Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bernard Bruns (1880-1968) "52 Ancestors"

If I am counting correctly, this would be week 39 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. I was out camping with our Boy Scouts this weekend, so I didn't have much time to think about writing - other than I need to make sure I get an article done before the week starts. As is my typical method of writing, I chose a random relative to focus on. This time I selected Bernard Bruns (1880-1968) as my focus. He is my 1st cousin 3 times removed. Bernard was the son of my 2nd great grand uncle and aunt, John Bernard Bruns (1842-1882) and Maria Anna Budde (1849-1909). John Bernard was commonly known as Bernard, so this may get a little confusing, especially since Bernard, the subject of this story had a son Bernard also.

Bernard was born on 14 January 1880 in McLean Township, Shelby County, Ohio. This information is based on various birth records that I have found. However, his obituary states that he was born 13 January 1880 in Minster, Auglaize County, Ohio. Since McLean Township is fairly rural, and parts of it are within the area serviced by the Minster post office, I can see how the location may be considered either one. I grew up in McLean Township, went to Fort Loramie schools but had a Minster address when I was a child.

Bernard was the sixth of seven children. His siblings were Joseph (1868-1956), Anna M (1870-1931), Henry (1873-??), Maria Anna (1875-1975), Josephina (1878-??) and John A (1882-1962). The family lived in a log house at 11425 Bruns Road on a 40-acre farm.

The 1880 census lists the family as Bernard (John Bernard) (age 37), his wife Mary (age 30), and their children Joseph (age 12), Anna (age 9), Henry (age 7), Mary (age 4), Josephina (age 2) and Bernard (age 5 months). Also living in the home were John Bernard's mother, Nancy Bruns (age 72) and Mary Horstman (age 23), a servant. Nancy Bruns was born in Oldenburg, Germany, is listed as a widow and is designated as being insane. I believe that Nancy is actually Maria Antonetta Schunck, John's mother.

John Bernard Bruns, Bernard's father, died on 15 November 1882 when Bernard was 2 years old. In 1882, just prior to his death, John Bernard Bruns purchased another 40 acres just to the north of the farm making the farm at least 80 acres is size. After John's death, his wife Maria Anna inherited the farm and lived there with the seven children aged 9 months to 14 years old. Maria Anna then married Fred Friemering who took over managing the farm. The house was expanded in 1891 to include seven rooms on a one and one-half story design, with a summer kitchen. In 1892 a 52'x80' barn was built on the property.

Anna Margaretha Hilgefort Bruns
On 27 June 1906, Bernard married Anna Margaretha Hilgefort (1879-1949). Anna was the daughter of Henry Hilgefort (1834-1916) and Maria Katherina Meyer (1838-1912). Her sister Mary Kathryn Hilgefort (1865-1950), married Mathias Brucken (1857-1935) whom I wrote about previously. Anna was born 4 February 1879 in Ft. Loramie, Ohio. Bernard and Anna's first child, Adella K. Bruns was born on 9 February 1907 in Ft. Loramie. Their second child, Raymond Frederick Bruns was born on 21 January 1909.

Bernard's mother, Maria Anna Budde Bruns (age 60), died on 9 October 1909 and the family farm was then inherited by her second husband, Fred Friemering. Bernard would have been 29 years old then.

During the 1910 census, the family is listed as Bernard (age 30), Anna (age 31) and their children, Adela (age 3) and Raymond (age 1 year 2 months). Bernard owns his farm near Yorkshire in Patterson Township, Darke County, Ohio, free of a mortgage.

In 1920, the family is living on Bruns Road near Yorkshire in Patterson Township, Darke County, Ohio. The family has grown by this time and now consists of Bernard (age 40), his wife Anna (age 40), and their children, Adella K (age 12), Raymond F (age 10), Harold J (age 9), Alma A (age 7), Norbert H (age 6) and Paul F (age 3 1/2 years). All of the children, except Paul are attending school. Bernard is working on his farm.

On 28 February 1926, the original farm that Bernard grew up on near Minster was destroyed by fire. It was still owned by Fred Friemering, his step father, but was rented out to Joseph Langenkamp and his family. Fred Friemering had moved to Minster since he could no longer manage the farm. The house and barn were totally destroyed by the fire. They were able to save the hog house, wood shed, chicken house, machine shed and the corn crib. The Langenkamp family lost all their belongings and soon thereafter moved into the renovated wood shed for shelter during the remainder of the winter. Eventually a house was transported by logs and steam engine from Chickasaw and a barn was brought in from Minster to replace the destroyed structures.

In 1930, Bernard (age 50) and Anna (age 51), along with their seven children, Adella (age 23), Raymond (age 21), Harold (age 19), Alma (age 17), Norbert (age 16), Paul (age 13) and Bernard Jr. (age 10) are living on the farm on Bruns Road in Patterson Township, Darke County, Ohio. Alma, Norbert, Paul and Bernard Jr are attending school. Adella is working as a clerk in a local dry goods store and Raymond and Harold are working as farm laborers on the family farm.

Bernard Bruns
Bernard is still living on the farm in 1940. He is 60 years old and works 60 hours per week on the farm. His wife Anna is 61 years old and the following children are also living at home: Raymond (age 31), Harold (age 29), Norbert (age 26), Paul (age 23) and Bernard Jr (age 20). Raymond's occupation is listed as farmer. Harold is employed as a mechanic in a machine shop. Norbert is a master electrician. Paul is employed as an assembler in a machine shop and Bernard Jr is working on the family farm. The highest paid individual was Paul, who worked 52 weeks and earned $1400 in 1939. Harold, who worked 49 weeks, earned $1200 in 1939 and was the second highest paid individual. Norbert who worked 27 weeks in 1939 only earned $370. While Bernard Jr worked 13 weeks in 1939 and earned $250.

Bernard's wife, Anna, died at the home on 26 March 1949 at the age of 70. She had been in reasonably good health at the time of her death. A few months earlier she had experienced heart troubles but the family believed that she had recovered from that. Her funeral was held at St. Nicholas Church in Osgood and her burial was in St. Martin's Cemetery on 30 March 1949.

On 7 November 1968, Bernard died of heart failure in his home. He was 88 years old and had been seriously ill for the prior two months. He was survived by all seven of his children as well as 18 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. His three brothers and two of his sisters preceded him in death. His funeral was held in St. Nicholas Church and he was buried in St. Martin's Cemetery on 11 November 1968.

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