Louise Marie Von Allmen was born on August 5, 1903 to parents Edward and Louise (Seewer) Von Allmen. Louise was the first of eight children. She married George Herman Schroeder, who was from Ohio. They had three children. Louise (Von Allmen) Schroeder died on June 26, 1977.
I never knew my great grandmother Louise. She died before I was born. I had seen photos and my grandpa said she liked to talk. That was really all I knew about her. I was named for her and my other great grandmother, Marie Neider, so any time I have the opportunity to learn more about her, I’m more than happy to do so.
From the handful of photos I have seen of Louise to this point, I feel that I resemble her somewhat, especially when I put my hair up when I dress as Mrs. Butterfield (our library’s first librarian).
In July of 2011, I was visiting with a new friend, Viola Toby. She lives on a farm neighboring Louise’s parents’ farm. I didn’t know until that day that she had known the Von Allmens. That day in July, Viola complimented me on the dark color of my hair. I thanked her and said it must be the Swiss, from the Von Allmens. It prompted this:
The Von Allmens… they used to live right here on the corner, you know. They were such wonderful singers. They used to have parties on the 4th of July and they’d go all night. They really knew how to celebrate, I tell you. They’d sing and dance and Ed would play the… what’s that called you play and squeeze between your hands… the accordion. Ed used to play the accordion. He played so well, it was really beautiful. And they’d just go all night. One time, they had all the neighbors over for a dance. Can you imagine? They had a dance in their house and Ed played the accordion. You don’t see anyone play the accordion anymore.
She went on to talk about Lena Mae, whom she knew best of the bunch. I was very excited to hear this from Viola because it’s one thing to hear from the family stories that have been passed down, but it’s another thing to hear how your family was perceived by members of their community.
As I was preparing to write about Louise, I talked with my dad. He said he and his family used to visit with George and Louise every Sunday after church at their house on Renn Road. Louise always had soda and candy for the kids. He said that Louise was a very social, very jovial person. She liked parties and dancing, she liked food and conversation. Dad also said that she liked to debate.
Hearing this description, my first thought was that she and my other namesake probably would’ve gotten along well had they ever met. My second thought was that I’m more like Louise than I originally thought. I don’t really care for dancing, but I’d say I have a fair amount of the rest of it.