Charles William Leydecker


The above photograph contains the following inscription on the back:


Charles William Leydecker (1863-1930) lived at 2544 McHenry Street in Baltimore in 1910 and 2550 McHenry Street in 1920, according the U.S. Census for those years. I think both addresses refer to the same property, that commonly known as 2550 McHenry Street.

Charles was the first child of Philip Louis Leydecker, Sr (1839-1911) and Julia A. Gempp (1842-1906). Philip “Leidecker” arrived from Biedenkopf, Marburg-Biedenkopf, Hesse, Germany in 1853. In 1860 he was enumerated as a butcher and living in the household of the well-to-do butcher Theodore Ludwick and his wife Margaret, both also born in Germany. Philip’s obituaries described him as the “Nestor of Butchers” and “one of the best known butchers in Lexington Market. Julia was the daughter of George F. Gempp (1808-1862) and his wife Margaret B UNKN (1808-1868), both of whom were born in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. If George’s middle name is Frederick, as I suspect, he arrived to the USA in 1833 and was naturalized in 1840. Philip, Julia, George, and Margaret are buried in the Leydecker plot in Loudon Park Cemetery in Baltimore ( memorials 139637111, 139643584, 139626765 and 139631587).

Charles, who was a butcher like his father, married Catherine Anna “Katie” Uhl (1864-1935) in 1886. She was the daughter of German-born Louis Charles Uhl (1844-1912), also in the meat business as a “commission merchant and stock dealer” and Elizabeth Heiner (1846-1918) who was born in Maryland. They had one child, Philip Louis Leydecker, Sr. (1887-1955). Charles’ son Philip was a hotelier and owned racehorses. A successful thoroughbred named “Charlie Leydecker” was active from 1917 to 1923 but I was unable to discover the horse’s connection to the family.

Charles’ brother Fred apparently inherited Philip’s stall in Lexington market. Here is an ad which appeared in the 23 April 1912 edition of The Baltimore Sun:

19120423 Fred Leydecker advert The_Baltimore_Sun_Tue__Apr_23__1912

The mansion at 2550 McHenry Street is long gone but the Internet is full of information about it. Known as the Shipley-Lydecker (sic) house, it is situated in the Baltimore neighborhood of Shipley Hill. According to a Shipley family website, the house was built by Nicholas Carroll in circa 1803; bought by Charles Shipley (1814-1904) in 1851-2, sold to Philip in circa 1906, bought by the VFW to be used as a memorial to the dead of WWI in 1947, and demolished to make room for a public housing development in 1947. It even has its own Facebook page. Here and here you can learn that the house was the model for Disneyland’s “Haunted Mansion” ride.

There are several mistakes in the online information about the mansion, an important one being the incorrect rendering of the name Leydecker which leaves out the “e”. All available information, including the version chiseled on the obelisk in the family cemetery plot, confirms the spelling is Leydecker.

Below are details from Sanborn Insurance Maps of the location.

1 P66 msa_scm2598-0325 1901 detail
This Sanborn Insurance map from 1901 shows the stables and tree depicted in the subject photographs.
2 P1207 msa_scm2602-0580 1952 detail
This Sanborn Insurance map from 1952 shows the block after row houses were built. The stables and the tree are gone and the house is labeled “V.F.W. Club.” By this time S. Garrison Lane had been renamed Franklintown Road.

Here is another photograph of the same scene, only with one more pony and one less Charles, followed by the inscription on its back:



I assume that the stamped “18-2” on the back of each photograph indicates they were developed in February 1918.

After many hours searching without success, I posted on Hemmings Motor News’ Facebook page asking for help in identifying the truck and got two responses. Mister Wilhelm informed me that, until 1924, various 3d party companies produced truck bodies for installation on a Ford Model-T chassis. Mister Coutinho speculated that the truck was a late 1910’s Maxwell 1.5 ton. For comparison a 1917 model Maxwell truck is pictured here, and a 1920 model is pictured here.

This was great fun and there is more to say about the family and the mansion, but material is stacking up around here and it is time to move on.

One thought on “Charles William Leydecker

  1. I always enjoy your research…maybe you can finish my family tree for me! I had trouble getting thru the 1800s! Ancestry wants to charge 2k+! Great post. Thanks. I know this name from somewhere.

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