John Brunner 1791-1867



   Above is the grave marker of John Brunner, son of Frederic and Mary Brunner, located at Hill Church in Bechtelsville, PA. According to the headstone he was born on Nov 7, 1791 and died Jun 7, 1867. It also shows his wife was Sara Koch and has a DAR marker for the War of 1812.

   In researching this further I'm fairly certain that the Frederic and Mary indicated above refers to Frederick Brunner and Maria Hummel of Worcester Twp. Montgomery County, PA.  Frederick and Mary had a couple of notable grandchildren through their son (John) Frederick who married Lydia Umstead (Umstadt) and had upward of 15 children the most prominent being Samuel U. Brunner who founded the North Wales Academy and Henry U. Brunner, a District Attorney in Montgomery County, PA. 

   It is the story of Henry that leads me to believe this is the right line for John. If you read the last part of the first paragraph it states that two Uncles of the subject of this sketch (Henry) served with distinction in the war of 1812. If John is the brother of Frederick  (also a son of Frederick and Maria) then that would certainly make him the Uncle of Henry and Samuel which seems to make sense. Also, there weren't very many Brunners who served in the war of 1812 and John was one of them.

    I have a copy of some church records from Wentz's UCC where the family attended. In the record are names and dates of confirmation along with the ages of the children. I did a quick cross-check of the names and birth dates by subtracting the age at confirmation from the year and got within 1 year of each person's birthday, pretty close. Interestingly enough a John was confirmed on Apr 25, 1813 but his age was not given. Knowing he was born in Nov. 1791 would have made him 21. Further study of Wentz's UCC records should reveal the accuracy of the above statements.  

    John was quite a bit older, some 30 years, than his wife Sara Koch which makes me wonder if he had a first wife who died. I found an interesting bit of information that may indicate he did indeed. On the same sheet I found the above confirmation records were records of marriages at the same church, Wentz's UCC. One record in particular stood out, it reads 1820 Mar. 2, John Brunner and Catharine Wisler. There is a Catharine Brunner buried at Wentz's UCC who died in 1844 and her tombstone states she was the wife of John Brunner. You could say it is another John, however, there are two other women whose records show that they were the first and second wives of a John W. Brunner so I don't think so. I would love to hear from anyone who has access to the actual church records and could verify any of this.