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Emil Bruehlmeier-Rychner/Tvedt, businessman in California (FT 88)

Much more - nearly an arbitrary amount of information - is known of my great uncle, Emil Bruehlmeier, brother of Josef Bruehlmeier, who was a Kuefer. Here are the most important findings in short:

Emil, the youngest son of the mayor Leonhard Bruehlmeier, left his home at the age of 20, in the year 1906 and entered the army in America in 1907, in which he served until 1920. He was stationed in France during the First World War, and also was stationed in Panama and on two different army bases in California (March Field and Fort Rosecrans). He served in the U.S. Cavalry and the U.S. Air Corps. On September 10, 1920, he married Lina Rychner of Graenichen (in Kennebunkport, Maine), who lived in Yonkers, New York at the time.


Emil Bruehlmeier and Lina Rychner

Lina Rychner  was born on September 28, 1883 and left Graenichen (canton Aargau in Switzerland) at the beginning of the year 1905 (the date in her Heimatschein [roughly her citizenís file] is January 24, 1905). Most of her collection of postcards are still around. The material at our disposal leads to the firm supposition that Lina Rychner, who was very well educated and most interested in arts and culture in general, accompanied a probably wealthy Mrs. Bogart as a companion throughout Europe and America. It is known that Emil knew Mrs. Bogart also, since a book was given to him by her for his birthday in 1918. It seems as though Mrs. Bogart died around 1920 in New York. Emil Bruehlmeier bought a small ten acre ranch in the south of San Diego (California) in November 1920, directly at the border to Mexico. The two made their living by growing fruit trees, avocadoes, chickens and some vegetables.

The marriage remained childless (she was 37 at the time of their wedding) and Lina was often very ill, with what was referred to as "female problems". She also probably suffered from depression. On August 7, 1928, she committed suicide. In the still preserved household ledger, where a record was kept for every cent, there is only one entry for this day in Emilís handwriting; it reads simply: ďLina deadĒ.

Emil came back to Switzerland shortly afterward, but probably not with the intention of staying here. In 1932 he returned to his ranch in California and in 1933 he married a 37-year-old woman, Clara Theresa Tvedt, whom he had met through friends in the neighboring Mexican city of Tijuana, Baja California. She was of Norweigian heritage and had gone to California from her home in the state of Wisconsin. During 1934 and 1936, she gave birth two daughters, Leonora and Emilie. In the fall of 2000, we gladly followed their invitation to come to San Diego and were privileged to spend three weeks at their homes.

Emil and Clara Bruehlmeier-Tvedt

Emilís financial situation improved when he discovered his capability of finding water with a rod. He located a total of 7 springs on his ranch and thereafter sold water, plain and simple, which was highly valued in the surrounding area. Emil died on July 12, 1953 and is buried in the military cemetery (Fort Rosecrans) of San Diego, where his tombstone stands even today. His wife, Clara, remarried and kept up the operations of the ranch (including the water business) for a few more years. She later left the ranch because of a flood. Today the ranch remains totally in ruins.



Of Emilís ranch, only the poles of the gate, which were built by himself, remain today

The land can no longer be cultivated. The water has become non-potable through the seeping sewage of the Mexican city which lays slightly south of this site. Today, the ranch is a property of the state of California, to remain in perpetuity as a protected habitat for plants, animals and birds.

I received all this information from the two daughters during our stay in California. In this way, through family research caused me a lot of work, it also provided a very pleasant three-week stay in America.

Leonora Hightman-Bruehlmeier was married and today is widowed and the mother of two daughters. She is still working as a nurse. Her sister Emilie Zouhar- Bruehlmeier  is married and has a son and a daughter from her first marriage. She was a professor of Home Economics at a college, is now retired and happily living with her second husband Edward.
As a rule, I have not included any photos of persons still living. Under the circumstances, however, I am taking the liberty of making an exception here. Iím including a photo of Leonora and Emilie. I am also including a photo of Hans Bruehlmeier, the son of Hans Bruehlmeier-Lienberger, a cousin of the two ladies, who lived in Pennsylvania before he died in 1991.


Hans Bruehlmeier (called Jack), 
in America since 1930, 
son of Hans and Lina Bruehlmeier-Lienberger 
(Justice of the Peace)

Leonora and Emilie in front of Emil Bruehlmeierís tombstone


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