Upon the roll of representative citizens and prominent and influential agriculturists of Pleasant township, Johnson county, appears the name of the gentleman at the head of this county since his youth and has worked his own way to a position of marked precedence in both business and political affairs, while he is held in unqualified esteem by the people of his community.

William J. Brunnemer, who is living on the old Vanarsdale homestead in Pleasant township, Johnson county, Indiana, where he operates successfully one hundred and thirty-two acres of splendid farming land, was born in the neighborhood where he now lives and is the son of George L. and Nancy C. (Vanarsdale) Brunnemer. The father was born on January 22, 1842, the son of Anthony and Blanche Brunnemer, who were born in Virginia and Tennessee respectively. In 1860, the family came to Indiana, locating about a mile north of Whiteland, Johnson county, where they pursued the vocation of agriculture and where George L. spent the balance of his days, his death occurring there in April, 1909. He was a native of Morgan county, and at the outbreak of the Civil war his patriotism was aroused and he gave his support to the cause of the Union. On February 15, 1865, he enlisted as a private in Company E, One Hundred and Forty-eighth Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, in which he was appointed a corporal. He served valiantly during the closing months of the war and on September 5, 1865, received an honorable discharge. The following year he located on his farm in section 29, Pleasant township, to the cultivation of which he devoted his time and energies with considerable success so that at his death he was the owner of three hundred and sixty acres of land. He also gave some attention to the operation of a saw mill which he owned in that neighborhood. He was twice married, first on February 5, 1863, to Sarah E. McClellan, the daughter of Joseph and Margaret (Clem) McClellan, natives of Kentucky, and to this union were born two children: James D., who was born on December 11, 1863, and married Louie A. Sharp, and Sarah E., whose birth occurred on August 12, 1866, and who is now deceased. Mrs. Sarah Brunnemer died on September 5, 1866, and on October 23rd of the following year Mr. Brunnemer was united in marriage to Nancy C. Vanarsdale, a daughter of Cornelius A. B. and Nancy J. (Clem) Vanarsdale, her birth having occurred in Pleasant township, this county, on October 24, 1848. To George L. Brunnemer’s last union were born three children: Albert who is represented elsewhere in this work; Ammie J., who was born on December 8, 1871, and became the wife of Hugh Johnson, and William J., the immediate subject of this sketch. Religiously, the subject’s parents were ardent and faithful members of the Methodist Episcopal church.

The subject of this sketch was reared on the paternal homestead and received his education in No. 11 school. He remained with his father until twenty years of age, when he moved onto the farm where he now lives, and to which he has since given his indefatigable attention, his industry and perseverance being rewarded with a fair measure of success. He is a good all-around farmer, giving due attention to every detail of his work, and has a splendid residence which he erected in 1908, while the other buildings on the place as well as fences and other details show the owner to be a man of good judgment and sound discrimination.

Mr. Brunnemer has been married twice, first in November, 1894, to Ida Caplinger, the daughter of Robert and Mary (McLain) Caplinger, of Johnson county, though natives of Kentucky. Mrs. Brunnemer died in August, 1900, at the age of thirty-two years, her child having died in infancy. In July, 1901, Mr. Brunnemer married Burdette McLain, the daughter of John A. and Susan (Caplinger) McLain, and to this union were born five children: William Merrill, born August 11, 1902; Winford Harrell, born February 26, 1905; Georgia Catherine, born January, 1908; Christine Frances, born June 6, 1911, and Marion, born May 29, 1913.

Mr. Brunnemer gives his political support to the Republican party, in the success of which he takes an active interest, while his church relations are with the Methodist Episcopal society, to which he gives a liberal support. He has always been regarded as a man of high principles, honest in every respect and broad-minded. A man of broad character, kindness of heart to the unfortunate and ever willing to aid in any way any cause for the betterment of the community and the public with whom he has to deal, he is held in high favor and the utmost respect by all who know him.

Branigin, Elba L. History of Johnson County. Indianapolis, IN: B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc., 1913. pp 732-733

Transcribed by Lois Johnson