Rosa Cluss nee Schmidt
In 1852, Cluss first referred in his letters to a spirited, beautiful sixteen-year-old girl from Maryland. Cluss met Rosa Schmidt and her parents at a political meeting in Baltimore. Jacob Schmidt, a teacher at Baltimore's free-thinking Zion Church school, and his wife Elisabetha, had immigrated from the Bavarian Palatinate (today part of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate) in the 1830s. While they held liberal views about religion and government, they disagreed with communist ideology. Thus Adolf and Rosa did not get off to a good start. Cluss joked, "The young girl has been rude to me wherever she could, and the old man wants me beaten up in case I enter their house. Of course, I used this for bad jokes, which intensified their anger." As his attachment to communism waned in the following years, a friendship with Rosa deepened. In 1859, Adolf Cluss married Rosa Schmidt at Baltimore's Zion Lutheran Church. The couple then embarked on a wedding trip to Europe. They lived for the next thirty-five years in a modest row house on Second Street in northwest Washington, where they raised seven children.
The Cluss family life was marked by tragedies. In 1876, their three-year-old son Robert passed away. In 1886, their son, Adolph, age twenty-three, a clerk working for Cluss, died of typhoid fever. Between 1893 and 1894 two other sons and his wife died. Seventeen-year-old Richard was a victim of tuberculosis in April 1893 and a year later, Cluss's wife, Rosa, succumbed to a lengthy respiratory illness. Six months later, typhoid fever claimed twenty-nine-year-old son, Carl, a pharmacist. Following those tragedies, Cluss and two daughters, Flora and Anita, moved to the home of his oldest daughter and her husband, Lillian and William Daw, above Daw's pharmacy at Twenty-third and H streets, NW. Cluss died two weeks after his 80th birthday in 1905, having outlived four sons, his wife, and all but one of his seven brothers and sisters.