J. H. Clemens Brumleve Home Virtual Tour
Walnut Street, Teutopolis Illinois

Click on the links below to see color photos:

Exterior of Home
Interior of Home
Summer Kitchen

The Builder/First Owner/Additional Owners:

(Clemens Brumleve surrounded by son Henry Brumleve's family. ca. 1896)

In the fall of 1845, a carpenter by the name of Johann Heinrich Clemens Brumleve of Lengerich Emsland Germany (then in the Kingdom of Hannover) applied for a passport with the intention of emigrating to the United States with his fiance, Maria Franziska Grove, also of Lengerich. They were married following their immigration in Cincinnati Ohio on Februrary 15th, 1846. A group of immigrants in Cincinnati at that time were planning to found a German Catholic community at the site of Teutopolis, and Clemens and his wife joined these settlers. Their first son, Ernst August, was born in Teutopolis on the 26th of March, 1848. A total of eight children were born to them here. One died in childhood. The eldest son became a priest and was assigned to St. John's at Red Bud Illinois. The other five sons and one daughter married and raised their children in Teutopolis and in Red Bud.

Clemens Brumleve became an American citizen. He served several stints on the village board of Teutopolis in various positions. He is believed to have applied his carpentry skills to the erection of both St. Francis Church and the associated Franciscan Monastery, both built by townspeople in the 1850s and 1860s. It is assumed that he built the house in which he lived as well; certainly, there were few others there to help him with that work when he arrived in Teutopolis.

When Clemens Brumleve died in 1900, his son Henry Hartias Brumleve inherited the lot on which the house was situtated; other children inherited other nearby lots which Clemens had owned. Henry Brumleve and his wife Maria Niemeyer had seven children while living in the house. None ever married, and they stayed on in the house together after the death of their father in 1940. The last surviving sibling, Sylvester Brumleve, died in 1977. Thus, for approximately 130 years, the home stayed in the hands of members of a single family, from grandfather to grandchildren.

A sale was held in the 1970s, and the family's personal possessions were auctioned off. The lot and its buildings were purchased by the current owner's father, a descendant of Maria Niemeyer's brother. The lot, which at that time extended through the block from Walnut Street on the south to Water Street on the north, was later subdivided. The current owners of the northern and southern halves of the lot are siblings. The house is located on the southern half. The current owner lived in the house for a number of years, but later moved a larger, ca. 1900 house to the southernmost section of the lot. From the street, this newer house now substantially blocks the view of the older remaining structures. The older home has become a rental property and was occupied as recently as June 2001.

(Brumleve descendants on east side of house, ca. 1913)

The Original Lot, House, and Outbuildings:

The original lot contained a large stand of trees on its southern end. This was known in Clemens' time as "Brumleve's Grove" and was regularly the scene of town celebrations such as the 4th of July picnic and special rites of St. Francis Catholic Church. When the current owners took possession, the view from Walnut Street still included many of those trees:

The house stood in the middle of the lot between Walnut and Water, facing south, with a summer kitchen just behind and slightly to the east of it. Somewhat north and to the west (now on the northern lot partition) was an outhouse, now gone. This may have been the original outhouse, or there may have been an earlier one. At the far north end of the lot, where a modern house now stands, there was once Clemens' woodworking shop. We have no pictures of the exterior of that shop yet, but we do have this interior view, which shows Clemens' grandson Sylvester Brumleve seated at the drill:

Each lot in Teutopolis as originally platted extends through an entire block from north to south. Clemens Brumleve owned a series of six lots which were two lots wide and three lots deep, extending through the middle of three town blocks from north to south. The southern end of that property fronts Main Street (The National Road) and the northern end fronts Northern Row. Water Street and Walnut Street cut through the property. The lot on which the house is located lies in the center block of this long, narrow stretch of land, and the house stands near the center of that lot. It is the only house known to have been on the entire property prior to the 1880s, when Clemens' sons built houses fronting on Main Street and other structures. (Most lots in Teutopolis have now been subdivided with a northern half and a southern half.)

Original Structures Still Standing:

Still standing, and with relatively few structural alterations, are the main house and the summer kitchen. Both are of masonry construction, with stone foundations and local (soft) brick walls. Most windows have four lights divided both horizontally and vertically. The soldier bricks above the slightly-arched windows on both structures fan out to form decorative crowns. Plaster walls and 11-foot-high wood panel ceilings are found in the first-floor rooms of the main house. The cellar is reached through an external door and stairway (now enclosed by a side porch). The upstairs are reached through a narrow and very steep staircase built into an interior kitchen wall. There are numerous closets, cupboards, and storage seats built into the walls in the kitchen and in the upstairs bedrooms and alcoves. The ground floor contains an entry hall, what used to be an extension of that entry hall but is now a bathroom, and three large rooms. The upstairs contains a large landing with a closet at the top of the stairs and three bedrooms. Ceilings upstairs are much lower than on the ground floor. Several doors are equipped with skylights. Much of the woodwork, especially doors, has been painted to resemble a more expensive wood than was actually used. This work is clearly original to the house and is in every respect similar to the treatment of woodwork in the local Monastery, built about two decades later. Some other woodwork has been painted white and brown, but it is not yet known whether this was done within Clemens' time. As depicted in the 1896 picture above, the roof was originally metal.

While many of the old trees have been removed, there are still a few on the lot which date to Clemens' time. There are also two hand-pumps, one at the side in front of the summer kitchen, and one in the back yard beside the summer kitchen and behind the main house.

All photographs and text on this and related pages are Copyright 2001 D.A. Brumleve.

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