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Theodore Crusse

This compilation was done by: Kurt Cook (great-grandson)

© 1999 - 2013 ľKurt Cook


Theodore Theophilus Crusse was born on June 26, 1865 in Portsmouth, Scioto County (pronounced Sigh-oto), Ohio to Reverend Theophilus Crusse and his wife Christina (nee Reinniger), both were immigrants from Germany.

Throughout his life Theodore was known as Theodore, Theo or Dick (but never Ted!). He was called Dick primarily by his nieces and nephews, though no one in his family has any idea why.

Theodore married Philomena Amelia Armbruster on October 9, 1893 at St Lawrence Roman Catholic Church in Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County, Indiana. Philomena was the daughter of Ludwig and Johanna Burger Armbruster, both originally from Germany. Philomena was born on 27 Sep 1870 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Theodore died on December 05, 1913 at St. Mary's Hospital in Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana. He was buried in St Joseph Catholic Cemetery 5 days later. His cause of death was listed as exhaustion and diabetes mellitus.

Theodores' occupations have been given by various sources as carpenter, cabinet-maker, town marshall, barber, and salesman.

After his marriage to Philomena, he and his family lived first in Lawrenceburg; then in Petersburg, Boone County, Kentucky; then in Lawrenceburg again before his final move to Evansville. It seems he always had financial difficulties as it has been remembered that he may have problems with alcohol and gambling also. (These character flaws have been vigorously denied by some of his older descendants.)

Three months after their last child, Thelma, was born in 1907, Theodore's wife, Philomena had her first stroke and apparently lost the use of her right hand permanently.

According to Marie Crusse, one of Theodore's daughters, his last occupation was that of a traveling salesman. The profits from this line of work were not enough to support the family of 10, so on February 21, 1910 Marie, Frances, Helen, and Margaret (Only 4 years old) were placed in St Ann's Orphanage in Terre Haute, Indiana where they remained until May 10, 1912. Theodore's son Dick was placed in St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum in Vincennes, Indiana on the same day and was returned to his family on February 28, 1913 (his 13th birthday) when they were living in Petersburg, Kentucky. The family apparently moved back to Lawrenceburg shortly thereafter.

A niece from his wife's family, Sister M. Johanna Armbruster, before her death in 1981 remembered that when she was about 4 years old (abt 1902) her father, John L. Armbruster, came home for lunch and during the noon meal said to his wife Emma, " I told him (Theodore) no man can make a living being a barber, get another job!" Sister Johanna also remembered "going to the Crusse's house during the noon hour when I was in the third grade in school (1910 or so). Aunt Min (Philomena) was as the washtub. I remember, my mother told me that Aunt Min does washing for other people."

(Sister Johanna was born Mathilda Armbruster on 28 Aug 1898 and was the daughter of John Louis and Emma Walter Armbruster. She entered the Sisters of St Francis Convent in about 1916).

Joyce Chrisman Cook remembers that her mother, (Theodore & Philomena's daughter Margaret), told her that after Theodore died Philomena would make sandwiches for the children to take to the nearby Seagrams Distillery to sell to the workers in order to make money for the family; and that each child developed his or her own group of regular customers.

According to some accounts, Theodore just up and deserted his family. Frances Crusse Shehane, another daughter, remembered differently. According to France's recollection, just before Theodore left Lawrenceburg for Evansville, he sold his interest in the barbershop with the intent to find new, more profitable employment in the Evansville area and send for his family when he was established.

Frances remembered how sick her father looked before he left. "He looked bad and was weak. He would lie on the couch a lot." (Which was no wonder if he was progressing toward diabetic coma.)

The time interval between his departure and his death is not known exactly. It was not long though, probably between 3-9 months.

Philomena must of have been notified of his death by mail. Supposedly she suffered another stroke when she learned of his death. As far as anyone remembered, no family members were able to attend his funeral. He was buried in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Evansville, Section #6, Lot #3716. His death certificate shows that St. Anthony Catholic Church was responsible for the funeral rites and Schaefer & Sons were the undertakers.

Philomena died on February 17, 1932 in Lawrenceburg and was buried in Greendale Cemetery on February 20, 1932.

The Children of Theodore and Philomena:


Church Records of St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Lawrenceburg, Indiana;
Dearborn County, Indiana Birth Records;
Dearborn County, Indiana Marriage Records;
1910 US Census of Lawrenceburg, Indiana;
1910 US Census of Terre Haute, Indiana, St. Anns Orphanage;
1910 US Census of Vincennes, Indiana, St. Vincent's Orphans Asylum;

Personal recollections of:

Sister M. Johanna Armbruster (niece)*;
Margaret Crusse Chrisman (daughter)*;
Joyce Chrisman Cook (granddaughter);
Rhue Hill Crusse (daughter-in-law)*;
Shirley Shehane Murphy (granddaughter)*;
Marie Crusse Richard (daughter)*;
Robert W. Richard (grandson);
Marie Edwards Seitz (granddaughter);
John P. Stamm (nephew)*.

* = deceased as of 02/07/2000

Thanks to Kurt, for contributing this information for this page!

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(last revision 20May1998)