Mary Woosley (Perkins) Brasher, 1846-1882

Mary Woosley Perkins was born on 3 October 1846 in Cedar County, Missouri. She was the third child and first daughter born to Samuel Henry Perkins and his wife, Martha Hamby.

Mary is my husband’s 2X great grandmother. While Perkins is a very common name, Woosley is not and Mary’s middle name helped untangle the Perkins ancestral line.

Mary’s father, Samuel, was the son of John Perkins from Halifax County, Virginia and Rhoda Walters Woosley. Rhoda was the daughter of Revolutionary War soldier Moses Woosley.

Although the Perkins family moved several times from Virginia to Kentucky and finally to Cedar County, Missouri, Mary was born in Cedar County and, thus, grew up knowing one home.

Mary married Emsley Harrison Brasher on 11 June 1867 in Cedar County, Missouri. The Brasher ancestors started out in Maryland, migrating through South Carolina and then into Kentucky, where E.H., as he was known, was born on 9 June 1841.

Emsley lost both of his parents at a young age – his mother, Altezara Jane Woodruff, when he was about 7 years old. His father, Hampton Brasher, died of pneumonia in Rolla, Phelps County, Missouri while serving in the Civil War.

Although Hampton married (2) Mahala Jane Duncan December 1847 in Hopkins County, Kentucky, she, too, died young at the age of 41 on 12 January 1867 in Cedar County, Missouri. This was five months before E.H. married Mary and the loss of his step-mother meant that he had nine orphaned half siblings.

Sometime after their 1867 marriage and the 1870 census, the Brashers left Cedar County and settled in Jasper County, Missouri. However, they hadn’t moved far, as both counties are in the southwest corner of the state.

E.H. and Mary were in a household with no children of their own, but with Oliver H. and Margaret L. Brasher, ages 12 and 9. These were Emsley’s two youngest half siblings.

They hadn’t totally left behind their family, as Mary’s older brother, Amos, lived on the farm next door with his own young family.

Mary was expecting her baby any day when the census taker came around on 19 July 1870. She gave birth to her first known child, Marcellus Hampton, on 9 August 1870.

The Brashers then moved back to Cedar County at least for a year, as they welcomed their second son, Andrew W., on 7 June 1871.

Why they returned to Cedar County is not known, but, once again, they didn’t remain there for very long. The final move for this family was to Hopkins County, Texas, where they were living when their third and last child, Joseph Henry, was born on 17 November 1874.

The 1880 census showed Harrison with wife, Mary, the three boys plus James Perkins and James Hall as farm laborers. James was another of Mary’s brothers.

The 1880 census didn’t note that Harrison had any infirmities and he was only 39 years old. However, the family circumstances were about to drastically change.

First, Mary Brasher passed away of unknown causes on 4 March 1882.

Next, E.H. had some health issues, as he drew up his will three months later on 15 June 1882 and mentioned that he was in feeble health. Perhaps there was an epidemic that took Mary’s life and disabled Harrison. I may never know the answer to that question.

Whatever caused his health ailments, E.H. must have realized that he needed make sure there was someone to care for his three young sons. On 23 November 1882, eight short months after losing Mary, he married (2) Finetta (Nettie) Sayles in Hopkins County, Texas.

Harrison lived for two years more, long enough to father and meet his last child. Bessie Belle, his only daughter, was born on 6 October 1883.

Harrison died on 23 April 1886, also in Hopkins County, Texas, leaving sons aged 15, 14 and 11 and his two year old daughter. Harrison was buried next to Mary in Sunny Point Cemetery in Cumby. Sadly, little Bessie would soon pass away, as she died at the age of five years on 28 May 1889. However, she was buried in Cumby Cemetery.

The lives of both Mary and Emsley Harrison were cut short by unknown maladies. Per his 1882 will, E.H. was fairly well-to-do so I find it surprising that I have no photos of either of them to share with you.

The earliest Brasher photo I have is this one:

Unidentified Young Brasher

I’ve come to the conclusion that this young man might well be Oliver H. Brasher, the half brother of Emsley Harrison, born about 1858. He closely resembles Emsley’s grandson, Omer Brasher, born many years later in 1912. 

If there was a family resemblance, then perhaps E.H. looked something like this young man.

Unfortunately, I have no photos of Mary Woosley Perkins Brasher, but do have one of her mother, Martha Hamby Perkins. If Mary resembled her mother, then she looked something like this:

Martha Hamby Perkins

As far as I have been able to deduce, Mary’s three sons continued to live with their stepmother, Nettie, until they became of age and went out on their own.

Nettie long survived her husband and daughter, passing away sometime in 1919. She never remarried. Nettie was not buried with the Brashers, but in Cumby Cemetery near her only child.

My husband’s line:

Emsley Harrison Brasher = Mary Woosley Perkins
Joseph Henry Brasher = Minnie Mae Williams
Earl Marcus Stufflebean = Pearl Lillian Brasher
Edward Earl Stufflebean = Ruby Jewel Sturgell
David Lee Stufflebean






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