Golden Jubilee Booklet - Chapter V: Humerous History & Happanstance
page 18 -19  by CHARLIE H. MAMMEN


Fifty years ago and thereafter, I was in Brunsville a lot, but the boys that I churned with (some of them got so fat and bald) they don't even recognize me. As you probably know, this was all prairie used for hay and pasture. In 1910 when the railroad was built through here Brunsville started out with a bang.

     Ed Johnson always had a lot of guts. He built himself a monstrous store building right in the middle of the prairie—the first building to go up. There may have been a few stakes driven in the ground by the Town-site Co. where the streets were supposed to be. Then the Farmers Bank was built across the street north of Ed Johnson's on the corner. Today it is our First State Bank. The first building was moved away and used for a chicken coop. Next west of the bank was John Dirk's Hardware and Plumbing business. Farther west was Frank Wilken's store and meat market. He also had a peddling wagon in the country. Next was John Hauschild's large grocery store. Next to that was the Bank of Brunsville. Later that whole row of buildings burned down except the Farmers Bank Bui'ding which was closed. This was about 1931 when so many banks went under. Ernest Bovsen was running this bank, who with many other bankers joined the B.B.B. (that means the Brotherhood of Busted Bankers). Most of the papers of the Bank of Brunsville were saved and taken to the Farmers Bank Building where our friend and pal, the late Henry Harms, and our dear friend, Katherine Dickman, were ready for business the next morning.

     Going back to the beginning, Charlie Richards and Louis Borchers had an Implement Shop. They had a full line of machinery—one famous named brand I remember was the Acme Binder. Barney Luken had a cement block factory. Mrs. Bruns built the hotel with cement blocks. Barney built his own house with blocks. Fred Toel built his cement block blacksmith shoo across the street from Barney. He was our first village blacksmith. Otto Vollmar was one of our first bankers, and I believe he built the first residence in Brunsville the one where John Kallsen's live now. Charlie Richards also had a butcher shop. Ted Harms had a variety store—also known as Davidson's. George Popken ran the lumber yard. Vander Wicken and Wies had a pool hall. Barney Luken's boy, Harold, was the first baby born in Brunsville. I remember it well. It was the same year when little Orphan Annie was just 48 years old. Elmer Johnson was No. 2. After that they lost track. Up to now there are 117 babies born in Brunsville. At least that was the count about a week ago. Well. they were not all born in town —some were born in hospitals. Why? Because they wanted to be close to their mothers.

In 1917 the church building was moved from Dalton to Brunsville. Pastor Klatt was the first resident Pastor. Now we have a nice new church built on the hill, and as a monument it stands to the Glory of God where the bells toll every Sunday morning calling us to come and worship.

    We must not forget our old time residents who have passed away. I am thinking of Ihnke Harms and Henry Johnson—two of our better citizens who lived in Brunsville. Ihnke Harms became so popular that they invented a slogan in his honor and today that slogan is still used by the First State Bank on their calendars. Most of you know what that slogan is "The Old Reliable." And then there was Henry Johnson—most of us remember him. His main job was to pack eggs in egg cases that the farmers brought in. Some in baskets, pails, or what have you at Ed Johnson's store. He was the best egg packer in town. He had one draw-back. He had one stiff finger, so when he was packing eggs he would forget his finger and stick it through the shell. That wouldn't be so bad unless he would hit one that was overly ripe.


     When Brunsville first started there wasn't a tree in sight, but the people all planted a few trees. Now there are a lot of nice trees in the yards. As I have always said—a yard without a tree in it isn't fit for a dog.

    In 1912 or 1913 Doctor Ellsworth moved to Brunsville. He was our first resident doctor. A lady in Brunsville became sick—she always felt bloated. Of course the doctor didn't know what was the matter with her so he asked her if she had ever had that before. She said yes she did, and the doctor said "Well, you have got it again."

    In 1923 Clyde Felton, the Barber came to Brunsville. He was one of the better barbers in the country. All the teen-age girls went to him to get their hair cut. Some of these girls are grandmothers now. One bald-headed man complained that Clyde charged too much to cut his hair. Clyde told him he had to spend so much time to find them.


Brunsville, Iowa

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