When 8 I was less than a year old, my paternal grandmother, Bertha Brumm, held me in her arms, looked at my fingers, and said, "He will be a piano player!" …or at least that is the story my father told me after I did play piano for a number of years. Bertha died in 1953, the year after I was born.
Family stories on either side of my family were sparse. I did hear about some Brumms staying in St. Louis as the ancestors came up the Mississippi River, which did turn out to be partly true (they went to Iowa and then returned to St. Louis).
Although a lot of my maternal genealogy was already finished, just waiting for kind relatives to share with me, and though to some extent the same was true on my father's side, I am happy that I have been able to extend our Brumm line back a number of generations into their German roots. It's been a lot of work, but a labor of love.
My father's full name was 7 William Lett Brumm. His middle name was the family surname of his mother. He was the third child in a family of 7, and the oldest son in the family.
He grew up near Mediapolis, Iowa, and attended school there. He was in the Navy during World War II. He met my mother, over 8 years his senior, probably in 1951, they were married in 1952, and I was born that year. After the death of my mother, my dad remarried to Pauline (Swanson) Davis, a native of Illinois. Despite some controversy at the time, I was the best man in the wedding.
Dad died in 1986, Pauline in 2008.
6 My grandfather, Clayton Brumm, is the one direct line grandparent I remember the best, as he did not die until I was over ten years old. He was the fifth child in his family of seven children. Born in 1892, he was over 22 years younger than my maternal grandfather.
He married Bertha Lett in 1915 in Mediapolis, Iowa. She was the granddaughter of Swedish immigrants. They raised their family of seven in or near Mediapolis, never living elsewhere except for Illinois for several early years of their marriage (two daughters were born there). After Bertha's death in 1953, in 1954 he married a family friend, a widow, Margaret "Pearl" (Burgess) Bailey. She survived him (his death was in 1965), and lived until 1983.
People always talk kindly of my grandmother, 6 Bertha Leota (Lett) Brumm. I wish I would have been able to know her. She was known to be an accomplished pianist, and several of the teenage year photos I have of her show her sitting at a piano.
Her mother was Ella (Johnson) Lett, daughter of Swedish immigrants, and her father was Walter Theodore Lett, also a child of Swedish immigrants. Bertha was one of two children in the family. Her brother, Charles, died near the end of 1918 of the flu during the epidemic.
She raised seven children, my aunts and uncles. One, Boyd, died during World War II. Her daughter, Lorma (Brumm) Allen (1928-2010), and son, Dale Hubert Brumm, have been very helpful through the years sharing family history they collected.