Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mathias Brucken (1857-1935) "52 Ancestors"

It is now week 37 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. I am hoping that I am back on schedule (except for the couple weeks that I missed because of technical difficulties related to our recent move.) In a previous post I mentioned that I was going to try to do a focus on the Brucken family so here is my attempt at that.

I began researching this family because of an e-mail that I received a few weeks ago. The person e-mailed me because of a story that I had written in this blog back in February 2013. We happened to have the same ancestor in common on the Rieger line (Joseph Rieger 1832-1916) and she was wondering if I had any information on the Brucken family. I hadn't done much research on them but I knew the name. There was a bar in my home town named Bruckens that I visited fairly often in my younger days. It was close to the place I worked and they had good lunches. So I figured maybe I would be able to find out which of the Brucken family started the bar. 

I had one Brucken tied to my tree. That one was Mathias Brucken (1857-1935) who married Cecilia Reiger, my 1st cousin 3 times removed, the daughter of Joseph Rieger and grand daughter of Justus Weise. So, I figured that would be as good a place as any to start my research. Mathias was born on 12 October 1857 in a log house on south Main street in Minster, Auglaize County, Ohio. His parents were immigrants from Germany. They were Conrad Hubert Brucken (1819-1879) and Maria Christina Romboy (1829-1878). Mathias was the fourth child of eight that I have found. The first three children were born in Germany before the family immigrated. Mathias was the first child in this family born in the United States.  Soon after his birth, the family moved from Minster to Ft. Loramie.

In 1870 the family consisted of Conrad (age 51), his wife Christina (age 42) and seven children; Peter (age 19), Mathias (age 17), John (age 13), August (age 10), Joseph (age 8), Mary (age 5), and Anthony (age 1). Conrad owned a farm with real estate valued at $2,500 and a personal value of $776 at the time. They were living in McLean Township, Shelby County, Ohio. Mathias is listed as working on the farm, while his younger siblings, John, August and Joseph are attending school. Sometime during the 1870s, Conrad started a saw mill in Ft. Loramie in which several of his sons worked.

After Conrad's death, his son Anton took over the saw mill for a short period before selling it to the Wise family in the early 1880s. I have already written about the Wise family and the saw mill in previous stories. The 1880 census lists Anton Brucken (age 27), his wife Regina Siegel another of my 1st cousins 4 times removed (age 27), their children Christina (age 2) and Catherina (age 8 months), his brothers Mathias (age 22) and August (age 18), his sister Mary (age 12) and three boarders, William Pretzman (age 22), Henry Menten (age 25) and Anton Luckman (age 30). Anton, Mathias, August and the three boarders are all listed as working in the saw mill at this time. Anton eventually moved to Evansville, Indiana where he was the proprietor of another saw mill in the early 1900s. Also during the 1880s, Mathias married Cecilia Rieger (1863-1887) and had two children, Joseph Mathias (1882-1953) and Louis (1885-1957). Cecilia died on 13 October 1887 and was buried in St. Michaels Cemetery in Ft. Loramie. On 23 April 1888, Mathias married Mary Kathryn Hilgefort (1865-1950). Mary was the daughter of Johann Heinrich Hilgefort (1834-1916) and Maria Kathrina Meyer (1838-1912). Mathias maintained his position in the saw mill and was the head sawyer for several years, even after it was sold to the Wise family.

In the 1890s, Mathias started a new business endeavor at 10 Elm Street in Ft. Loramie. As his obituary put it, he "prosecuted a private business that was popular with local people and with scores of citizens in neighboring localities." What was his popular business? Well, it was a saloon. After more than a century, this saloon still exists today and is commonly known as Bruckens. The 1900 census lists the family as Mat (age 42), his wife Mary (age 35) and their children; Harry (age 8), Francis (age 7), Lizzie (age 3), Joseph (age 16) and Louie (age 14). Mathias' occupation is listed as saloon keeper.

On 28 April 1906, Mathias bought the property at 37 North Main Street in Ft. Loramie from Barney Gerling. This parcel is located near the corner of Elm and Main just around the block from his home and saloon. He didn't hold on to the property for very long and sold it two years later to Clara Pauwell on 18 August 1908. This property is the current location for the Ft. Loramie Wilderness Trail Museum.

In 1910, the Brucken household consisted of Mathias (age 52), Mary (age 45) and their children; Henry M (age 19), Frances M (age 17), Elizabeth C (age 14), Albert A (age 8) and Urban H (age 2). Mary had had seven children but two had died. My research indicates that the two deceased children were John and Adeline Regina. The family was still living on Elm Street. Mathias' occupation is listed as saloon keeper. 

In 1920, Mathias (age 62), his wife Mary (age 55), and their children Frances (age 27), Elizabeth (age 24), Albert (age 18) and Urban (age 12) were still living at their home on Elm Street in Ft. Loramie. Mathias lists his occupation as pool room manager. You may be wondering why his occupation had changed from saloon keeper to pool room manager. Well, if you think back to your American History class, there was something happening during the 1920s and early 1930s. If you guessed Prohibition you would be correct. So, I am sure that Mathias was no longer selling alcohol and had a dry pool hall (yeah, right).

By 1930, Mathias had retired from active business and was living with his wife and daughter Elizabeth. Elizabeth was working as a sales lady in a nearby department store. 

On 4 February 1933, Urban Brucken, the son of Mathias, was killed in an automobile accident. He was 25 years old. The accident occurred shortly after midnight when his car had a head-on collision with another car on Highway 119, about a mile east of Minster, a short distance west of a newly constructed bridge over Hoffhaus ditch. Urban was headed to McCartyille with Elmer Holtvogt, on their way to a dance. Wilbur Poeppelman, who was driving the other car, was on his way home from the dance in McCartyville. Urban's car was thrown into the ditch and both occupants were thrown from the vehicle. Urban was thrown about 20 feet and landed face down in the ditch. He had suffered a punctured lung, internal injuries, and numerous lacerations and contusions. His passenger suffered a broken nose and lost several teeth in the accident. Occupants in the Poeppelman vehicle were Herman Poeppelman, Irene Brandewie, and Mildred Brandewie. All suffered minor injuries and were treated by doctors before being released to return home. Urban and his brother Henry, operated a cigar store and lunch room in Ft. Loramie. My guess is that this is the same location that Bruckens was located.

Mathias died two years later on 11 November 1935, at the age of 78. Throughout his life he was active in the civic concerns of the town and served as a member of the village council and on the board of education. He actively promoted the village to outside businesses and argued that because of the geographic location it ought to be a magnet for people in every section of Ohio. He was one of the early movers and shakers in the Ft. Loramie community and played an important part in the history of the town. He is buried in St. Michaels Cemetery.

1 comment:

  1. Mary Gertrude Brucken was my great grandmother. She married Valbert Constant, August Carity. They had my grandmother, Mary Sophia. Thank you for this wonderful story.