Michael Brand (1826 – 1897) was a German brewer from a well-off family that had him privately educated. He trained to be a brewer and was in France at the time of the Revolutions of 1848, during which he served in support of the Republican side and led a company. After his side won, he established a brewery in France, but when his party fell out of power, he emigrated to the US in 1852. He briefly lived in Detroit but moved on to Chicago to partner with Valentine Busch. Their Busch & Brand label lager beer was made until 1872 when Busch died. This also followed shortly after their factory was burned down in the Great Chicago Fire. Brand rebuilt and continued his business as the Michael Brand Brewing Company and that factory also burned down in 1885, though he was able to quickly rebuild and continue. In 1889, he sold out to the the then-forming United States Brewing Company and retired.
In 1859, he married Phillipena Darmstadler (1834 – 1897), the daughter of a fellow German Brewer who had established himself in Detroit, and together they had nine children, only three of whom lived to adulthood, all sons. All but youngest Armin are entombed with their parents here. There are several others also entombed here, variously related to the Brands and covering at least three and possibly four generations. The most recent entombment took place in 2019.
Brand was also a member of the Illinois State Legislature in the 1860s and Chicago City Council in the 1870s, and was also on the Board of Trade and a director of the International Bank of Chicago.
Phillipena died in June of 1897 and this appears to have been at least a contributing cause of Brand’s own death with most accounts putting down his rapid decline to shock at her death compounding his already failing health.
It appears from the date over the door that the mausoleum was erected in 1893, though the Graceland burial records indicate that five of the lost Brand children were entombed all together on 5 June 1877. This sad ceremony included four previously interred children who were moved to join their sister Libylla, who had died on June 1st of that year. Whether it was this mausoleum which was either not completed or not dedicated until 1893 or whether the children were moved again when the mausoleum was completed more than 15 years after the interment dates we have from the cemetery is unclear.
Granddaughter Erna’s first husband Robert Zeddies is honored with his own initial and name over the door, likely added at his entombment in 1962. Tragically both Erna’s husband and her father — the last surviving son of Michael Brand — died within weeks of each other, likely leaving Erna as the person in charge of the Brand estate. She was the oldest of only two biological grandchildren who were born to the surviving Brand sons, one daughter each to brothers Armin and Horace. Virgil never married or had children and died in 1926 at age 64. Horace had at least three adoptive children as well, two of whom are entombed here. Erna’s cousin Jane was born, lived, and is buried in New York. Erna lived to be 103 and was entombed with her family in 2003.
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