Biography - Henry Brakenhoff

HENRY BRAKENHOFF is a prominent German-American citizen and farmer, who keeps abreast with the progress of the times, and is one who has advanced the interests of his adopted country at all times. His life of industry and usefulness and his record for integrity and true-hearted faithfulness in all the relations of life have given him a hold upon the community which all might well desire to share.
Mr. Brakenhoff was born in Ostfriesland, Germany, May 5, 1831, and his father, Eilbert Brakenhoff, followed the occupation of an agriculturist in his native land. On this farm young Brakenhoff grew to a sturdy manhood, and received a fair education in the common schools. Under the laws then existing in Germany, he would at the age of twenty-one years be forced into the German army, so not being ambitious to become a soldier, and not being able to obtain the consent of the king to leave the country until he had served his time in the army, he determined to leave without his knowledge or consent. Accordingly, in 1851, and before he was twenty-one years of age, he quietly arranged with a friend from America, then visiting in Germany, to pay his passage to the New World, agreeing to work for him until his expenses had been made good.
Young Brakenhoff sailed from Bremen to America, and after a seven-weeks ocean voyage landed in New Orleans. He proceeded at once to Alton, Ill., and there found employment in the coal mines, thus earning the money to pay his friend for expenses incurred in the trip. He continued in the mine for five or six years, after which he engaged in farming near Mt. Olive. Two years later he again returned to the mines and continued there until 1867, when he came to Montgomery County, purchased the farm where he has ever since lived, in Nokomis Township, and has met with unusual success in tilling the soil. For a number of years he has lived a retired life, and his sons are working and looking after the farm.
In 1872, Mr. Brakenhoff made a trip to the Fatherland to see his mother and many friends, and enjoyed his trip immensely. However, he was glad to return to the land of his adoption, and here he has remained ever since, realizing that America is the best country after all.
The original of this notice was married in Alton in 1854 to Miss Henrietta Carsten, a high-minded German lady and a sister of John Carsten, the wealthy grain merchant and politician of Nokomis. This union has resulted in the birth of seven children, two of whom died in infancy, and one, Lena, died after reaching womanhood. Those now living are as follows: Eilbert and Harmon, both bright and promising young men, living at home and carrying on the large farm; while Garrett, a member of the large mercantile firm of J. Waltman & Co., of Nokomis, is a thorough business man. The last-named married Miss Lucy Essman, of Missouri, and their daughter, Foska, is the wife of C. Croon, who owns a farm nearby. The children are all industrious and intelligent, and have made excellent citizens.
Mr. Brakenhoff and wife are exemplary members of the German Lutheran Church, in which he is a Deacon, and in which he has ever been a leading figure. In politics, he is a strong advocate of the principles of the Republican party. He is one of the public-spirited citizens of the county, is interested in all enterprises of a worthy nature, and no laudable movement is allowed to fail for want of support on his part. He is one of the most popular men of the county, and a true German American citizen. Such men are a credit to any community.

Extracted 10 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 275-276.

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