Eliza Breuninger, my great-great-grandaunt, was the second wife of the well-known Green Bay, Wisconsin, pioneer Albert Gallatin Ellis. She was also the sister of my great-great-grandfather, Louis Breuninger (1819-1890).
Had it not been for the letters and documents saved by my ancestor Louis Breuninger (which I refer to as “The Breuninger Collection”) I may never have discovered the Breuninger/Ellis connection.
In The Collection is Louis’ baptismal record which names his parents, Johann Martin Friedrich and Sophia Carolina (Pfaff) Breuninger, and that Louis was born in Bachlingen, Kingdom of Württemberg.
After I learned where the Breuningers lived I ordered a roll of the microfilmed church records of the Evangelische Kirche at Bachlingen from the local Family History Center. The Johann Martin Friedrich Breuninger family was entered in the Familienbuch section of their church records.
The Familienbuch, “family book”, is a section of the church records that gives the names of the family members and vital information about them. There can be a lot of good information in these records. From these records I learned who Louis’ siblings were:
Johann Martin Friedrich Breuninger married Sophie Karoline Pfaff on 3 February 1818. Five children were born to the couple when the information was written:
Carl Ludwig, born 23 November 1818
Ludwig Friedrich Peter, born 15 December 1819
Eliza Charlotte Juliana Louise, born 2 June 1821
Johann Friedrich Ernest, born 2 November 1822
Charlotte Eliza Magdalena, born 25 August 1824
(Source: Familienbuch, Evangelishce Kirche at Bachlingen, Württemberg, 1529-1938, microfilm #1340113, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.)
Eliza’s death notice is in The Breuninger Collection:
From the Wisconsin Pinery, Nov. 15th 1872.
DEPARTED TO HER REST,
On Sunday the 10th inst., Mrs. Eliza C. J. the wife of Gen’l Ellis, aged 51 years, at peace with God and in communion with His Church.
Retiring in her disposition, and unobtrusive in her deportment, though invariably courteous and king to all, she seemed to feel that her sphere of usefulness was especially the home circle, and there her worth was duly appreciated, and this bereavement is justly esteemed in irreparable misfortune. Her simple memorial—a devoted wife and affectionate Mother, is inscribed on the hears of those who the very last were objects of her tender solicitude and untiring care.
The following letter from General Albert G. Ellis is also in The Collection:
Nov. 14, 1872
Louis Breuninger Esq
My Dear Sir,
I grieve to write you such a letter as this. Two weeks ago last Tuesday, your dear sister Eliza was taken down very suddenly with violent [?], pain, & [?] dibiliy. Everything that [?] & good medical aid could do, was done, but all to no [?]. She continued to sink till last Sunday when she died. Sister Charlotte was with her the last two days. She had been unconscious for two days but on Saturday she revived so as to know us all–recognized aunt Charlotte Kitchen [????] of whom she took a most affecting [?] leave knowing that she was soon going [?] to the/be
My heart is too full to write: five [?] children are sick with whooping cough: one at least not expected to live.
You[?] much affection
A. G. Ellis
Albert G. Ellis married Eliza C. J. L. Breuninger on 19 August 1847 in Brown County, Wisconsin. (Brown County Marriage Record, Vol. 1:22, Wisconsin Historical Society.) This was Albert’s second marriage.
Census enumerations for Albert and Eliza’s family:
Albert G Ellis, 49, land surveyor; Eliza, 29, born in Germany; Richard RC, 18, musician; Eugene, 15; Orange R, 9; Parmelia, 2; Theodore C, 0; Candice, 76, Connecticut; Lora Braninger, 20, Germany; Alexander Lami, 52, millwright; John Mathews, 22, laborer; Aaron M Palmer, millwright. All the children were born in Wisconsin. [Source: 1850 US Census, Green Bay, Brown County, Wisconsin, p. 46B; digital image by Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 June 2012); from National Archives microfilm M432_994.]
Albert G Ellis, 59, receiver US Land Office; Eliza CJ, 39, Germany; Orange R, 17; Pamala, 13; Theodore, 11; Lora, 9; Candace, 6; Verlena, 4; Charlotte, 8/12; Lora Breuninger, 29, Germany. [Source: 1860 US Census, Stevens Point, Portage County, Wisconsin, p. 353; digital image by Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 June 2012); Family History Library Film no. 805426, from National Archives microfilm M653_1426.]
Albert Ellis, 69, mill owner; Eliza, 49, Germany; Pamila, 22, teacher of music; Theodore, 20, teacher of music; Laura d, 18; Candas, 15; Verbena, 14; May, 12; Eliza, 10; Soprona, 6; Albertina, 2; Edwin Danahus, 17, mill hand. [Source: 1870 US Census, Stevens Point, Portage County, Wisconsin, Ward 2, p. 172B; digital image by Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 June 2012); Family History Library Film no. 553231, from National Archives microfilm M593_1732.]
Albert G Ellis, 79, printer, widowed; Candace, 25, music teacher; May, 20, teacher; Eliza, 18; Sophronia, 15; Albertina, 12. [Source: 1880 US Census, Stevens Point, Portage County, Wisconsin, Enumeration District 146, p. 177A; digital image by Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 June 2012); Family History Film no. 1255442, from National Archives microfilm Roll 1442.]
It is interesting to note that Eliza and Louis Breuninger’s father was a school teacher in Germany and that the teaching tradition was carried on in the Ellis family. There was evidently some musical talent in the family, too, since a couple of Eliza’s children were music teachers. Imagine music teachers in the mid-1800s. There is a reference to an instrument that Louis made in one of the letters. In addition, one of the Ellis daughters was an artist who painted the oil portrait of her father. I wonder which daughter painted that portrait?
And as usual, other questions arise: When did Eliza and her sister Charlotte immigrate and how did Eliza meet Albert Ellis, who was 20 years older than she? What about Eliza’s sister, Charlotte Kitchen? Who was Lora Breuninger? Another sister?
More from The Breuninger Collection in upcoming blogs.