Wilhelmina Gendelmeyer came to America in 1881 from Hamburg,
Germany with their parents, watchmaker George Carl Gendelmeyer
(1840-1918) and Catherina Bislenberg (sp?)
(1846-1924) Gendelmeyer, aboard the Australia. Maria,
who went by her middle name, Clara, was four years
old and Wilhelmina, nicknamed Minnie, was six.
Over the next twenty two years the girls married,
Minnie to Henry F. Gudehus Jr, with whom she
had one child, Sophie, and Clara to William
Graves in the summer of 1903.*
30, 1903, six months
after her wedding, Clara,
age twenty-six, took her niece, six-year-old Sophie Gudehus, to an afternoon matinee of the much
promoted Mr. Bluebeard at Chicago's newest
playhouse, the Iroquois Theater. Hours later
their bodies were found by family members at two
different funeral homes.
funeral was held at Henry and Minnie's the Sunday
after the fire with services conducted by the
Lutheran pastor who had baptized Sophie. (It
may have been the same Trinity Lutheran Evangelical
church founded in the living room
of Heinrich F. Gudehus, Sophie's great grandfather.**)
Waldheim Cemetery (today's Forest Home).
worked as a stenographer before her marriage.
She and William Graves lived at 723 W. Chicago Ave
in Chicago. Her body was found at Sheldon's funeral
home and identified by Clara and Minnie's
brother, Albert. L.
Gendelmeyer, and/or Lucetta
Graves, Clara's sister in law.
Albert Gendelmeyer was a Chicago fireman.
Minnie and Henry Gudehus had
been married for ten years at the time of the fire.
They had named Sophie after her aunt Sophia H.
Gudehus (1856-1937), one of Henry's sisters who
operated a grocery at 816 N. Ashland with their
brother, Fred Gudehus.
Sophie Gudehus attended the Wells School near her home, at
327 N. Ashland in Chicago.
Her body was found at Rolston's funeral home and
identified by her Henry.
wrongful death suit was brought on Sophie's
Iroquois Theater victim
Maria Clara Gendelmeyer Graves (1877-1903),
(1874-_____), Clara's husband
Iroquois Theater victim
Sophie Charlotte Gudehus (1897-1903), Clara's
niece and Minnie's sister
Gendelmeyer Gudehus (1869-1948), Sophie's mother
and Clara's sister
Henrich "Henry" Gudehus
(1858-1931), Sophie's father and Minnie's
years after the fire
Some time after 1910 Henry
and Minnie Gudehus took in a girl named Sophia H.
and in the 1920 U.S. Census referred to her as a daughter. Henry became a
machinist. Albert Gendelmeyer died in 1909 at
Discrepancies and addendum
* Sometimes spelled Goodhouse
† There were several Trinity
Evangelical Lutheran churches in Chicago in the
early 1900s. The one co-founded by Heinrich Gudehus was founded in 1870 as Die Evangelische
Lutherische Dreieinigkeits Gemeinde, then at 742 N.
Ada, later rebuilt at the corner of Laramie and