Transcribed by Pamela Wagler from: Biographical Review of Des Moines County, Iowa: Containing Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of Many of the Prominent Citizens of To-day and Also of the Past, Hobart Publishing Company, Chicago, 1905.


William Brand, proprietor of a large tin store and shop in Burlington, Iowa, and an old resident of that city, is a descendant of a German family which occupied a substantial position in the Fatherland. He was born June 22, 1833, at Konigschafhausen, Baden, a son of William and Elizabeth (Henniger) Brand. The father was a cooper by trade, but after serving his term of seven years in the army secured a position in the revenue service of the Grand Duke of Baden as a tax collector, having charge of the revenue office in his own town. He remained in office approximately fifty years, retiring only in his eighty-sixth year. The date of his birth was Feb. 10, 1805, and he died in Freiburg in June, 1894, aged eighty-nine years. The maternal grandfather of our subject was a farmer in excellent circumstances, his farm being what is known in Germany as a bauerhof.

The mother of Mr. Brand died when he was but six years old, and although he was thus in some measure deprived of the usual home training, his educational advantages were of the best, he attending the public schools until he was twelve years of age, and during the following three years being a student in an architectural school at Waldshut, Baden. During the period between the ages of fifteen and eighteen years he was engaged in learning the tinner's trade at Kehl, opposite Strasburg, and after having mastered the trade he traveled to various cities of Germany, working as a journeyman tinner, for three years, or until he was twenty years of age. He then determined to come to America, and sailed from Havre, France, on Saturday, May 6, 1854, landed in New York, Sunday, June 18, 1854. Proceeding to Boston, he was employed in the tinshops there for two years, but feeling that the West offered greater rewards, he came to Burlington in the spring of 1856. Here he was in the employ of various tinners until 1879, and it was during this period that he did a great deal of tin roofing, then a genuine novelty, and put up the first galvanized cornice in the city.

Thrift, economy, and steadiness of purpose finally enabled Mr. Brand to assume an independent position and in 1879 he opened a tin shop in Burlington, at 415 Leebrick Street, where he built a shop and residence. Here he has a well-appointed shop and a substantial two-story house. In his business venture he has enjoyed an encouraging success from the first, the business which he built up so carefully now being for sale that he may retire. On Dec. 6, 1860, he wedded Miss Mary Wagner, daughter of Andrew Wagner, and to them have been born seven children, who survived infancy, these being as follows: William, of St. Louis; Charles F., deceased; Amelia M., wife of Walter Walden, of Miami, Fla.; Edward and Henry, of St. Louis; Louis, of Burlington; and Clara, wife of Fred Coalbaugh. Three died in infancy. All the sons have followed in their father's steps and learned the tinner's trade, at which they are now employed. Mrs. Brand is now deceased, she having died in Burlington, Oct. 12, 1904, mourned and regretted by many friends. She was born at Groeglingen, Würtemburg, Nov. 22, 1843, and coming to the United States, located in Burlington with her parents, in the spring of 1847, her father being a bookbinder, who worked at his trade in this city.

For a long term of years Mr. Brand was a member of the Turners' society, and recalls that he served for a time in the first hook-and-ladder company ever organized in Burlington, this being in 1858. During the time of the Civil War, he joined the Home Guards, thus displaying a commendable spirit of loyalty to his adopted city and country, for at that time rumors were rife that the Confederate forces contemplated an invasion of the principal cities along the Mississippi River. In the German Silver Cornet Band, one of the best organizations of the kind ever formed in the West, he was a member for seventeen and a half years, playing a tenor horn and second violin, and visiting many surrounding towns and cities. He has never been allied with any political party, but takes great interest in affairs of government as one of that large and increasingly influential body of citizens known as independents. In 1885, Mr. Brand returned to Europe, and visited his native town of Konigschafhausen and other places, and taking a trip down the Rhine. He was gone three months in all, and thoroughly enjoyed the renewal of old memories, although he returned to America with renewed faith in the wisdom of his choice in casting his lot with the New World. He has indeed the best reasons for viewing that action with complacency, for here he has achieved success, and acquired a competency, and made many friends who respect him for his worth and his strength of character.


Copyright © 2009–2013, The IAGenWeb Project