Pearl Lillian Brasher (1898-1989)

While reviewing my ancestor sketches, I realized that although I’ve written a number of times about Dave’s grandmother, Pearl Lillian Brasher, I have neglected to write her life story in one post, so here it is.

Pearl Lillian Brasher was born on 9 February 1898 in Sulphur Springs, Hopkins County, Texas, the first and only child of Joseph Henry Brasher and Minnie Mae Williams. Joe’s and Minnie’s marriage didn’t last long, perhaps partly because she was a young sixteen years old when they married.

Where Pearl’s parents divorced is unknown, but the disintegration of her family led to a number of moves in young Pearl’s life, as she lived at times with one parent or the other.

Her father married (2) Della M. Benton on 24 February 1904 in Springer, Carter County, Oklahoma, where he was working in the post office. Soon after, Joe was appointed postmaster in Noble, Cleveland County, Oklahoma.

The earliest photos I have of Pearl are three school pictures taken in Hobart, Oklahoma in grades 1, 2 and 3.

Pearl, second row from top, second from left

Pearl, second row from top, fourth from left

Pearl, front row, third from left

If Pearl was in first grade, then the top picture was taken about 1905. I don’t have any records indicating that Minnie, her mom, ever lived in Oklahoma, but second husband Charlie Horne was a salesman and they moved often. It is certainly possible that they lived in Oklahoma for a while. It’s also possible that Joe Brasher worked in a post office in Hobart at some point.

By 1910, Pearl was living in Plainview, Hale County, Texas with her mother, stepfather Charlie Horne and her baby half-brother, Aulton Horne.

Pearl’s father was orphaned at a young age, but he had two brothers, Andrew and Marcellus. Her maternal grandfather, John Christopher Williams,  lived in Dike, Texas, just northwest of Sulphur Springs, where Pearl had been born. Through the years, she visited with relatives from both sides of the family.

Andrew Brasher with niece Pearl

John Williams, seated with Pearl to his left and Minnie behind Pearl

As Pearl began high school, the Horne family was living in Floydada, Floyd County, Texas, just a short drive along the 70 highway, which connected it with Plainview, her previous home.

However, she didn’t graduate from Floydada High School. At some point during those four years, Pearl moved to Noble, Oklahoma to live with her father, stepmother and half siblings. She graduated from Noble High School in 1916.

During her first years in Noble, Pearl met Earl Marcus Stufflebean:

No one in the family seems to know how they met, but I can venture a guess. Earl worked at the Stufflebean General Store, owned by his father:

It is more than likely that Pearl shopped in that store and that is how they met.

The summer of 1916 was a busy one for young Pearl. She graduated from high school and then married Earl on 10 August 1916.

Ten months later, Earl and Pearl welcomed son, Edward Earl Stufflebean, born 6 June 1917.

Pearl and Ed, c1918

Their family was completed three years later when daughter Wanda Lucille was born on 16 April 1920. Unlike the many moves that Pearl made growing up, Earl and Pearl raised their family in one home in Norman, Cleveland, Oklahoma.

Stufflebean Home in Norman

The family made it through good times and bad – the Great Depression was a very difficult time in Oklahoma – but the children grew up in a happy home.

Life improved with the end of the Depression and war years. However, in January 1946, Ed received an urgent letter from his mother, telling him that his father had had a stroke during the night.

Earl passed away on 11 January 1946 and was buried at the IOOF Cemetery in Norman, Oklahoma.

Ed had married and moved to California by that time. His sister, Wanda, was also married, but she settled in Norman, near her parents.

With Earl gone, Pearl spent several years as a widow before marrying Claude Rupard Etter on 15 January 1949, in Norman, but they had no children together.

Claude died in February 1964 and was buried in the IOOF Cemetery next to his first wife, Nellie, who had predeceased him in 1944.

Pearl married a third time to Andrew Hatfield, but the family doesn’t have a date or place. It likely happened in Cleveland County, Oklahoma. Andy predeceased Pearl in 1985 and is also buried next to his first wife at Willow View Cemetery in Cleveland County, Oklahoma.

Pearl was an active senior who was mentioned in a couple of newspaper clippings. The first is my favorite:

The Norman Transcript, 12 December 1975

Fred Brier, assistant manager at C.R. Anthony’s downtown store, surveys the damage this morning after an over-eager shopper put her car in the wrong gear and went through the front display window with her automobile. Mrs. Pearl Hatfield, 1122 Fay Avenue, said she’d been driving since “Model T days and never got a ticket. Now look what I’ve done!” No one was injured – just surprised – and Mrs. Hatfield added, “It sure was a queer feeling when I landed in that window.” (Transcript Photo by Steve Sisney)

Here is a much more mellow Pearl at the senior center:

Easter 1971

Members of the Norman Senior Citizens’ Center (from Left) Mrs. Eddie Lee Whitey, Mrs. Charlie Miller, Mrs. Katie Scott (in back), Mrs. Barney Loeffelholz and Mrs. M.A. Hatfield colored eggs Monday afternoon in preparation for an Easter egg hunt at 2 p.m. Saturday in Reaves Park. Members of the Norman Teen Center also helped dye the 48 dozen eggs which will be used in the activity for all children in the Norman area. The event is being cosponsored by the Norman Parks and Recreation Department and the Norman Fire Department (Transcript photo).

For whatever reason, Pearl never seemed to be much into traveling anywhere except to visit family. Perhaps all her childhood moves were enough for her. The only trips I know of her taking happened every other year when she and other relatives drove to California to visit son Ed’s family. In the summer of the opposite year, Ed and family made the car trip back to Oklahoma.

In the summer of 1989, Ed and wife Ruby made their last visit back to visit Pearl, who was in declining health.

Pearl passed away on 18 December 1989 and was buried next to Earl at the IOOF Cemetery in Norman, Oklahoma.

Pearl lived a long life, surviving Earl by almost forty-four years. She left a number of descendants.



3 thoughts on “Pearl Lillian Brasher (1898-1989)”

  1. Just came upon this site. My grandfather, William T. Shannon, graduated Noble HS 1916 also. He lived with his grandparents, Charles and Lucy Wantland. I remember my dad talking about the Stufflebeans. They are bury near the place my gr. grandparents, Wantland’s are also buried.

  2. My name isCynthia Sims and my great grandfather was Pearl’s 3rd husband. I was very close to my great grandfather we called him ‘Old Man’ & I clearly remember the day he came over to visit and asked me what I thought about him getting re-married. I was shocked at first as my great grandmother hadn’t been gone quite a year yet . But they did things differently in those days and he was like a lost puppy without her. I figured anyone who could make him happy during his senior years Would be goo for both of them. At least they wouldn’t be lonely and would have companionship. As it turned out they fought all the time. Old Man was hard of hearing and they would both come over to my grandmother’s house on Sunday’s for coffee and donuts. She’d sit there around the table with his family and talk bad about him in front of him but he didn’t know it because he couldn’t hear what she was saying. My Grandma would get so mad listening to her a couple of times I thought she was going to ask her to leave and my grandma was never rude to anyone that I know of. I’d sit in the corner watching the soap opera play out and it was all I could do to keep from busting out laughing as most of her complaints were so silly. “He made me buy Libby’s Green Beans instead of the better Green Giant brand just to save 20 cents a can! Can you believe that?” And on and on it went. It was hilarious to me and he was oblivious so it wasn’t bothering him at all which to me made it even better. No harm no foul was my motto! Just thought I’d share. I also remember she collected pitchers (ceramic mostly) had multiple curio cabinets full to the brim with pitchers of all sizes shapes and colors. Old Man wanted to get rid of them, have a garage sale, who needs more than a couple of pitchers anyway? 🙂 It was another bone of contention between the two. As if there wasn’t enough ammo to keep them fussing for the remainder of their lives already. The good old days… He had lots of great stories about life in Oklahoma before it was a state. I just wish we had recorded them while he was still with us.

    1. I neglected to mention his name was M.A. Hatfield better known by his friends as Andy Hatfield and to family as “Old Man.”

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