Cluster 1 (Sebexen, Hanover, Germany to Gordonville, Missouri) (our line)
(searching for contact on this line)
Excerpts from the book
PERSONS, PLACES AND HAPPINGS IN OLD WALHALLA
By: Charles Sloan Reid & Marguerite Brennecke
With additions by R.C. Carter II
Published and sold by
Walhalla Historical Society, P.O. Box 11, Walhalla, South Carolina
Miss Fannie Breazeale became the wife of Mr. Louis D. Brennecke. She was a young lady of exceptional beauty and vivacity; and, with her husband, was prominent in the social activities of the town.
Page 12 - 14
Mr. August Brennecke was a contractor and builder of the highest qualifications; and the work of his hands is woven into the structure of many of the earlier buildings in Walhalla. Mr. Brennecke was a man of short stature, but large of muscle and a machine of activity. He carried his head tilted a little to one side and upward as if in an especially attentive attitude. He had a long winging stride which caused his body to settle toward the ground; and he could cover more mileage than many an ordinary man about town. He seemed to be moving under a nervous energy all the time. He had an inexhaustible fund of humor which found its subject on every side. His clever sayings and sound philosophy made him a welcome figure in any company. He was the builder of the first modern cotton ginnery ever to be erected in Oconee County. This was a huge frame building three stories high erected in North Broad Street two blocks northwest of the Lutheran church. At that time this was the largest structure outside of the hotel and the college building in Walhalla. Mr. Brennecke also was one of the builders of the Lutheran church.
Mr. Brennecke was an actor of professional ability. This was a family gift, the elder son Louie and daughter Miss Tena both possessing it to a high degree. Sometimes the senior Brennecke, son Louie, and daughter, Miss Tena, would appear in the same play with leading parts. Mr. Brennecke and V.L. Norman constructed a movable stage, complete with scene shifts, wings, flies, and front curtain, all of which could be set up and taken down in an hour or two. In those days the plays were given in the court room of the county court house. It was only necessary to remove the judge's desk, and set up the stage across the dais of the court enclosure, the space around the footlights being converted on occasion into an orchestra pit. Lamps set behind concave tin shields served as footlights. The senior usually played the heavy roles, although he was equally good in comedy parts. Mrs. Gus Brennecke was a versatile and energetic lady, though she seldom took a prominent part in social activities. There were two sons and a daughter. The younger son, Charlie, did not seem to inherit the family theatrical talent, he turning his attention more certainly to outdoor sports.
Possibly without exception Louie Brennecke was the most popular young man in Walhalla. His witticisms and humorous observations became the by-words of the town. They fell from his lips on all occasions; and it was notable that he never laughed at his own raillery or fun-making. The entertainment ever was complete without his handiwork somewhere on the program. Miss Tena was a young woman of rare beauty. She had a soft, musical voice that always was most pleasant to the ear. She was active in all social movements and employments in the community.
There is a funny story of Charlie Brennecke. In his teens he acquired a pair of large billy goats, and built for himself a suitable wagon to which he harnessed the goats. One day he was returning home from downtown, driving his goat team along the side walk across from the Lutheran church. Here a stone retaining wall had been built along the north border of the street for the purpose of raising the street level above that of the head of a ravine which opened away northward from this point. The sheer drop to the ravine head was about twelve feet. Charlie's goats, whether through fright or for the purpose of practicing some of their traditional traits, decided to take a leap from the highest part of this wall. Results were a smashed wagon, a badly shaken boy, and a pair of delighted billy goats landing amongst the shrubbery below.
THE GERMAN SETTLEMENT AT WALHALLA AND ITS CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS
By: Dr. Charles H. Busha, 112 Summit Drive, Liberty, SC 29657
An article originally published in the March-June, 1997 issue of the Carolina Herald and Newsletter, the official publication of the South Carolina Genealogical Society.
The Carolina Herald and Newsletter, P.O. box 492, Columbia, SC 29202
AUGUST BRENNECKE (1833-1884) was born September 20, 1833 in Hannover, Germany. He arrived in the United States in May 1839 and resided in New York until 1851, at which time he moved to Charleston, S.C. In 1853, he moved to the German settlement at Walhalla. Brennecke's wife was Catherine M. Bieman Brennecke (b. March 28, 1833 d. January 2, 1920). The couple became the parents of several children, including Tena Brennecke (1859-1916) and Louisa (*spelling error noted) Diedrich Brennecke. In October 1860, when he was twenty-six years of age, Brennecke applied for U.S. citizenship. At that time Brennecke noted that he was a house carpenter in Germany. When the Civil War began, Brennecke enlisted in the Confederate Army. He survived the war and returned to Walhalla. Brennecke was one of the first carpenter/builders in Walhalla, and he played a major role in the construction of the town's Lutheran and Methodist churches. Many of the private homes in the town were also built by the carpenter. On January 19, 1867, Brennecke was elected a warden of Walhalla. He also once served as a member of a local committee to collect unpaid pledges toward the construction of the Blue Ridge Railroad. In 1868, when Pickens District was split into Oconee and Pickens counties, he was appointed to a committee to select sites for the Oconee County courthouse and other public buildings. Brennecke was the grandfather of Dr. Harold Brewster Brennecke (1892-1966). The Confederate veteran died October 23, 1884, and was buried at St. John's Lutheran Church.
ST. JOHN'S LUTHERN CHURCH HISTORY
- Who designed and built St. John's? John Kaufmann, a carpenter in the Walhalla German community, designed the building and directed the construction with the assistance of August Brennecke and members of the congregation.
- How was the Steeple of St. John's built? Four posts supporting the spire were hewn out of selected trees by broad axes, hand planned with wooden planes and raised on the front stone foundation. These timbers are approximately fifty feet long and square, 15 to 16 inches at the base and 14 to 15 inches at the top. The spire continues another thirty feet. Most of the timber for the building came from ancient pine trees on the four acre square where the church stands but some trees came from land near the Pine Street Administrative Offices of Oconee County. The church was put together by wooden pegs.
The spire is capped with four ornate designs resembling the bow of a Viking ship, ant the weather vane extends another four or five feet. When the church spire was being constructed, A. Gumtau, a former sailor noted for his climbing ability, is said to have carried out portions of the work.
- How was the interior built? The pulpit's style is like that of the High Church of Germany. The pews were made with paneled backs. The Chancel, Alter, Pulpit and Pews were built by John Kaufmann, August Brennecke and a Mr. Holweg with Louis Schaffrott doing some of the intricate carving.
Descendants of August "Gus" and Catherine M. Brennecke
1 August "Gus" BRENNECKE
b: September 20, 1833 in Hannover, Germany
d: October 23, 1884 in St. John's Lutheran Church, Walhalla, South Carolina
Age at death: 51
Number of children: 3
Occupation: Carpenter, Contractor, BuilderResidence: New York until 1851,
Charleston SC until 1853, then Walhalla, SC
Military: Confederate Army, Civil War
+Catherine M. BIEMAN
b: March 28, 1833
d: January 2, 1920 in St. John's Lutheran Church, Walhalla, South Carolina
Age at death: 86
Number of children: 3
2 Tena BRENNECKE
Age at death: 57 est.
2 Louis "Louie" Diedrich BRENNECKE
b: March 1, 1861
d: December 27, 1893 in St. John's Lutheran Church, Walhalla, South Carolina
Age at death: 32
Number of children: 1
+Fannie P. BREAZEALE
b: May 3, 1857
d: August 27, 1932 in St. John's Lutheran Church, Walhalla, South Carolina
Age at death: 75
Number of children: 1
(*Son of either Louis or Charlie)
3 Harold Brewster BRENNECKE
b: November 12, 1891
d: November 10, 1962 in St. John's Lutheran Church, Walhalla, South Carolina
Age at death: 70
2 Charlie BRENNECKE
Also buried at St. John's Lutheran Church, Walhalla, SC. These folks are probably grandchildren of Gus and Catherine (at least for the two men with the surname, who could be sons of either Louie or Charlie).
Marguerite Millwee Brennecke (author of book?)
April 7, 1886 December 11, 197 (stone unclear as to last digit)
Louis A. Brennecke
August 27, 1882 January 19, 1915
S. Wendell Brennecke
April 8, 1901 February 25, 1985