While doing my family research I occasionally come across stories of my family that I didn’t know and that require more study. In this case I was filling out family tree information for my maternal grandfather’s side of his family. My maternal grandfather was Leonard Ledger and his first cousin was Lawrence John Ledger. Their fathers were brothers. The family had come to Louisiana from French Canada in the 1860’s and grew exponentially while in Louisiana. As I was adding information to Lawrence I started to learn about his tragic life.
Lawrence was born Oct 23, 1885 in New Orleans. He was listed as a motorman on a streetcar in the 1910 census. And in each city directory after that he was listed as a laborer until in 1915 where he is listed as a welder.
He married Annie Bulger in December of 1910 when he was 25. They proceeded to start a family but things didn’t go very well for them. On August 21, 1911 they had a baby boy, Lawrence John Ledger Jr. but he died on August 23. Then on June 9, 1912 they had twin boys, Lawrence Anthony and Clarence Anthony Ledger. Clarence died the same day (or may have been stillborn, I do not know) and Lawrence died on June 15 at 4 days old. How heartbreaking this must have been for Annie and Lawrence. I discovered after much digging that they were finally able to have 2 children before their deaths, the children were only 5 and 2 years old. These children were raised by Lawrence’s parents and grew up to marry and have children of their own. I was very happy to find a descendant of theirs who had a picture of Annie.
In February 1918 Lawrence applied for a passport for a trip to British Honduras, it was a work trip and he is listed as a welder and he was going there to teach welding. Looks like he only stayed a short while.
Then on September 12, 1918 he registered for the draft. WWI was going on and all men had to register.
In October 1918 the flu epidemic had hit New Orleans. It came by ship and wrecked havoc on the city. Between October 1918 and April 1919, the city experienced a staggering 54,089 cases of influenza. Of these, 3,489 died. Only Pittsburgh and Philadelphia – the two cities with the worst epidemics in the nation – had higher death rates.
On October 24 at 12:25 a.m. Lawrence John Ledger, 33 years old, died of Influenza. Approximately 10 and a half hours later Annie Bulger Ledger, 24 years old, died of pneumonia-influenza.
Their funerals were held on October 25, Lawrence’s at 10:30 a.m. and Annie’s at 11 a.m. They are buried together in the Bulger family crypt.
I found their story to be so tragic. A young couple, their babies dying, they finally have 2 children, then they die during the flu epidemic of 1918. I wish I had better pictures of Lawrence and Annie, but I am happy to have what I do.
Lawrence was my 1st cousin twice removed and I hope by telling Lawrence and Annie’s story that I am keeping their memory alive.