This is William Carl Rohde, “Grandpop” to my mother on her mother’s side, and a dog named Brownie, who I assume was the family dog, or one of them. I don’t know where the photo was taken, but William Carl looks to be a middle-aged man here so we might imagine that it is near the house on Brightside, though it could be anywhere, including back in Ohio on a visit to one of the old family farmsteads.
I don’t know a lot about William Carl other than facts. He was born Wilhelm Carl Johann Rohde in Cleveland, Ohio on March 23, 1889 to Charles August and Elizabeth (Woike) Rohde. He was the second of six children after his sister Charlotte or “Lottie”. He had four younger brothers, John, Walter, Clarence, and Robert.
William Carl was a teacher in his early years in Ohio, and he was principal of Brunswick High School there. His nephew Charles Rohde (Clarence’s son), who is himself an educator (professor of biostatistics at Johns Hopkins for the last half-century) told me, “Your great grandfather Will graduated from Case at age 17 and was superintendent of the Brunswick school system at 19. He was, in my father’s words, very smart.” He played a wicked chess game.
William Carl married Edna May Wells, daughter of Harmon Kingsbury and Laura Phoebe (Gridley) Wells, and in the years after they moved their growing family to Maryland he appears in the census and on various other documents as an agricultural assistant and then as Baltimore County’s agricultural agent for many years. At some point he started working for Davison Chemical, a Baltimore-based company now long since subsumed in the larger W. R. Grace and Company, which bought Davison in 1954.
William Carl and Edna May bought the house on Brightside sometime after 1919 and lived in it for the lion’s share of three decades. After that big property became too much for him to manage, they moved to an apartment at the Maryland School for the Blind, which he headed in his late years. William Carl developed prostate cancer, I think it was, and died in 1949, when my mother was about 12.
Of Brownie the dog, I know only what you know. – mdf
Image archive ID:
About the physical photograph:
Unknown. Photo pasted into scrapbook sent to my mother from Cousin Joyce Wheeler. Appears to be a photocopy or newspaper clipping.