I have attended Von Allmen family reunions almost every year for as long as I can remember. Growing up, these always included polka music. In the earlier years, my great uncle played the accordion. In later years, we listened to polka on tape or CD. A few more recent reunions did not include any polka at all. Grandma told me that her grandfather, Edward Von Allmen, had also played the accordion.
Edward was born on May 6, 1878 in Wilderswil, Switzerland.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 He was the eleventh of sixteen children born to Friedrich and Susannah (Stähli) Von Allmen.1,2,10 He came to America with his parents and siblings in 1883 on the S.S. Canada.10 Ed lived and worked on his father’s dairy farm in Floyd County, Indiana, and then went to live with and work for his brother, Peter, in Louisville, Kentucky.2
Ed married Louise Seewer on October 29, 1902 in Louisville, Kentucky.9 They continued to live in Jefferson County, Kentucky, where Ed had his own dairy farm.3 Ed and Lousie had eight children.3,4,5,6 They eventually all moved to a farm in Lafayette Township, Floyd County, Indiana.5,6
Edward Von Allmen was apparently a musical man. One of the family’s neighbors told me of their parties and music. I’ve told this story before, but I think it bears repeating here.
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.
1. Floyd County Health Department. Microfilm. Floyd County, Indiana Deaths (1951-1959): book h-12, p.51. Retrieved 15 Jul 2015 from Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room.
2. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Year: 1900; Census Place: Louisville Ward 12, Jefferson, Kentucky; Roll: 533; Page: 1A; Enumeration District:0141; FHL microfilm: 1240533.
3. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. Year: 1910; Census Place: Albermarle, Jefferson, Kentucky; Roll: T624_483; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 0026; FHL microfilm: 1374496.
4. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Year: 1920; Census Place: New Albany, Floyd, Indiana; Roll: T625_429; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 62; Image: 15.
5. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002. Year: 1930; Census Place: Lafayette, Floyd, Indiana; Roll: 587; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0006; Image:626.0; FHL microfilm: 2340322.
6. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Year: 1940; Census Place: Lafayette, Floyd, Indiana; Roll: T627_1043; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 22-6.
7. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Registration State: Indiana; Registration County: Floyd; Roll: 1503798.
8. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; State Headquarters: Indiana.
9. “Kentucky Marriages, 1785-1979,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F43W-8XC : accessed 15 July 2015), Edward Von Allmen and Louise Sewer, 29 Oct 1902; citing Louisville, Kentucky, reference ; FHL microfilm 826,072.
10. Wolf, Shirley. “S.S. Canada Passenger List, March 1, 1883, LaHavre to New York.” Rpt. in Von Allmen Family File. Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room. Print.