Ross Hotel on the west side of S. Jackson Street, one block south of the courthouse square in Perryville.”
The 1920 census tells another interesting tale. Here is the entry for the Ross family.
It shows a new member of their family, an adopted 9 year old son by the name of Emil Valleroy. Here is the entry in that census for the Lueders family.
It shows that the Lueders now have a 7 year old adopted daughter by the name of Bessie Valleroy. Also, Rudolph is listed as the proprietor of the hotel, and his wife was shown as the manager. Here is a photo of Edna Lueders. I have not found a photo of Rudolph.
It also lists two people who are employed at the hotel and a roomer who was a conductor with the railroad. I have noticed that when I see hotels that have roomers or boarders listed in census records, many of them worked for the railroad.
No longer are hotels located near the river or the railroad. People no longer get to places around here using those means of transportation. Today, people mostly get here by traveling along Interstate 55. That is where you find most hotels these days. Those hotels are mostly parts of hotel chains run by huge corporations.
It is still important for residents of East Perry County to be hospitable. Because of our rich history, we get quite a few visitors who come here to get a taste of that history. Our museum is one of those places where visitors stop. We like to think that the folks around here are a friendly group that makes our visitors feel welcome. Hotel keepers over the years were once in that important business too.