Charlotte Duhme Eustis Ives 1865-1946
Charlotte Duhme was born into a prosperous home with a bit of a cloud hanging over it. Her father Herman Duhme founded and operated a very successful jewelry store and aworkshop which made silver flatware and hollowware. Herman had married, first, Mary Ann McNicol, daughter of a prominent Cincinnatian, Peter McNicol. Peter McNicol had several children, including Henry McNicol, who was married to Mary Catherine Galbreath, of another well-know Cincinnati family. Neither McNicol marriage was very successful – after the birth of four children, two of which survived, Mary Ann left her husband (she was, they say, given to melancholia.) Ultimately they divorced. Meanwhile, Mary Catherine Galbreath McNicol had a little girl but found that while she was pregnant her husband had fathered a little boy. And there were other problems, apparent abuse, and she went back to her family. There was a later divorce (in 1863 – Mary Catherine was given the divorce and alimony). Then – ta-dah – Herman Duhme married Mary Catherine Galbreath McNicol, his former sister-in-law. They had four children; Charlotte was the first, two little boys died, and then there was Albert, who was only about 8 when his father died.
Charlotte grew up cherished and in a privileged environment – went to “finishing school” in Baltimore, took trips to Europe (her father had a store in Paris and one in Berlin, a photo of Charlotte, age about 16, was taken in the latter city). And later she took art lessons – I know she studied with Frank Duvaneck and in a book about the Cincinnati At Museum I was electrified to see “Grammy” in a group photo of Duvaneck’s class.(Charlotte Duhme and Duvaneck Class). Charlotte Duhme was listed in the student records of the Art Academy of Cincinnati as registered for the following classes: Drawing: 1885-86; 1886-87; 1888-89; 1892-93; Life Drawing: 1887-88; 1893-94; and Watercolor: 1888-89
Then about 1895 she met Charles Buckminster Eustis, a poor man and a jeweler in Minneapolis. She had been visiting friends there and fell in love. The Eustises (there were twin brothers) were most interested in music … they helped to start the Apollo Men’s Chorus, which is still in existence.
Charlotte and Charles Eustis had two daughters; Catherine, my grandmother, was born in 1897, and her sister Claribel was born in 1900. The family was poor – not impoverished – more unconventional, but often living in strange conditions. When Gran was born they lived in the summer at the Breezy Point Club at Lake Minnetonka, and Charlotte was hard-put to conceal that her parlor table had little pockets under the tablecloth. (There is a memoir of my grandmother, Catherine, which talks a lot about her growing-up years). The long Minnesota winter was spent in Minneapolis, and they lived on Spruce St, now under a large medical center. They had a very active social life.
Charlotte continued painting (oils until carrying a large easel became difficult, then water colors) but also learned to make jewelry, kind of Art Nouveau-ish, which she sold to her friends for ‘pin money.’ I think they led a pleasant life. Gran (Catherine) met and married William Lucking, a prominent and prosperous Detroit lawyer. Then Claribel married, and she quickly became pregnant. Sadly, Charles Eustis died in January 1922, and late in the year Claribel contracted scarlet fever (a systemic Staph infection) and died soon after giving birth to a little boy, who died a few weeks later. Catherine’s marriage was failing and life was just sad. But a couple of years after she was widowed Charlotte married her first ‘beau,’ Allen Ives, and when in the same year, 1925, Catherine moved to Ojai, Charlotte soon followed, to take care of Catherine’s children, Billy, Charlie and Patsy. Charlotte continued to paint; I have a number of her water colors (signed C Ives).
We don’t know why and we don’t know just how much but Charlotte bought “stuff.” One purchase was a section of land (640 acres) near Walsenburg, Colorado. At some point her son Albert was managing the property and he sold one acre, as I understand it – but the acre held the only water on the property, rendering it of little worth. Later the land was passed on to Charlotte’s grandson Bill Lucking. He maintained it for a long time, but sold it not long before his 2007 death.
Another purchase was in 1915 in North Dakota, 240 acres of wheat land. There were ‘wildcat’ oil wells drilled from time to time, and in 1935 she gave her interest to her daughter Catherine Peck. At least two wells were drilled in the years following, but apparently with little success. The land passed to Catherine Peck’s children, and remains in the family.
Charlotte purchased several lots and built a cabin at Lake Arrowhead which everyone enjoyed in the summer for a number of years.
Catherine married Kenneth Peck in 1929 at Charlotte’s mountain cabin at Lake Arrowhead. The years were generally happy, though Charlotte was widowed again about 1937. A crippling tragedy occurred when in 1941 Catherine’s younger son committed suicide. But Charlotte was able to see three great-grandchildren before her death in 1946.