Emile M. Brunner, county attorney of Pottawatomie county, has demonstrated that there is always room at the top in any profession for the young man who is willing to put forth effort and keep steadily working until he has attained the goal of his ambition. He is a native Kansan, born on his father's farm, near Onaga, in 1882, son of Rudolph and Elizabeth (Koentz) Brunner. His father was born in Switzerland, in 1832, and his mother in the same country, in 1848. They were reared and educated in the public schools of their native canton and also were married in Switzerland. In his native country Rudolph Brunner took an active part in political life and was elected a representative from the Canton of Zurich. He had been well educated, read about the many opportunities offered in the New World and, desiring a wider scope for his activities, came to the United States about 1864. For a time the family lived in Atchison, but Mr. Brunner had been a farmer in the old country and loved out-door life, so, within a short time he bought a quarter-section of land near Onaga, in Pottawatomie county. He was a good practical farmer, broke the sod, plowed corn, herded cattle, and was undismayed by the many hardships which the pioneers had to contend with during the early years of Kansas life. The drought burned his crops and the grasshoppers ate his growing grain and young orchards in the early '70s, but he had grit, believed in the future, and later events have proved that his faith was not misplaced. Ten children were born to Rudolph and Elizabeth Brunner, and all grew to man and womanhood on the family homestead. Being a scholar himself the father encouraged his children to study. They were sent to the district school, near Onaga, and all have become well developed and broadminded men and women.
Emile M. Brunner led a happy boyhood on the farm and grew up healthy and self-reliant. He attended the country school with his brothers and sisters, and after completing his elementary education graduated in the high school at Onaga. While still a boy it had become his one ambition to enter one of the learned professions, and he chose law. Knowing that a man is handicapped who is not thoroughly prepared by a college course he entered the University of Kansas, enrolled in the classical course, and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts, in 1906. The following two years he devoted to the study of his chosen profession in the law department of the university and graduated in that department in the spring of 1908 with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. Almost immediately he located at Westmoreland, in his native county, and opened an office. He was popular in the community, took an interest in all local affairs, and stood for the improvement and advancement of the city. Being energetic he was soon regarded as one of the leaders of the Democratic party and, in the fall of 1908, was elected county attorney on the Democratic ticket, which office he filled with such marked ability that he was reëlected in the fall of 1910 and is now serving his second term. Many older lawyers are surprised at his knowledge of law and the efficient manner in which he is filling the position of prosecuting attorney. In February, 1911, he removed to Wamego, Kan., where he succeeded to the law practice of the late B. H. Tracy, and where he is meeting with deserved success.
On Oct. 21, 1909, Mr. Brunner was united in marriage with Helen I. Schilling, a classmate of his at the university, whose home was in Los Angeles, Cal. They both belong to the Methodist Episcopal church.Pages 591-592 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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