Last of the Second Generation: A Story of Two Maries

Marie Brackman grave
Marie Gieseke’s grave

In the course of my research on the members of the first students at the Log Cabin College, I sometimes refer to the children of those first students as their second generation.  On March 8, 1984, the last of the second generation, Marie Brackman, died in Puyallup, Washington.  Her story is an amazing one.  Here are some events which occurred during her lifetime.

  • She was born into a family of butchers near Concordia, Missouri in 1895. Her parents were living with her grandparents.
  • When she was three  years old, her mother died.  I would surmise that at this point in time that her father felt that he was not able to raise his young daughter by himself.
  • Marie was then adopted by Rev. Franz Julius Biltz, one of the first students at the Log Cabin College.  When she was adopted, Rev. Biltz was a 72 year old widower.  It may be hard to understand how a 72 year old widower would be more capable of raising a three year old girl than her own father could.  However, Rev. Biltz was being taken care of in his older age by an unmarried daughter, also named Marie. Marie Biltz was 34 years old at the time of this adoption.  I am of the opinion that Marie was the one who was going to be raising this child, but I am guessing a single woman was not allowed to adopt in those days, so the elderly Rev. Biltz adopted her.  By the way, Rev. Biltz was an orphan himself when he sailed to America in 1838-1839.  He would die in 1908, leaving Marie Gieseke to be raise by Marie Biltz.
  • For a while, the two Maries were living with a Brackman family in Concordia.
  • Marie Biltz never did marry.  I would imagine that she may have been ignored by possible suitors over the years because she was either taking care of an elderly father or a young girl who was now her sister.
  • Marie Gieseke married Rev. Theodore Brackman in 1923.  He was probably a relative of the Brackman family she used to live with.  By this time, Marie Biltz was 59 years old.
  • Rev. Theodore and Marie Brackman moved to the state of Washington where he served a congregation.  Marie Biltz went with them.
  • Late in her life, Marie Biltz moved to stay with her sister in St. Louis and is buried there.
  • Marie Brackman died in 1984.  It is interesting to imagine events which took place during her lifetime.  She lived through both World Wars as well as the Korean conflict and Viet Nam.  She not only saw the development of the airplane, she also lived long enough to see men walk on the moon.  She was still alive when I was already a classroom teacher in Florida.

After learning of Marie’s life, one must realize that sometimes God works in many mysterious ways to accomplish His Will.

Marie Biltz
Marie Biltz

This is supposedly a photo of Marie Biltz.  I look at this photo and find it amazing that she was never married.  I think she is a very good looking young woman.  Many German families back then had a daughter who never married and served as one who would take care of other family members when the need arose.  Such a woman was called a “Tante”.  I see Marie as being such a Tante.

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