Friday, May 2, 2014

Herman Heinrich Bruns (1840-1913) "52 Ancestors"

Week 18 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge and still going strong. We had our move inventory earlier this week in preparation for our upcoming relocation. We also have been doing some furniture shopping. My wife had originally decided on a Key West style with lots of beachy themes and light colors. She has now switched to a more Victorian look with bold colors. Good thing I hadn't started buying paint yet. While we were doing all of that I tried to do a little family history research. I was all over the board. I did a little on the following families: Bruns, Kaiser, Dues, Hilgefort, LeBoeuf, and some others but really didn't concentrate on any of them too much. Must be the ADD in me - SQUIRREL!!

Ok, now that I have a few minutes to sit and concentrate, I decided to focus in on my great-great grandfather, Herman Heinrich Bruns (1840-1913). I was looking through the names I had already done for my blog and realized that I had not written any stories on the Bruns family.

Herman was born in Minster, Auglaize County, Ohio. His exact birth date is in question. The St. Augustine Church archivist in Minster says he was born on 15 February 1839. The 1900 census has his birth date as April 1840. His death certificate says he was born on 3 January 1840. His parents were Joseph Heinrich Johann Bruns (1805-1878) and Maria Antonetta Schunck (1805-1887), both of whom were born in Germany. His father was born in Oldenburg, Germany and acquired land in Stallostown (Minster) in 1833 after he immigrated. On 9 October 1835 he received a land grant for 80 acres located in the east 1/2 of the north 1/2 of the southeast quarter of Section 4, Township 8, Range 4. That land is now located at 11765 Bruns Road. Stallowstown was founded in 1832 by Francis Stallo and changed its name to Minster in 1836 in remembrance of the Roman Catholic region of Munster in Westphalia where many of the early settlers originated. Many of the early settlers arrived in the United States through the port of Baltimore and then made their way down the Ohio River to Cincinnati. From there they followed the Miami-Erie Canal to Minster. There is some confusion as to how many siblings Herman had. My research has the following siblings; Johan Heinrich Frederich (1835-1907), John Bernard (1842-1882), Elisabeth (abt 1843-??), and John (abt 1846-??). Part of this confusion is the result of the 1850 census which lists Joseph (age 46), Antonate (age 44) and their children Frederic (age 16), Henry (age 14), Bernard (age 10), Eliza (age 6) and John (age 4). The ages for Frederic, Henry and Bernard don't quite match up with the birthdates for Johan Heinrich Frederich, Herman Heinrich, and John Bernard. In 1850 the family is living in McLean Township, Shelby County, Ohio and Joseph has $400 worth of property.

On 15 October 1863, Herman married Maria Anna "Mary" Kuether (1845-1924). Mary was the daughter of Johann Joseph Kuether (1913-1857) and Maria Elisabeth Drees (1809-1863), both German immigrants from Hanover, Germany. Mary lived her entire life on the family farm two miles south of Egypt in Shelby County, Ohio. When Herman and Mary married they took over the operations of the Kuether family farm and lived there the remainder of their lives.

The 1870 census for McLean Township, Shelby County, Ohio lists the family as Herm (age 30), Mary A (age 25), and their children Catherine (age 6), Elizabeth (age 4), and Anna (age 9 moths). The farm is valued at $2300 and Herman's personal value is $715.

The 1880 census has Herman (age 40), Mary (age 34), Catherine (age 15), Elizabeth (age 13), Anna (age 10), Josephina (age 8), Mary Anna (age 8), Rosa (age 3), and Ferdinand (age 8 months). All of the children, except Rosa and Ferdinand, are listed as attending school.

There are a couple things that I have found interesting in the 1900 census. Herman (age 60) is listed as not being able to read, write or speak English. This is followed up in the 1910 census which states that Herman speaks German. This area of Ohio was heavily German and for many, it was their first language and the local newspapers continued to be written in German up until about 1920. It strikes me as odd though that all the other members of the family were speaking English and only Herman was not. Additionally, there is a new name in the family that I am not able to track. There is a daughter named Jennie (age 25) born July 1874. I don't see her listed in the 1880 census and the closest child to this age is Mary Anna who was born September 1875. The remainder of the family in this census are Fred (age 19), Joseph (age 17) and Mary (age 14). Herman had been married for 30 years at the time of the 1900 census and they are listed as having 9 children, all of whom are still living.

By the 1910 census, their son Fred (age 30) has taken over the family farm and is taking care of Herman (age 71) and Mary (age 65). Joseph (age 28), another of their sons, is also working on the farm. A niece, Caroline Winner (age 21), is also living at the home. Fred (Ferdinand) (1879-1951) married Katherine Poeppelman (1878-1957) on 8 June 1910. Fred and Katherine had five children; Robert (1911-1971), Clarence (1912-1959), Raymond (abt 1915-??), Marie (1915-2007), and Edward (1918-1999).

Herman died at 11:30 p.m. on 13 January 1913 at the farm. He had been ill for some weeks, suffering from uremia and chronic nephritis. Herman was 72 years and 11 months old at the time of his death and only 9 months shy of celebrating his golden wedding anniversary. His funeral was held on 16 January 1913 and he was buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery.

Mary continued to live on the farm with Fred's family and Joseph who never married. The 1920 census lists Fred (age 41), Kathie (age 41), Robert (age 8), Clarence (age 7), Raymond (age 5), Mary (age 4), and Edward (age 1 year 8 months). Also in the home are his mother Maria Anna (age 74) and his brother Joseph (age 37).

Mary died at the age of 79 on 28 November 1924 on the farm hat she had spent her entire life caring for. She was still very active, taking care of the household work and caring for her family and the grandchildren. She woke that morning feeling a little under the weather and asked the other family members to help her with the chores. Later that day she suffered a stroke. She was one of the oldest residents in the area of Egypt and was well respected in the community. The funeral on 2 December 1924 was well attended by many friends and family. Mary had a large number of family members including forty grandchildren in the Egypt area.

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