Tag Archives: Joseph Henry Brasher

Joseph Henry Brasher, 1874-1925 – The Surprise!

Definitely, the most fun part of genealogy research is discovering the surprises. While I know quite a bit about Joe Brasher, his life and his family, his “second” family with Della was a lost branch of the family tree.

I decided to see if I could change that. It can be difficult finding living people today, particularly if a surname is not very unusual and you have no idea where cousins might be living.

Persistent is a word that has been used to describe me and my persistence paid off. My husband and his brother now know their cousin Cindy and we have been sharing family photos. Joseph
Brasher is a very recent common ancestor and they are first cousins once removed!

Best of all, Cindy is also interested in the family history and we’ve been able to help each other fill in the gaps. Neither of us had any of the family photos that the other had, which maybe isn’t too odd given that Joe married twice.

Cindy has given permission for me to share these pictures, which help round out the Brasher family:

Joe and Della Mae Benton, probably on their wedding day in 1904

Della with Johnnie and Wilmer Louis, c1912

This might be the only photo that exists of Johnnie. I love this picture with the children’s fashions. Mom Della is also dressed beautifully with her hair up.

From the plot section and grave numbers for Wilmer Louis and Johnnie, it looks like W.L. purchased the gravesites. He and his wife are buried next to his big brother, Johnnie.

Joseph Brasher, in Sulphur Springs, Texas

This photo is quite intriguing to me, as it was taken in Sulphur Springs, Texas. That’s in Hopkins County, as is Cumby, where Joe was born.

Boy, do I wish that someone had left this photo intact because I have to wonder who else was in this picture. I have never seen it before. There is clearly a person standing behind Joe’s right shoulder and, if you look carefully, you can see white fabric to the left of Joe. Could this have been a picture of Joe with his first wife, Minnie Mae Williams, and her family?

That would explain why they were cut out of the picture, wouldn’t it?

Cindy, I am so glad that we found each other and have been able to fill in more of the details of the life of Joseph Henry Brasher.

Another Photo Mystery Solved! Joseph H. Brasher, Part 2

Yesterday, I shared the life story of Joseph Henry Brasher, who worked in three post offices in the early days of Oklahoma – in the towns of Springer, Tuttle and then Noble. Sometimes, the passage of time, and taking new looks at old items, really does help solve mysteries.

Ruby, my mother-in-law, had written this on the back of a photo:

Back of Old Photo

These pictures are of Joe Brasher at work. The 1910 census of Tuttle, Grady County, Oklahoma and 1920 census of Noble, Cleveland County, Oklahoma both showed that he worked as the town post master.

Now take a look at the front of this and a couple of other photos:

Post Office, 1910-1920

Who is in this photo anyway? That was, and might still be, a mystery, but I think I’ve got it figured out. I’m quite sure that these are the three men who worked in the post office. The calendar on the wall is dated and it is difficult to make out, but I think the last digit in the year is a “2,” and the year is 1912.

I don’t know when Joe moved from Tuttle to Noble, but I think this might be the post office in Tuttle and I might even know who each of these people is. Exactly how would I be able to pull names out of thin air? Well, the 1910 census is a great help. It perhaps has given me the answers because it included the occupations of the adults and Tuttle was a very small place with only 794 souls living there in 1910.

I found only three men whose jobs were related to the post office. First was William H. Cooper, aged 57, and a widower. He worked as a mail carrier. Second was Joseph Henry Brasher, who worked as a postmaster. He was 36 years old in 1910. The third man was William F. Elsner, aged 22, who also worked as a postmaster.

Now, take another look at the three men in the photo. I think the man on the left is William H. Cooper. He is much older than the other two men and easily could be 57 years old. The middle man is also the man who looks to be younger than William and older than the man to the right. That is Joseph Brasher, who would have been about 36 years old. The man on the far right looks way younger than the other two and I believe he is William F. Elsner, aged 22, in 1910 and a newlywed.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this building is standing anymore.

Newly Built Post Office

The new post office was constructed of wood. It looks like William Cooper and Joe Brasher are standing out in front.

Just to be sure that this isn’t the Noble Post Office in 1920, I checked that census for postal workers and again found three. Joe Brasher is listed as the actual postmaster, Florence Noyes, aged 39, is a clerk and W.E. Morris, aged 36, is the mail carrier. They definitely don’t fit the photos above!

I can narrow down this photo just a bit more to pre-1915, as Joe’s daughter, Pearl, came to live with him and his second family and she was a graduating member of the Class of 1916.

The Tuttle Post Office was established in 1902, but Joe Brasher was living in Carter County, Oklahoma in 1904 when he married Della Benton so this picture can’t be any earlier than 1904. He was in Noble by the fall of 1915, when Pearl attended school there.

Where might I find more information that might tell me exactly when he moved from place to place? A city directory, possibly, if there was one in Tuttle or Noble in those very early days. There is a better source linked to his job as postmaster – that was an appointed U.S. government position and Ancestry has the records in one of its databases, U.S., Appointments of U.S. Postmasters, 1832-1971.

Joseph Brasher, Entry #9, Springer Post Office Appt.
Source: Ancestry

A surprise was that Joseph H. Brasher was appointed postmaster of Springer, Carter County, Oklahoma on 26 September 1903. The postmaster who followed him in Springer was appointed on 22 October 1909, so I believe he was a new arrival in Tuttle, not long before the 1910 census was taken. He wasn’t the actual postmaster in Tuttle, just an assistant, as there is no appointment in the records for him there. When did he move on to Noble? Well, he was appointed as the Noble postmaster on 3 September 1914, so he likely moved there by the summer of 1914.

I mentioned a surprise at the beginning of yesterday’s post. Come back tomorrow and I will share it with you. 🙂

Joseph Henry Brasher, 1874-1925, Part 1

Joseph Henry Brasher, great grandfather of my husband, is an ancestor who lived relatively close in time to us, but about whom we know less than many other family members.

I’ve written about Joe Brasher in the past, mentioning him in the story of Minnie Mae Williams, his first wife, and grandmother of my father-in-law, Ed.

I’ve also written about him, through the story of his parents, Emsley Harrison and Mary Woosley Perkins Brasher, both of whom died young, leaving Joe and his brothers as orphans.

I decided it was time to put Joe in the context of his own life and story. As this post, and the new information I was able to find, evolved, I got quite excited, but you will have to follow the story to discover why!

Joseph Henry Brasher was born on 17 November 1874 in Cumby, Hopkins County, Texas, the third of three sons born to Emsley Harrison, or E.H., as he was known, and Mary Brasher. His brothers were Marcellus Hampton, born 9 August 1870, born in Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri, and Andrew W., born 7 June 1871, in Bona, Cedar County, Missouri. By the time Joe was born, the young family had permanently settled in Texas.

E.H. was a store merchant and did well economically in Texas. However, on 4 March 1882, when Joe was not quite 7 1/2 years old, his mother, Mary, died. Mary was only 35 years old and I haven’t been able to find a record of her cause of death.

E.H. needed a mother for his young boys. Eight months after Mary’s death, on 23 November 1882, he married Finetta (Nettie) Sayles. This new family had only three years together, as E. H. died on 23 April 1886, also in Cumby. He and Nettie had had one child together, Bessie Belle, born on 6 October 1883, but who passed away when she was only 5 1/2 years old, on 28 May 1889.

These sad events must have had a terrific impact on a young boy. In the space of just over 7 years, he lost his mother, then his father and then his little half-sister.

I don’t know for sure, but I believe that Joe and his brothers probably lived with their step-mother until they were old enough to go out on their own. In any case, Joe was still living in Hopkins County, when he fell in love with 16 year old Minnie Mae Williams and they married on 12 May 1895.

This is one of only three photos of I have Joe, probably taken on their wedding day:

Joe is on the left, Minnie, and Joe’s brother, Andrew

Joe’s and Minnie’s only child, daughter Pearl Lillian, was born on 9 February 1898, in Cumby, Hopkins County, Texas. The only time the family is found as one unit is the 1900 census, when Joe was enumerated as a farmer in Hopkins County, Texas.

The young family wasn’t together for very long, as sometime between the 1900 census and 1904, Joe and Minnie divorced. Pearl lived with her mother, but visited with her father from time to time, as each lived in Texas and Oklahoma at different times and in different places.

Minnie married (2) Charles Horne on 2 October 1904 in Paris, Lamar County, Texas. They went on to have one son, Aulton Edward, born 10 March 1910 in Plainview, Hale County, Texas.

Aulton with half-sister, Pearl, in 1955

Although Aulton married, he had no children and died relatively young on 22 November 1959 in Dallas, Dallas County, Texas. Minnie, as far as I can tell, never left Texas to live in Oklahoma, although she moved several times throughout her life.

Joe headed to Oklahoma after he and Minnie divorced. He married (2) Della Mae Benton on 24 February 1904 in Springer, Carter County, Oklahoma.

Like Minnie, Della was a very young 16 years old when she and Joe married. She was born on 17 June 1888 in Texas and died on 15 May 1953 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California.

I guess Joe didn’t take much to farming because by 1910, when he and Della lived in Tuttle, Grady County, Oklahoma, he was enumerated as the postmaster. He later moved the family to Noble, where he also served as the town postmaster, per the 1920 census.

Joe and Della raised three boys together while they lived in Noble, Cleveland County, Oklahoma. John Alsus, or Johnnie as the family called him, was born c1907. I have found little on him except that in 1930, he was a patient at Central Oklahoma State Hospital in nearby Norman. He died in 1934, unmarried as far as I can tell, and was buried in the IOOF Cemetery in Noble, where other relatives were interred.

Wilmer Louis was born on 7 August 1909 and died on 10 May 1979. He married Hazel Belle Bivens on 10 June 1942 in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. She was born 21 June 1917 and died on 25 September 2007. They adopted one son.

I have no pictures of Della, John or Louis Wilmer.

Omer Andrew was born on 12 August 1912 and died on 14 January 1989 in Stroud, Lincoln County, Oklahoma.

Omer Brasher on right, with wife and friends

He married Mary Anglin in December 1945.  She was born 27 September 1910 and died on 3 January 1987, also in Stroud, Oklahoma. Omer and Mary had several children.

New Year’s Eve 1925 was an especially sad time for the family as Joe Brasher passed away from an ulcerated stomach, one month past his 51st birthday.

To make matters worse, Della was three months pregnant with the little daughter that Joe would never know. Joan was born on 19 June 1926 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and died on 16 December 1991 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California.

Della was a single mom with four children and perhaps decided she needed some support. She married Monroe H. Williams, aged 52 and born in Mississippi on 1 July 1932 in Norman, Oklahoma. However, that was not to last for long either, as Monroe passed away in 1936 at the age of 56. Della is enumerated as a widow living in Oklahoma City in 1940.

Joan, probably in  late 1940s

Although my father-in-law recognized Joan in this photo, he apparently was unaware that she was living in California, as he never mentioned visiting with her. Neither my husband nor his brother ever remember hearing anything about her even though they lived quite near them.

Joan apparently gave birth to two children and lived there for many years, possibly until she passed away.

Hmm, I wonder if I can locate these new cousins???

Tomorrow, I will share some details I discovered about Joe’s life as a postmaster.