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Chapter A - Heinrich "August" Julius Brennecke
Chapter B - Heinrich (Henry) Ludwig Brennecke
Chapter C - Georg August Friedrich Brennecke
Chapter D - Carl August Friedrich (Fred) Brennecke
Chapter E - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm (William) Brennecke
Chapter F - Hanna Justine Louisa (Louise) Brennecke
Chapter G - Johann Heinrich Christian Carl (Charles) Brennecke (our line)
Chapter H - Johanna Caroline Friedrike Brennecke
Chapter I - George (Schoose) H. Brennecke
Chapter J - Johann Franklin (Frank) Brennecke
Chapter K - Johann Jacob (Jake) Brennecke
August was born 26 September 1825, the first of 11 children. The church records state that his mother, Engel Christine Wilhelmine Eikemeyer, said that the father of this, her first child, was August Friedrich Brennecke, who has [illegible] in Sebexen and lives in Oppershausen. August was baptized on October 2. His godparents were Julius [illegible], Christian Eickemeier, and [illegible] Brennecke's wife. We don't know whether his parents lived together or separately during this time. August's parents didn't marry until 12 July 1829, shortly before his brother's birth.
August, at the age of 19, decided to remain in the Kingdom of Hannover (later Germany) when his parents and siblings moved to America in 1844. We wonder why. He became a school teacher and lived and taught in Willensen, a few miles from Sebexen. At age 30 he married Louisa Nienstaedt in 1855 and they had two children that survived only a short time. In about 1858 they moved to Sieber, a small town just north of Herzberg am Harz. Sieber is in a very narrow valley bounded by sharply rising hills that limit the hours of direct sunlight. It is only two streets wide, paralleling the small Sieber River. He remained in Sieber for about thirty years, teaching and raising a family. He suffered from poor health after 1863, particularly after 1871, and was therefore not steadily employed. It is from there that he wrote and received the several letters to his family in Missouri shown on the following pages. Of August's five children, only two survived infancy. The younger of the two survivors, Wilhelm, died in his teens. Only Justus lived to adulthood.
At the time of August's death at age 76 he was living with his son Justus and family at #7 Muenzstrasse in Goslar. His body was taken by train to be buried in Herzberg am Harz, near Osterode. Herzberg was the birthplace of his deceased wife, Louisa Nienstaedt, the place of son Justus' wedding four years earlier, and the birth place of Justus' wife.
His son, CARL FRIEDRICH AUGUST JUSTUS BRENNECKE, the sole surviving child, was a civil servant. He performed as a tax official in German. He proudly bore the title of Tax Commissionerand wore a government uniform. He was assigned to various districts during his career. At the time of his marriage in Herzberg in 1897, he was assigned to Goslar. His first four children were born in Goslar. It was during his Goslar residency that his father moved in with them until his death in 1901. Around 1905/1906 Justus was reassigned and moved to Ilfeld near Nordhausen. In 1910 he and his family moved to Peine (located between Hannover and Braunschweig), where his fifth child was born and where his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren still reside.
Two of Justus' daughters, Mathilde and Elisabeth, were visited by Norman and Marlene Brennecke in Peine in 1986. Elisabeth provided a copies of her Ahnenpass (ancestor record required by Hitler) and some old photos of August, son Justus, their wives, and granddaughter Mathilde. Elisabeth, whose husband died in WW II, has two sons - Peter living in Peine and Juergen living in Berlin. Peter and his wife, Margret, have two young daughters. When Norman returned again in 2001 he met more of the extended family there. They included Elisabeth's nieces, Dorli Brennecke Begalke and Jutta Brennecke Keunecke, nephew Claus Brennecke, and their spouses. See photos below.
On the pages following the family photos are translations of several letters sent between August and his family in America. Arranged in chronological order, they make fascinating reading 130 years later.
Here are several of the letters sent between August and his family that had moved to America. Arranged in chronological order, they make fascinating reading 130 years later.
TRANSLATED LETTERS TO AND FROM
HEINRICH AUGUST JULIUS BRENNECKE
(See a few originals on Documents Page)
Original translations and revisions by Marlene Brennecke, et al, except where noted.
[WILHELMINE to son AUGUST]
December 26, 1868
Dearly beloved Son, Daughter-in-law, and Children,
Gladly I take the pen to write a short note to you in the hope that you are found in the best of health.
As for me and mine, we are (thank God) presently fairly healthy, although I was for a time very weak and often could not do my housework correctly.
Now I must give you the information that the money, namely 218 dollars 85 cents with interest included, has been sent to the consul in St. Louis. You will be notified by letter as to where you can pick up the money.
Dear son, your letter from October 2nd made me happy on one hand, but also made me very sad when you wrote that your health was critical. My sincerest wish is to see you once more but, since that cannot be, I console myself with the hope that we will meet one day again where there is no more separation, suffering, and tragedy, and where we will be exempt from all that surrounds us here, forever in eternity.
We too here in America have much to get through. The war has not destroyed us, however, almost ruined us. The Rebels took my horses, wagon, and everything valuable in the house, namely articles of clothing and food. The horses were also taken from my children. The children fled since their lives were at risk in their own native country. They often hid for days and nights in the woods until they were all conscripted into the army. Only Jacob I kept by me as he can hear the musket fire and I might get news that one of my sons has been hit by a hostile bullet. This is all over now and, to my great happiness, they have (thank God) all returned uninjured. However the camp life worked a hardship on their health.
Your brother Wilhelm is very sickly and your brother-in-law Karl Neumeyer suffers much with rheumatism and the Fever is in almost every house. The war and sickness have brought me and my children more or less into debt. As a result of the war we have many taxes to pay. These and other debts stand over us so that we were not prepared for your request for money. I think however, in about a year, I will send you yet a hundred dollars if no unforeseen circumstances prevent me.
Now I beg you please, do not worry so much and be thankful. Gratefully endure everything with patience and submission to the will of God. For a believer, everything shall have a purpose.
Only You, who is all wise
Only You know, what is good for me
Only You see, what every sorrow
Brings blessings in the Eternity
Yes God wants all the best for us if we just trust in Him, even if we often cannot see it.
About your children, you shouldn't worry unreasonably. When they are old enough and have the desire to go to America, we will be here. Concern yourself, therefore, that they do come here.
Now I must mention that the money was sent from here to St. Louis on the 22nd of this month, and beg you to write to me as soon as you have received it.
Now I must close, with many greetings from me and my children to you all. I remain your truly, loving Mother.
- - - - - - - - - -
[This letter from Carl Neumeyer was included as part of the above letter sent by Wilhelmine Brennecke on December 26, 1868.]
Making use of this opportunity allows me to write to you briefly about my situation.
In 1851, in the 17th year of my life, I left my birthplace - Berndorf, Kreis Eisenberg Fursten - by way of Waldeck and emigrated to North America but stayed in Missouri only a few years, traveling then in 1856 to California from where I returned after 4 years. I bought a farm here about 2 miles from your mother, then became acquainted with your youngest sister Karoline whom I wanted for my future wife. I was filled with joy. However, we were no sooner married when the unpleasant war broke out and Missouri was on the border between South and North. So we always had both armies here and much bloodshed was felt in our area. My horses were taken from me. I was not permitted under Military rule to plant on my farm, consequently, I did not harvest. Because of that, I and my family had much sickness to contend with and I suffer ---
[here a line appears to be missing from the copy of the letter]
- - the second, a son 5 years old with the name Heinrich. The third, also a son 2 years old and called Wilhelm. My children are now quite healthy but my wife has been sickly for a long time.
My God, bless us for the future with good health and touch and guide us as long as we are willing to enter and to all assemble someday before Your throne, is my wish and prayer.
I greet you, your brother-in-law
[From AUGUST to his family]
Sieber, at Herzberg in the Harz
September 18, 1871
Dear Mother and dear Brother & Sister!
From the accompanying will you see that Carl Walter Brennecke died in Sebexen and that he willed his entire estate to Fritz Brennecke [the cousin of AUGUST]. The estate has a value of more than 2000 pound sterling. The old aunt Caroline, nee Berner, who cheated our sainted father out of house and home, persuaded and pressured Carl Walter in his final distress so that she got it all. We therefore leave empty-handed. Today first I received this letter and information and am forwarding as a follow-up to the letter mailed to you. Dear mother and dear brother, send $200.00 immediately so that I can pay my debts and not fall into the hands of the merciless creditors. Fulfill my plea and deliver the money so that I will get out of these debts, because my sickness and the representation [in court] has cost so much and because I will need much in my convalescence. Twice I have been obligated to the church [received charity]. I think God will preserve me a few more years if my family helps me to that end; help me in this by supporting me and sending the money, because I am in great need. Live in peace, dear mother, dear brother(s) and sisters, etc.
With many greetings from me and my family,
Your son and brother, August Brennecke
Those in Sebexen delight in their inheritance and for the most part ignore my need; but with the Lord's help I will again get strong and will, with His and your help, survive and live to see, God willing, that my children will grow up and be pious.
Your loving son and brother,
Aug. Brennecke in Sieber
[Originally translated by Rev. Walter Keisker; revised by Marlene Brennecke]
[From JACOB to AUGUST]
Jackson October 14, 1881
Dear Brother and Sister-in-law,
We have received your treasured letter of April 25th and therein have seen that you are all still alive. We know nothing of your previous letter and we have not seen the man to whom you have given the letter.
Dear brother you already know that our dear Mother is dead. She died on March 20, 1874. She became ill on Monday and died on Friday. Her last illness was the winter influenza. That you were not written about this is not my fault. Brother Wilhelm had promised to write to you that our mother has died. In her will she bequeaths to her children, except you and Frank and Heinrich's children are excluded. The land from which your inheritance comes is still not sold because where the land is located there is no demand. We have so far not borrowed any money against it but we must pay $10.00 per year taxes. Dear brother, as for us we are, thank God, healthy.
I am married five years to Henriette Peetz and we have three children. The oldest is called August and will be 5 years old on April 29th. the second is called Heinrich and was 3 years old this past September 29th. The third is a girl called Anna and she will be 9 months old on October 26th.
Dear brother, we were very sick these years. We have our own misery here, otherwise we would like to help you. However, we have nine hundred dollars debt still to pay on our farm. Dear brother, the other brothers and sisters are still alive and each one has their own troubles.
Each lives on his own farm except brother Friedrich who lives in the town in his own house that is also not yet debt free. His family has been often sick and from that they also have debts. Only brother Wilhelm is debt free but he must still work every day for his livelihood. He is also sickly. Brother Frank's wife has been laid up with arthritis for 8 years. For 4 years she has been unable to do her housework. She can not feed herself now. Brother Karl lives in Scott County about 20 English miles from here. The others are all here in Cape Country within 10 miles of each other. Sister Louise lives in the state of Illinois about 200 miles from here. She was here for one year visiting us and at that time they were well.
Dear brother, the times are still bad here, worse than they were earlier. The harvest was bad. French (white) corn did not ripen this year, although it is the best crop here. The wheat was passable but the potatoes were all rotten.
Please write once and tell us where our relatives in Germany are and if they are still living. Write soon again.
Many heartfelt greetings from me and my wife and children.
Your loving brother,
Mr. Jacob Brennecke
Jackson, Cape Girardeau
County, State Missouri
[From AUGUST to JACOB]
Sieber July 11, 1883
Enclosed find the legal authorization for you showing that I am agreeable to the sale of the 320 acres which our father left us and in which I have a share. For the proxy I had to pay 27 Marks. I urgently beg you therefore not to permit this expense to be in vain, that the land be sold, and that my inheritance be sent this summer, perhaps in August.
I have great needs for the money for my children that they will be in position to attend the Teachers College. I have already so often pleaded about this, but always in vain. Now bring an end to this and delay no more. In my opinion, the legal proxy was absolutely unnecessary. We as brothers must have trust and I could have saved the 27 M.
However, since you didn't send the money and I was required to incur this expense, I beg you once again be sure to send my share within 6 weeks. The money is very much looked for by us because I am on a modest income and for the past 12 years had many visits to the doctor and the pharmacists. However, I don't want to write any more about it because I have so often done so. I send thereon, a belief that my plea is fulfilled.
We have had a cold spring. On Pentecost we still had much snow here on the mountains. About that time warm air and rain came and in 14 days everything was in magnificent bloom. Then we had another long period of (drought) so that the meadows were scorched and the summer fruit did not (develop). In many places in Germany there were again heavy downpours which ravaged town and countryside for the entire summer.
God protect you and us all from such misfortune and mercifully He also especially wants to take all of you my brothers and sisters with all your loved ones into His all powerful favor and deliver the otherwise sick relatives and friends from their lonely distress in His name.
My wife and both of my sons and I send you the best good wishes and greetings from the land that was your homeland. Cousin Heinrich Mallor in Greene [9km NW of Sebexen] is also dead. They all depart gradually, our loved ones, and we will soon follow them, since my time on earth is 58 years and for the last 20 years I have had much misery.
Once again with heartiest greetings to you, your dear wife, and children, also our love to all our other brothers, sisters, and brothers- and sisters-in-law and all.
Your own dear brother
[From AUGUST to JACOB]
Sieber, August 29, 1883
Around Eastertime, you wrote that the 320 acres should now have been sold, and I should receive my share, only I should give one of the brothers a power of attorney, to say that I am in agreement with that. To this I answered, that a power of attorney should not be necessary among brothers, since it would be an expense and brothers wouldn't favor one above the other.
A short while after that, I went ahead anyway and had a power of attorney written up, for which I paid 27 marks and then another 4.70. When sending same to you, I asked you to go ahead with the sale and to send my share at that time, since I had big expenses for my two sons at the end of August.
To this day no money has arrived and I must continue to beg to send my share within 4 weeks. I will be very unhappy if I do not receive payment for a long time. It is, I fear, now time to be direct so that this doesn't happen. To that end I beg you again, dear Jacob, to take care of this at once.
I end this letter with best blessings from me and mine to you and your loved ones, and also to all our brothers, sisters and relatives. Your loving brother and brother-in-law.
(Original translation by Mrs. John Siemer, Jackson, MO., Summer 1974; revised by Marlene Brennecke, 1988. The original letter is the property of Herbert Schaper.)
[From Karl Neumeyer to AUGUST]
Gordonville 5 June 1895
Dear brother-in-law August Brennecke,
I take the time and liberty on this occasion to write to you and inform you that I have received a letter from your sister Louise who is now in Eirike [Eureka] Spring, Kansas while a Bath Institute sustains her and her husband, H. Meyer, through a mild stroke. Something is paralyzed on the right side. His speech also has severe damage. They sought this remedy on the advice of the doctor. To that, God wants to give His blessing.
Since your sister Louise did not know your address, she sent the letter to me for forwarding to you.
Concerning us, we are (thank God) still thoroughly healthy. I am now 62 and my wife is 54 years old. We have eleven children, 6 boys and 5 girls. The youngest is 12 years old. Your other brothers and sisters are (so far as I know) still reasonably healthy.
I am sending you the letter from your sister Louise also.
To close, many greetings from us all.
Mr. Charles NeumeyerMr. Henry Meyer
Cape Girardeau Co. MOMacoupin Co., Ill.
[From Karl Neumeyer to AUGUST]
March 26, 1899
Dear Brother-in-law A. Brennecke,
I take up the pen to write a short note to you, and hope that you are in better health. Concerning us, we are, thank God, still fairly healthy.
A letter came to me from Heinrich Meyer (son of your sister Louise) sharing the sad news that his mother, your sister, died on February 10th. He is eager to know the birthplace of his mother.
I have spoken with your brother Wilhelm. He tells me that she was born in Wiershausen, district of Westerhof, kingdom of Hannover. I am reporting this because I do not know if the children can write German (they always write to me in English script) or if they have your address. So I am writing to you and if you have already received the news, these few lines should still be welcome.
As far as I know, your brothers and their families are still healthy. However, this winter much sickness and attacks of nerves have occurred. We have had a very cold and normal winter.
Now I would like you to please write to us as to whether your brothers Friedrich and Wilhelm and your sisters Louise and Karoline were born in Wiershausen or Sebexen because the elders are long since dead and we are eager for knowledge in this matter.
I am now 66 years old and my wife will be 58 years old on July 16th. We do not know how long we still have to live. Your sister Louise is freed from all earthly pain. She is now with her Savior. There she lives. My God prepare us, that in peace we can depart from here when necessary, to be with you, is my prayer.
I wanted to write sooner about the death of your sister; however, remembering that I wanted to send the death notice from the newspaper, it isn't until now that it arrived.
A son of your brother Wilhelm studies to be a minister. He was here for a visit at Christmas. He spoke German and, now and then, English here. One of my sons also studies to be a minister.
We also have a large family, namely eleven children, 6 sons and 5 daughters. Five of them are married.
Now to close, many greetings from me, my wife, and children.
Mr. Chas. Neumeyer
Cape Girardeau Co. ,Mo.
Please write again soon.
I have written your address as I have received it from your brother Jakob.
Following is a revision to the Translation of August Brennecke's Death Announcement:
"This evening at 7:30 my dear father, August Brennecke,
retired teacher, died at the age of 76 years, after much
suffering. On Monday the 28th of this month at 10 O'Clock
in the morning, the body will be transported from the place
of death, 7 Muenzstrasse, to the local train station. The
burial will be at 3:30 pm the same day from the depot at
Herzberg am Harz to the cemetery nearby.
Goslar, 25 October 1901
Tax Commissioner Justus Brennecke"
[Germans were quite title-conscious, and used titles along with names, even when it was not relevant.]
[Translation revised by Josef Rief, father-in-law of Norman Brennecke]
1 Johann August Friedrich BRENNECKE
b: November 5, 1801 in Sebexen, Hanover, Germany
d: October 8, 1856 in Zion United Methodist Ch. Gordonville MissouriAge at death: 54
Number of children: 11
Occupation: farm laborer and linen weaver
Special Comment: Emigrated to USA November 1844
+Engel Christine Wilhelmine EICKEMEIER
b: December 5, 1806 in Alshausen, Dukedom of Braunschweig, Germany
d: March 20, 1871 in Zion United Methodist Ch. Gordonville, MissouriAge at death: 64
m: July 12, 1829 in Sebexen, Hanover, Germany
Number of children: 11<
2 Heinrich August Julius BRENNECKE
b: September 26, 1825 in Sebexen, Hanover, Germany
d: October 25, 1901in Herzberg (died in Goslar) Age at death: 76
Number of children: 5
+Louise Wilhelmine Emilie Mathilde NIENSTAEDT
b: March 17, 1836
d: Bet. 1883 - 1901 Age at death: 47 est.
m: October 20, 1855 in WillensonNumber of children: 5
3 Ernst August BRENNECKE
b: October 21, 1856 in Willensen
d: November 3, 1856 in WillensenAge at death: 0
3 Johannes August BRENNECKE
b: September 11, 1857 in Willensen
d: September 23, 1857 in WillensenAge at death: 0
3 August Friedrich Wilhelm BRENNECKE
b: October 22, 1859 in Sieber
d: December 10, 1859 in SieberAge at death: 0
3 Karl Friedrich August Justus BRENNECKE
b: April 18, 1864 in Sieber
d: October 19, 1920in Peine Age at death: 56
Number of children: 5
+Minna Johanna Charlotte Marie KAUFMANN
b: November 2, 1873 in Herzberg
d: May 4, 1950 in PeineAge at death: 76
m: November 2, 1897 in HerzbergNumber of children: 5
4 Mathilde BRENNECKE
b: January 13, 1899 in Goslar
d: 1999Age at death: 100 est.
4 Hans BRENNECKE
b: June 16, 1901 in Goslar
d: 1952Age at death: 50 est.
Number of children: 2
b: February 12, 1909
m: January 16, 1932Number of children: 2
4 Richard BRENNECKE
b: January 28, 1903
d: August 14, 1959Age at death: 56
Number of children: 2
Occupation: Was a bank employee in Peine
b: April 17, 1910
m: May 31, 1934Number of children: 2
4 Otto BRENNECKE
b: January 16, 1907 in Goslar
d: March 14, 1960Age at death: 53
4 Elisabeth Marie Emma Klara BRENNECKE
b: June 14, 1915
Number of children: 2
b: August 22, 1907 in Gemunch, near Schleiden
d: February 21, 1945Age at death: 37
m: July 2, 1943Number of children: 2
Special comment: died in WWII
3 Carl Friedrich Wilhelm BRENNECKE
b: January 18, 1867 in Sieber
d: After 1883Age at death: 15 est.
Cause of death: tuberculosis