Retired Seattle Police Officers Association

By: Officer Mike Severance – North Precinct

 On Saturday morning, September 24, 1910, a detail of about 30 prisoners from the Seattle stockade were working in the stockade yard. The stockade was at the east end of the Yesler Building, 400 Yesler, which also housed City Hall, Police Headquarters, and City Hospital. They were being guarded and supervised by four Seattle police officers assigned as stockade guards. One of those guards was Officer Mathias N. Rude, 44. Officer Rude was standing to the left side of prisoner R. Ladovitch, 42. Rude bent over to move a rock. While the officer was bent over, Ladovitch, without any warning or provocation, struck Rude in the head with a mattock, a tool similar to a pick axe but having a wide blade used for loosening soil. Officer Rude fell to the ground. Ladovitch surrendered immediately as the other guards approached him with their weapons aimed at him. A doctor was summoned, and treated Rude at the scene before he was taken to City Hospital. While three doctors did all they could to save the officer’s life, Rude’s wife was brought to the hospital. She was by his side when he died at 4:10 p.m.
Officer Rude was survived by his wife, Olive, and two sons, Harold and Archie. Also surviving him was his father in Wisconsin and several brothers living in Seattle. One of his brothers, Hans P. Rude, had been a Seattle City Councilman from 1896 to 1906. The Rude family lived at 611 Lee St. There was certainly a well-attended funeral, but an account of it has not yet been found. Officer Mathias Rude was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.
R. Ladovitch had been arrested on 9-18-1910. He had stolen a $24.05 endorsed check off the bar at the Balkan Saloon at Maynard and Weller. He then went to the Shipyard Bar at 523 1st Ave. S., and cashed it. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and a $100 fine. Since he had no money, his jail term was sixty-three days.  The day before he murdered Officer Rude, he had threatened to kill another guard for making him work like all the other prisoners. Ladovitch was tried for Murder 1. His defense was temporary insanity. A jury convicted him of Murder 2. He was sentenced to 10 years to life at the Walla Walla Penitentiary. Ladovitch died at Walla Walla on 8-23-1911 after serving less than one year.
Mathias N. Rude was born in 1866 in Vestre Toten in southeastern Norway. He came to the United States in 1875 at age 9 with his family. The family settled in Wisconsin. Mathias came to Seattle in 1893. Two of his brothers had already been in Seattle for several years. On 2-20-1894, Mathias married Olive Gilbert. From 1893 to 1908, Mathias worked as a tailor. He was commissioned as a Deputy Sheriff for King County in 1908. He was commissioned as a Seattle police officer on 6-1-1910 and assigned as a guard at the stockade.
Olive Rude never remarried. She spent the rest of her life in Seattle, and died in 1956. She is buried with her husband at Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Harold Rude preceded his mother in death in 1953. Archie Rude married, and had two children, Robert and Shirley. Shirley lives in California. Robert Lives in SeaTac. Shirley’s son, John, is a retired USAF Lt. Col. and former Assistant Director of Admissions at the U of W. He lives in Ellensberg. There are several great great grandchildren of Officer Mathias Rude currently living in the state of Washington.
In May 1998, Officer Mathias Rude was one of forty Seattle police officers, killed between 1881 and 1976, who were posthumously awarded the Washington Law Enforcement Medal of Honor. His medal has been in the custody of the Seattle Police Department since 1998. Officer Rude’s grandson would like to receive his Medal of Honor. The Department has his contact information, but, as of 5-1-13, the Department has not contacted him