Christian Brendel


One of the finest farms near the city limits of Galena belongs to the subject of this sketch, and is pleasantly located on section 29, East Galena Township. He has occupied the land for forty-five years, and is one of the oldest settlers of the county. He made his first purchase from the Government in 1847, and at once commenced the opening up of the farm, which has proved a valuable investment, yielding him not only a present competence, but sufficient to provide him with all the comforts of life during his declining years. At the time of his settlement here his neighbors were few and far between; the land was wild and unbroken; had not even been surveyed or placed on the market for sale. The unremitting labor of years, and the outlay of thousands of dollars have conspired to make it one of the most desirable pieces of property in this part of the county. The farm proper comprises 130 acres, a part of which lies within the limits, and is devoted largely to stock-raising. Mr. Brendel has found this industry to be very remunerative, and has, consequently, very wisely made of it a specialty.

Jo Daviess County, like the whole State of Illinois, is largely indebted to the thrifty German citiizen for the development of her rich resources. The subject of this sketch is one of that substantial nationality, having been born in the Grand Duchy of Baden, Nov. 5, 1813. He comes of pure German stock, and is the son of Christian, Sr. and Barbara (Looth) Brendel, the latter of whom spent her entire life in her native Baden. The father, in 1846, came, with his son Christian and other members of the family, to the United States, landing in New York City on the 5th of November, which was the thirty-third birthday of our subject. From the metropolis they soon started westward, making their way by a lake-vessel to Chicago, Ill., and thence overland to this county; reaching Galena on the 24th of November. While in Chicago our subject was offered eighty acres of land in what is now the center of that great city for the sum of $800. He had this amount in his purse, but did not think it wise to invest in that manner. He thus, like many others, lost a grand opportunity of making a fortune.

Soon after coming to this county, Christian Brendel took up the land which comprises his present farm. The father spent the remainder of his days with his son, and died at the age of seventy seven years. Prior to crossing the Atlantic, our subject had married, in his native province, Miss Margaret Potter, who, like her husband, was of German birth and ancestry. She accompanied him to the United States, and died at her home, near now Galena, on the 26th of October, 1856, at the age of fifty-five years. Of this union there had been born ten children, of whom but five are living. Margaret is the widow of C. Shunn, deceased, and makes her home at Milwaukee, Wis.; Christian, Jr., sought his fortune among the gold mines of California, where he is operating quite successfully; Jacob, a saddler by trade, is a resident of Wyoming Territory; Fred W. is married and a resident of California, engaged in mercantile business at Kauffman.

Our subject contracted a second marriage in Galena with Mrs. Harriet H. (Wihl) McCracken. This lady was born near Terra Haute, Ind., and after her marriage came to this county with her first husband. She has no children. Mr. Brendel, upon becoming a naturalized citizen, identified himself with the Republican party, and in religious matters is a member of the Presbyterian Church, together with his excellent wife. He has served as Justice of the Peace, Township Surveyor and School Director, and in the various other local offices.

 Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Jo Daviess Co., IL (1889)