Braack, the Almond Gristmiller

After writing two consecutive posts about Perry County personalities migrating to the West Coast (Oregon), I ran across a story that takes us the other direction. The one you are about to read is one that takes us to the East Coast (New York), with a stop in Michigan along the way.

We begin with the birthday girl. Rose Emilie “Amelia” Piltz was born on May 26, 1869. She was the daughter of Gottlieb and Susanna (Stadelman) Piltz. Amelia’s parents and one older child had arrived in America from Austria in 1867 aboard the ship, Carl. We see the Piltz names on the passenger list for that ship below. Amelia’s father is called a stone-cutter.

Piltz family – Carl passenger list 1867

After arriving in America, this Piltz family settled in Altenburg where 3 more children were born. The first 2 Altenburg-born children were baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church, and then the 3rd one was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church. Below is the baptism record for Amelia from the Immanuel books.

Rosa Emilie Piltz baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

Amelia and her family are found in the 1870 census living in the Brazeau Township. She is called Rosa in this entry. Her father was a farmer.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Sometime between 1872 and 1876, the Piltz family left Perry County and moved to Traverse City, Michigan. A child was baptized in Altenburg in 1872, and then the Piltz family is not found in the 1876 Missouri state census. Another child was born and buried in Traverse City in 1878. Gottlieb got a job there that matched the occupation listed on the previous passenger list. He became a gravestone carver. The 1880 census shows this Piltz family living in Traverse City, and Amelia’s father is called a marble cutter. Amelia is called Mena, and she was 11 years old at the time.

1880 census – Traverse City, MI

Amelia would get married during her time in Michigan. Let’s take a look at the man who would become her husband. His name was Jacob Detlev Braack, who was born on October 14, 1855. That makes him about 14 years older than Amelia. Jacob was born in Thumby, Germany. We can see where that town is located on the map below. Please note its proximity to Denmark.

Thumby, Germany map

I managed to find a birth record for Jacob. It is displayed here. It is reportedly written in Danish. This is a place where we find the names of his parents, Peter Braack and Catharina Mau.

Jacob Braack birth record

A later census entry would indicate that Jacob came to America in 1883 when he would have been about 28 years old. In that same year, on October 6th, he married Margaretha Kitz in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A Michigan marriage record for that pair is pictured here in two images.

Braack/Kitz MI marriage record – Grand Rapids, MI

That marriage did not last long because Magdalena died in 1884, the same year that a child was born to this couple. The child was born in January, and Magdalena died in June, leaving Jacob as a widower with a very young baby. On May 30, 1885, Jacob married again. His second wife was named Mary Man. The Michigan marriage record for that wedding is shown below. That wedding also took place in Grand Rapids.

Braack/Man MI marriage record – Grand Rapids, MI

A family tree on lists 3 children born with Jacob’s 2nd wife. Then, prior to 1891, Mary Braack died, leaving Jacob once again as a widower. That leads us up to the wedding of Jacob Braack and Amelia Piltz, which took place on May 11, 1891. Once again, we can take a look at the Michigan marriage record for this event. This wedding took place in Traverse City.

Braack/Piltz MI marriage record – Traverse City, MI

We can also view this marriage certificate for the Braack/Piltz wedding.

Braack/Piltz marriage certificate

It was not long after this wedding that Jacob and Amelia moved to Hornellsville, New York where Jacob took over the operation of a mill located there. A newspaper article published on February 5, 1892 details this move.

Jacob Braack – Business Change Article Hornellsville, NY

A photo was taken later of the gristmill that was operated by Jacob Braack. It is said to be located in Almond, New York, which is right next to Hornellsville. Those two towns look like Frohna and Altenburg on a map.

Jacob Braack’s gristmill – 1920

The family tree on says Jacob and Amelia had 5 more children. They were all born in New York. In the 1900 census, we find this Braack household. Amelia’s mother, Susan Piltz, was living with them. Jacob is called a miller.

1900 census – Almond, NY

Next, we find the Braack’s in the 1910 census. Two more children had been added to their family during the previous decade.

1910 census – Almond, NY

A photo of the house located in Almond, New York where the Braack’s had lived is found on

Braack home – Almond, NY

The last census in which we find Jacob was the one taken in 1920. At the age of 63, Jacob was still a miller.

1920 census – Almond, NY

Jacob had photographs taken of himself over the years. I will display a gallery of 3 of them below.

Jacob Braack died in 1922 at the age of 66. Amelia Braack is found in the 1930 census still living in Almond. Just 2 remaining children were living with her.

1930 census – Almond, NY

I am able to display a few photographs that are said to be of family reunions. The one on the left includes Jacob, but the one on the right does not. In the photo on the right, Amelia is on the far left.

Amelia Braack died in 1936 at the age of 67. Both Jacob and Amelia are buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Almond.

The Piltz surname featured in this story is spelled differently than others found in Perry and Cape Girardeau County. Most in these parts spell their name, Pilz, without the “t”. In fact, you will see that this Piltz name was spelled Pilz on some early documents. However, once they got to Michigan, it was always spelled, Piltz.

It’s not every day that you read a story about an Almond miller.

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