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Bernard John Cigrand was born on October 1, 1866, in Fredonia, Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, the son of Nicholas Cigrand and Susanne Schmit. His father, a blacksmith by trade, hailed from Bourglinster, Luxembourg. He was born there on April 30, 1831. Nicholas immigrated to the New World in 1852 arriving in New York from Antwerp, Belgium on May 6 aboard the vessel SS Koophandel together with a group of Luxembourgers. (On the passenger manifest, the name is listed as Nikolaus Zigram). Susanne Schmit, his mother, hailed from Mensdorf, Luxembourg, where she was born on November 1, 1839. Her family arrived in the USA on July 19, 1852, aboard the SS Fanny, having sailed from Antwerp, Belgium. On April 15, 1856, Nicholas Cigrand and Susan(ne) Schmit were married in Waubeka, Ozaukee County, Wisconsin. The 1880 federal census records the family as residing in Fredonia, Ozaukee County, Wisconsin and consisting of Nicholas Cigrand, blacksmith, age 49, wife Susan, age 43; daughter Anna, school teacher, age 20; son Peter, school teacher, age 19; daughter Katherine, age 15 and son Bernard, age 13. Seventeen year-old Wisconsin-born Nicholas Rodesch, of Luxembourg, is recorded as servant in the Cigrand household.

As his brother and sister, Bernard J. too became a teacher, at age fifteen, at Waubeka’s one-room StonyHillSchool. It was there that on June 14, 1885, he held the first Flag Day celebration. In 1886, he ends his teacher’s career in order to pursue the study of dentistry. He becomes an extremely successful dentist, lecturer and author. Bernard J. Cigrand, B.S., M.S., D.D.S. authors, among other books, The Story of the Great Seal of America, or Our Nation’s Mark (Cameron, Amberg & Co, Publishers, Chicago, Illinois 1903) and The Rise, Fall and Revival of Dental Prosthesis, (The Periodical Publishing Co., Chicago, Illinois, 1892). A patriotic five acts drama by Dr. Cigrand entitled Stronger than King or When Hearts Were True played at Chicago’s People’s Theatre, Leavitt and Van Buren Streets, beginning December 17, 1906, for one week. Cigrand wrote many more patriotic articles and essays.

On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation establishing Flag Day as an annual national event. The 1930 federal census finds doctor, dentist Bernard J. Cigrand, age 64 living in Batavia Township, Kane County, Illinois with Michigan-born, 59-year-old wife Alice N. of England parentage and 27-year-old Illinois-born daughter Virginia E., who is a stenographer in a metal cabinet business. In 1901, Cigrand publishes a genealogy book entitled History of the Crispe Family, Crispe being his wife’s maiden name. He traced the ancestry of the Crispe family back to Northern France and Flanders. Bernard J. Cigrand died on May 16, 1932, at the age of sixty-five.On August 3, 1949, President Harry S. Truman signs an Act of Congress decreeing June 14 as the national Flag Day. Alice N. Cigrand, née Crispe, passed away on March 5, 1964, in Pico Rivera, Los Angeles County, California at the age of ninety-two.
© 2009-2011 Fausto Gardini, Jacksonville, Florida
A version of this article was written for the Luxembourg American Cultural Society, Inc. (LACS) for the Luxembourg American Cultural Center (LACC) of Belgium, Wisconsin.

 Published in 2011 in Luxembourg On My Mind.
For a complete list of articles, see: PUBLISHED ARTICLES
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