Untold stories, unknown history: The early life of Ludwig Earl Bucher

Earl family closeup

Earl Ludwig Bücher

As a boy I had many questions about Uncle Earl – the uncle I had never seen.

  • Who was his “real” mother?
  • Where did he live?
  • Why did my Great Grandparents adopt him?
  • Why did my Grandmother have to drop out of high school to care for him?
  • Was he secretly a child of my Grandmother Blanche or my Great Aunt Lilly?

As I got older, the stories about Uncle Earl faded, but my questions didn’t.

Until recently, the only photo I had ever seen of Uncle Earl was the old, sepia toned family photo of the Bucher family assembled in 1910 on Great Grandma’s porch in Manistee, Michigan.  Uncle Earl is seen seated on the far left of the photo, alone but close to my Great Grandmother,  his adoptive mother, Emma. He looks to be a handsome teenager – taller than the rest of the Thompson’s and Bucher’s – smiling but distant.

When I came into possession of the trove of photos which I now share with you, some of my questions were answered:

  • Earl became the adoptive son of the Buchers shortly after he was born.
  • As a boy he had a kitten and a dog named Rover.
  • He was a beautiful boy who in one photo had long flowing hair curled  perfectly and draping his happy face.
  • The Bucher’s knew his mother, who is seen in one photo, holding him when he was six months of age.
  • His birth mother later married. A photo shows her in her wedding dress, with her husband. On the back of the photo, my Grandmother writes: “Earl’s Mother & Step-father.”
  • Uncle Earl married and had a daughter who he named Blanche, after my Grand mother –  the young girl who dropped out of high school to care for him when he was a young boy.
Earl in family photo

Earl, Grandma Bucher, Hazel, Blanche, Walter, Grandpa Bucher, Goodenow, Otto Brugman, Ellsworth, Lillian Brugman

Earl at 6 months

Lillian, Earl and Blanche Bucher

Earl with Rover

Earl and Rover

Earl with Rover closeup

Earl and Rover

Earl with kitten

Earl with a kitten

Earl with kitten closeup

Earl with kitten closeup

Earl with long curls

Earl Bucher

Earl with curls closeup

Earl Bucher

Earl with mother

Earl and his Mother

Earls mother & step father

Earl’s birth mother and husband

Earl on motorcycle

Earl Bucher on motocycle

Earl on motorcycle back

Back of Motorcycle Photo, sent to his “very dear sister.”

Earls daughter Blanche

Earl’s daughter Blanche

Earl letter from Mrs. Ray 1

Letter to Emma Buche from Mrs. Ray

Earl letter from Mrs. Ray 2

Page 2

The letter is dated May 5, 1919.  It is written to Emmma  Bucher from Mrs. Ray, a friend of the family. At the top left is a newspaper listing saying:

“Born to Mr. & Mrs. Earl Bucher, 535 Lake Street, April 2, a daughter, Blanche Ruth Bucher.”


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