Source: Bureau,Marshall,Putnam Biographical Records 1896
Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois
Originally published 1896
S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., Chicago, IL
Transcribed by: Denise McLoughlin
Tampico Area Historical Society
Martin Brenneman, now living a retired life in Princeton, but for a period of over thirty years was one of the active, enterprising and successful farmers of Bureau county, is numbered among the honored old settlers, dating his residence here back to 1855. A native of Pennsylvania, he was born March 12, 1819, in Canestoga township, Lancaster county, and is a son of Martin Brenneman, whose birth occurred in the same county. The paternal grandfather was a native of Germany, became a prominent citizen of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and faithfully served the colonies in the Revolutionary war.
The father of our subject also took up arms in defense of his country's rights being a soldier in the war of 1812. In his native state he married Verona Kendrick, who was born in Lancaster county, and was a daughter of Henry Kendrick. Ten children graced this union, five sons and five daughters, of whom four are still living - Christian, a farmer, of Livingston county, Missouri, residing near Chillicothe; Anna, widow of Louis L. Messenkop, and a resident of Princeton, Illinois; Fanny, wife of David Gettle, of Merrick county, Nebraska, and Maritn, of this sketch. By occupation the father was a farmer, and cleared and opened up three farms in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. In 1830 he emigrated to Wayne county, Ohio, settling ten miles east of Wooster, and there also developed three good farms, becoming one of the foremost and most successful agriculturists of the community. His wife died in Stark county, Ohio, after which he made his home with our subject for thirteen years, and on the latter's removal west he went to live with another son. In the fall of 1855. however, he came to Bureau county, spending the last years of his life with our subject, and now lies buried in the Malden cemetery.
Mr. Brenneman, of this review, began his education in the schools of his native state, but at the age of eleven years he accompanied the family to Ohio, where his time was taken up in assisting his father in clearing and developing his land. His school privileges, therefore, were limited, and he is almost wholly self-educated, having gained most of his knowledge since reaching manhood. He learned both the blacksmith and carpenter's trade, and followed the latter occuptaion for some time. Going to Cuyahoga county, Ohio, he there rented land for about fifteen years, but in 1855 he came to Bureau county, Illinois, and purchased eighty acres of raw prairie land in Selby township, on which he erected a little house. He endured all the hardships and privations incident to pioneer life, and owing to a heavy frost, raised neither corn nor oats in 1857. He was not discouraged, however, and soon success crowned his effort. As his financial resources increased he extended the boundaries of his farm until he owned a valuable tract of six hundred and forty acres, upon which he erected a comfortable two-story residence and substantial barns and out-buildings, making it one of the best and most highly improved farms of Selby township. There he made his home until 1886, since which time he has lived retired at Princeton, and is numbered among the well-to-do and highly respected citizens.
On the 12th of January, 1843, in Stark county, Ohio, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Brenneman and Miss Lydia Young, a native of that county, who died in Ohio. Three children were born to them - Mary Ann, now the wife of James Lewis, a farmer of Jackson county, Kansas, by whom she has two sons; Henry, who was a union soldier in the civil war, and met his death by drowning after his return home, and Michael, who died at the age of two years. In Wayne county, Ohio, Mr. Brenneman was again married in 1847, the lady of his choce being Miss Mary Garman, who was born in Franklin county Pennsylvania, Dcember 25, 1823, and was there reared. Her father, Philip Garmen, was a native of Germany, and for twelve years served as a soldier under Napoleon, taking part in many important battles, including that at Moscow. He received two severe bayonet wounds, one through the calf of the leg and the other through the hip. He became an early settler of Pennsylvania, whence he removed to Wayne county, Ohio, but spent his last days in Cuyahoga county, that state. Mrs. Brenneman is one of a family of twelve children, three daughters and nine sons, all of whom grew to maturity but one, and she has five, brothers still living - John, Philip, George, Daniel and Charles, all farmers of Ohio, living either in Wayne or Cuyahoga counties.
Seven children blessed the second marriage of our subject - John, a farmer, of Clay county, Nebraska; George, a farmer, of Selby township, Bureau County; Martin, a farmer of Adams county, Nebraska; Daniel, a farmer, of Princeton township, Bureau county; Amanda Shettle, of Bureau township; Margaret, wife of Levi Coffman, of Caly county, Nebraska, and Hattie, wife of W. J. Stockham, of Hamilton county, Nebraska. There are also thirty-four grandchildren.
Politically, Mr. Brenneman has ever been identified with the democratic party, a firm believer in Jeffersonian principles, but has never aspired to office, although he has filled several local positions of honor and turst. Both himself and wife are consistant members of the English Lutheran church. He is numbered among the honored old settlers of the county, where he has now made his home for over forty-one years, and has witnessed the vast changes which have here taken place, to the labors of which he has contributed his share. He is now enjoying a well-earned rest, and is surrounded by many warm friends and acquaintances, who have for him the hightest regard.