Henry Brodhagen

Heinrich “Henry” Brodhagen (April 25, 1844-1919) and Bertha Blank (April 15, 1841 – 1908) lived and met in Pearz, Germany near Berlin. In 1871, soon after Henry turned 27 years old, the Brodhagens emigrated from Germany to America with 3 children (Amelia, Reinhard and “Heinrich” Henry Jr.)  On 1 September 1871 they arrived in New York, NY.    To look at the ships record below, it appears they are traveling with five children.  Passengers 128 thru 134.  Perhaps some did not live long and are lost in future accounts of the family.

New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957 for Heinrich Brodhagen
1871 Passenger List. Steerage passengers, 128-134, Henry (27), Bertha (30), and children.

At first, they settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where Henry took up brick making. Henry had learned to manufacture bricks from his father August Brodhagen in Germany.

From 1871 to 1877, while living in Pennsylvania, the Brodhagen’s continued to have children:  Albert (b. 1873), Bertha (b. 1875), and Augusta “Gussie” (b.1877).  In 1877, they moved from Pittsburgh to Grand Traverse, Michigan.  They would later have Lucile (b.1882) and Julius (b.1885).  The youngest 3 children appeared to have never married but they often lived close to each other.  Julius would one day be the executor for both Augusta and Lucile’s estate.

Garfield Twp.

Henry Brodhagen Jr lived in Garfield Township in Grand Traverse County where he farmed his own and his parent’s property.   Henry took an active interest in all his father’s businesses and would continue to for most of his life.  His brother Reinhard’s fate is a mystery.

The Brodhagen’s owned a cherry farm and maintained many business ventures.  In 1879, Henry bought the livery stable of B.J. Morgan located on the south side of State Street between Union and Cass.  The livery was a common feature of downtown Traverse City into the next century.

Henry Brodhagen Family Business
Henry Brodhagen Family BusinessIn 1879,  Henry buys the livery stable of B.J. Morgan located on the south side of State between Union and Cass Street.

Amelia married Frank Norton a farmer of Blair Township.  Bertha married Finley Hammond a farmer of Garfield Township.  Albert Brodhagen (1873) married Emma Fowle (1866-1910) of England in 1894.  The had a son Donald Brodhagen in 1902.

Emma died in 1910 from ‘acute gastritis.’ Instead of staying with his father, their 8 yr. old son Donald is moved in with Aunt Bertha who is now a married Bertha Hammond. At some point, Albert moved to Vermillion, Alberta, Canada and soon married Ethel May Brown. They have 2 sons together, Leonard (b.1911) and Kenneth (b.1915).  My guess is Albert, a previous owner of the Traverse City granite works and whose father was an accomplished brick maker, already did business with Vermillion, Canada.  Indeed, the city got its name from the color of the red earth in the area.  It was used for brick making.

On April 9, 1921, Kenneth and Leonard arrive in the US through Winnipeg, Canada with a family friend, a Mr. Frank Mahan of Vermillion, Canada.  He does business in Traverse City, MI.  It was unknown for years what happened with the boys in Canada.

Leonard and Kenneth Brodhagen come to Michigan from Canada
Leonard and Kenneth Brodhagen come to Michigan from Canada

Upon their arrival in Traverse City, the children moved in with Aunt Bertha Hammond and met older half-brother Donald.  Leonard remembered Uncle Julius meeting them on the train platform and he had a “big roll of money.”

1930 United States Federal Census for Donald Broadhagen

Around 1930, Kenneth remained with Aunt Bertha but Leonard moved to Grand Rapids to stay with his Aunt Augusta Brodhagen (she kept a boarding house),and he goes to high school in Grand Rapids.   Zoom 1930 US Census (above).  In House 532, nephews Donald Brodhagen (age 27) and Kenneth Brodhagen (age 14) live with Finley and Bertha Hammond.  Ages 64 and 54, respectively.

A primary source for Henry Brodhagen Family and  Traverse City Area.  Sprague’s history of Grand Traverse and Leelanaw counties, Michigan embracing a concise review of their early settlement, industrial development and present conditions…to which will be appended…life sketches of well-known citizens of the county / edited and compiled by Elvin L. Sprague and Mrs. George N. Smith..

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Discovering A Family's Roots