The Brant Family
In 1875 Columbus Brant arrived in Brunswick from Chatham in southern Medina County. The 21 year-old who had been born in Jackson, Pennsylvania, began a new life and made a mark on the history of Brunswick.
When he first came to this area, Columbus began working for local farmers, helping to plant and harvest crops. Meanwhile young Hattie Williams of Hudson also arrived.
Her mother had died when she was just a baby, and Hattie had been raised by relatives. Now she was earning her own keep by doing household work in Brunswick.
It was love - and in 1879, Hattie and Columbus were married. They lived in a house located next to where the Old Phoenix Bank center branch is now located. Columbus kept a livery with horses and buggies for travelers who needed transportation. And those people who were traveling could be boarded at the Brant home and well fed by the young bride.
The couple had eight children: Lottie, Carl, Harry, Florence, Edna, Marian and Nellie. Only Edna and Florence survived in 1976 to give us a picture of life with the Brant family.
After several years of running the livery and boarding house, the couple and their children moved to a farm east of the center containing 80 acres, a house and barn. The farm is located where Stearns Street, Cherry Lane and Neura Youth Center now sit. The children grew up there and "It was just grand growing up in Brunswick," according to Edna, Mrs. Harley Keller.
Mrs. Keller noted that "Everyone knew everyone else...our parents never worried about us or if something had happened if we were late. If an event was late, our folks knew that we could walk home safely or that someone would drop us off." She also noted, "We have to grow up with the times, but it was just lovely then."
The children all grew to have interesting lives. Lottie married a school teacher from Coshocton named Lee Butler. Brother Carl lived in Brunswick his whole life. He remained single and farmed and cased oil wells. For seven years, he and Ethe Wyman ran a creamer east of Brunswick which would now be located on Route 303 east of the center. All the local farmers would haul their milk there and the men would manufacture butter for sale.
Harry, a World War I veteran, was a professional ballplayer for 16 years. He played at Grand Rapids, Joplin and Chattanooga before being called up to play for the Detroit Tigers. After his retirement from baseball, he settled in Rockford, Illinois, with his family where he was the town electrician.
Florence married a blacksmith, John Indoe of Medina.
Mrs. Keller always lived in Brunswick. She attended school in the building on Route 303, now Family Pizza, and at the old town hall, leaving in her junior year to help support the family. She worked at many jobs including a household worker, making electric lights in a plant in Warren and as a dressmaker in Berea. She worked at the telephone exchange in Medina and lived with the parents of former judge C. B. McClure.
When her mother died in 1917, she came home to keep house for the younger children and her father. She married Harley in 1919. Harley was a buyer and seller of farm stock and their residence is a small farm near Grafton Road on Pearl.
The Kellers have two children: Leland and Beatrice Albrecht. Leland works for the Sanitary Engineers Department and hauls water - an occupation he started as a hobby as a boy. He is a World War II veteran and has six children. Beatrice is a supervisor at Wolf Envelope Company in Cleveland. The elder Kellers, in 1975, had three great-grandchildren.
Edna was a 50-year member of the Rebekah Lodge, an honorary member of the Brunswick Garden Club and remembers starting the first Ladies Aid Society at the Brunswick United Methodist Church. She belonged to the Alpha Circle.
The Brants are symbolic of the hardy pioneer family that helped to settle the wilderness then known as Brunswick Township, and who helped shape its future.