BRUNER, M. L.
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 984-986
Captain M. L. BRUNER, who is a resident of Rockford [Winnebago County, IL], was born in Gossfield Township, Essex County, Canada, 16 Apr 1839. He is a son of Philip BRUNER, a native of the same county, while his grandfather, Adam BRUNER, hailed from PA and removed at an early day to Essex County, where he cleared a farm and resided until his decease. [In 1788 Essex County was in Hesse District, which in 1792 was renamed Western District, which in 1798 consisted of the current counties of Essex and Kent. The districts were divided into counties in 1800, and in 1826 the Western District consisted of the current counties of Essex, Kent and a portion of Lambton. Upper Canada and Lower Canada joined to form the Province of Canada in 1842, and Upper Canada, now Ontario, was then called Canada West, while Lower Canada, now Quebec, was called Canada East.]
The father of our subject grew to man's estate in his native county, where he was married. He located about six miles from the old homestead in Gossfield Township, and continued to make that place his home until 1849, when with his family, which included his wife and nine children, he emigrated to IL, making the journey with teams, which consumed 14 days. Locating in Winnebago County, he purchased a tract of 80 acres, mostly timber land, in Harlem Township, besides farming land in the same township. There was a log cabin on his timbered land whichhe removed to his farm and resided in for about six years. In 1868 he sold that purchase and bought a farm two and a half miles from Caledonia [Winnebago County] and was there actively engaged in farming until his death.
The maiden name of our subject's mother was Mary A. MUNGER. She was born in Essex County, Canada, and was a daughter of Joseph MUNGER, a native of PA. He was a wagon maker by trade, and on removing from PA, located in Essex County, Canada, where he was one of the pioneers of Colchester Township. There he prosecuted his trade, in addition to which he carried on farming and continued to reside until 1855, when he removed to IA and located in Black Hawk County, where he spent his last days. The maternal grandmother of [p 985] our subject was Sarah (GEITY) MUNGER, and was also a native of PA. Her father was Simeon GEITY. The grandmother died in Harlem Township and Mrs. BRUNER passed her last days on the home farm in Caledonia Township.
The children included in the parental family bore the following names: Joseph, William, Julia, Malcom, Augustus, Melinda, Orlando, Anderson, Myron, Franklin, and Walter. William met his death by accident when 10 years of age. Walter departed this life at the age of 28 years. Our subject, when 10 years of age, accompanied his parents on their removal IL. At that early day the country bore little resemblance to its present prosperous condition, there being no railroads in this locality, and Chicago being the nearest market. He attended the district school and assisted his father in performing the duties of the farm, continuing to be so employed until 1861. In Sep 1861 he enlisted in Company C, 18th WI Infantry, which company he assisted in raising, and upon its organization was transferred to Company K, entering the service in Oct 1862 as 2nd Sergeant. In Sep 1861 he enlisted in Co. C, 18th WI Infantry, which company he assisted in raising, and upon its organization was transferred to Co. K, entering the service in Oct 1862 as 2nd Sergeant For meritorious conduct he was soon promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, and in Mar 1863 was made Captain of his company. His first battle was Shiloh, and in the first day's fight his regiment was cut to pieces and disorganized, by ten a. m. all on the line of fire being either killed or wounded; 211 men and 11 officers were taken prisoner, and on the second day of the conflict Mr. BRUNER was placed in command of the 6th Regiment, which numbered 62 men and was held in reserve. At noon he turned the command over to a 2nd Lieutenant and later joined the skirmish line on the left, forcing his way through to the camp from which the rebels had driven them on Sunday. There he alone captured two prisoners, and after turning them over to the proper authorities, gave his attention to caring for his wounded comrades. He later participated in the battles of Iuka and Corinth, during the latter named conflict being on detached duty for a time. Soon thereafter he joined the 5th MI, of which company he was placed in command, and after the battle of Corinth went in pursuit of the enemy. With his company Mr. BRUNER spent the winter at Young's Point, and in 1863 fought in the battles of Jackson (MS), Champion Hills, Black River and the siege and capture of Vicksburg. At the end of that time, he obtained leave of absence, and on returning home was confined to his bed for months months with typhoid-malarial fever. When able to again endure the hardships of life in the army, Mr. BRUNER joined his regiment at Memphis and marched with the command to Chattanooga and engaged in the battle of Missionary Ridge. His regiment was the first of Sherman's command to cross the Tennessee River, crossing at two a. m., and before daylight had thrown up two lines of breastworks, and a third before ten a. m. In the fall of that year the command went to AL, where they spent the winter, and in the spring sojourned at Whitesbury, on the Tennessee River, where they remained until June. During that time they destroyed the salt works on that river, and in the latter part of June marched to Chattanooga, where he celebrated the 4th of July by riding a mule to the top of Lookout Mt.
The next important battle in which our subject engaged was Altoona Pass. At three a. m. on the day of that conflict he was ordered to take command of three companies to protect the left wing. They there remained until two p. m., without orders, when they concluded to repair to the fort. Upon the arrival of our subject there, Captain Rafferty, of Colonel Rouett's staff, asked him if he thought they would have to surrender. Capt. BRUNER answered "No, not as long as there are men and ammunition left." He remained with his company until the close of that battle, when he returned home on furlough. Rejoining his regiment at Nashville, TN, he accompanied them, via the Cumberland & Ohio Rivers, to Cincinnati, from there by railroad to Baltimore, and then by steamer to Newburn, NC. Soon after landing the regiment participated in the battle of Wise's Fork, then joining Sherman's forces, marched with them to Raleigh and finally to Washington, where they participated in the Grand Review.
At the close of hostilities Mr. BRUNER, on [p 986] 18 Aug 1865, returned home by way of Louisville, KY. He then entered Beloit College, where he prosecuted his studies until 1867. At the expiration of that time he purchased 80 acres of land from his father and 100 acres of other parties, and with the exception of teaching three terms of winter school, devoted his entire time and attention to cultivating the soil for 13 years. Then disposing of his estate, our subject engaged as a commercial traveler, representing H. W. PIERCE, with whom he was connected for six years. For a year he traveled in the interests of the Rockford Mitten and Hosiery Company, and a like period for P. O. ARGERSINGER, of Johnstown. Mr. BRUNER then established a carriage repository on North Madison Street, where he has conducted a successful business since that time.
On 23 Apr 1867 Miss Sophronia Adelaide SWEZEY became the wife of our subject. Mrs. BRUNER was a native of NY State and departed this life in 1878. Our subject was a 2nd time married, 03 Aug 1884, this time to Emeline (GOODHOE) BARNES, widow of William BARNES. Captain BRUNER is the father of three children by his first marriage: Elmer Howard, Augustus Harlin, and Rhoda Adelia. The present wife of our subject became the mother of two children by her first marriage, Lutie and June. In social matters our subject is a member of Rockford Lodge No. 120, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and Nevius Post No. 1, G. A. R. Mr. and Mrs. BRUNER are members in good standing of the Congregational Church.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.