The Brackenridge and Stieren Families   

The Brackenridges are not direct descendants of the Nisbets or Pattersons. They are related to the Stieren's through marriage. Phillipena Stieren, daughter of Dr. Edward Stieren married Benjamin Morgan Brackenridge in 1852. Phillipena's sister Louisa married William Alexander Nisbet.

Judge Hugh Henry Brackenridge

(1748 - 1816)

Judge Hugh Henry Brackenridge was born in Scotland in 1748 and came to the United States in 1753. He attended Princeton college, graduating in 1774 and served as a chaplain in the army during the revolution. In 1776 he was the editor of the United States Magazine in Philadelphia. His wife's name is unknown to this author, however he did have two sons Alexander and Henry Marie. He moved to Pittsburgh in 1781 where he founded the Pittsburgh Gazette, the city's first newspaper, and helped to establish the Pittsburgh Academy (now the U. of Pittsburgh). He helped incite, and later resolve the Whiskey Rebellion, and wrote Incidents of the Whiskey Rebellion published in 1795.

He served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Pennsylvania from 1799 until his death. That same year he was admitted to the Pittsburgh Bar. He wrote two books, Modern Chivalry in six volumes (1792-1805) and Law Miscellany, the former an opposition to dueling. He also wrote some poetry of the lighter kind. He died in 1816. For more information see Life and Writings of Hugh Henry Brackenridge by C.M. Newlin, 1932 repr. 1971, Whiskey Rebels: The Story of a Frontier Uprising by L.D. Baldwin (1967), or biography by Daniel Marder (1967).

Judge Henry Marie Brackenridge

(1786 - 1871)

Judge Henry Marie Brackenridge was born on 4th st. in Pittsburgh. At age of 5 yrs he was sent to St. Geneveve in Missouri to live with a French family. He remained there for three years. On his return to Pittsburgh he was educated by his father in horsemanship, dancing,fencing, drawing, music, Spanish, German, Italian, classics, as well as law studies. He served as a clerk in the Prothonotary's office.

On November 12, 1806 he was admitted to practice with a law association. He soon moved to St. Louis and practiced law there for some years, and published a book titled His Views of Louisiana. At the conclusion of the War of 1812, he moved to Baltimore and wrote and published a history of the war in six weeks. He was married at an unknown time to a woman named Caroline. They had two children, Benjamin Morgan and Cornelia. Caroline died in 1852.

He was elected for two terms to the Maryland legislature. President Monroe afterwards appointed him Secretary of the Commission that he sent to South America. He recounted this trip in Voyage to South America (1819). He was subsequently appointed judge of the U.S. Court of Florida, but owing to some political differences was afterwards removed by General Jackson. He finished out his career at his home at Tarentum, Pa. where he owned a large body of land. He died on Wednesday morning, January 18, 1871 at the residence of his daughter in law, P.S. Brackenridge in Tarentum at age 86. See biography by W.F. Keller (1956).


Benjamin Morgan Brackenridge

(1829 - 1862)

Benjamin was born in 1829, son of Judge Henry Marie Brackenridge. He married Phillipena Stieren on February 13, 1852. They had two children, Henry M. (here I refer to him as II) and Cornelia, who married J. Erastus McKelvy, a prominent member of the Pittsburgh bar. He did not enter public life, and lingered on in delicate health until 1862. Upon his death he left his widow with full management of the estate of 1500 acres (originally 3500 acres in 1828 when the house was built). This homestead was at Brackenridge Station on the West Penn Railroad between Tarentum and Natrona.

Phillipena Stieren Brackenridge

(1833 - 1889)

Phillipena was born in Hanover, Germany. She was the daughter of Dr. Edward Stieren, who was a chemist at the Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Co., Natrona. She came to the United States at age 17 in 1850 and married in 1852. She became a naturalized citizen on December 16, 1882. She had a brother, optician William E. Stieren, and a sister, Mrs. Nisbet of Tarentum. She was aunt of the Stieren Brothers, opticians on Smithfield Street. She died on June 27, 1889 with pall bearers were her six nephews, Edward, William, and Benjamin Nisbet, and William, Fred, and Edward Stieren.

Henry M. Brackenridge (II)

(18?? - 1927)

Henry was born at an unknown date and worked in various financial and manufacturing interests around Natrona and Tarentum. He was associated with the Natrona First National Bank, the Tarentum Savings and Trust Company, and the Hillman Coal Company. He was chairman of the draft board in the Tarentum district in World War I. His wife, Mrs. Madge Richards, founded the Red Cross chapter in the community. He had two daughters, Cornelia, who married a Talbot and who died before Henry did, and Mrs. Frank McC Painter, as well as three grandchildren. He lived at the Brackenridge homestead after his mother, Phillipine died in 1889. He died in late July, 1927, being written up in a July 29, 1927 newspaper article.

Dr. Edward Stieren

(1802 - 1868)

Edward Stieren was born in Hanover, Germany. He received a degree in medicine from the University of Goetingen in 1826. Several years later the University of Erlangen in Bavaria, conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Edward married Amalia Pillman in 1828 at Salsgitter, Germany. They had six children including Phillipena (b. 1833), Louisa (b. 1835), William Edward (b. 1836), Herman, Louis, and Edward.

In 1837 the family moved to Schoenebeck where Edward took a position as chemist in the extensive chemical works of that town. In 1843 Dr. Stieren received an appointment from the Russian government as director of the chemical works in Poland. Later he entered into a partnership as chief chemist with a number of capitalists who controlled the saline springs at Frankenhausen, Thuringia. Their object was the extensive manufacture of chemicals, and Dr. Stieren amassed a considerable fortune which he subsequently lost by the intriguing of his partners.

In 1850 the Stieren family emigrated to the United States. For two years Edward was superintendent chemist in chemical works in Frankford, near Philadelphia. Subsequently he moved to East Tarentum, now Natrona (near Pittsburgh) where he started the soda works and served as chief chemist. This soda works was located near the Brackenridge homestead. He made several important discoveries which are now in everyday use in commercial chemistry.

Edward did not excel as a business man, his mind being essentially a scientific one. He was a prolific writer for scientific journals, both domestic and foreign. He compiled several works on chemistry, the most noted being his "Chemische Fabrik." Edward was also a botanist and mineralogist.

Edward and Amalia's daughter Phillapena married Benjamin Morgan Brackenridge and lived near Tarentum, Pennsylvania. There daughter Louisa married William Alexander Nisbet. After having five children Louisa and William were divorced and Louisa moved to Oakland, California. The son Herman Stieren moved to Texas and was living in San Antonio in 1933. Louis Stieren returned to Germany and married a boyhood sweetheart. Son Edward died when her was seventeen years old.

Dr. Stieren died on March 27, 1868 and is buried with the Brackenridges at the Prospect cemetery at Tarentum. On his tombstone in Prospect Cemetery, Tarentum, is the following epitaph, " A man of justice, truth and merit. His faith was injure no one, fear God, walk humbly, and be kind to your fellow creatures." The Stieren name is probably shortened from Von Stieren in Germany. Edward, and his sons William Edward, grandson William Morgan Stieren are covered in the Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania Biography, Volume 11 p. 197-201 by John W. Jordan, New York, 1919.

William Edward Stieren

(1836 - 1884)

William was born on May 27 1836 to Edward and Amalia Stieren in Salsgitter, Germany. His early education was in Germany, and he moved with his family to America in 1850. He finished his education in Philadelphia and Baltimore in advanced studies in the field of optician which he had already learned in Germany. In Baltimore he turned his attention to the practical making of scientific instruments.

After working several years in Baltimore he moved to Pittsburgh in 1861. In 1863 he founded the firm of William E. Stieren, Optician and Scientific Instrument Manufacturer and Dealer on 6th street. This company also made surveyor's and astronomical instruments. Through industriousness and thrift he succeeded in expanding his business to such an extent that the rooms on 6th street became too small and he had to enlarge them several times, until he brought the business to Smithfield street. It was the largest optician shop in Pittsburgh at the time. He was the first in Pittsburgh to grind the newly discovered cylinder lenses to correct astigmatism. William E. was also director of the Fifth Avenue National Bank and belonged to several clubs. He was a member of the Smithfield Street German Reformed Lutheran Church.

In 1861 he married Helene Schenck, daughter to Frederick Gotthold Schenck Jr. William and Helene had two daughters and four sons. The sons included William Morgan, Harry, Frederick G., and Edward. Their son Edward died in 1946. One of their daughters was named Helen and married a Mr. Camp.

William E. died of an attack (probably heart) on a trip to Philadelphia on Friday, May 6, 1884. The funeral was held at the family home on 5th Avenue, Oakland (part of Pittsburgh). He had a wide circle of friends. His mother, Amalia Stieren, died a year before William.

William Morgan Stieren


William Morgan was born in Pittsburgh, the son of William Edward and Helene Schenck Stieren. William Morgan worked for and learned his father's optical and instrument business. After his father died, William Morgan and his brother Frederick G. Stieren took charge of the company. The partners ran the company until 1907 when it was incorporated as the William M. Stieren Optical Company, optometrists and dealers in scientific and meteorological instruments, cameras, supplies, and kindred lines.

William served on the Chamber of Commerce, was a member of the Christ Methodist Episcopal Church, and was enrolled in the Men's Club. William married Clara J. Squires, daughter of Henry G. and Charlotta (Jeffers) Squires in 1894. Together they had one son, William Morgan Stieren Jr., born in April, 1895. William Jr. worked in his father's business as an adult. He was still single and living at home in 1920.