Charles Brunner and Charles Nadler
Peru Illinois

Transcribed and Contributed by Tracy McIntosh

The picture states:  "Nadler Home (left), Brunner Home (right), Peru, IL. I think the child is my grandfather Curt."

I don’t know the approximate date; it was actually given to me by a distant cousin. I do know something about the families.

The Brunner house was the home of Charles and Elizabeth C. Rausch Brunner. Charles was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany on March 5, 1841. He died May 18, 1917 in Peru.

I think the Nadler house was the home of Charles and Emelia, not Charles’ father, Joseph. I have another picture of Charles’ son Curt outside that house. Charles Nadler was born Jan. 21, 1861 in Peru. He died Jan. 17, 1939 in Chicago. Emelia Henrietta Brunner was born to Charles and Elizabeth on May 21, 1862 in Peru. She died March 24, 1924 in Chicago.

Charles Brunner

Charles Brunner came to America when he was seventeen years old (1858) because a soothsayer had predicted a bright future across the great water. He lived in Connecticut and New York for two years, and then because a boyhood friend lauded the possibilities of Peru, Illinois, he moved there in 1860 (or the spring of 1859, acc. to the History of LaSalle Co.). (From the Peru, IL, Centennial book: In the late 1850s, Water St. became a less desirable business location and many businesses moved to Fourth Street. It was around this time that the book indicates that Charles built the Masonic Temple, which sounds like it was on Fourth St.)

In 1868 he went into partnership on a new foundry and boiler works with a Mr. Foote. After Mr. Foote left, he took a partner named Snow, but the business was known thereafter as Bruner Foundry and Machine Company. It became one of the largest foundries of its kind (foundry, machine shop, and boiler works)in Central Illinois at the time. Charles was the inventor and patentee of gas engines, scales, and other devices that his shop produced.

Director of Peru National Bank since 1883 and vice president for the last 15 years of his life. He was a Republican and alderman of the city for 10 years. He was a Knight Templar Mason and Mystic Shriner, mbr. of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, mbr. of the American Woodmen and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He was a member of the German Lutheran Church.(Acc. to the Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois, Charles was also "a director in the company controlling the Peru Plow Works and in the LaSalle Pressed Brick Company, and is interested in more or less intimately in other important industrial enterprises.")

(Acc. to the Peru, IL, Centennial book: In June 1890 the Secretary of State granted George D. Ladd, W.K. Hoagland, Theodore Weberling, John Cahill, and Charles Brunner the right to take stock subscriptions to the Peru Artesian Water Supply Company. This company drilled a well east of Grant St. above the Rock Island tracks, which the city leased a year later for $25,000.)

He applied for a passport when he was 60 and indicated he was traveling with his wife, Elizabeth R. Brunner. He was listed as 6' tall with blue eyes, dark hair and partly bald. He indicated they would be going abroad for three months and that he was a foundryman. This was in April of 1901.

Charles and Elizabeth Brunner lived next door to the Nadlers, whose son, Charles, married their daughter Emelia. Cousin Donna Stewart (dau. of Betty Nadler, dau. of Curt Nadler) has a picture of the Brunner and Nadler homes. (They may have lived next door to Charles and Emelia???, since I have another picture from a book of Joseph Nadler’s house, and it is not the same house. Joseph was Charles’ father.)”?

According to information from Donna Stewart (dau. of Betty, dau. of Curt Nadler), Charles died at his home of "old age" and was cremated at Graceland, Chicago. He died at 11:45 a.m. on Friday, May 18, 1917. He was buried in Peru.

Charles Nadler Engagement Picure

Interestingly, Charles and his brother Herman were both born on March 5 and both had all girls! Charles named his girls Emelia, Sidonia, Lilly, Jennie, and Fannie. Herman named his Flora, Rose, Sidonia, and Camilla.

Charles Nadler

5' 10", blue eyes, brown hair, medium nose, according to passport application.

Acc. to Donna Stewart (dau. of Betty, who was the dau. of Curt Nadler), Charles and Emelia were world travelers and went to India and Egypt, at least. There are pictures of Charles on a camel in front of the pyramids and in front of Taj Mahal.

According to the "History of LaSalle County, Illinois" Edwin H. Helmig, a Peru native, worked 18 years for Charles, then bought him out. It said Mr. Helmig had been president and treasurer of the Helmig Drug Stores since 1918. The history was written in 1924.

Charles' drug store was known as Four Corners Drug Store. Charles was a Mason, as were his father-in-law, Charles Brunner, and son Herbert.

Cremated at Graceland in Chicago, according to cousin Donna.


Tracy McIntosh

Nadler Photos

Charles Nadler's Four-Corner Drug Store

Walter, Emelia, Herbert, and Curt Nadler on the steps of the Nadler house, Peru, IL.

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