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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JACOB BRENNER, a representative general agriculturist and successful stock-raiser, handling a superior grade of Shorthorns, is pleasantly located upon section 15, Berrien Township, Berrien County, Mich., and owns a fine farm of one hundred acres. Our subject is of German descent, his paternal great-grandfather, John Brenner, having emigrated to the United States in a very early day in the history of our country. He settled in the Quaker State and, passing away at a good old age, was buried in a coffin of one-inch white oak lumber. His son, Grandfather Peter Brenner, served with courage in the War of 1812, and left as a legacy to his descendants a chest, having his name inlaid with brimstone and bearing the date of 1776. This relic, made in Middletown, Pa., and now in possession of our subject, is highly valued. The father of our subject, Peter Brenner, was a native of Dauphin County, Pa., and was born in 1802. He was a life-long farmer and a man of intelligence. The mother, Mrs. Rebecca (Zimmerman) Brenner, was born in Swatara Township, Dauphin County, Pa. The parents passed their lives in their native county, where the mother died in 1853, the father surviving until 1877. Until 1847 the worthy couple with their family continued to re- side in a humble log house, but at this latter date the father built a modern brick dwelling.

Twelve sons and daughters gathered in the old Pennsylvania home, and but four of the family are now living. The parents were both devout members of the Lutheran Church, of which the father was for many years a Trustee. He gave one-half acre of land now in the village of Oberlin, Pa., to the church, and was ever generous in the behalf of religious influence and of church work. He was well educated in German, and held with faithful ability the office of Supervisor of Swatara Township. The old homestead of Grandfather Brenner remained in the family for three generations, or nearly sixty years. Our subject, Jacob Brenner, was the fourth child of his parents’ large family who attained to maturity. Mr. Brenner was born April 14, 1836, in Swatara Township, Pa. Reared upon a farm and early obliged to assist in the daily duties, he attended the district school but two months in the winter of each year. Before he was quite twenty years of age, our subject married Miss Margaret Wolfe, a daughter of David and Anna (Corman) Wolfe, both natives of Cumberland County, Pa. The father of Mrs. Brenner was born in the year 1810, the mother in 181l, and both spent their entire lives in Middlesex Township. Mr. Wolfe was a man of enterprise and achieved success in life. He owned three hundred and twenty acres of land in one body, and occupied a position of honor and influence. He passed away April 17, 1873; the mother of Mrs. Brenner survived her husband until February 24, 1879.

Mr. and Mrs. Wolfe were members of the German Reformed Church, and Mr. Wolfe was especially active in religious work. He was in political affiliation a Democrat, and was a Director of the poor of the county. Mrs. Brenner was born October 24, 1836, in Cumberland County, Pa. She attended school and assisted in the home work until arrived at nineteen, when she was married. Mr. and Mrs. Brenner were wedded in Harrisburgh, Pa., February 21, 1856, and resided on the Brenner farm until 1859, when they removed to Grandfather Brenner’s homestead, and there they remained until 1865, when they journeyed to Michigan and located upon their present farm, which is all cleared with the exception of twenty-five acres. The land, highly cultivated, is devoted to mixed farming, and full-blooded Shorthorns are profitably raised upon the homestead. Mr. Brenner remodeled his house at a cost of several hundred dollars, and in 1868 built a commodious barn at an expense of $1,400. Our subject has planted out four acres in a new orchard and will give a portion of his time to fruit culture. Financially prospered, he has purchased several farms and given them to his sons. At present he has only one hundred acres in the homestead. The pleasant home of Mr. and Mrs. Brenner was blessed by the birth of eight children, four of whom yet survive. David E. married Miss Eva Smith and lives with his wife and three children in Silver Creek Township, Cass County. Anna R. is the wife of Burton J. Sparks and has no children. She lives in Berrien County. William married Miss Delorah Myers and is the father of one child. Ida E., wife of Edwin Sparks, has two children and resides in Berrien Township. Mr. and Mrs. Brenner are both valued members of the Grange. He has held all the various offices with the exception of Master, and is at present Steward. She has also held office and is Pomona. Our subject is fraternally connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has been through all the chairs. Mr. Brenner is a member of the School Board and Moderator of District 11. His family all enjoyed excellent educational advantages. Politically, our subject has always been a Republican and has held with ability various offices of trust. In Pennsylvania he was Assessor and Collector, and did militia duty in the Quaker State a part of the time during the Civil War. Mr. Brenner has been Highway Commissioner of Berrien Township for two years and has served most acceptably as delegate to conventions. Aside from his farming duties, our subject has the local agency for the Buckeye Machines and, possessing executive business ability and energy, makes this department of work a success. During his residence of over twenty-six years in the county he has been largely identified with the progressive interests of the township and is numbered among the liberal-spirited citizens of the State.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Berrien County, Michigan family biographies here: Berrien County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Berrien County, Michigan here: Berrien County Michigan Map

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