GREENVILLE — Retired pastor, the Rev. Donald D. Myers, was so excited about the dedication of the new Greenville K-8 School that he asked to be the one to give the invocation on Sunday.
“The 62 acres the school was built on belonged to a five-generation church family, the Ludys,” said Meyers, who pastored the First Congregational Christian Church in Greenville before he retired from there. “Sam Ludy Sr. was a bachelor farmer back to when it was an Indian village. I felt I owed it to them to do the invocation. There are a lot of homespun stories.”
Myers went on to say that Ludy, a church member, donated 86,000 bricks from his brickyard for the church’s sanctuary on West Fifth Street in Greenville in 1886. The brickyard, the retired pastor said, had been located where the new school now stands at State Route 121/North Ohio Street.
In a historical piece that Myers has, it reported that the four generations, including Sam Sr., had all been members of First United Congregational Christian Church. They included Rebecca Ludy Rohr and William Ludy, daughter and son of Samuel; Pearl and Esther Marker, daughters of Rebecca; and Raymond, Richard and Ruth (Brewer) Marker, children of Esther and Pearl Marker.
In quotes from the Biographical History of Darke County, it reported that Sam Ludy Sr. was the leading manufacturer of bricks in Darke County in the 1800s He married Christina Guntrum in 1856, and they bore four children, William Ludy, owner and manager of the brickyard; David Ludy a teacher for more than 12 years in Darke County; Rebecca Ludy (Mrs. Peter Rohr); and Samuel Ludy Jr., who was engaged in shipping stock.
The elder Ludy, for some years, followed farming but in about 1875 he embarked in the manufacture of the bricks to which he devoted his time and attention throughout the remainder of his active business life. He enlisted in 1864 and was in Company D, 32nd Volunteer Infantry and was chosen from 10,000 to carry returns from the regiment to headquarters.
According to Myers, Ludy took an active interest in public affairs, having served as trustee of Greenville Township for eight consecutive terms, and as infirmary director for six years.
“He was a man of broad and liberal views and was willing to give a hand of Christian fellowship to all,” the historical account reported. “He was widely and favorably known and was held in high regard in the community. For a half century he was a consistent member of our church.”
Marcia Fink remembers growing up on the land that now holds the new school.
“Sam Ludy was my great-great-grandpa,” she said. “My mom was a Marker. Her parents were Leonard and Esther. That’s how we got involved.”
Fink said she really did not know the Ludy family, who had been there years before.
“We lived there in a time when kids spent time with their grandparents,” she said. “We were literally there every day. We had two uncles, Raymond and Richard, who were never married. So, my brother Mark [Brewer-now deceased], sister Beth [now Dorsey of Columbus] and I were treated like royalty by them and our grandpa. We were the only three grandchildren.”
She went on, “Our grandpa built us a big skating rink and a big toboggan. You had to use a six-foot ladder to get on top of it and we’d slide down the lane. It was so much fun.”
Fink said she and her sister are the only ones remaining from that generation.
“I’m sure there are cousins out there,” she said.
She also remembers the one-room school across the street.
“It was beside the township house,” she said. “Mark went to it before they built Woodland Heights. Beth thinks she attended there for one year. The school was built from out of the brickyard our family owned. The bricks were manufactured on our farm. One section always filled up with water and that is where the old clay was.”
She said it was her uncle Dick who sold the property to the school a year before his death in 2007. Her uncle Raymond, died in the early 1990s.
“There was a beautiful orchard in the back,” Fink recalled. “There was every kind of tree in there. We would take an old metal four-wheeler and ride it back to the orchard. It felt like Never-Never Land. There are so may good memories. I wish children nowadays could have experienced them.”
Yes, Fink attended Sunday’s dedication of the new school with sister Beth. And, enjoyed it.
And, because she lives nearby, she and husband Buzz often walk the path back through the field which once belonged to her family. And, each walk helps them re-live those memories.
“It’s hard to imagine now where the house was,” she said. “It’s been so many years.”
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