William Henry Brandt was born October 4, 1853 in Shelby, Texas, to Henry Brandt and Bertha Brandt (née Giesecke). William had an older brother named Rudolph, a younger brother named Edward, and three younger sisters, Marie, Pauline, and Elise. His father was a farmer from Hessen and his mother was from Hannover. The 1860 census lists another Henry Brandt from Hannover, age 25, as living with the family as a farm laborer.
Marie Witte was born December 14, 1855. She was the daughter of Victor Witte and Anna Marie Witte (née Hagedorn). 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. The Brandt and Witte families both lived on their farms in Brenham.
William and Marie were married January 18, 1876 and lived in Shelby, where they raised their five children, Walter, W. Otto, Hugo, Helene, and Ernst. William was a farmer. The 1900 census lists them as having a boarder named Chas 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 granddaughter 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. They must have remained well-known in their community; William and Marie’s Golden Anniversary party made the news on January 21, 1926.
Marie died August 29, 1936, leaving behind her grieving husband. He remained living with Helene and Walter and died January 2, 1938 at the age of 84.
William’s obituary refers to him as an “influential citizen of his community, taking active part in civic and business matters” until his retirement. He was a member of the Sons of Hermann, a relief society to combat anti-German bias. The funeral, held at Helene and Walter’s residence, was conducted by Justice of the Peace C.W. Schmidt of Shelby, and graveside matters were handled by the Sons of Hermann.
William and Marie Witte are buried side by side in the Jaeger Witte Cemetery, next to their eldest son Walter.
Obituaries can be found here: