Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Obituary: Great, Great Grandpa John Bruhns (1848-1934)

Here's the 1934 obituary of my great great grandfather, Johann (John) Bruhns. He was born July 20, 1848, in Holstein, Germany, and immigrated to Tracy, San Joaquin County, California, in 1872. You can still see the barn on his old land out on Corral Hollow Road in Tracy, and I still love driving by it when I visit my old hometown. He passed away outside of Tracy on July 24, 1934.

Here's the text from the obituary that ran in the Tracy Press newspaper just after John Bruhns' death:

John Bruhns, for Fifty Years a Leader in Local
Farming Activities Passed Away
After Long Illness
With sorrowing friends and relatives from far and near in attendance Thursday afternoon, John Bruhns, pioneer resident of this territory for 50 years, was laid in his last resting place at Tracy cemetery, after a solemn and impressive ceremony at the DeMark Funeral Chapel, conducted by Rev. H. D. Soyer.

John Bruhns, known by old and young alike for many years, passed away at his ranch home four miles southwest of Tracy at 7:30 Tuesday morning after a lingering illness. He was 86 years of age and had just celebrated his birthday last Friday, July 20.

Deceased came to the Tracy section in 1872, two years after he had left his native land of Germany. He was born July 20, 1848, and in 1870 went from Hamburg, Germany, to Liverpool, England, where he took passage for New York. After spending two years in that city he came to California and in 1881 began farming in the Lammersville district near Bethany. In 1884, he moved to the ranch near here, where he spent his remaining days.

In 1881, deceased was married to Christina M. Schlichtman at the ranch home near Bethany. The couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary November 3, 1931, at the present home where they entertained a host of friends and relatives for the day.

There were five children from the union, Mrs. C. A. Christiansen of Livermore, Mrs. L. H. Madsen of Altamont, Mrs. Fred Von Sosten and John Bruhns of Tracy, and Mrs. J. H. Bargeman, deceased. There are 11 grandchildren, John, Carl, Irma and Thelma Von Sosten, Mildred, Doris, Lois and Elmer Christiansen, and Lloyd, Dona and Rae Madsen.

John Bruhns was one of the first members of the West Side Lodge, #118, Knights of Pythias, and has always been an active member. He has for many years been one of the leading farmers in this section and took an active part in all civic interests up until the time illness made it impossible for him to do so to any great extent.

It was indeed a sad blow to the countryside when the news of his death was heard. The entire community is in mourning for one of the oldest settlers in the valley and one who was known and loved by all.

The pallbearers were: Adolph Linne, Ben Canale, Dan Canale, S. S. McLean, Fred Goetjen and Thomas P. Ohm.


John Bruhns, pioneer of Tracy, who passed away at his ranch home four miles southwest of here Tuesday morning after a lingering illness. Bruhns celebrated his 86th birthday July 20
It's nice to read that my great great grandfather was so loved by his family and those in the community. I have quite a few photos of him, and he seemed like a person who truly loved life and his family. 
John Bruhns, surrounded by his large family

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