ITS HISTORY AND TRADITION
Upon the passing of Charles Breun, veteran merchant and community builder of
Sioux City, December 9, 1921, the newspapers of that city, in appreciation
of his life and public service, paid generous tribute to his many substantial
qualities. He has grown up with Sioux City and was known and honored by
three generations. He lived quietly, without sham or pretense, but was not
lacking in public spirit, as is shown by the record of his service in the United
States army and later in various public offices. Mr. Breun was wholly
genuine. He was genial and helpful to others and many young lives were influenced in the right direction by his kindly interest and advice. A host of friends will remember him and miss him.
It is therefore fitting that in this definite history of the section he so
largely influenced in the days of his activity, there should be carried a
similar tribute in his memory. Though of European birth, Mr. Breun had been a
resident of this country since his boyhood and there was no deviation in the
high character of his sturdy American citizenship, a citizenship firmly
cemented by nearly five years of service in the army during the stressful times of
the Civil war and in later campaigns against the Indians. He was born in
Mellrichstadt, Bavaria, November 27, 1836, and was eighty-five years of age at
the time of his death, one of the honored octogenarians of northwestern Iowa.
Mr. Breun had his schooling in his native place and as a boy served three
years as an apprentice in a shoe factory. In his sixteenth year, 1852, he came
to America. After a few days in New york he went to Buffalo and found
employment at his trade, remaining there two years. In 1854 he came west and
joined his two brothers who had preceded him to Rochester, Minnesota, where they were engaged in farming. He followed their example and continued farming until the Civil war began in 1861, when he turned his land and cattle over to
his brothers and reported to Fort Snelling, Minnesota, for duty as a soldier. He was accepted and enrolled in Company B, Second Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, and with that command was stationed at Fort Abercrombie on the Red river until the following October when he returned to Fort Snelling and on the 22d of that month was in Louisville, Kentucky, when his company became part of the Army of the Cumberland, General Sherman commanding.
Mr. Breun participated in the strenuous activities of this command until December 29, 1862, when owing to illness he was discharged and invalided home. On January 5, 1864, having regained his health, he re-enlisted at Fort Snelling and again went to the front, as sergeant of Company D, Brackett's Minnesota Battalion, which at Sioux City was brigaded with the Sixth Iowa Calvary, three companies of the Seventh Iowa Cavalry, two companies of Dakota Scouts and
the Prairie Battery. This command proceeded against the troublesome Indians in Dakota and succeeded in making a passage through the "Bad Lands," the first white men to penetrate that Indian stronghold. In the following October
at Fort Sully, this expedition was broken up and the detachment with which Mr. Breun was connected went into winter quarters at Fort Ridgely, having covered more than three thousand miles and having had numerous battles with the hostile red men. In the spring of 1865, Mr. Breun's battalion was ordered back to Sioux City and with other troops under General Sully was sent to patrol the country east of the Missouri river and in May, 1866, was ordered to Fort Snelling to muster out.
Upon completion of his military service in May, 1866, Mr. Breun returned to Rochester, Minnesota, sold his farm and belongings there and went back to Sioux City, where in June of that year he married and established his home. He then engaged in the shoe business for a while and in 1871 opened a grocery store in Pearl street. His store became famous throughout this section and in after years assumed wholesale proportions. A large business grew from a small
Mr. Breun was not only diligent in his own business but attentive and
faithful to public service. In 1871 he was elected treasurer of Sioux City and
served two years. In 1875 he was elected alderman and served two years. In
1882 he was elected a member of the Sioux City school board and served eight
years. In 1885 he was chosen vice president of the Sioux City Water Company
which financed and built the waterworks plant and system and after completion
turned it over to the city for operation and management. In 1891 he was made
vice president of the Sioux City Library Building Association which erected
the old public library, now the city hall, at Sixth and Douglas streets. Mr.
Breun maintained an active interest in the Sioux City Chamber of Commerce and
in all other matters concerning the growth and welfare of the community. At
the time of his death he was the oldest living member of the Sioux City
Chapter, No. 164, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows which he helped to
organize in the early days and on the occasion of his eightieth birthday this
lodge held a suitable celebration in his honor.
It was on June 19, 1866, at Sioux City, that Mr. Breun was united in marriage to Miss Regina Hacker, who with their three children, two daughters and a son, survived him. Mr. and Mrs. Breun's first home in Sioux City was at the
southwest corner of Fifth and Douglas streets where they lived until 1868, when they moved to a new home at 413 Jackson street. Ten years later Mr. Breun purchased the residence at 805 Douglas street and with his family lived there until 1890 when he built and moved into the present home at 1431 Grandview boulevard, where he passed his later years in enjoyment of the material rewards of a busy and useful life and in the confidence and respect of all who knew him.
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