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Below is a family biography included in the History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania published in 1889 by A. Warner & Co.   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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FELIX R. BRUNOT. In the van of prominent citizens in Pittsburgh stands this widely known, large-hearted philanthropist, whose name for over forty years has been intimately associated with the steel industry of that city. He was born Feb. 7, 1820, at the United States arsenal, Newport, Ky., and when an infant was brought by his parents to Pittsburgh. When fourteen years of age he entered Jefferson College, at Cannonsburg, and at the close of his collegiate curriculum he took up the profession of a civil engineer, which he followed until 1842. In that year he became interested in the milling business at Rock Island, Ill., whither he removed, and in connection with the same he dealt in wheat and grain at Camden, on Rock river. Having accumulated a comfortable competence, he returned in 1847 to Pittsburgh, where he permanently established himself, investing a portion of his wealth in the steel works founded in the following year by the firm of Singer, Hartmann & Co., in which he became a silent partner; and he has continued in connection with the same concern to the present, day. An enthusiastic believer in the great value of education, and the importance of reading as a means of enlarging knowledge and strengthening character, Mr. Brunot became one of the chief movers in the work of founding the Mercantile library in Pittsburgh, an institution that, in an educational way, has accomplished a vast amount of good. During many years he was its president, and, apart from his labors in founding it, has aided very materially in its advancement during his long connection with its affairs. He was the projector of Library hall, and is still one of its managers.

Mr. Brunot found more or less scope for the exercise of wise philanthropic effort, and at the opening of the war of the rebellion he had already made for himself a name and fame, which, without another deed, would have long survived him. Though offered rank and military command soon after the breaking out of hostilities, he declined the high honor tendered him, being conscious that he could accomplish the greatest amount of good in the work of relieving the sick and wounded, a duty for which he was admirably fitted by nature and the training of his life, and the bloody battle of Shiloh became his first opportunity. From Pittsburgh to the field of carnage two relief-boats, laden with medicines and supplies, were sent, Mr. Brunot being placed in command, a small army of nurses and surgeons accompanying him. At Pittsburgh Landing he began his noble work, and after rendering all possible aid returned with the boats to Pittsburgh, having on board nearly four hundred sick and wounded. On this return trip he was himself taken ill, being prostrated by his arduous labors, and suffering from blood-poisoning, which necessitated confinement to his home for several weeks. He was no sooner recovered, however, than he resumed with all his soul and energy his self-appointed task. Wherever his services were in demand, thither with all speed would he proceed, heedless of danger and indifferent to personal inconvenience. Early in the summer of 1862 Mr. Brunot was placed at the head of a small corps of volunteer surgeons, medical cadets and others, some twenty-five persons in all, and with them proceeded to the field. For several weeks they were engaged in their work of humanity at Savage station, when the battle of Gaines’ Mills was fought. About this time McClellan’s change of base had commenced. The Union troops, with which were Mr. Brunot and his little band, were ordered to retreat; and such was the suffering among the wounded who had to be left behind, that Mr. Brunot had not the heart to abandon them, and so, with eleven of his faithful comrades, he remained and continued in his noble task. When the Union forces withdrew, the confederates took possession of the point where they were located at Savage station, and shortly afterward the entire party were sent to Libby prison. Here Mr. Brunot was treated rather better than the others who were thrust into that awful pen, being permitted, as a physician, to sleep in a room set aside for that class of prisoners. After an incarceration of some eight days he was exchanged at Savage station. During the remainder of the war his course was marked by unswerving devotion to the Union cause, and the termination of the struggle found him so debilitated by the arduous character of his services, and the effect of malarial poison, that he was ordered to give up everything and betake himself to Europe as the only chance of recovery. After traveling several months, attended by his devoted wife, he so far recovered as to be able to return in the fall of 1865 to his native land.

In 1868, when President Grant, attempting to ameliorate the condition of the Indians, appointed the famous board of Indian commissioners, he named Dr. Brunot first in the list, and he was chosen chairman of the board. Great good resulted from the investigations of the board, in the prosecution of which eminently philanthropic work Mr. Brunot took the most intense interest, and in spite of the many obstacles he had to contend against, brought about by conflicting interests at Washington, he was ever active, in season and out of season, in advocating the cause of the Indians, and appealing for justice for them. He visited the Indians in their homes, in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon and Washington territories, counseling them the course to pursue for their best good, which advice the Indians were more disposed to follow when they found he was serving without compensation, and simply in the interest of their welfare.

Although working in such broad fields of philanthropy as those mentioned, Mr. Brunot has never been insensible to his obligations as a citizen of Pittsburgh, as is manifested by the hearty interest he has always taken in its affairs, and in the many valuable services he has rendered to the people and to the municipality. He is as active in business life as he was two decades ago, and holds directorship and trusteeship in several leading corporations, including the Bank of Pittsburgh, the Safe Deposit company, the Monongahela Navigation company and the Allegheny Cemetery Association. He is a prominent director of the Western Pennsylvania hospital and of the General Hospital of Allegheny; one of the managers of the Western University, and for many years has been an active member of St. Andrew’s P. E. Church of Pittsburgh, of which he is senior warden.

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This family biography is one of 2,156 biographies included in the History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania published in 1889 by A. Warner & Co.

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