Category Archives: Brasher

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?

Emsley Harrison Brasher, 1841-1886

Emsley Harrison Brasher, Dave’s 2x great grandfather, was born on 9 June 1841 in Christan County, Kentucky. He was the son of Hampton Brasher and Altezara Jane Woodruff. Emsley’s mother died quite young, when she was about 27, and before 1848 when Hampton married (2) Mahala Duncan. Emsley had one brother, Joseph Addison Brasher, and the two boys were only 13 months apart in age, with Joe being the baby. They had nine half siblings through Hampton’s second marriage, but Hampton died about 1864 during the Civil War, leaving a young widow with a house full of children. However, the family’s troubles didn’t end there, as Mahala died on 12 January 1867, leaving a large family of orphaned children.

Sadly, the pattern of orphaned Brasher children was to be repeated in Harrison’s own family.

Emsley, also known as E.H. or Harrison, married Mary Woosley Perkins on 11 July 1867 in Cedar County, Missouri. Harrison stepped up right away and took guardianship of two of his youngest half-siblings, Oliver H. and Margaret, who lived with Harrison and Mary in 1870. By that time, they had migrated about 75 miles southwest of Cedar County to Jasper County, Missouri.

Harrison and Mary had three known children.

1. Marcellus Hampton Brasher was born on 9 August 1870, probably in Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri, where his parents were living that summer, although his death certificate gives Bona, Cedar County, Missouri as his place of birth.

Pearl Brasher Stufflebean, Dave’s grandmother, had a photograph of her Uncle Marcellus that Dave inherited. This picture was probably taken in the mid 1890’s.

Marcellus Hampton Brasher

Marcellus married Lulu J. Snow before 1910, probably in Moniteau County, Missouri. He died on 15 February 1948 in Abilene, Taylor County, Texas.  Marcellus and Lulu had one son, Charles A. Brasher, born 13 April 1908 in New Mexico. Charles became a doctor, married Louise (MNU) and had two children.

FamilySearch had this terrific image of Dr. Charles’ visa to Brazil in 1952. There is even a passport-style photo of him!

Dr. Charles A. Brasher, 1952 Visit to Brazil

Harrison’s and Mary’s second son was:

2. Andrew (Drew) W. Brasher, born on 7 June 1871 in Bona, Cedar County, Missouri. Andrew married Emma Lee Pendleton. He died on 13 September 1950 in San Antonio, Bexar, Texas. Andrew, or “Drew”, and Emma apparently had no children. If any were born to them, they didn’t survive long enough to be enumerated in any census.

Grandmother Pearl also had a couple of photos of Uncle Drew:

Uncle Drew Brasher

Harrison and Mary’s last child was Pearl’s father.

3. Joseph Henry Brasher was born 17 November 1874, in Cumby, Hopkins County, Texas and died on 31 December 1925 in Noble, Cleveland County, Oklahoma.

Jo married Minnie Mae Williams on 12 May 1895 in Hopkins County, Texas. Minnie Mae was 16 and Joe was 21.

In any case, their marriage was short and Pearl was their only child. Although the family hasn’t been found in 1900, by 1910, Minnie had married (2) Charles Horne and they had a newborn son, Aulton.

Joe married (2) Della Benton on 24 February 1904 in Springer, Carter, Oklahoma. Like Minnie Mae, Della was quite young at the time of her marriage. The license gives her age as 15. Joe and Della had three children – John Alsus Brasher, born 1907; Wilmer Louis, born 1909 and Omer Andrew, born in 1912. All three children were born in Oklahoma. John may be the Johnie A. Brasher in the 1930 enumeration of the Central Oklahoma State Hospital in Norman, OK. If so, he may never have married and he has not been found in the 1940 census. Wilmer Louis Brasher died in May 1978 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Omer Andrew Brasher died on 14 January 1989. Omer kept in touch with and visited Pearl Brasher Stufflebean.

Now, back to Harrison and Mary. Mary Woosley Perkins Brasher died at the young age of 35 on 4 March 1882 in Hopkins County, Texas. Harrison married (2) Finette T. (Nettie) Sayles on on 23 November 1882 in Hopkins County, just eight months after Mary died.

They had two children of their own, Bessie Belle, born 6 October 1883 and Omer, born 17 July 1885. Bessie died on 28 May 1889, aged 5 1/2 years. Omer died as a relatively young man on 23 May 1929 at Lake Purdy, Jefferson County, Alabama.

Harrison Brasher died on 23 April 1886 in Cumby, Texas. He had been in “feeble health” as he described himself in his will, dated 15 June 1882. With three young sons at the time, he must have realized with Mary’s passing, that his children needed to be taken care of in the event of his own death. This issue would have been particularly urgent given that he described his own health as feeble.

Harrison owned the local mercantile with a partner and was economically quite well off. His detailed will provided property for each of his sons to have as homesteads of their own when they reached legal age and forbade the sale of the property until each was at least thirty years of age. A codicil dated 30 November 1885 left an inheritance to Bessie and Omer, too.

Marcellus, Drew and Joe likely continued to live in their stepmother’s home with their younger half-siblings until they each made their own way into the adult world. Although Marcellus and Joe have few descendants today, there are some out there. I would love to hear from you if you are one of them.

Oddly, since Harrison was very well off economically, no photos of either him or Mary have been located. Perhaps Finette had possession of them and they descended to a different branch of the family.

Courting, Early 1900’s Style

Dave’s grandparents, Earl Marcus Stufflebean and Pearl Lillian Brasher, married in Norman, Oklahoma on10 August 1916.

Before Earl and Pearl married, they courted, although for how long I don’t know. I’ve mentioned before that Pearl was a saver and among her papers we found letters that the two exchanged in the year or so before they were married. Although they are short messages, they provide a great picture to the past and days when young men “called on” young ladies.

R: Pearl and Earl, out with friends

They obviously were enjoying each other’s company, with a bit of teasing going on:

Earl Teasing Pearl

Two notes were together in the same envelope. I think
3 NovemberPearl stuck two notes inside the same envelope, dated October 1915, about ten months before they married.

Miss “Pearle Brasier”

This envelope is made of quite heavy paper and is only about 1 1/2 inches by 3 inches. Note that it is addressed to “Pearle Brasier.” Pearl sometimes added the “e” at the end of her name when she was young. Earl even put an “e” at the end of his name once. I wonder if that was to signal a commonality with Pearl? Brasher is sometimes spelled as “Brasier,” which looks more French. I wonder if Pearl used that spelling to present a more exotic family background? My 2x great grandmother Elida Hicks Stuart changed the family name from “Stewart” precisely because the “ua” spelling was more French and European.

Earl's Note to Pearl Pg1
3 Nov 1915

Notice first that this note is typed, not handwritten, but the closing is “Friend, Earle.” Secondly, notice at the top it says “From Lock Box 1234 to Lock Box 2360.” Earl wanted to come visit with Pearl that evening. I am assuming that a century ago in a small town mail that was local was just placed into patrons’ mailboxes. There was no home delivery – people dropped by the post office to collect their mail. Thus, Earl could “mail” this note in the morning, Pearl could collect it, say, by noon, and actually accept or decline the visit invitation, again by “mail,” on the same day.

Earl's Note to Pearl Pg2
2nd Note


Noble, Okla.
Oct. 13, ’15
Miss Pearl Brasher
Dear Pearle
Hello Pearle

how are you this
morning? I am all
Have you been going
to the meeting. I have
went one night.

Pearle if you have
no engagement for tonight
would be glad to have
your company to (choir?)
to night if you (care?) to go.

Now don’t go just on my
account if you have to study
your lessons.

Write and let me know
in time.
Please excuse this writing
as I am in a hurry.


The second envelope contains an explanation from Pearl to Earl that she wasn’t really on a date with someone else! This is dated 5 August 1915, a year before they married. Earl was apparently living in Oklahoma City at this time. By the way, Earl was four years older than Pearl. Not a lot by today’s standards, but in 1915, Pearl was seventeen and a senior in high school. Four years age difference is quite a bit when Earl was the age of a typical college senior!

Note from Pearl to EarlAug1915
Second tiny envelope, 1 1/2 x 3 inches

Note from Pearl to Earlaug1915Pg1
Page 1

Note from Pearl to Earlaug1915Pg2
Page 2


Noble, Okla.
Aug 5, 1915

Mr. Earl Stufflebean,

Dear Friend,
Earl that was all O.K. about
Sunday evening. Mr. J. M. . . .did
not have a date with me, and he did
not ask for a date to go to church until
after I told him I was going
car riding with you. If I am not
mistaken he just asked for that date
for spite “C” and he is not through
yet. Will tell you more the next time
I see you.

I went to a party last night. Miss
Moon gave it in honor of her cousin
Mr. . . .Somebody. . .that is here visiting.
Pearle Brasher (know her?) and the
“Morrison Brothers” were the only ones
invited. As I was the only girl there
Mr. J.. . .M.. . .took me home. “C” Miss
Thacker was not there, nor Miss Farris
(Ha ha! I should worry.) I went to
Singing Tuesday night. Guess I will
stay at home tonight and write letters,
as I just owe twelve.

Miss Farris went home Tuesday. I
went with her to the Depot and we took
some pictures. Stella went to Purcell
Tuesday to spend the week, so you
“C” I am lonesome too.

Yes, I think that the roads are
some better. I hope that you have
recovered from your fright, for I
believe Carl was sure enough

Well I must stop.
“Be good and you will be happy.”

Pearle Brasher

So went courting in times long gone by.