The Early Life of Lillian L. Bucher Brugman, 1880 – 1964

Lillian close-up

Lillian Bucher

She wasn’t always my Grand Aunt Lilly, the old lady who lived alone in a big house in Manistee, Michigan and came to visit us during winter when it was too cold for her to remain in her house.

She was born in Manistee, Michigan in 1880, one year before her sister and my Grandmother Blanche. Her parents were Ludwig Bucher and Emma Kowalske Bucher, German immigrants.

I was told that she was an excellent student.  After high school she went to college, or a normal school somewhere in Michigan, where she became a teacher.  She returned to Manistee and taught in the public schools until she was in her early thirties when she married Otto Brugman and became a wife and mother.

Family lore has it that Lillian and my Grandfather Walter were romantically involved  for a while in their youth.  In fact (or fiction) it was told to me that my Great Grandfather Stacy Thompson and my Great Grandmother Ida May Goodenow Thompson invited Lillian to join them on a long train ride westward to California,  during which time my Grandfather was able to “court” my Grandmother Blanche and ultimately to propose to her without interference from Lillian.  Truth or fiction – it really doesn’t  matter.

Lillian was a strong person and a very serious one.  She must have become involved with spiritual matters during her youth.  There was a strong “spiritist” movement in America during that time and I surmise that “Theosophy” and “Rosicucianism” and other “Spiritist” teachings passed by her inquisitive mind.  As an older woman, when I knew her, she would tell me stories of extra-terrestrial phenomena, and would, when we were alone, question some of my religious beliefs, saying:  “You don’t really believe that, do you, David?”

In a later blog, I will tell you about Lillian as the old lady and Grand Aunt that I knew, but for today, enjoy the pictures of Lillian as a youth, as a young beautiful woman, as a wife and mother.

Bucher Family, Ludwig, Lillian, Blanche and Emma

Ludwig, Lillian, Blanche and Emma Bucher – 1890

Lilly closeup

Lillian Bucher at 11

Lillian young woman

Lillian Bucher – Graduation photo

Lillian young woman 2

Lillian Bucher – Young woman

Lillian in hat

Lillian Bucher – What a great hat!

Lillian in wedding dress

Lillian Bucher Wedding Dress

Otto Brugman 1909

Otto Brugman

Lillian, Otto, Glen and Garnet

Otto, Glen, Garnet and Lillian Brugman

Glen Brugman as baby

Glen Brugman

Glen, Garnet, June and Iris Brugman

Garnet, Glen, June and Iris Brugman


  1. Nancy (Brugman Suda) Pisciotta says

    I have a few of the same pictures of my grandfather and grandmother…and Garnet Glen June (my mom) and Iris. I went to Central Michigan University, Mt Pleasant, MI (which was the normal university she attended.) I have some postcards she sent to her mother from Mt Pleasant…if you like, somehow, I can scan and send them to you…feel free to contact me …Nancy

  2. Thank you so much for contacting me and sharing these wonderful images and interesting history about my paternal grandmother, Lillian. A note, my father spelled his name with two “N”s, Glenn. Please drop me an email so I have yours. I have a couple of images I’m sure you would like to add to your info on Lillian and Otto.

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