52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: William and Marie

William Brandt was born on October 4, 1853 in Shelby, Texas, to Henry and Bertha (née Giesecke) Brandt. William had an older brother named Rudolph, a younger brother named Edward, and three younger sisters, Marie, Pauline, and Elise.  

Marie Witte was born on December 14, 1855. She was the daughter of Victor and Anna Marie (née Hagedorn) Witte. Marie had three older sisters named Marie Lisette, Franziska Sophia, and Emily; three younger sisters named Ida, Francisca, and Anna; and two younger brothers named Rudolph and Armin.

William and Marie were married on June 16, 1875 and lived in Shelby, where they raised their five children, Walter, Otto, Hugo, Helene, and Ernst. The 1900 census lists them as having a boarder named Charles MacGregor, a 27-year-old Black man who worked as a farm laborer.  In 1920, the retired couple was living with their daughter Helene, her husband Walter Linnstaedter, and the younger couple’s daughter Lynette.

An article in The Brenham Evening Press from 1910 about their son Otto’s marriage to Laura Vogelsang describes the Brandts as a prominent, well-known family. Indeed, they must have been well-known, as even their golden anniversary party made the news on January 21, 1926. William was a member of the Sons of Hermann, which was founded in the mid-1800s as a mutual aid organization for German-American citizens to fight anti-German bias. 

Marie died on August 29, 1936, leaving behind her grieving husband. He remained living with Helene and Walter and died on January 2, 1938 at the age of 84. His obituary refers to him as an “influential citizen of his community, taking active part in civic and business matters.” The funeral was conducted by Justice of the Peace C.W. Schmidt of Shelby. William and Marie Witte are buried side by side in the Jaeger Witte Cemetery.

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