Tag Archives: Pearl Brasher

1915 Letter from J.B. Bishop to Pearle Brasher

Among the many items my husband’s grandmother, Pearl Brasher Stufflebean, saved was a note written to her in 1916 from J.B. Bishop.

J.B. Bishop to Pearle Brasher

The postmark is quite difficult to read as it went over the stamp. It looks like May 1916, which is the year that Pearl graduated. It is less likely given Pearl’s and J.B.’s ages, but it could be 1918.

NOTE: It seems she used the “Pearle” spelling during her high school years.

Pearl and her mother moved around after her parents divorced in the early 1900s. She was born in Hopkins County, Texas, but lived in Hobart, Kiowa County, Oklahoma for a few years when she was around five or six. In 1910, she was living in Hale County, Texas with her mother, her stepfather, Charles Horne, and baby half brother, Aulton.

Charlie owned a laundry business and the family moved several times. One of their stops was Floydada, Floyd County, Texas. Pearl kept in touch with at least two friends from Floydada, Gladys Felton, who wrote to Pearl in 1918, and J.B. Bishop who wrote this note in 1916. I am guessing that she likely attended high school there for a year or two, although she graduated from Noble High School in Noble, Oklahoma in 1916. She lived with her father and stepmother at that time.

Note from J.B. to Pearle

You remember the promise you
made last year on condition that
I graduates. So what say Pearle.
as ever J.B.

This note poses some questions for the reader, two of which will remain unanswered. First, did Pearl write back to J.B.? Second, what promise did she make? Third, exactly who was J.B. Bishop?

The last question is the easiest to answer because J.B. stayed put in Floydada. He was John B. Bishop, born 12 December 1897, making him two months older than Pearl, who was born 9 February 1898.

John was the son of Stamps DeWitt Bishop (1870-1915) and Eugenia (Jennie) McDaniel (1874-1961). Given that his father died in 1915, I wonder if J.B. thought about dropping out of school to help his family and Pearl encouraged him to stay on and graduate?

As for the promise that Pearl made to J.B. – this is just speculation, obviously – but perhaps he wanted to date her and she promised to go out with him if he graduated. Of course, that meant she would have had to have traveled from Noble back to Floydada or else J.B. would have had to have gone in the other direction. That would have been quite a journey as the two towns are about 300 miles apart.

If the promise was a date, I don’t know if Pearl ever wrote back to J.B. or not. If she did, she likely announced her marriage to Earl Stufflebean, which took place a short three months later on 10 August 1916.

J.B. went on to marry Nola Kate Caudle on 2 August 1924. She was born on 6 August 1901 and died on 16 October 1998. J.B.’s life was much shorter, as he passed away in 1970. Both are buried in Floydada, Texas.

However, J.B. did have two daughters. Although both of them have also passed away, J.B. has one surviving grandchild and I have found an address for her. I wonder if she would like to have the original note that her grandfather wrote to Pearl one hundred years ago?

Mystery Friends – Building a House in Noble or Norman, OK, c1914

Here is yet another mystery photo that I would like to share:

Pearl Brasher, middle left

This photo was taken probably in the 1914-1920 time frame, either in Noble or Norman, Oklahoma. I tend to think it was a new home being built by friends of Pearl Brasher (possibly already married to Earl Stufflebean) more likely in Norman, where they settled after they married on 10 August 1916. Pearl was just 18 when they married.

I think it is more of a possibility that she was a young newlywed visiting the structure that would be the new home of another young married couple who were friends of Earl and Pearl.

I’d say the proud home owner was the young man standing in front, his wife was the lady in the middle standing next to Pearl and the female in the back was a friend or relative of the home owners.

It is possible that this was taken in Noble, but I think it is much less likely that Pearl would have been hanging around a young married couple who had just purchased a home if she had still been a high school student.

The young woman in the back probably won’t ever by identified; I have photos of other Brasher and Stufflebean family members and neither the young man or other young woman looks anything like them, leading me to believe these were friends.

I know this is a really, really long shot, but if you have a grandparent or great grandparent who lived in Noble or Norman in the World War I era and recognize these people, I would love to put names to faces. I’d also be happy to give you the original photo if you have proof of your relationship to them.

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.