HE TOOK OVER 100,000 PHOTOS: “He Took Over 100,000 Photos.” That’s what the headline above an article about him in the Lorain (Ohio) Journal boldly announced to the world in June of 1955. The bottom line was that he had taken just a smidgen less than 28 thousand picture a year, some 2,250 a month or approximately 75 photographs per day over the period of 36 years. If they had been just any photographs those statistics might have been meaningless. But most persons seriously interested in a pictorial history of the Erie-Lorain County region in Northern Ohio between 1919 and 1967 have likely seen many of them and will easily recognize the photographer’s name: Rudy Moc.
His given name was Rudolph Leopold (Rudy Leo) Moc. But professionally, and personally, it appears that he preferred to be known as Rudy. He was born March 1, 1896 in Obergeorgenthal, Bohemia (a.k.a. the Czech Kingdom). In 1908 he came to America with his sister, Verna, mother Anna and stepfather Alonis Bayer. According the 1920 U.S. census the family eventually settled on West 23rd Street in Lorain where Mr. Bayer had found work as a carpenter.
At age 15 Moc was selling Larkin (soap) products from door-to-door. When he won a photographic outfit for his efforts it didn’t take long for him to initiate a new career and earned an extraordinary reputation along the way. Around 1913, at the tender age of 17, Rudy took a job with the “official photographer” for Lorain’s National Tube Company carrying heavy equipment. He worked hard and by age 19 he was offered his boss’s job. When he left the National Tube job he went to work at the Rembrandt Studio in Lorain. Again, he worked hard and by 1919 he was in business for himself in a small building on the east side of Grand street just north of the railroad tracks in “good ol’’ Vermilion. Many of the photos he took for what was then Vermilion’s fledgling High School annual, Hi-Times. His “Sunset Studio” logo appeared on the lower right corners of those early photos. [F.Y.I. The Sunset Studio building would have been located between the current site of The Old Vermilion Jailhouse Bed and Breakfast facility and the railroad tracks.] To just say he was successful in his enterprise would probably be an understated understatement.
By 1920 Moc had moved his studio to Lorain, the Sunset Studio name had been replaced by a stylish Rudy Moc Studio and Camera Shop logo. Soon professional photographers throughout Ohio and several other states began to pay attention to his portraiture work. In 1927 a building that was specifically designed and built for his growing business opened at 2035-37 Broadway in Lorain. It was a monumental achievement for a poor kid with only a 10th grade education who had migrated to America from Bohemia less than 20 years earlier. He did just as well personally.
In 1922 Rudy married a Vermilion girl named Esther Wittmer. The Wittmer’s were well known about our town during the early part of the 20th century. Her father, George, was a carpenter. Her mother, Ida Elizabeth, was the daughter of Samuel Darley and Margaret Bachman, both prominent members of the Brownhelm community.
As the family prospered, Rudy and Esther and their two boys, Rudy and Roger, enjoyed life in a wonderful home on Darrow Road (near Furnace Road) just south and west of town. Both boys graduated from Vermilion High School. Their home by the way, was one of, and perhaps the first, in the Vermilion area to have an in-ground swimming pool as well a stable and pasture for horses among other things.
During his younger days in Lorain Rudy had been an avid boater and had even served as commodore of the Lorain Yacht Club in 1934. He also enjoyed fishing. During the 1930s he was the subject of a UPI report in newspapers throughout the U.S. when he accidentally snagged a sturgeon in the back while fishing on Lake Erie. But as he grew older he enjoyed spending time on land at his Vermilion home in his greenhouse.
Esther passed away in 1961 and Rudy took leave of this life eight years later. Today both rest in the Brownhelm Cemetery. Between the markers over their graves is another stone with the iconic “Moc” logo engraved on it. It wasn’t really necessary. That’s because there are over 100,000 photographs of the yesteryear to remind us of the man whose name was Rudy Moc.
Ref: Special Thanks to: John Moc; March 10, 2019.
Vol. XIV, No 40 - VERMILION, OHIO THURSDAY, March 16, 1911
Fishing Season Opened
Some 10 tugs and two or three gasoline boats left the harbor Wednesday morning to set nets. The weather was fairly good when the start was made but before the return trip one of the worst gales ever experienced on Lake Erie was blowing. Mercury dropped from 38 to 28 at noon and this morning it was 12° above zero.
The boats from Vermilion were considerably shaken up but some of them succeeded in setting their nets before coming in. A large gasoline boat Chas. A Trinter was roughly used in the shifting of the deck load of nets caused some anxiety for a time. We are glad however to say that all boats of the Vermilion fleet came home safely. The gasoline boat Olive from Huron came in the harbor here be being unable to reach Huron. The fishermen here have little to say regarding the storm saying it was “nasty” weather.
At Huron the gasoline boat Katie G. Was disabled and the towline breaking while at tug was towing her into port was wrecked against the breakwater. The two men on board were rescued.
The thug Silver Spray is reported missing with a crew of six men. The boat started to fish out of Cleveland yesterday morning.
SILVER SPRAY LOST
Capt. Purdy’s Body Recovered Near Cleveland
The NEWS received word this afternoon of the body of Capt. James Purdy of the Silver Spray being found near Cleveland. The hope that the crew had escaped has been abandoned. The Cisco reported missing safe.
The crew of the lost boat was as follows:
Capt. James Purdy, of Erie
Engineer Robert Watts, Erie
Henry Anderson, Cleveland
Edward Holmes, Cleveland
Thomas Reed, Erie
Charles Brazo, Cleveland.
… The crew of the Silver Spray included Capt. Purdy, thirty-four, of Erie; Robert Watts, engineer, Erie; Edward Holmes, 2669 Detroit avenue; Henry Anderson, 2610 Detroit avenue; Thomas Reed, Erie, and a boy believed to have been Joseph Johnson, sixteen, a cousin of Edward Holmes, of the crew. The boy had been engaged before the tug steamed out…
March 17, 1911
SILVER SPRAY RAISED: Cleveland, June 5. - The fishing tug SILVER SPRAY, which went down with all hands in the big gale of March 15, was yesterday docked at the Great Lakes Towing Company's dock in this city.
The trip up the river with the ill-fated boat was like a funeral procession. Fishermen, lake sailors and dock hands lined the river bank along the whole course of the boat's passage and as the craft, covered with dirt and weeds, came in sight, all bared their heads until the boat was out of sight.
No more dead were found in the boat when it was raised. Over $100 worth of canvas was used to cover the holes so that the tug could be made to float. Pumps were kept going on it from the time it came above the surface of the water, but even with their aid and the large stretch of canvas, the water could not be kept out.
The boat may be repaired and put back in commission as a fishing tug.
-Buffalo Evening News
-Monday, June 5, 1911
The fish tug SILVER SPRAY, out of Cleveland, fished out of Dunkirk many times. Sometime about the turn of the century it piled up on the breakwall at Cleveland in a terrific snowstorm, and the entire crew of six frozen to death. Later the tug was repaired by the Fix Brothers of Buffalo, named CHARLOTTE and fished out of Dunkirk again with Al Donnelly as captain.
- L.V. Reminiscence of Dunkirk
Sent to Texas
Rolland Leidheiser who recently joined the 11th U. S. Cavalry at Columbus has been ordered to join the troops at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Miss Helen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George wristed, living east of town met with a very serious accident Saturday afternoon. She with her friend, Colleen Braun riding horses on the L. A. Braun Farm. The horse Miss Helen was on a quick turn as she started towards the barn, seating her and throwing her against the tree. She struck on the back of her head causing a concussion; her arm and hip is badly bruised also.
The girls were alone at the time. Mr. and Mrs. Braun being away and Mr. Mrs. Liston also. They did not arrive home for more than an hour later and found Helen delirious. It was placed on a cotton removed her home and Dr. Heinig summoned under whose skillful treatment together with the careful nursing of Miss Patty Crozier she is doing well as can be expected. The family feel grateful to the many friends and neighbors whose kindness sympathy shown.
Will Open Millinery Store
Miss Matilda Wagner will return to Vermilion in the near future and open a millinery store. She has been at the wholesale houses for the past four or five weeks, copying and buying goods will bring a new and complete line of the best. She has rented the front parlor of the M. E. Church property where the post office is now located and will occupied about April 1st. In the meantime she will be pleased to meet customers and friends at the home of her sister, Mrs. Fitzgerald on South Street.
To Open Jewelry Store
Vern Willis, for many years and employ of Fisher Jewelry company, has purchased the stock of Robert Miller, and will open up a jewelry store on Broadway near 18th St., on March 15th. Mr. Willis returned from Chicago yesterday N
Mr. Willis has visited Vermilion quite regularly for the past several months and has made many friends here who will wish them abundant success.
Obey Your Wife and Save Money
Last night Mayor Williams’ wife suggested that he shut the cellar window. He failed to obey her injunction. Consequence – water pipes frozen. That’s what the man gets for disobeying his wife. The mayor was not the only one Jack Frost played a joke on last night, however.
News of Nearby Towns
C. Brucker has sold his blacksmith shop to Martin Malley.
Bert Hoffner was reported to be seriously ill at home at the home of his mother.
The births more than doubled the deaths in Amherst for the month of February
BORN – to Mr. and Mrs. Louis Vickert, a daughter, Saturday, March 11, 1911.
John Lawrence, caught his left hand in a gasoline feeding grinder on his father’s farm at Clough Quarry Monday evening.
Mr. G. Becker is reported on the sick list.
Mrs. Henry Wagner is ill at her home with Lagrippe.
Miss Alberta Lynn who sprained her ankle some time ago, is again unable to resume her school duties.
Miss Laura Van Wagnen who is been sick for the past three weeks is still unable to resume her duties as teacher. Miss Gertrude Wellman and Henry Reinhardt, two of the seniors have alternately been taking her place.
Mrs. Myron Frisbey is on the sick list.
Miss Pearl Leadrach is reported on the sick list.
John Feiszle who has been ill for the past week is again able to be about.
MAYOR STANDS ON HIS HEAD
An entertaining variation on the methods usually employed for the collection of subscriptions has been introduced by the acrobatic burgomaster, or mayor, of Posen, here Wilms. Meeting at an evening reception a rich merchant who is not particularly distinguished for his generosity to good works, the burgomaster approached him with a remark: “I want you to give me $1000 for our town’s charities.” With a gasp of astonishment the merchant replied: “You can stand on your head before you get any money out of me!” No sooner were the words out of his mouth when, to his bewilderment – which was shared by the other guests in the crowded room – the burgomaster carefully placed his hands on the carpet, and with the mayoral legs gracefully elevated in the air, passed in an inverted attitude out of the room. Returning a moment later he claimed his $1000 fee for the performance. The amazed merchant immediately handed him a check for the sum.
LOCALS AND PERSONALS
Mrs. Geo. Fischer and Miss Mayme Beeckel are visiting friends at Lorain today.
You think that women ought to vote? It will be debated at the high school Friday afternoon the 17th. You are cordially invited.
Mrs. Edwin Pelton is on the sick list with the grippe.
H. M. White, the genial shoe salesman, is confined to his home by sickness this week.
Jacob Nieding who has been confined to the house for the past three weeks is again on the streets.
Reports from Sandusky this week brings news of the serious illness of Mr. Everett Rose at the S. & S. Hospital.
Capt. Stone sold his house to John N. Englebry who will move it onto the lot recently purchased by all Capt. Bell near the El Harris place. Capt. Stone will build a fine modern residence on the lot thus vacated.
Don’t forget to homemade bake sale at Trinter & Unser’s at 1 o’clock Saturday.
Rev. J. T. N. Braithwaite of the “Lakeside Courier” made this office a very pleasant call Saturday afternoon having stopped off on his way to visit Amherst friends.
J. C. Seeman of Woodland Avenue has accepted a position with Ginn and Company, publishers of school textbooks. He formerly worked for the same company previous to a superintendency of the Vermilion schools. – Oberlin News.
The many friends of James Cuddeback will be very sorry to learn that he is again very ill in his home west of town.
Several more changes are reported underway this week. V. Thompson family expect to take up the residence in Cleveland about April 1. Mr. Thompson, who was employed here will probably remain here for the present. Mr. Albert Trinter has purchased the Thompson place on Grand Street of the Leidheiser heirs and will move into it in the near future. Mrs. Caroline Nuhn and daughter, Miss Emma, who have been spending the winter in Pasadena Cal. will occupy the house and thus vacated. Mr. and Mrs. Echenroad will move into part of Mrs. Julia Myers house. M. L. Seeley and family moved yesterday from Wakeman into the Nick Fisher house.
For upolstering and furniture repairing and other job work, G. E. Whitmore, Phone 162 – L.
Reita Funk took her first lesson on her coronet last week and we all wish you great success.
A lot of the young folks met it Ruby Latterman’s last week and had a jolly good time.
Will Blackman has been laid up with rheumatism for the past week but is now getting around a little with a cane.
Jim Thayer had a runaway last Wednesday while delivering meat his horses were frightened by the cars and ran into a tree. It broke the tongue of the wagon, but he escaped uninjured.
Elizabeth Funk, nee Kurth was born September 10, 1828 in Barbara Electorate Hesse, Germany, where she was baptized, educated, confirmed and spent her youth. She was united in marriage to Henry Funk, Oct. 29, 1857. Soon after their marriage they sailed for America, landing in New York in the fall of 1857. They traveled as far as westward as Pottsville Pa., where they resided for four years. In 1861 they came to Lorain County, O. spending fifty years in this community. In early days she attended the Evangelical church. When the Reformed church was organized, she and her husband cast their lot with this congregation, being Reformed from the mother country. Their married life was blessed with eight children, three of whom proceeded her to the world beyond. Her husband died Feb. 19, 1910, she survived him, 1 year and 14 days. Since father died, she made her home with her children passing away at the home of her son George, Cleveland, Ohio, after two days illness. Monday, March 6th, 3 a.m. She leaves to miss her departure, four sons, one daughter and nine grandchildren, living in Cleveland, Lorain, Elyria and Birmingham. She was a loving mother, a faithful church attendant, setting her family and her neighbors a beautiful example of family prayer and Christian life. Her age was 82 years, five months, 26 days. The funeral up obsequies took place from the home of her son William Hilgeman officiating in the German and Rev. Rupert of the M. E. Church in English tongue. Interment at Birmingham.
Charley Johnson is getting ready to move on his new farm.
George Knoch is hauling lumber for his new barn on the farm recently purchased by him.
Mr. George Mass, Secretary of the L. C. A., wife and children were the guests of A. R. Rumsey Friday and Saturday.
The sale of George Ludwig’s was well attended.
Mr. John Herecleus is busy buzzing wood for Henry Petty.
Everyone in our neighborhood is getting the ground plowed for corn.
The neighborhood was shocked to hear of the death of Mr. William Porter Oberlin.
Miss Rosa Berger has purchased a new loom to weave carpet and is now ready to assist anyone.
Our farmers are hauling potatoes to Lorain.
Ray Sherwood was called to George Risden’s Sunday to see his sister who fell from a horse and was quite badly hurt.
Mr. Philip Miller is moving his household goods down to Mr. Geo Risden’s at Brownhelm on the Shore Road. Mr. Miller intends to work for Mr. Risden.
Rev. Rupert went to Wakeman Tuesday to officiate at a funeral.
Even Evangelistic meeting which have been in progress in the M. E. Church for the past three weeks closed Sunday evening with some very good results. Miss McNutt c Evangelist is a hard and faithful worker.
Dwight Felton, living with his aged mother north of Florence was stricken with paralysis last Tuesday morning while at the barn milking the cow. His mother, seeing that he staid [sic] longer than usual, went to the stable and found him lying unconscious near the cow. She at once summoned the aid of nearby neighbors, who carried him to the house. A physician was called, but all help seemed vain for in a few hours he passed out of this life. He was united in marriage to Miss Sebolt 1880 who died in 1885. Funeral services were held in the M. E. Church at Florence on Thursday morning where a large company of relatives, friends and neighbors had gathered to pay their respects to the departed and showed the esteem in which the deceased was held. He was a good citizen and excellent neighbor, highly respected by all who knew him. He will be greatly missed in the home and in the community. The funeral was in charge of Rev. Rupert and the burial west of Florence.
Philo Sperry reported ill.
Chicken thieves are again at work about town.
BORN – to Mr. and Mrs. Pearl Shepperd, a daughter, Sunday, March 12.
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