Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Ludwick, Christopher

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LUDWICK, Christopher, philanthropist, b. in Germany in 1720; d. in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1801. He was a baker by trade, but in early life enlisted in the Austrian army and served in the war against the Turks. He endured the hardships of the seventeen weeks' siege in Prague, and, on its capture by the French and Bavarians in 1741, he entered the Prussian army. When peace was declared he became a sailor, and between 1745 and 1752 he made many voyages. In 1753 he sailed for Philadelphia, taking with him £25 worth of clothing. Making £60 by this venture, he returned to London, but in the following year became a gingerbread-baker and confectioner in Philadelphia. In this occupation he amassed a fortune, and at the beginning of the Revolution he gave his money freely to aid the patriot cause. On one occasion, when it had been proposed by Gen. Thomas Mifflin to purchase firearms by private subscription, which caused dissent, Ludwick silenced opposition by saying, “Let the poor gingerbread-baker be put down for £200!” In the summer of 1776 he enlisted as a volunteer, and was of no little service in persuading his Hessian fellow-countrymen to desert from the British ranks and become residents of Philadelphia. In 1777 he was appointed by congress baker-general to the American army. It was stipulated that he should return one pound of bread for every pound of flour delivered to him, but he at once replied, “Not so; I must not be enriched by the war. I shall return one hundred and thirty-five pounds of bread for every one hundred pounds of flour.” He was often invited to dine at Washington's large dinner-parties, and frequently consulted with him in relation to the bread-supplies of the army. The commander-in-chief usually addressed him in company as “My honest friend,” and in 1785 gave him a certificate of good conduct in his own handwriting. He delighted to discover objects of charity and relieve their wants. During the yellow-fever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793, he worked at bread-baking gratuitously to aid in relieving the wants of the destitute. At his death he divided his fortune among charities, and left a special fund for the education of poor children.