Biography - CHRISTIAN F. BRANDENBURG
Christian F. Brandenburg, the son of the venerable and wealthy pioneer, Peter Brandenburg, was born just west of Serena, December 23, 1856. He obtained but little education at school, and his history can be summed up briefly by saying that hard work has been his lot for thirty years, in which he has been able to make a hand on the farm. His life history, could it be written in full, would be filled with trying experiences, and finally crowned with that abundant success his labors and perseverance so richly merit. When it comes to "ups and downs" in life he steps aside and permits us to make a brief reference to his paternal ancestors.
Peter Brandenburg was born in Heistelburg, Nassau, Germany, September 26, 1824. His father bore the same Christian name and his mother was a Miss Tomas. Peter is the third of four children of his farmer father, and he went to the German schools, as was required, until he was fourteen years of age. He then learned the old country method of farming and remained with his father until he was twenty-four years old. He was then given his liberty and barely enough money to pay his passage to America. He sailed for the New World, being induced hither by some neighbor boys who had preceded him; and he says that he was so displeased with the outlook when he first landed that he wished many times he were back in the old fatherland. He did not have a five-cent piece when he arrived at Serena; so he was obliged to get work at once. He entered the employ of a farmer for eleven dollars a month, and remained a farm hand for five long years. In this period of time he saved six hundred dollars, and he bargained for his first American real estate, - the old homestead west of the village of Serena. He agreed to make payments on the same annually for three years, and really saw no reason why he could not fulfil his agreement. He set out with a light heart, for he was now his own governor and the sole manager of the earthly affairs of the industrious Peter. His first crop was eaten up by the chinch bugs; this was discouraging; but he planted again, and the second season he came out as badly as the first. The third year he also failed to get a good crop, and this so disheartened him that he proposed to his creditor that he take the farm back; that he had worked three years, day and night, and had nothing to show in return, and of course could pay nothing on the land. The man who sold to him tried to discourage this move and insisted that he try it yet one more year; and this he did, and with wonderful success. From that date on he made money rapidly and added to his realty holdings with great swiftness. He was as good as two hands himself and he had plenty of boys, who inherited their father's industry, so that he followed agriculture on a large scale, with little outlay for his help. But no matter how well he prospered, Peter Brandenburg never ceased work for himself until he found himself worn out and heavy with age. He is one of the largest land-owners in LaSalle county, and is not unfrequently referred to as "the old German who got rich by hard work."
This venerable old German, for his wife, married, in LaSalle county in 1855, Catherine Weber, who died in 1877. Her children are: Christian F. (our subject); Caroline, wife of Joseph Moore; Frank Brandenburg, who is a prominent young farmer of the town of Serena, and who married Ella De Bolt; Mary, wife of George Jones, of Serena, Illinois; and George, who married Ida Whitman and now resides on the old home place. In 1887 Peter Brandenburg married Mrs. Matthias Stine, whose maiden name was Kathrina Kern, and first husband Jacob Meyer.
Our subject was married February 12, 1895, to Freda, daughter of Jacob Meyer, whose widow afterward married Peter Brandenburg. Freda was born in Germany in 1877, and she is the mother of two children, - Ruby and Raymond.
The Brandenburgs have done as much as any other family toward the development and improvement of the town of Serena. They have given their energies freely, as others have done, expecting reward, and have not been disappointed. They have grubbed roots, dug ditches and erected buildings and done the innumerable other necessary things to be done in improving a new country until their farms "blossom as the rose," as it were, giving evidence of progress and prosperity at every point of view. They have not dabbled in politics, for there is no promise of reward in that. They have not undertaken other and strange ventures, with the hope of avoiding hard labor and at the same time making big money, for they are the firm believers in the adage, "Let well enough alone."
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 118-120.