Columbia City Commercial Mail ~ Friday, August 18, 1905
Russell Brenneman, who has been at Kodiak, Alaska, for several years and Lawrence Brenneman of Denver Colorado, arrived in this city Thursday evening to visit their parents, Mr. and Mrs. B. F. Brenneman and their brother, Dr. J. F. Brenneman and wife. Judson Brenneman, who has an excellent position with the Leibhart Commission Co., of Denver was unable to accompany them as it was a very busy season of the year for him. Judson had visited here during the winter but it had been six years since Russell left Columbia City and over three years since Lawrence had visited here. Lawrence Brenneman has been located in Denver for almost seven years. He was formerly a partner with his father in the grocery business in this city but decided to go west. He entered the employ of the Hurlbet Grocery Co., of Denver and has been with the firm ever since, now being employed at a handsome salary as buyer for the firm.
Russel Brenneman was a member of Co. G during the Spanish-American War and after a short visit on his return from Cuba, he left for the west. He stayed a short while in Colorado and from there he went to Alaska where he spent five years. A few weeks ago he found a hundred and fifty-eight pounds of a substance which he and his companions supposed was ambergris on the shores of a small island north of Kodiak. With their saws and hatchets they constructed a rude wheelbarrow and wheeled it to their camp and finally got it to Kodiak, and shipped it to Seattle, Washington. A piece was sent to the Smithsonian Institute at Washington, D. C. for analysis where it tested practically valueless, being only a parafine compound thrown off by a whale. Had it been ambergris it would have been worth from fifty to sixty thousand dollars. At Kodiak a miner thrust a thousand dollars in Mr. Brenneman's face and tried to purchase a one-fifth interest in the find but the latter would not sell.
It was a great disappointment to Russell to learn that his find was valueless but after a two weeks visit here, he will return to Denver with his brother Lawrence and on Sept. 14th, will sail from Seattle, Washington, for Kodiak and try it again. He has valuable holdings at Kodiak which demand his return almost immediately. Mr. Brenneman owns quite large interests in some valuable oil lands and also in a quartz claim which has already been tunneled fifty feet. He likes the county and is determined to make his fortune there.