Joseph Henry Brasher, 1874-1925, Part 1

Joseph Henry Brasher, great grandfather of my husband, is an ancestor who lived relatively close in time to us, but about whom we know less than many other family members.

I’ve written about Joe Brasher in the past, mentioning him in the story of Minnie Mae Williams, his first wife, and grandmother of my father-in-law, Ed.

I’ve also written about him, through the story of his parents, Emsley Harrison and Mary Woosley Perkins Brasher, both of whom died young, leaving Joe and his brothers as orphans.

I decided it was time to put Joe in the context of his own life and story. As this post, and the new information I was able to find, evolved, I got quite excited, but you will have to follow the story to discover why!

Joseph Henry Brasher was born on 17 November 1874 in Cumby, Hopkins County, Texas, the third of three sons born to Emsley Harrison, or E.H., as he was known, and Mary Brasher. His brothers were Marcellus Hampton, born 9 August 1870, born in Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri, and Andrew W., born 7 June 1871, in Bona, Cedar County, Missouri. By the time Joe was born, the young family had permanently settled in Texas.

E.H. was a store merchant and did well economically in Texas. However, on 4 March 1882, when Joe was not quite 7 1/2 years old, his mother, Mary, died. Mary was only 35 years old and I haven’t been able to find a record of her cause of death.

E.H. needed a mother for his young boys. Eight months after Mary’s death, on 23 November 1882, he married Finetta (Nettie) Sayles. This new family had only three years together, as E. H. died on 23 April 1886, also in Cumby. He and Nettie had had one child together, Bessie Belle, born on 6 October 1883, but who passed away when she was only 5 1/2 years old, on 28 May 1889.

These sad events must have had a terrific impact on a young boy. In the space of just over 7 years, he lost his mother, then his father and then his little half-sister.

I don’t know for sure, but I believe that Joe and his brothers probably lived with their step-mother until they were old enough to go out on their own. In any case, Joe was still living in Hopkins County, when he fell in love with 16 year old Minnie Mae Williams and they married on 12 May 1895.

This is one of only three photos of I have Joe, probably taken on their wedding day:

Joe is on the left, Minnie, and Joe’s brother, Andrew

Joe’s and Minnie’s only child, daughter Pearl Lillian, was born on 9 February 1898, in Cumby, Hopkins County, Texas. The only time the family is found as one unit is the 1900 census, when Joe was enumerated as a farmer in Hopkins County, Texas.

The young family wasn’t together for very long, as sometime between the 1900 census and 1904, Joe and Minnie divorced. Pearl lived with her mother, but visited with her father from time to time, as each lived in Texas and Oklahoma at different times and in different places.

Minnie married (2) Charles Horne on 2 October 1904 in Paris, Lamar County, Texas. They went on to have one son, Aulton Edward, born 10 March 1910 in Plainview, Hale County, Texas.

Aulton with half-sister, Pearl, in 1955

Although Aulton married, he had no children and died relatively young on 22 November 1959 in Dallas, Dallas County, Texas. Minnie, as far as I can tell, never left Texas to live in Oklahoma, although she moved several times throughout her life.

Joe headed to Oklahoma after he and Minnie divorced. He married (2) Della Mae Benton on 24 February 1904 in Springer, Carter County, Oklahoma.

Like Minnie, Della was a very young 16 years old when she and Joe married. She was born on 17 June 1888 in Texas and died on 15 May 1953 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California.

I guess Joe didn’t take much to farming because by 1910, when he and Della lived in Tuttle, Grady County, Oklahoma, he was enumerated as the postmaster. He later moved the family to Noble, where he also served as the town postmaster, per the 1920 census.

Joe and Della raised three boys together while they lived in Noble, Cleveland County, Oklahoma. John Alsus, or Johnnie as the family called him, was born c1907. I have found little on him except that in 1930, he was a patient at Central Oklahoma State Hospital in nearby Norman. He died in 1934, unmarried as far as I can tell, and was buried in the IOOF Cemetery in Noble, where other relatives were interred.

Wilmer Louis was born on 7 August 1909 and died on 10 May 1979. He married Hazel Belle Bivens on 10 June 1942 in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. She was born 21 June 1917 and died on 25 September 2007. They adopted one son.

I have no pictures of Della, John or Louis Wilmer.

Omer Andrew was born on 12 August 1912 and died on 14 January 1989 in Stroud, Lincoln County, Oklahoma.

Omer Brasher on right, with wife and friends

He married Mary Anglin in December 1945.  She was born 27 September 1910 and died on 3 January 1987, also in Stroud, Oklahoma. Omer and Mary had several children.

New Year’s Eve 1925 was an especially sad time for the family as Joe Brasher passed away from an ulcerated stomach, one month past his 51st birthday.

To make matters worse, Della was three months pregnant with the little daughter that Joe would never know. Joan was born on 19 June 1926 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and died on 16 December 1991 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California.

Della was a single mom with four children and perhaps decided she needed some support. She married Monroe H. Williams, aged 52 and born in Mississippi on 1 July 1932 in Norman, Oklahoma. However, that was not to last for long either, as Monroe passed away in 1936 at the age of 56. Della is enumerated as a widow living in Oklahoma City in 1940.

Joan, probably in  late 1940s

Although my father-in-law recognized Joan in this photo, he apparently was unaware that she was living in California, as he never mentioned visiting with her. Neither my husband nor his brother ever remember hearing anything about her even though they lived quite near them.

Joan apparently gave birth to two children and lived there for many years, possibly until she passed away.

Hmm, I wonder if I can locate these new cousins???

Tomorrow, I will share some details I discovered about Joe’s life as a postmaster.

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