Putnam County


The world is largely indebted to the Teutonic race, which has sent its sons into all parts of the world, carrying with them the civilizing influences which have been important elements for good citizenship wherever found. Oscar Brennemann is a representative of the fatherland, having been born in Hesse-Darmstadt on the 6th of December, 1848. He is now numbered among the energetic and successful farmers of Hennepin township, his home being on section 25. His parents were Joseph and Elizabeth (Unsiker) Brennemann, also natives of Germany. The father was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, December 4, 1807, and died in Putnam county, Illinois, in April, 1890, while his wife was born August 4, 1816, and passed away in the same county October 29, 1853. The ancestry of the family, however, can be traced back to a still more remote period, for Jacob Brennemann, the grandfather of our subject, was born in Germany in 1788. His father was one of four brothers who were born in Switzerland. One of them died when young, another settled in Germany and the other was never heard from afterward.

Joseph Brennemann, father of our subject, followed the occupation of farming in his native country, renting land which belonged to the government. About 1852 he came to America with his family. Oscar Brennemann, who was then but four years of age, remembers only one incident about the voyage and that was seeing some large fish, presumably porpoises, which followed the ship. The voyage was made on a sailing vessel and consumed thirty-two days. After landing at New York the family went by rail to Chicago, thence by canal and the Illinois river to Peoria and up the river to Hennepin. Joseph Brennemann located on a farm in Granville township, Putnam county, north of the village of Granville, and although he was in limited financial circumstances at the time of his arrival, within three years he had purchased three hundred acres of land. This was nearly all covered with timber, although some small buildings had been erected thereon. In later years he replaced these by more modern, commodious and substantial buildings and he made his home there until his death. As the years passed he met with gratifying success through his persistency of purpose and well directed labor and at his death left an estate of more than six hundred acres. He was frugal and honest, extremely industrious, and was esteemed by all for his many good qualities. Both he and his wife were Mennonites in religious faith. In his political views he was a stalwart republican and voted for Abraham Lincoln, and upon the assassination of Lincoln declared that he would never vote again and never did. Unto him and his wife were born six 'children, of whom one died in infancy in Germany. The others were: Eliza, the deceased wife of Charles Buttefwick, a farmer residing in Hennepin township, Putnam county; Bertha, the wife of Theodore Holly, living near St. Paul, Minnesota ; Oscar, of this review ; Julius, who married Emma Keinhart and is a stock dealer in Peru, Illinois, while in Granville township he owns the old home farm ; and an infant who was born and died in this county.

Oscar Brennemann, brought to Illinois when only about four years of age, spent his life on the old home farm until he reached the age of twenty-seven years, after which he was connected with business interests in Peru for six years. He then resumed agricultural pursuits and purchased one hundred and eighty acres of land, upon which he now resides. He has since added to his property until his holdings comprise three hundred and twenty acres. He has upon the place first-class buildings and his is one of the best farms in the county.

In 1875 Mr. Brennemann was married to Miss Elizabeth Holly, who was born in Putnam county, March 27, 1850, and is a daughter of Daniel Holly, who was born in Germany in 1816 and came to America in 1832, settling in Putnam county in 1848. He married Miss Helen Bender, also a native of Germany, whence she came to the United States on the same vessel with her husband. Daniel Holly located on a farm in Granville township, Putnam county, Illinois, and after some years retired from business life, making his home in Peru for two years. He passed away, however, at the home of his daughter in La Salle county, Illinois, when seventy years of age, and his wife died in the same county at the age of eighty-six years. Daniel Holly was a self-made man, his prosperity being attributable entirely to his earnest labor and capable management. He "left an estate embracing five hundred acres of valuable farming land. His son, William Holly, is president of the Peru Plow & Wheel Company at Peru, Illinois, while the other members of the Holly family are John, also a resident of Peru; Theodore, a farmer of Minnesota; Gustaf, a farmer of Nebraska ; Mary, the wife of Chris Brennemann, of La Salle county ; and Elizabeth, the wife of our subject.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Brennemann have been born six children: Paul; George, at home; Lillian, who is a graduate of the Knox Conservatory of Music at Galesburg, Illinois; Erna, who is a graduate of the De Kalb (Illinois) normal school and is now teaching in Chicago Heights; Daniel, at home; and Elsie, who is a student in De Kalb normal. George and Daniel attended school in Princeton for one year. There was one child that died in infancy while living in Peru.

Oscar Brennemann has throughout the period of his manhood carried on general farming and is engaged quite extensively in feeding cattle. He is now one of the more prosperous representatives of agricultural life in Hennepin township and his business interests have been most capably conducted, showing his keen discernment and judgment, which is rarely, if ever, at fault in matters relating to agriculture. He has always been a republican, but without aspiration for office. He comes of a family which has a creditable record and his lines of life have been cast in harmony therewith. All who know him esteem him and he has a wide acquaintance.

Source: Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois authored by John Spencer Burt and W. E. Hawthorne in 1907, page 408.

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