The Legend of the Romeisers: Part 1
Ahead of Friday the 13th and Halloween and ghost tours, we thought it would be appropriate to just BEGIN telling the saddest story surrounding our sweet house.
Easily the first question we are ever asked about our house is whether or not it’s haunted, do we experience paranormal activity, have we had it blessed or saged, does any “funny” stuff ever happen… well, the answer to that is sort of a mixed bag. As an admitted skeptic, I do find it fairly easy to explain away bumps in the night. The house is settling, my children are quite heavy-footed and sound travels in an odd way here, I think there’s a raccoon living in the attic. However; my husband wakes up at the same exact time every night (4:05), and the other night one of our sons woke up screaming and when we got to his room, he was sitting up in bed staring fixedly at nothing. He would have occasional night terrors at our old house which was built in 1985– and I never jumped straight to the thought that he was spooked by a ghost. So why would I jump to this conclusion NOW simply because our house is 100 years older than that? As of yet, nothing truly scary or heart-stopping has happened to us. And why would it, you ask? What could possibly have happened at the Brick and Maple? Buckle in.
With Halloween around the corner, we thought it would be an appropriate time to fill you in on the rumors surrounding the BAM. As we mentioned before, Peter and Elise had 8 children. Less than half survived into adulthood while the others experienced deaths that could best be described as… chilling.
Perhaps the saddest death of them all was of the Romeiser’s 7th child, a son named Roland. He was born in 1889 and was beloved by all in his family and the entire town. A charismatic, vivacious personality, he was talented and musical. He was Senior class President and composed the class song for his 1906 graduating class of Belleville High School, was just passionate about music, and was immensely talented in the romance languages. Mere months later, he would be dead.
Celebrating their father’s birthday at home on the evening of Sunday, November 11, 1906, Roland had entertained the family with music and was said to have been “exceptionally jolly and gay.” Around 11pm, he and his younger brother Alvin (other spellings have been Elvin or Alwin) retired to their bedroom on the second floor while Mr. Romeiser stayed up to read the newspaper. Sometime between midnight and 1am, Peter began to head to bed. Upon hearing shuffling and mumbling in the boys’ upstairs room, he went to check on them. When he entered the room, he discovered Roland’s labored breathing, the result of an apparent heart attack. He called away for the family doctor but it was too late… Roland had died. The official cause of death was listed as ‘Overstudy’ and Paralysis of the Heart. In an otherwise healthy and happy 17 year old male, this was unthinkable. Newspaper articles said the family was absolutely despondent, that the death was “a great blow to the members of the Romeiser family, who are prostrate with grief.”
That a seemingly normal teen, just on the cusp of life, would die of a heart attack a few short hours after celebrating his father’s birthday, in his father’s arms, is simply heart wrenching. I have spent many, many hours thinking about him and his parents, the grief they experienced, and the sadness that surrounds a life extinguished too soon. How would one even go on? How does a parent cope? How does a sibling deal with the gravity of such a sad situation?
Well, unfortunately for the case of the Romeiser siblings, they did not cope well. More sadness and death surrounds this story… but in order to fully honor both Roland and the full story, you’ll have to check back next week to find out just exactly what happened, and why The Brick and Maple has a local reputation for being haunted.
Thanks for tuning in! Ready for Part 2?
The Brick and Maple Fam <3