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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



GEORGE BRAND, wholesale and retail dealer in furniture, located at the corner of North and Main streets, Bloomington, is carrying on a profitable and steadily increasing trade. Mr. Brand is a representative German citizen, who has identified himself with the interests of his adopted country, and has became a valued factor in the business of this city.

He was born in Wurtemberg [ed., Baden-Württemberg], Germany, on the 25th of August, 1829. In accordance with the laws and customs of his native country he commenced attending school when six years of age, and continued diligently until fourteen.

He then engaged to learn the baker's trade, at which he worked two years, then sailed for the United States, which he reached after a prosperous voyage of forty-one days, landing in the city of New York. Thence he proceeded westward to Holmes County, Ohio, where he resumed work at his trade and remained three years, thence going into Somerset County [ed., probably Somerset, Ohio, in Perry County], the same State. From there he proceeded to the city of Cleveland, and afterward to Detroit and Chicago.

In 1853 Mr. Brand came to Bloomington, and engaged with J. DePew, with whom he remained for eight years following. He then became the partner of his employer, with whom he operated two years, at the expiration of which time he went into the employ of the Chicago & Alton Railway Company, with whom he remained three years.

In the spring of 1870 he commenced business on his own account, with a capital of $190, $100 of which he paid out for a stock of lumber. He then commenced to manufacture furniture on a small scale, and in the course of time began to prosper and business to increase. He was soon compelled to enlarge his stock and capacities for work and employ men to assist him. He possessed good business abilities, was prompt in meeting his obligations, and before long secured a good patronage. He is now carrying on an extensive factory, his business operations extending throughout this and other States.

In 1885 Mr. Brand put up his present business house, which is four stories in height, and covers an area of 24x98 feet, all of which is occupied in carrying on his manufactures. The building was erected at a cost of $18,000, and is all paid for, which, considering the modest beginning of our subject, speaks well for his industry, perseverance and good management. This structure is one of the neatest business houses in the city, and an ornament to the block whereon it is located.

Besides this Mr. Brand has a good residence handsomely finished and furnished, where he enjoys the society of his friends and acquaintances and dispenses a generous hospitality.

Mr. Brand was married in 1862, to Miss Lena Kocht, of Ohio, and they have become the parents of six children, two sons and four daughters. Our subject is a member and Steward of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, and socially belongs to Remembrance Lodge No. 77, I. O. O. F. In politics he affiliates with the Republican party.

[SOURCE: Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887). Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.]


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