Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Mini Bios of People of Scots Descent
Herbert Madden Brenneman Bio. Hancock County, WV

Submitted by: Valerie Crook <>

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 230-231
Hancock County

HERBERT MADDEN BRENNEMAN. Hancock County has precedence as one of the most important centers of fruit culture in the State of West Virginia, and apples here raised are known far and wide for their superiority, with the result that they always command the maximum market prices. The fine fruit farm owned and occupied by Mr. Brenneman is here situated two miles distant from Arroyo, an important shipping point, and is the place on which his birth occurred, the date of his nativity having been April 24, 1877. He is a son of Charles Christian Brenneman, who was born at Kendall, Pennsylvania, in October, 1836, a son of Jacob Brenneman. Christian Brenneman, his great-grandfather, who became a pioneer settler in what is now Hancock County, served as a soldier in the command of Gen. Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812, and incidentally walked home from New Orleans, where he had been stationed with his command. He married a daughter of Jacob Nessly, who was one of the very early settlers of the present Hancock County and of whom mention is made in other reviews in this history. Jacob Nessly owned a very large tract of land along the Ohio River, and it was on a portion of this land that Christian Brenneman settled after his marriage, his old homestead being the place now owned by George G. Brenneman, who is individually represented on other pages of this work. 

Christian Brenneman finally sold 209 acres of his land, and his grandson, Charles C., repurchased the property shortly after the close of the Civil war, the remainder of his life having been here passed and his death having occurred on the 1st of June, 1901. He married Mary Frances Brown, daughter of Charles Brown, who was a son of Sir Richard Brown, the latter having come from Scotland and settled in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Charles Brown came to West Virginia when his daughter, Mary F., was eight years old, and purchased a part of the Jacob Nessly farm, adjoining the home place of Austin H. Brown. There Charles Brown remained until his death, at the patriarchal age of ninety-six years. His sons, Robert and William, became owners of the old farm and at the death of Robert Brown the property passed into the possession of Charles Brenneman, a son of John, another brother of George and Charles C. The present house on this fine old homestead was erected in 1823, heavy hewed timbers being utilized in its construction, and hand work of the old-time enduring order being in evidence throughout the structure. The house was remodeled and modernized in 1915 by its present owner, Herbert M. Brenneman, subject of this sketch. In connection with the raising of cattle and sheep Charles C. Brenneman here early began the development of an apple orchard, and in the same there is still remaining one tree that was planted in 1813 and that is still bearing fruit of excellent quality. This venerable tree is one of the original "Willow Twig" apple trees of a section now renowned for the production of this fine type of apples. Charles C. Brenneman planted an orchard of 5,000 trees, and from his orchard he received in 1896 a yield of 6,000 barrels. It was a matter of great pride to him that he lived to see the development of his orchard into one of the most productive in this section. The present owner maintains the integrity of the orchard by a careful system of resetting or replacement, no vacancy being permitted to appear in the lines of trees, and he having precedence as the most extensive commercial fruit grower in his native state. He has held to the celebrated "Willow Twig" variety as the best type of apples to be raised under the excellent conditions here in evidence, and no better or more enduring type is to be found anywhere in the world. 

The Brenneman orchards give an average yield of 2,500 barrels, and the place has storage facilities for the accommodation of 6,000 barrels. Mr. Brenneman buys from other fruit growers of the locality sufficient quantities of apples to reach the limit of his storage capacity. He formerly exported apples to Germany, Scotland and England, but the product of his orchards is sold throughout the United States almost exclusively since the close of the World war. His fine farm comprises 209 acres—the original tract owned by his father. The store house on this model fruit farm is a stone structure, one of the finest houses for the storing of fruit in the United States, and preserves an even temperature. Mr. Brenneman has made other improvements of the best modern order, and has reason for taking pride in his splendid hillside farm, which produces apples of finer flavor and color than do those grown in the river bottom lands of this locality.

Mr. Brenneman was formerly retained as buyer for leading wholesale fruit dealers in Pittsburgh and New York City, and in this connection he visited the fruit-growing districts in all sections of the United States, with the result that he has become a recognized authority in this field of industrial enterprise. He is a citizen of vital progressiveness and liberality, has been influential in the promotion of the good-roads movement, and raised through private sources funds to improve a road in his native county and district. He was reared in the faith of the Methodist Church and his wife is a member of the Presbyterian Church.

In 1902 Mr. Brenneman married Miss Anna Elizabeth Unkel, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and her death occurred ten years later, the one child of this union being Gladys Elizabeth, who is a member of the class of 1923 in the high school at Newell. In June, 1915, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Brenneman and Miss Amy Viola Cope, of Wellsville, Ohio, where she was born and reared and where her father, the late Samuel S. Cope, was engaged in the hardware business fully fifty years. Mrs. Celestia Ann (Snowden) Cope, mother of Mrs. Brenneman, was born at Hookstown, Pennsylvania, and still resides at Wellsville, Ohio. Mrs. Brenneman was for twenty years actively associated with the business established by her father, and was secretary and treasurer of the Cope Hardware & Supply Company, in which connection she developed exceptional business ability. Her social charm is equally pronounced. and she is the popular chatelaine of one of the beautiful and hospitable rural homes of Hancock County.

In conclusion is entered brief record concerning the brothers and sisters of Herbert M. Brenneman: Alice B. is the wife of E. W. Hewitt, of Arroyo, Hancock County. Charles Howard, who died in 1916, at the age of fifty-three years, was at the time proprietor of the Brenneman Baking Company in the City of Columbus, Ohio. Jacob Edward was but a lad when he went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he made remarkable advancement and eventually became the executive head of the Brenneman Wharf & Bridge Company, which has done a large amount of important work, including the erection of the wharves of the navy yards at League Island. He is still president of this corporation. Clarence likewise left the parental home when he was a youth, and he is now secretary of the Peerless Biscuit Company in the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Willard was seventeen years of age when he went to Pittsburgh, and there he is now president and general manager of the Peerless Baking Company. Rev. George E. attended Mount Union College at Alliance, Ohio, and is a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church, he being at the time of this writing, in 1922, pastor of the First Methodist Episcopal Church at New Kensington, Pennsylvania. Robert Baird, the next younger son, died in 1918, he having been a principal in and general manager of the Seaman, Irvin & Brenneman Construction Company of Homesdale, Pennsylvania, Herbert M., of this sketch, was the next in order of birth. Frank Lawrence, a traveling salesman for the Peerless Biscuit Company, of Pittsburgh, died in December, 1917. He inherited a life interest in the Robert Brown estate in Hancock County, West Virginia, and was here maintaining his home at the time of his death. Mrs. Eva C. Gardner, the youngest of the children, resides at Columbus, Ohio. Each of the sons made a record of substantial and worthy achievement, and all have honored their native county and state.

 Return to our Scots Descendants Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus