My husband’s grandmother was Pearl Lillian Brasher. I don’t know how much she knew about her Brasher ancestors, but most of them died at relatively young ages. Her father, Joseph Henry, died a month after his 51st birthday. Her grandfather, Emsley Harrison Brasher, died when he was just 44 and his wife, Mary Woosley Perkins Brasher, predeceased him when she was only 35. I don’t know the causes of death of any but Joseph, who died of an ulcerated stomach.
Pearl’s paternal great grandparents, Hampton Brasher and Altezara Jane Woodruff, didn’t fare any better. Hampton was born about 1818 probably in Christian County, Kentucky, the son of Lawrence Brasher and Elizabeth Black. (Just an aside -Hampton’s own dad, Lawrence, also died young, in his mid-40s.)
The Brashers were a very large, extended family and some of them, including Hampton, moved one county over to Hopkins County. There, at the age of about 21 years, Hampton married Altezara Jane Woodruff, on 26 March 1840. Altezara (no, I have no idea where that name came from, but it seems to have been in vogue about 1810-1840) was born about 1820, probably in Hopkins County, Kentucky and was the daughter of Joseph and Mary (Woodruff) Woodruff.
Hampton and Altezara settled into married life and two sons were soon born to them. Emsley Harrison arrived on 9 June 1841, followed thirteen months later by brother Joseph Addison on 28 July 1842. Little else is known about Altezara Jane, except that she died sometime before Hampton married Mahala Duncan as his second wife in December 1847, also in Hopkins County. It is certainly possible that she died giving birth to another baby, who also didn’t survive.
Mahala was born about 1826, in Tennessee, the daughter of William and Lucinda Duncan.
By 1850, we find a blended family:
Hampton Brasher Family in 1850
Emsley and Joe now had two little half-sisters, Lucinda and Altezara J., named for their maternal grandmother and Hampton’s first wife.
The 1850s brought change to the Brasher family as Hampton decided to leave Kentucky for perhaps a better life in Cedar County, Missouri, where he registered the purchase of 79.9 acres of land on 15 May 1857.
Land Purchase in 1857
The Brashers must have been happy in Missouri, as Hampton registered more land there in 1859 and 1860.
“Brazier” Family in 1860
Hampton and family were living in the town of Jefferson and five more children had joined the family – James T., Martha E., William L., Oliver H. and John M.
However, the country was on the brink of the Civil War and Missouri was a hotbed of activity. Although the Brashers had deep southern roots, Hampton was pro-Union and he must have had strong beliefs because, at the age of 44, enlisted as a volunteer in Company H of the 2nd Missouri Light Artillery and earned the rank of sergeant. His service didn’t last long, as on 19 February 1864, he died in hospital in Rolla, Phelps, Missouri of pneumonia.
Hampton Brasher, 5th Name from Top
Hampton’s and Mahala’s young family now consisted of:
- Emsley Harrison, born 9 June 1841; died 23 April 1886, Cumby, Hopkins, Texas; married (1) Mary Woosley Perkins, 11 July 1867, Cedar County, Missouri (2) Nettie Sayles, 23 November 1882, Hopkins County, Texas
- Joseph Addison, born 28 July 1842; died 26 April 1912, Abilene, Taylor, Texas; married Permelia Jane Armstrong, 10 January 1867, Cedar County, Missouri
- Lucinda E., born 1848; died after 29 April 1868, when she was named in her father’s probate file.
- Altezara Jane, born 1849; married James C. Foust, 20 December 1866, Cedar County, Missouri. This family is last found in 1880 in Washington County, Arkansas.
- James T., born 1851; died after 29 April 1868, when he was named in his father’s probate file.
- Martha E., born 3 April 1853/4; died 10 July 1904, Cedar County, Missouri; married Clayton Rogers, 17 June 1871, Cedar County, Missouri
- William L., born 1855; died 8 July 1937, Commerce, Hunt, Texas; unmarried. He lived with Jesse and Mary Ford in Christian County, Kentucky in 1870.
- Oliver H., born 1857; probably died 25 December 1901 and is buried in Cedar County, MO; married Sallie Henderson, 8 April 1889, Hopkins County, Texas. Sallie died in January 1901 in Hopkins County, Texas.
- John M, born December 1859; died before 29 April 1868, when probate opened on his father’s estate.
- Nancy C., born 1861 – lived with sister Martha E. Rogers in 1880, but did not marry in Barton County, where they lived. She is not the Nancy who married Hiram Vincent in 1878 in Cooke County, Texas. That was a cousin who was the same age.
- Margaret L., born 24 November 1863; died 29 October 1932, Barton County, Missouri; married George Chapman, about 1885, probably in Barton County, Missouri. He predeceased her by one month.
None of their children were yet married and out on their own and, to make matters worse, Mahala died on 12 January 1867 in Cedar County, leaving ten orphaned children, only two of whom were of legal age. Emsley and Joseph helped care for their younger half siblings and Martha’s husband, Clayton, was named guardian of some of them.
However, it appears that the family more or less scattered to the wind, as no further records have been found for Lucinda or James after their dad’s 1868 probate administration or for Nancy after 1880, when she lived with Clay and Martha Rogers. Emsley, Joe and Oliver moved to Hopkins County, Texas. William also went to Texas, but to Hunt County and he died unmarried. Altezara Jane and husband James Foust are last found in 1880 in Washington County, Arkansas. Margaret married and died in Barton County, Missouri.
I have to wonder if either or both Hampton and Mahala had died in old age, if the future lives of their children might have been very different.