(At the Leadership Conference this past weekend, one of the presenters with a very talented young woman whose married name was Bremner. That name was certainly familiar to me, so we are trying figure out if her husband is a descendant of Mr. Bremner the baker. Here is some of the information I have.)
David Francis Bremner was born in Ottawa, Canada, June 30, 1839. He was the son of Robert and Rachel (Brooks) Bremner. They moved to Chicago in 1848. He attended the University of St. Mary’s of the Lake and in 1865 married Katherine, who was the daughter of James Michie of Lyons, Illinois.
In 1861, Mr. Bremner was a Second Lieutenant with the Highland Guards and was called to active duty immediately upon the start of the Civil War. After the 90 days enlistment the entire group enlisted for 3 years and became Company E, 19th Illinois Volunteers. At Missionary Ridge, David Bremner picked up the regimental flag and carried it over the entrenchment. Three bearers had already been shot down in quick succession. His overcoat was riddled with bullets. (I understand that this coat is in the Chicago History Museum although I have not seen it.)
After the war, he married and opened a bakery in Cairo, Illinois where he made crackers. At some point, probably before 1871, he moved to Chicago and opened a bakery. It is believed that his bakery escaped the Great Fire and thus was able to produce bread for the starving people. Each loaf of bread, using his initials, was inscribed “Damn Fine Bread.” The bakery was across the street from Foster school and the little kids would bring their lunch buckets by the bakery after school for the broken cookies. I suppose that would be illegal today.
His company merged with the National Biscuit Co., and he was a department manager and director until about 1906. Mr. Bremner served three years as a member of the Chicago Board of Education. He lived in LaGrange, Illinois at 37 N. Madison Ave., and his office was 226 W. Adams St. in Chicago.
Mr. Bremner was also an active member of the Illinois St. Andrew Society and served as an officer in 1872. I have yet to find an obituary. A book was written about the exploits of the 19th Illinois and it is called “The Nineteenth Illinois: A Memoir & Who Will Save the Left.” by Henry Haynie. I do not have a copy.
His wife Katherine Michie was the daughter of James Michie, the third president of our Society.