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GEORGE BRUNNER, who enjoys the distinction of having been the first settler in the thriving village of Wittenberg, Shawano county, having settled in what was then a primeval forest some fourteen years ago, is a native of Wisconsin, born July 5, 1849, in Mequon, Ozaukee county.
Andrew Brunner, his father, a Bavarian by birth, and a miller by trade, in 1842 emigrated to the United States, coming direct to Wisconsin and to Ozaukee county, where he bought eighty acres of wild land, covered with a dense forest, inhabited by wild animals, who jealously resented the encroachment of civilized man.  This land our subject bravely set to work to clear, and in course of time, by assiduous care and consummate industry, he transformed it into a fertile farm.   Later, he bought another twenty acres of wild land, and this, too, he in due course converted into productive fields. After a residence of four years in his New-World home, Mr. Brunner took unto himself a wife in the person of Miss Jane Spareber, also a native of Bavaria, and ten children were born to them, a brief sketch of whom is as follows: John P. lives on the old homestead, caring for his mother, who is now seventy-five years old; J. George is the subject of these lines; Margaret is deceased; Sophia is the wife of Nicholas Renk, a baker of New London, Wis.; Leonhard is a resident of Leopolis, Wis.; William J. lives in Milwaukee; Barbara is the wife of Fred Kolpeck of Almond, Wis., a farmer; Michael is a conductor on a street railway in Milwaukee; August G. is a motorman on a street railway in Milwaukee; Gottlieb is a carpenter in Wittenberg.   The father died in 1871, and the widowed mother subsequently married John Dehling, since deceased. 

At the age of fourteen years our subject, who was given a fairly liberal common-school education, left the parental roof and commenced to work among strangers for his board, first in Dodge county, Wis., where he was employed about one year. From there he went to Waukesha county, thence at the end of a year to Green Bay, Brown county, where he found work in a shingle mill for a time, and thence, in company with a friend, moved to Michigan, there laboring in the lumber woods six years, at the end of which time he returned to Wisconsin, bought the old homestead in Ozaukee county, and settled down to agricultural pursuits.

In the fall of 1875 Mr. Brunner was married to Miss Emma Schneider, who was born April 11, 1858, at Mequon, Wis., daughter of Methuselah and Fredericka (Radel) Schneider, well-to-do people of Saxony, Germany, who came to this country and to Wisconsin early in the "fifties," settling in Mequon, Ozaukee county, where the father followed agricultural pursuits. They were the parents of eight children namely: Rosalie, Edward, Fred, Charles, Emma, Frank, Annie, and one deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Brunner continued to make their home at the old place in Ozaukee county some three years after their marriage, and then, selling the property there at a profit of $500, moved to Shawano county, locating on 120 acres of partially improved land in Herman township which Mr. Brunner had purchased, and which he has since sold. Here they lived three years or until toward the end of April, 1881, when they came to Wittenberg, at that time, as already intimated, a “howling wilderness,” but, to quote from the columns of a local paper: "he at once proceeded to annihilate the primitive and historic beauty of the place by tearing the mighty monarch of the forest from his imperial throne, and utilizing the remains of his excellency's fallen grandeur for the erection of a first-class hostelry, which he very appropriately named 'The Wittenberg House,' and took upon himself the duties of a genial and hearty landlord. But the urbane proprietor of the first hotel of which Wittenberg could proudly boast was not satisfied alone with the honor of being the first settler in our prosperous village, for he took upon himself, as it were, another and still greater honor.   Before many moons had passed away there was an arrival at the 'Wittenberg House' who did not register.   His appearance was somewhat extemporaneous, to say the least, and decidedly décolleté; but these little peculiarities, if such they were, found favor in George's eyes, so the little guest was allowed to remain, and, in fact, is still stopping at Brunner's as we go to press. He was a boy, and a bouncing boy at that, the first white child born in the place, and George was the happy and hilarious father. In 1887 Mr. Brunner erected a fine brick building, 24x46 feet in size, two stories high, and at the present time is conducting a retail liquor establishment, in addition to which he owns a farm in Eldron township, Marathon county, with good improvements, besides other real estate, including three lots in Milwaukee; he is also interested in the lumber industry. 

To our subject and wife were born five children, two of whom—Edwin and Alice— are deceased; those yet living are Alviria, Alexander and Allen. Politically, Mr. Brunner is a Republican; has been a trustee of the village of Wittenberg ever since its incorporation, served as a justice of the peace one year, and as constable also a year, filling these several incumbencies with characteristic zeal and fidelity. In religious faith he and his wife are members of the German Lutheran Church, toward which he has been a liberal donor.  He has ever been a leader in enterprises tending to the advancement and prosperity of Wittenberg, substantially verifying the assertion by donating $355.00 toward a factory located there, and from one dollar to ten dollars for other enterprises almost every year since he has lived in Wittenberg.

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