Jerry Brownmiller

Contributed by Claudia Claar


The first member of the Brownmiller family in America was Johannes Braumiller or Braumueller, who came to the New World with a group of Palatinate immigrants aboard the ship, "Samuel" under the command of Capt. Hugh Percy, from Rotterdam through Deal in England, qualifying in Philadelphia on August 27, 1739. The ship's list gives Johannes' age as 26 years. Very little is known of Johannes' life in America. Morton Montgomery's History of Berks County, Pennsylvania states that he settled in New Jersey and raised a large family. Claire Messimer's book, Known by the Work of His Hands says that Johannes left New Jersey in 1743 and went to Lebanon County, PA to assist Rev. Anton Wagner, reformed minister at Bethel-on-the-Swatara. Only one of his children, John Ludwig Braumiller, is known.

John Ludwig was born in October, 1753 and settled in Lehigh Township, now the village of Harpers, Northampton County, PA. In about 1777 he married Elizabeth Moll, and they were the parents of six children, including Frederick or Friedrich Brownmiller, the grandfather of Jerry. Ludwig served as a Private in the Northampton County Militia as one of the Rangers on the frontier, guarding the Lehigh Gap through the Blue Mountains. His wife, Elizabeth, died before 1794. Ludwig married, second, Magdalena. He died in November of 1801. Ludwig was a farmer.

Frederick Brownmiller was born October 28, 1781 in Harpers. He married Maria Barbara Nolf on February 20, 1803 in Bath, PA. Frederick and Barbara had nine children, namely George (1804 - 1896), Daniel (1805 - 1878), Joseph (1807 - 1895), Reuben (1809-1894) [Jerry's father], Sarah (born about 1813 and died at over 80 years of age, never married), Peter (1818 - 1894), Samuel (1820 - 1863), Jeremiah (1823 - 1878), and Rev. Benneval (1824 - 1856). The Brownmillers moved from Bath to Hokendauqua, Whitehall Township, Lehigh County in 1804, remaining there until 1814, when they moved again to Lenhartsville, Greenwich Township, Berks County, PA., then in 1833 they bought a farm in Albany township, Berks County. Finally, in 1837, Frederick Brownmiller sold the property in Albany township to his son, Daniel, and leaving his three oldest sons behind in Pennsylvania, he moved with the rest of his family to Delaware County, Ohio. Frederick was a farmer and a stone mason. He died Aug. 10, 1851 in Delaware County, and was buried in the old graveyard. His wife died Nov. 3, 1859 and was buried beside her husband. The bodies were moved to Oak Grove Cemetery in 1901 when Ohio Wesleyan University bought the old cemetery and built a field house on the land. Frederick's son, Jeremiah, eventually left Ohio and moved to Iowa, where many of the family still reside.

As to Jerry Brownmiller's immediate family, Charles Isaac, who used the German spelling of the surname, Braumiller, moved to Dewitt County, Illinois and was three times married. With his first wife, Mary Cork, he had a daughter, Minnie (1875 - 1908). His second marriage, to Matilda McDonough, produced daughters Delia Mae (1878 - 1964) and W. Anna, born 1879. He married, third, America Day and had children Edna, born 1888, and Earl, born 1890. Mary married John Steitz and had six children, namely Reuben, William, Edward, Lorain, Annie and John. Reuben (Jr.) married Caroline Singer, but there are no known children from that marriage. Joseph married Ellen Ryan and had four children, George, Charles, Sarah and Arthur. Lydia married Frederick Wohlheater and had children Elmer, Carrie, Emma, Minnie and Bertha.

Reuben's son, Jerry, enlisted on New Year's day, 1862 and joined Co. H of the 48th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He served with the regiment throughout the war, transferring to Co. C from the 83rd Ohio when it disbanded in July of 1865. He was murdered in Texas by another soldier in a drunken brawl outside the Galveston Customs House on February 19, 1866.


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