HULMAN FAMILY

Copy of old picture of Hulman family business at 23 N. 5th Street in Terre Haute Circa 1860s. COMMUNITY ARCHIVES, VIGO COUNTY LIBRARY

Hulman is just another name in the 40-acre city of stone that is Woodlawn Cemetery.

To the east, Third Street traffic rushes past; to the west, Wabash River water flows south. The cemetery's tall trees whisper and wave to each other above the neatly trimmed grass.

But the voice of John Bernhard Ludowici is silent; his name neither spoken nor etched.

Resting in an unmarked grave in a small plot of grass framed with flaking gray stone, Ludowici is wrapped in a shroud of persistent anonymity. No Ludowicis line the pages of the Terre Haute area phone book; the name does not march across columns of public buildings or grace street signs.

Ludowici is the man who persuaded the first Hulman to come to Terre Haute, according to the history A.R. Markle and Gloria Collins wrote for Hulman & Co. as it marked 100 years in business.

Born June 7, 1809, in Westphalia, Germany, Ludowici had lived in Cincinnati several years and was a grocer when he met Francis Hulman, the second Hulman son in Cincinnati, a city bustling with German immigrants.

Francis' older brother, Johann Diedrich -- known as Diedrich -- left Lingen, Germany, in 1842 to try to get a job in New York, then headed to Cincinnati. Eager to make his fortune, Francis quit his Paris bookkeeping job to follow Diedrich.

Francis and partner Charles B. Meyer imported toys, jewelry, toilet articles and personal items to Cincinnati. The unsteady trade frustrated 27-year-old Francis, thus the tone of his beckoning letter to Herman in 1849.

``The fancy business does not especially suit me Ï one can make money at it, but it is so irregular,'' he wrote. ``It practically goes pretty well only in the fall and winter ...''

The previous summer cholera cut a swath through Cincinnati so deadly some businesses declared bankruptcy. However, the root of Francis' dissatisfaction lay elsewhere.

``... I am not so very well pleased with my partner. He is too narrow-minded and is, besides, very sickly. Therefore, I have concluded to give up this business next spring in February or March,'' he wrote.

``I have already found another partner, a very good and sober man about forty years old and married. ... We intend to go farther into the country and establish a wholesale grocery store.

``We have chosen a place called TERRA HAUTE, three hundred miles west of here in the State of Indiana. This is a place of about 6,000 inhabitants, very well laid out, flourishing and growing rapidly, in a clean and healthy location,'' Francis wrote.

``Besides this, the territory is rich with wealthy farmers in the surrounding country and beautiful prairies. This place is, as I have said, one of the best in this vicinity, and, if we have any luck, we are sure to make money.''