My great-great-grandfather, Johann Heinrich "Henry" Ladewig, was born in Birnbaum, Posen, Prussia on Feb. 19, 1839 to Friedrich Christian and Dorathea Janetzki Ladewig. Birnbaum is now part of Poland. The Ladewig family were members of the Evangelishce Kirche Birnbaum (Lutheran Church of Birnbaum). Heinrich was baptized on Feb. 21, 1839 in that church.
Heinrich or Henry as he was called in America, emigrated on the bark “Fortuna” from the port of Bremen on Aug. 10, 1867, arriving in Galveston Texas on Nov. 4, 1867. Traveling with him were his brother Julius Ladewig and sister Henriette Ladewig.
Henry’s occupation was given as blacksmith on his immigration records. He married Anna Wilhelmine Caroline Wehrbach on Jan. 22, 1869 in Fayette Co., Texas. The couple separated almost immediately, with Caroline filing suit against Henry on Aug. 27, 1869 in the District Court of Fayette Co. On Dec. 2, 1869, the couple’s son Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Ladewig was born. After a protracted and nasty court case, a divorce decree was finally granted to the Ladewigs on Dec. 6, 1872.
Henry Ladewig was enumerated in the 1870 Census in Lavaca Co. living with his sister Amalie Ladewig. His occupation was blacksmith. Henry wasted little time before marrying again, this time to Friederike Auguste Kettner, daughter of August and Johanne Koetteritzch Kettner. They were married Jan 1, 1874 in Fayette Co. Texas.
Henry and Auguste had six children before they too divorced. Their children were Rosa Marie, born Nov. 1, 1874, who married Herman Persky; Henry Charles "Carl," born Feb. 28, 1876; Augusta Louise, born May 19, 1877, who married Frank Schmidt; Marie Emma Olga, born Aug. 20, 1880, who married Paul Kuemmel; Richard, born Aug. 12, 1888, who married Olga Herech; and Walter Louis, born Mar. 9, 1885, who married Ella Maeker. Henry was described by a family member as a "mean Russian who smelled bad."
Johann Heinrich "Henry" Ladewig died on his birthday, Feb. 19, 1906, in Bexar Co., Texas, and is buried in Breslau Cemetery, Breslau, Lavaca Co., Texas.