Category Archives: Brasher

A Gift from Marcellus Brasher to Niece Pearl, 1900

Family heirlooms tell a piece of each family’s stories because they leave a tangible item behind that was important to them and their own lives.

Most family heirlooms aren’t valuable in terms of dollars, but they a priceless in maintaining memories of those who have gone before us.

Last year, I told the stories of Emsley Harrison and Mary Woosley Perkins Brasher’s three sons, Marcellus, Andrew and Joseph Henry. Joe is my husband’s great grandfather through his paternal grandmother, Pearl Brasher.

Pearl save many mementos from her long life. She was born on 9 February 1898 and passed away on 18 December 1989 in Norman, Oklahoma. Before she died, my father-in-law (her son, Ed) apparently sat down with her and asked her about some of the old items that she had had for many years.

One of the oldest items that belonged to her was a cup that she received when she was a baby, but it certainly wasn’t a traditional baby cup.

Front of Pearl’s Cup

The cup is ornate, dating from the very end of the Victorian era. It is white ceramic. There are delicate, raised 3D leaves, flowers and stems on the cup. There was a gold band along the inside rim, but as you can see, some of the gold has worn away. Paint used on the leaves is still intact. One flower petal has chipped off over the years, but it remains in very good condition.

Where did Pearl get this cup? Ed wrote a short note and stored it inside the cup. I found it as we were cleaning things out of my in-laws’ apartment.

Ed’s Note

Mothes (sic) dad’s brother
Marcellus Brasher gave her
this in 1901 (1900)

It clearly looks as if Ed wrote 1901 at first and then wrote over the “1” to say “1900.” Pearl would have turned two years old in February 1900. Joe and Minnie Brasher with daughter Pearl lived outside of Sulphur Springs, Hopkins County, Texas. Marcellus had a teaching career by that time and he lived in Abilene, 260 miles away. That was a pretty good length trip to make in 1900.

My thinking is that Marcellus came back to visit family still in Hopkins County, probably during the summer as travel would be easier and school would be out for vacation. It also may well have been the first time he met his little niece, Pearl, and he brought her a gift to remember him by when she was older.

The Brashers’ other brother, Andrew, had no children and Marcellus’s own son, Charles, wasn’t born until 1908. For ten years, Pearl was the only child of the next generation.

For its time, this little cup would have been considered a “nice” gift, not over the top expensive, but definitely more special than a cup for every day use.

Pearl must have treasured it for many years. Marcellus died in 1948, but she still had the cup he gave her when she was a baby.



Mail Call! September 3, 1918

Pearl Brasher Stufflebean kept many photos and letters from her youth and early married years. Pearl was born on 9 February 1898 in Sulphur Springs, Hopkins County, Texas. Her parents divorced when she was a little girl and she moved several times after that, living for a while in Floydada, Floyd County, Texas and then Noble, Oklahoma, where she graduated from high school.

Sulphur Springs is east of the Dallas-Forth Worth area and you can see it on this map. Point A is Floydada and Point B is Noble, which is near Norman, Oklahoma. These town were hundreds of miles apart and I’m not sure how her mother determined exactly where they were going to live and how they ended up making such long moves.

However, as a young girl, Pearl was apparently good friends with Gladys Felton, who no doubt was a classmate in Floydada. They also shared a love of music, based on Gladys’s letter.

A quick check online found that Gladys L. Felton married Travis Plato Collins sometime between the 1920 census, when she was single and at home and 1923, when their son, Travis Pat Collins, was born.

I would have loved to have shared this letter with someone in the Collins family. However, Travis Sr. died on 4 June 1979, Gladys died on 8 January 1992 and their only child, Travis Jr., predeceased them both, passing away on 18 February 1973. All three spent their lives in Floydada, where they are buried.

Here is Gladys’s letter to Pearl:



Floydada, Tex.
Tuesday, Sep. 3 (1918)

My Dearest Pal,

Did you just think I had forgotten you. Well I sure haven’t and I never can forget my old Pal for it would be impossible fer (sic) me to meet another person in the world to whom I love any more than I do you. And I know I couldn’t meet any one with any more virtures (sic) than you and honestly Pearle I have heard more good tings said of you since you’ve left here than any other one person. So often those girls we used to go to school with speak of you and they say such nice things about you. Sometimes I getting to thinking of those days when we were together so much and I hate to think we can never live them over again but I guess you shouldn’t think of the past though. And I do hope some day in the future we can be together again. Say I have so many things I could tell you if I could just see you. So much has happened since last I saw you. I have been in Floydada abut a month and a half since I left school. I had been in Dallas, Tex. Almost a year studying in a music conservatory and I sure did enjoy my work. I took music from a Norwegian man who has just been in America a few years and he certainly is good. Pearle I have the dandiest sweetheart you ever saw. I went with him all the time I was in Dallas and of course like him much better than I ever liked any boy. I have some good looking pictures of him. He is in the Army now at Trenton New Jersey and I miss him so much but I hear every day now but he is going to sail for France soon and then I won’t hear so often. You ought to feel sorry fere (sic) we girls now for nothing is left for us to do but stay at home and be lonesome for all the boys are gone we ever knew.

So many people have left here since you were here. I know you must have heard by this time of Ada being married. She is now living in Pueblo Colorado and has a boy about six or eight months old and it sure is a darling baby we think. Ada visited us a few months ago and she ask (sic) me if I ever heard from you. Said she sure would like to see you so much. Say how is your baby. Certainly would be glad to see him and also would like to see your husband. Pearle I just can not realize you are married and are a mother so (soon?) my life st? dosen’t (sic) seem that you are at all. Say write me and tell me how you are and tell me something of your husband for I would like to know what kind of a man you have and what does he do as an occupations. Tell me every little thinig for I am so interested to know about your affairs. I sure would like to have your picture if you have any of your baby too. Pearl I hope sometime you can visite (sic) me for you don’t know how much I would like to be with you. Some day when the war is over and I get married [if I ever do] I hope I will not be so far that you can not visit me. Say how is your mother. Surely wish I could see her and your baby brother Alton once more. I wonder if he ha forgotten me. Where is your mother. Tell me all about her. Now dear write to me real soon. Your Friend always, Gladys Felton, Floydada, Tex.

It is clear to me that Gladys considered Pearl a good friend and Pearl likely felt the same since she kept this letter until she died in 1989. However, to be honest, I was looking forward to reading a nice, newsy letter and I can sum up what Gladys said in way less than 6 pages:

1. We had a great time hanging out together and I miss you.
2. Ada (no surname) married, had an infant son and moved to Pueblo, CO.
3. Gladys had an unnamed boyfriend in the Army, stationed in NJ and being deployed to France.
4. Gladys took studied at a music conservatory in Dallas with a Norwegian man.
4. She wants to know all about Pearl, her husband and her infant son.

That’s about it!

Photo Dating Help Needed!

Who Is He?

Mystery Man

I would love to have some input from you. This photo was passed down to me from my in-laws, but there are no markings front or back to help identify this young man. I have numerous photos of the Stufflebeans from the 1800’s and this mystery person looks nothing like any of them.

However, he does very much put me in the mind of my husband’s Brasher family, both in the shape of his face and his ears jutting out slightly.

Dating old photos isn’t my strong point, but this type of picture with the embossing around the oval became popular around the time of the Civil War and continued into the 1870’s. The picture is mounted behind this frame and the whole thing only measures 2 inches by 3 inches. Its corners are squared off, not rounded, and it doesn’t appear that the picture has ever been cut to make it smaller.

A reference book that I own on dating 19th century photos states that in the 1870’s, men had less facial hair, shorter sideburns and hair was neater with a side part.

A photo in the book dated 1872 shows a young man with a very similar hairstyle to the young man here, down to the curl or crease or whatever that would be called on the side of his head.  The shirt collar on the example in the book is fairly deep and the man is wearing a bow tie, again similar to my mystery person. The collar style seems to be a change from the Civil War years when it was much thinner.

The young man in my photo looks fairly well-to-do because, to me anyway, that three piece suit looks to be in excellent condition.

My other question is, how old do you think this young man might be? I think he looks quite young – maybe 20ish? Do you think he might be as old as 30? I don’t think he is nearly that old, but again, this isn’t my strong point.

If this young man is a Brasher, then there are only two possible scenarios – Emsley Harrison Brasher, born 1841, or his brother, Joseph Addison Brasher, born in 1842 or one of their half siblings who shared their same father, Hampton, who died in the Civil War. Those half brothers were James T., born 1851, William L., born 1855, Oliver H., born 1857 and John M., born 1859.

I have no information on what happened to any of the half brothers, with the exception of Oliver H., who died in Hopkins County, Texas on Christmas Day 1901. Hopkins county is where Emsley Brasher lived with his family and Pearl Brasher Stufflebean was born there. An additional clue may be that Oliver and his youngest sister lived with Emsley in 1870 and Emsley was a well-to-do businessman, based on his 1882 will. He owned a mercantile store so would have access to new stylish suits of clothes.

If this photo is Oliver Brasher, then he would have been fifteen if this photo dates from 1872. I am leaning towards this conclusion.

Please share your thoughts. Is Oliver Brasher a good guess for this mystery man?