Brunner, David Bachman

David Bachman Brunner was born on March 7, 1835 in Amity Township, Pennsylvania, present day Washington County, and entered Dickinson College in 1856 to study classics. He did not enlist in the military. Between 1869 and 1875 he acted as superintendent of many schools in Reading, PA and was elected to the Fifty-first and Fifty-second Congresses, serving from 1889 to 1893 as a Democrat. He married Amanda Rhoads in 1861 and died in Reading, PA on November 29, 1903. (By John Osborne and Leigh Oczkowski)
Life Span
Dickinson Connection
Class of 1860
    Full name
    David Bachman Brunner
    Place of Birth
    Burial Place
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Free State
    No. of Siblings
    No. of Spouses
    No. of Children
    John Brunner (father), Elizabeth Bachman (mother), Amanda Rhoads (wife, 1861)
    Dickinson (Carlisle College)
    Relation to Slavery
    White non-slaveholder

    David Bachman Brunner (Congressional Biographical Directory)

    BRUNNER, David B., a Representative from Pennsylvania; born in Amity, Berks (now Washington) County, Pa., March 7, 1835; attended the common schools; learned the carpenter’s trade; taught school from 1853 to 1856, during which time he studied the classics; was graduated from Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., in 1860; principal of Reading Classical Academy, Reading, Pa., 1860-1869; established the Reading Business College in 1880; elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-first and Fifty-second Congresses (March 4, 1889-March 3, 1893); was not a candidate for renomination in 1892; taught at the Reading Business College; died in Reading, Pa., on November 29, 1903; interment in Amityville Cemetery, Berks County, Pa.
    "Brunner, David B.," Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present,

    David Bachman Brunner (Dickinson Chronicles)

    David Bachman Brunner was born on March 7, 1835 in Amity Township, Pennsylvania in what is now Washington County but then Berks.  His Lutheran father, John Brunner, was a carpenter who purchased an area farm soon after David was born.  His mother was Elizabeth Bachman Brunner and he was one of seven children.  David Brunner attended the local log schoolhouse of Daniel Lee from the time he was seven and was apprenticed as a carpenter when he was twelve.  He continued his education beyond this, however, and attended the Freeland Academy (now Ursinus College) for long enough to earn money as a local teacher himself.  Determined to study the classics further, he entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1856 at the relatively late age of twenty-one.  He was an active member of the Union Philosophical Society and graduated with his class in 1860.

    Returning home to Amityville and his first love of teaching, he opened a private school and then purchased the almost defunct Reading Classical Academy and operated it for much of four decades under the names Reading Scientific Academy, and Reading Scientific and Business College.  He was also county superintendent of schools for six years between 1869 and 1875 and also served as head of Reading schools in 1881.  Having built a statewide reputation as an educator, he was also an ardent Democrat and in August, 1888 he won nomination as member of Congress from the Ninth Congressional District of Pennsylvania after a stiff contest.  He was elected to the Fifty-first and Fifty-second Congresses, serving from March 1889 to March 1893, when he declined further nomination. During his final year in Congress he was the chair of the House Committee on Education.

    His hobbies were mineralogy and the collection and analysis of Native American relics from his home area.  Among other works, he published his well regarded Indians of Berks County in 1881.  He had married in 1861 Amanda Rhoads of Amity Township and they had five children.  David B. Brunner died at his home in Reading on November 29, 1903 and is buried in the family plot in the Amityville Cemetery. He was sixty-eight years old.
    John Osborne and James W. Gerencser, eds., “David Bachman Brunner,” Dickinson Chronicles,
    How to Cite This Page: "Brunner, David Bachman," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,