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 Bertha <I>Dramburg</I> Voigt

Bertha Dramburg Voigt

Death 6 Mar 1889 (aged 39–40)
Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Burial Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Plot Section A1, Lot 685
Memorial ID 46886826 · View Source
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Bertha Dramburg was born in Reinfeld an der Rega, Kreis Schivelbein, Hinterpommern, Prussia. (After 1945, the area became part of Poland.)

Bertha's parents, Karl and Wilhemine nee Rutstaz DRAMBURG immigrated with their 2 sons: Friedrich and Julius, and their 5 daughters: Bertha, Emma, Wilhemine, Mary, and Augusta from Reinfeld am der Riga (River), Kreis Dramburg, Pommern on the sailing vessel, AMERICA, from Bremen to New York arriving in June, 1869. The settled in Detroit, becoming members of the newly founded Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, at 7th Street and Michigan Avenue.

Her father, Karl went up to Presque Isle County to Crawford's Quarry (Rogers City) in 1870 to purchase three 40 acre tracts of land in Belknap Township. (Metz became a separate Township in 1879). That fall, his wife, Wilhemine and their two sons joined him in Metz. Later, his daughters, except Bertha, also went to Metz.

(In 1870, Bertha Dramburg is a domestic servant in the Charles VOIGT home. A romance devleoped between thier son, Edward and Bertha.)
1870 Census: Detroit Ward 5, Wayne County, Michigan Federal Census (Page 98) enumerated 29 June 1870 shows:
VOIGHT, Charles W., 52, brewer, born Saxony, real estate valued at $38000, personal property valued at $12000
VOIGHT, Augusta, 52, keeping house, born Saxony
VOIGHT, Edward, 26, brewer, born Saxony
DRAMBURG, Bertha, 20, domestic servant, born Prussia
(Note: Others living in the household are: 2 brewers and 2 laborers.)

Bertha married Eduard VOIGT 09 April 1871.

Witnesses at Bertha Dramburg & Edward Voigt's marriage at Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Detroit by Rev. Karl Haass were Gustav Richter & Wilhelmine Dramburg, both of Detroit.

The last name show two spellings: VOIGHT and VOIGT. More correctly, it is VOIGT.

1880 Census: Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan (Page 4D; ED 279) enumerated 02 June 1880 shows:
Living at 14 Plum Street
VOIGHT, E. W., head, 36, brewer, born Germany
VOIGHT, Bertha, wife, 30, keeping house, born Germany
VOIGHT, Augusta, daughter, 8, born Michigan
VOIGHT, William, son, 7, born Michigan
VOIGHT, Polly, daughter, 5, born Michigan
Next household:
ZIMMERMAN, Henry, head, 27, brewer, born Canada
ZIMMERMAN, Mary, wife, 24, keeping house, born Pommern
ZIMMERMAN, Bertha, daughter, 3, born Michigan
ZIMMERMAN, Edward, son, 1, born Michigan
ZIMMERMAN, Rosa, cousin, 15, born Canada
Next household:
DRAMBURG, Frederick, head, 27, brewer, born Pommern
DRAMBURG, Mary, wife, 23, keeping house, born Pommern
DRAMBURG, Minnie, daughter, 2, born Michigan
DRAMBURG, Lena, daughter, 1, born Michigan
BRACUCHE, Annie, 14, servant, born Germany

1920 Census: Detroit Ward 2, Wayne County, Michigan (Page 5A; ED 68) enumerated 07 January 1920 shows:
Living at 430 Second Avenue
REINVALDT, Otto, 46, owns house free of mortgage, born Denmark, to America 1896, naturalized 1903, secretary at factory office
REINVALDT, Anna E., wife, 38, born Michigan, parents born Germany
REINVALDT, Elenora K., daughter, 17, born Michigan
REINVALDT, Christina V., daughter, 12, born Michigan
REINVALDT, Else M., daughter, 4, born Michigan
Next household:
Living at 438 Second Avenue
VOIGT, Edward W., head, 75, widowed, owns house free of mortgage, born Germany, to America 1854, naturalized 1865
VOIGT, Augusta L., daughter, 46, single, born Michigan
VOIGT, Pauline M., daughter, 43, single, born Michigan
3 households later:
Living at 37 Ledyard Street
VOIGT, William F., head, 45, owns house free of mortgage, born Michigan, parents born Germany, secretary of brewery company
VOIGT, Carrie E., wife 43, born Michigan, father born Ireland, mother born Michigan
VOIGT, Edward W., son, 13, born Michigan
VOIGT, Margaret J., daughter, 5, born Michigan
VOIGT, Carol M., daughter, 4, born Michigan

Edward Voight had a farm near Detroit. The Voigt family also owned and operated a brewery in Detroit. It was at the farm of Edward and Bertha (Dramburg) Voigt that Bertha's mother, Wilhemine (Rutsatz) Dramburg died.

1869 Detroit Directory: Edward - brewer - boards at 213 Grand River. (That address is the home of his parents William Voight. In 1869 William Voight is listed as - brewery and malthouse.

In 1872 Edward is shown as the Propriotor of the Milwaukee Brewery.

The 1873 Detroit Directory shows this ad: Milwaukee Brewery - E. W. Voight - Salvator Beer is the best brewed in the state - sold for cash only at $10 per barrel - Brewery, Grand RiverAve, between 2nd and 3rd Sts.

The 1890 Detroit Directory shows Wm. Voigt, president of Home Brewing Company at 142 Sherman. Also that same years, he is listed as the President of the Michigan Brewers and Malters Assoication - 214 Randolph. (NOTE: The directory does show Wm. Voigt rather than Ed. Voigt.)

The Michigan death records show Bertha died 06 March 1889, age 40.

Edward married (2) Marion W. Randall 20 August 1892 in Detroit, MI. Witnesses at Edward Voigt & Marion W. Randall's marriage by Rev. Charles E. Hulbert were Corydon C. Randall & Henry Zimmerman, both of Detroit. (No children were born in that marriage. It is not known when Marion died. The 1920 census shows Edward is "widowed", indicating she died prior to 1920.

Edward and Bertha Voigt are buried in the Voigt Plot of Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan. The following is from Amy Bruhn, living in Livonia, MI in 2007 who went to Woodmere Cemetery and wrote the following [13 October 2007]:
"The plot card for Section A1 - Plot 685, which shows that it was bought by Edward and then transfered to Augusta, Paulina, William, and Anna by order of the Probate Court. It also lists the 11 people who are buried in the plot and their date of internments. At the bottom (the flip side of the card) it shows the grave layout. The numbers in the boxes correspond to the numbers on the front of the card. So, Bertha is buried between Edward and Paulina, but they didn't give her a marker. The first two graves appear to be for children, and are the markers that I couldn't see any inscription on."
"There were four markers in the Voigt plot, but none of them were large or white. The markers were for Edward and Paulina Voigt (now you have dates for her), and Carl and Friedrich Dramburg. There were two other markers for infant children, but if there was ever any inscription it was beyond any possible recognition. Others are buried in this plot, but there were no markers for them. That info is in my next email. They also had no record of Edward's father, Charles. Hmmm...".
"Just in case the photos aren't clear enough, the inscriptions on these four stones are:
Edward Voigt April 5, 1844 - May 14, 1920
Paulina M. Voigt Mar 20, 1875 - Dec 15, 1947
Carl Dramburg Born in Pommerania Apr 22, 1822 Died Sept 16, 1887
Friedrich Dramburg Born in Pommerania Dec 12, 1851 Died July 28, 1886"

The cemetery had no record Mary or Henry Zimmerman, but right next to the Voigts I found a marker for Zimmermann (two Ns). Actually, I found that marker first. There were no individual names on the marker, but four smaller and very grown over markers. I couldn't find any names on these markers, other than the name Zimmerman and some dates that were hard to read. I didn't have any tools with me to dig the grass away, so I wasn't able to transcribe them very well, but I did take pictures.

VOIGT FAMILY- Detroit's Voigt Brewery

Edward W. Voigt was an prominent figure in the development of Detroit, where for over 55 years, he was identified with much of the city's business interests.
Voigt was born in Doebeln, Saxony, Germany on April 5, 1844, the son of Carl William Voigt and Pauline (Beck) Voigt. His mother died in Germany, and his father remarried and set sail from Hamburg to Liverpool, England in May 1854. From Liverpool, the family set sail on the ship U.S.S. Malabar which ported in New York on August 1, 1854. Upon arrival in New York, they found an epidemic of cholera, and Carl Voigt, not being in good health, decided it best to leave at once. They set off to College Point, Long Island, and after the father had recoved sufficiently, they went west, stopping in Toledo, Chicago, and Milwaukee, but remained in each city only a short time. They selected to settle in Madison, Wisconsin, where Carl established a small ale brewery, which was later converted into a lager beer brewery in 1857. He conducted business here until 1863, when he moved his family to Milwaukee and soon after purchased the schooner, Columbian and sailed the lakes between Chicago and Buffalo for grain trade.
Carl moved to Detroit in 1864 and retained his vessel interest until December 1865, when he disposed of the business. He had intentions at this time to return to Germany, however, had heard rumors of the possibility of war between Germany and France, which caused him to defer his trip. In 1866 he established a brewery in Detroit and conducted this until 1871, when he leased the plant to his son, Edward W. and then returned to Germany, where he engaged in milling until his death in 1889.

Edward Voigt was about ten years old when his father had brought him to America, and he first attended the public schools of Madison, Wisconsin. He also attended a business college for one term, and was a student at the University of Wisconsin. He had from his childhood worked in his father's brewery at different periods of his early life and had acquired a knowledge of the business. In those days it was impossible to brew lager beer during the summer months due to the lack of refrigeration, so during those periods, Edward attended classes. When the weather became cooler, and the manufacture of beer could be resumed, he would again take his place in the brewery.

After his father disposed of the Wisconsin brewery business in the fall of 1863, Edward decided to go to California and try his fortune in this new frontier. He went by the Isthmus of Panama, but upon reaching San Francisco, found that work as a brewer was difficult to find. He could not afford to remain idle, so he shipped out on the barkentine Monitor, sailing between San Francisco and other North Pacific coast cities.
Wages were low and the work was undesirable to Edward, and in writing home, to his parents, he was told that his father had bought the schooner, Columbian, and if it was a sailor he wanted to be, he should come home and take a position there. He returned and took the position of second mate in the later part of 1864. During the winter of 1864/65 he studied navigation in Boston, intending to command his father's schooner as captain, which he did hold for the season of 1865, until it was sold in December, of that same year.

The following year, he entered the employ of his father, in the brewery that he had latter established in Detroit, and continued in that capacity until 1871. It was at this time, his father decided to return to Germany, so he rented the plant to his son for a 4 year term, later renewing the lease another 5 years. This became the beginning of Edward Voigt's business ventures. Under his management, the business began to grow rapidly and before long he was on the road to success, so successful, that in 1882, he purchased outright the entire interest from his father.

His product soon became one of the most popular in the city and the capacity of his brewery grew from 3,000 barrels annually to more than 43,000 barrels, which was then the largest brewery production in the state. Voigt continued in business as sole owner and under his management until 1889, he sold out to and English syndicate, retaining, however, a substantial interest in the organization. In 1895, he bought back the company and organized the Voigt Brewery Company; of which he became president, and remained there until the business closed on May 1, 1918, as a result of prohibition. Subsequently the plant passed into the hands of the Voigt Beverage Company.

While Voigt was a most successful brewery operator and one of the most prominent men in the industry in Detroit, his other business activities were also big and valuable. As his business grew, he invested in numberous projects that not only brought personal gain, but public benefits as well. He was one of the founders of the Edison Illuminating Company of Detroit in 1886, which associated with other Detroit businessmen, such as James Scripps, George Peck, and Simon J. Murphy. For 15 years, Voigt served as vice-president, which led him to further connections with various public utilities. He helped establish Edison Illuminating Companies in Grand Rapids, Jackson, Sault Ste Marie, and Petoskey.

Voigt was formerly the owner of about 150 acres of land on Woodward Avenue, four miles from the city's center, and operated a farm for a number of years. As the city began to expand, he developed the property into the Voigt Park Subdivision, which was layed out in the 1890's. In connection with that project, he donated the present, Voigt Park to the city. He helped to lay out Boston and Chicago Boulevards, as well as Atkins, Edison, Longfellow, and Calvert Avenues, and Glynn Court. He was also land owner of 14 acres at the foot of Twenty-fourth Street, which was covered with about 6 feet of water, and later used by the city for dockage. He was central property owner in the city including property on Second Blvd and Cass Park and his home, which was completed in 1886. This fine mansion was built with every detail of material and construction carefully considered given the evidence of the thorough manner in which work was done at that time.

Voigt was also one of the founders of the Port Huron Sulphite and Paper Company organized in 1888; where he was in position as president until his death. In 1898 - 1900 he built the NorthWestern Electric Railway on Grand River Road with stations in Northville, Orchard Lake, and Pontiac Michigan. He was also president of the bridge company that built the bridge between Grosse Ile and Wyandotte in 1912, president of the Miles Theatre Company, and was for years recognized with the development of business opportunites in the area.

In April 1871, Voigt married Bertha Dramburg, of Detroit, and they became the parents of four children; Augusta L., Pauline M., Anna Elsa (Reinvaldt), and William F. Voigt, who later married Caroline Halloran, and had a son, Edward W. II and two daughters. William F. Voigt and Otto Reinvaldt, his son-in-law, were for a number of years associated with the father in business. Bertha (Dramburg) Voigt passed away in 1890, and for his second wife, Voigt married Marion Randall, of Detroit, in 1892. There were no children by this marriage.

Henry Ford was employed by Edward Voigt for nine years, as chief engineer of the Edison Illuminating Company. After prohibition closed the Voigt Brewery Company, he spent much of his time operating his other extensive business interests. He had originally been a Democrat, but the party's stand on the subject of free trade, changed his allegiance to the Republican party. He belonged to the Harmonic Society, the Elks Lodge, and the New Grosse Ile Golf Club. He was one of the original founders of the Detroit Museum of Art, and a strong, substantial businessman.

His death occurred May 14, 1920.

The Grosse Ile Toll Bridge
The Grosse Ile Toll Bridge was financed, designed and constructed between 1912 and 1913 by the Grosse Ile Bridge Company (GIBC). GIBC was established as a Michigan corporation and bridge company on May 1, 1912, with Grosse Ile land owner Edward W. Voigt as its primary incorporator, majority stockholder and founding president. Voigt directed the construction of the Grosse Ile Toll Bridge and opened the span to the general public on November 27, 1913 (Thanksgiving Day). The Toll Bridge was the first automobile bridge to the island.

Voigt was a German immigrant who became a prominent Detroit-area businessman and entrepreneur. He possessed the majority of the land (approximately 400 acres) on the north end of Grosse Ile, where he owned and maintained the Island Home Stock Farm. Voigt established the GIBC to make it faster and easier to transport his draft horses to and from his farm, as well as to open the island to automobiles.

Because Grosse Ile and Monguagon Township had a population of less than 1,000 in 1913, and because Wayne County had no interest in building an automobile bridge on the north end of the island, local residents supported Voight's plan to build the bridge.

Since 1913, the GIBC has renovated and expanded the Toll Bridge. It also performed major repairs to the bridge after freighters struck a large section of the span in 1965 and again in 1992. The GIBC replaced the bridge deck in 1986, built a new central swing bearing in 1994, and opened a toll plaza in Riverview in 2005. Funding for the improvements and normal maintenance of the bridge is generated from the user fee toll charged by the GIBC. The one-way toll for crossing the bridge is $1.50 (if cash is used), $1.20 (if a GIBC token is used), or $1 (if a "Bridge Pass" is used). The GIBC has received numerous awards praising its maintenance projects for the Toll Bridge from Michigan-based and national infrastructure and engineering organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Consulting Engineers Council, and Consulting Engineers Council of Michigan.

Stewardship for the Toll Bridge and ownership of the GIBC has passed from Voigt to his descendants. The current president and owner of the GIBC is Paul J. Smoke, Voight's great-grandson.

Toll Bridge owner hopes to clear up a few things By Paul J. Smoke PUBLISHED: July 21, 2006

The July 14 issue of The Ile Camera included a letter to the editor questioning the role of my great-grandfather, Edward W. Voigt, in building and opening the Grosse Ile Toll Bridge in 1913.

The person who composed this letter also wrote an almost identical guest editorial published in the Oct. 24, 2003, issue of The Ile Camera. This guest editorial was apparently based on a single erroneous 1913 news report published in the Detroit Saturday Night newspaper.

In order to clarify any misunderstandings or confusion caused by the guest editorial, I purchased a full-page ad in the Oct. 31, 2003, issue of The Ile Camera to explain in detail the role of my great-grandfather (my mother's grandfather) in providing island residents with the first automobile bridge to the mainland, the Grosse Ile Toll Bridge.

I once again would like to set the historical record straight. Edward Voigt moved to Grosse Ile during the late 1800s and was involved in a number of entrepreneurial ventures in Detroit and on the island.

Voigt was the founding president, majority stockholder (owning 1,747 of the 1,750 shares of stock), main financial backer and primary incorporator of the Grosse Ile Bridge Co. It was established on May 1, 1912, as a Michigan corporation and bridge company for the specific purpose of building the toll bridge.

On the same day the GIBC was incorporated, Voigt conveyed to the company the land on which the foundation of the toll bridge and the access road (now known as Bridge Road) to the span was established. The land was a small part of Voigt's approximately 400-acre property holding that comprised the majority of the northern end of Grosse Ile.

Acting in his capacity as president of the GIBC, Voigt directed the construction of the toll bridge, which opened to the general public on Nov. 27, 1913 (Thanksgiving Day).

It is worth noting that the toll bridge was not Voigt's first venture to provide island residents with the ability to travel to and from the mainland. Before the bridge was built, he owned a small passenger ferry business that carried islanders and their animals across the river at the north end of Grosse Ile. Of course, at that time, other ferry companies also provided transportation services to islanders.

I have always acknowledged that two nonfamily members worked with Voigt to obtain the original franchise to build the toll bridge. An illustration of this recognition is in The Ile Camera full-page ad that I purchased during 2003.

In addition, a number of nonfamily members were minority stockholders (less than 1 percent), investors or board members involved in the founding of the GIBC. But, the involvement of nonfamily members in no way changes the indisputable fact that Voigt was the person most responsible for making the toll bridge a reality.

The simple fact is that the toll bridge could not have been built without the support of Voigt, because he owned the land along the north end shoreline long before the first action was taken to connect the island and mainland with any bridge in this area.

As president of the bridge company, Voigt operated the toll bridge until his responsibilities were passed to the next generation of the family. Each subsequent generation of my great-grandfather's family learned the complete and accurate history of the company and the toll bridge from the operators of the span as well as primary source documents.

I have an extensive archive of historical documents — including the original blueprints — that plainly show every step in the conception, design, financing, building, opening and operation of the toll bridge.

Voigt passed his ownership interest and management responsibilities for the bridge company to the next generation, which in turn gave it to the following generation until 1982, when the stewardship of the toll bridge was transferred to me by my parents and older brothers. My father, Bruno Smoke, had a long tenure as president of the bridge company and was involved in the management of the toll bridge almost until the time of his death at age 97. (Incidentally, I am currently age 54, and with God's blessing, I hope to at least match my father's longevity).

My mother, Else Smoke, was also actively involved in the management of the bridge company for most of her life after ownership was passed to her from her mother.

The July 14 letter to the editor referred to the unanimous 1947 Michigan Supreme Court decision that reconfirmed the fact that the GIBC is both a Michigan corporation and bridge company with the legal authority to own and operate the toll bridge. To be accurate, this specific matter of law was settled 59 years ago and is not being challenged in the township board's pending eminent domain lawsuit against the company.

As to the philosophical thoughts about property rights raised by the writer of the letter to the editor, it is essential to understand that testimony and evidence submitted by the township board during the court proceedings of its eminent domain lawsuit indicates that it would continue the present user-fee toll to pay for operations and maintenance of the toll bridge in fundamentally the same manner as the GIBC.

This is one of the numerous reasons that the Wayne County Circuit Court and Michigan Court of Appeals (a three-judge panel) unanimously, and firmly, determined that the township board had "abused its authority in finding public necessity" to seize control of the toll bridge.

My family is very proud of our 93-year record of stewardship for maintaining the toll bridge as a reliable and safe means of providing islanders with access to the mainland. In order to help promote and maintain the historic character of Grosse Ile, the bridge company is beginning this year a 100th Anniversary Celebration Initiative for the toll bridge. The initiative will feature annual actions to highlight island history leading up to a major celebration of the century milestone for the toll bridge in 2013.

Grosse Ile is my hometown and holds a very special place in the heritage of my family. I fully understand how important the toll bridge is to the residents and businesses of the island. I take my stewardship responsibility for the toll bridge extremely seriously, as it is my daily job as president of the GIBC.

My employees, many whom live on Grosse Ile, are also dedicated to providing first-rate service to everyone who uses the toll bridge. My employees and I would never allow the bridge to fall into such a state of disrepair that it would have to be closed for a long period of time.

Judicious budgeting of the user-fee toll paid by customers has enabled me to: maintain the bridge's structural integrity to ensure safety, build a new plaza to speed the flow of traffic, establish the $1 per trip bridge pass to reduce costs for customers, make aesthetic improvements to provide an attractive entrance to the island and accomplish many other upgrades during my 24-year tenure as president of the GIBC.

I want to reassure islanders that I will always vigorously protect the toll bridge as a vital asset for the public good as earlier generations of the Smoke family have done since 1913. As a result of prudent stewardship, experienced management and the user-fee toll paid by customers, the bridge has a virtually unlimited life expectancy, as long as it is properly maintained in the future.

More information about the operations, maintenance and history of the toll bridge can be found on the bridge company's Web site,

The toll bridge will always be there for the residents of Grosse Ile, and there is no legal way the span can be torn down as long as it remains structurally sound. It is worth remembering that no bridge — not even the Wayne County Bridge — is truly "free."

Paul Smoke is the president of the Grosse Ile Bridge Co., which owns and operates the Grosse Ile Toll Bridge.




  • Created by: donald knopf
  • Added: 19 Jan 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 46886826
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Bertha Dramburg Voigt (1849–6 Mar 1889), Find A Grave Memorial no. 46886826, citing Woodmere Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by donald knopf (contributor 5792782) .