John Brendel Sr. (1816-1896)




Mr. John Brendel Passes Away.

He Died at His Home on Seminary --

   Galena has suffered the loss of another one of its best known and most valued and respected citizens in the death, Sunday, of Mr. John Brendel, the veteran clothing merchant.   Mr. Brendel had been ailing for a number of weeks with a complication of diseases and though the best of medical skill and tender case was at his command it availed but little and the rude hand of death finally drew the curtain over the scenes of a long and useful life.     Few men that have lived in Galena were better or more widely known than John Brendel.   For nearly fifty long eventful years he was numbered among the business men here and was never known to do a dishonest or mean act.   As a member of the business fraternity of this city he was held in the highest esteem and he will be greatly missed especially by the older people who were here in the exciting scenes of forty years ago.    The deceased was a man of strong character and much determination of will as were most of the pioneer settlers of this county and city.   The elements that go to make up a successful business man were inherent in him, and as a factor in social circles in those early days he was much sought after.   That he had indomitable energy and will power a brief glance over his eventful business career will show.

    Mr. Brendel first saw the light of day Nov. 15, 1815 at Neuemuhl, Baden, Germany.   In 1836 he came to American and located in New York for a short time, from which place he passed on to Cincinnati, O., where he met and married Miss Margaret Miller, of Buffalo, N.Y.   After working several years at his trade, that of a tailor, in Cincinnati, he came to Galena in 1842 and opened a merchant tailoring store, soon after taking into partnership a Mr. Held.   That gentlemen remained in business with him but a few years, when he withdrew.   Mr. Brendel ran the business alone very successfully for a number of years, when in 1871 he took into partnership with him his eldest son, John, who died about three years ago.    From that time till the present the firm was designated as Brendel & Son. As a business man he was both successful and unfortunate.    He made a great deal of money, and but for unforseen [sic] and unpreventable reverses he might have died a very wealthy man.   His first streak of bad luck was a fire in December, 1845, where the Johnson building now stands.   This was only the first of a series of similar accidents, he having burned out no less than five different times with heavy loss each time.   The second time he burned out was in '53 where the Nagle building now stands.    On the 1st of April, 1856, his property went up in smoke in the great Schmohl block fire.   In June, 1859, his household goods were destroyed by fire while living in the Maxeiner building.   Some years ago he purchased and moved into the building opposite the European hotel, where he since continued the business.   Thus, though during a long and busy life of over sixty years, at times the possessor of a well-earned competency, yet, through the vicissitudes of fickle fortune it was swept away, so that at t he time of his death he was only in moderate circumstances.

    His wife died about thirteen years ago.   He leaves to mourn his loss two sisters in California, Mrs. Len Poltz and Mrs. Elizabeth Glick, one brother, Christian Brendel of East Galena; four daughters, Mrs. Julia Barrett of Galena, Mrs. James Young of Philadelphia, Mrs. J.M. Newburgh of Dubuque, Mrs. Ernest Barthold of Sheriden, S.D., and one son, Herman Brendel of Galena.    Of the children all were present at his death bed except Mrs. Barthold, who is too sick to travel.

Contributed by:
James Maxeiner