Storms and Tribulations: the life of Lucinda Jane Gee Brewer (Lucy)

Lucinda Jane Gee Brewer (Lucy) is my great-grandmother.   She died before my father was 3.  To my knowledge, no stories about her exist in our family’s oral history.

Certainly, her life story is more than a collection of dates and occurrences, evaluated through the prism of today’s world view and prejudices.  She experienced joys and sorrows;  more sorrows than most.  Her legacy is flesh and blood.  What part of the distinct family traits we all share are from Lucinda Jane Gee Brewer (Lucy)?  I wonder!

Although there are no stories of Lucy, we do have a few photographs; because we have them, we have a testament of the love her children had for her.   They show a pleasant-looking woman with eyes like my Grandfather.  A caption on one snap shot taken of her in front of her house reads “This is me next to my beautiful moon flowers”.  Ah Ha!  A brief glimpse into Lucy’s likes.   In my possession is an exquisite, small crazy quilt top sewn by Lucy.   She embroidered my Great Grandfather’s and her initials on some of the blocks.  It speaks to me of her love for him.  My father framed it and eventually gave it to me.  It hangs in my home in a place of honor.

Lucy’s Crazy Quilt, with initial CWB and LJB in embroidery

Lucinda Jane Gee Brewer (Lucy):

The Early years

Lucinda Jane Gee, born in Callaway, Missouri, to Aaron Benjamin Gee and Julia Ann Potter Gee, was the youngest of 3 children.   It was Julia’s first marriage and Aaron’s third.    I have not located children born to Aaron and his first two wives.  Julia and Aaron had 3 children, Susan Catherine born in 1858, William Riley born in 1860 and Lucinda Jane born in 1862, 1863, 1864 or 1866.  Comparing the information Lucy provided in the 1880, 1900 and 1910 Federal Census Reports, it is hard to arrive at her birth year.  Likewise, an error on her Death Certificate, lists her birthdate as 06/07/1930 and her age as 64 years, 1 month and 26 days. (making her birthdate Jan 5, 1866).  Her gravestone lists her birth year as 1863.

While her children were quite young, Susan-12, William-10 and Lucy-7 (or younger), Julia Ann passed away in 1870 at the age of 48.  Four years later, their father passed away in July 1874 at the age of 68.  It is unknown who cared for them after their parents’ deaths.  Perhaps their situation led to Lucy’s marriage at age 16 (or younger), to Samuel ‘Houston’ Baise (pronounced Bays), on June 10, 1879; he was 32.   In 1880 Lucy gave birth to a daughter that died the same day.  In January 1883, she had a son, William E Baise.   A little over a year later, Houston, passed away on March 9, 1884, at the age of 36. They had been married 4 years.

Better times
Charles and Lucy Brewer

Lucy married Charles Wilson Brewer in Chariton, Missouri on February 9, 1886 .  He was 19.  They had 3 children; Henry Otis, born on January 12, 1887; Lillian May born on February 6, 1892; and Charles Frederick (Fred) born on May 21, 1899.  In 1900 the family consisted of Charles, Lucy, William Baise, Otis, Lillian and Fred.

Brewer family about 1893, Charles, Lucy, William Baise, Otis, and Lillian

Charles is listed as a coal miner in the 1900 Census and the family lived in Marceline, Linn County, Missouri.   Charles and Lucy were active and useful members in the Baptist Church in Linn, County, before moving to Colorado.

Westward Migration

The family migrated to Colorado Springs, Colorado, sometime before 1902.   Was the move precipitated by a lack of work?    How did they travel by train or wagon?  It is not clear if William Baise accompanied the family to Colorado.  He is not listed in the 1910 Census as living with, or near, the family in Colorado Springs.   Oral, family history states he went to Alaska to mine for gold and was never heard from again.  He would have been 18 or 19 when the family moved, one wonders if he left for Alaska at the same time and for the same reasons Charles took the rest of the family to Colorado.

Lucy and Fred about 1905

The family settled into life in Colorado Springs, transferring their church membership to a church there (according to Lucy’s obit).  They bought a home at 316 Institute in Colorado Springs; Otis found work in the city and lived with them on and off; Lillian married and lived close by.  Fred was just days away from turning 16 when, Charles  passed away on May 16, 1915 from blood poisoning.   He was 48 years old.  Lucy and he had been married 29 years.

Lucy in her 50’s
Later years

Shortly after Charles death, Lucy and Fred moved back to Missouri to care for her sister, Susan, who was ill.   Lucy married Richard Morrison Buchanan in Montgomery City, Missouri, in October 1916.

With America’s entrance into World War I, both her sons joined the service.  Otis shipped out to France and Fred went to training in Virginia.  While there, he contracted the Spanish Flu and passed away on October 29, 1918, at the age of 19.

Her sister, Susan, passed on May 23, 1920, in Montgomery City, Missouri.

The 1920 Census lists Lucy as widowed, head of household at 319 Institute in Colorado Springs.   I am not sure why she was in Colorado during the census and still owned the property on Institute.    Genealogy stories on the Buchanan side rumors that Richard Buchanan and Lucy married in 1916, divorced and had remarried by the 1929 Buchanan family reunion in Missouri.

Richard & Lucy Buchanan about 1929
Lucy’s Obituary

Lucinda Jane Gee Brewer (Lucy) died on March 3, 1930, in Montgomery City, Missouri.  In conclusion, her obit states “A succession of storms and tribulations seemed to follow her, she lived to see mother, father, sisters, brothers, husbands, sons and grandchildren, almost a continuous procession of loved ones pass away.  Throughout all she maintained a genial, cheery disposition, ever ready to lend a hand in a charitable cause and extend sympathy to those in need.”  Her body is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs, CO with her husband Charles, and son Fred.

Do you know stories about Lucy?  Please share them!  I am curious as to the grandchildren who preceded her in death.  I know that Otis and Sadie have at least one infant  buried next to Lucy, Charles and Fred.  Were there others?   I’ll let you know, my research has only just begun.


No kinder, gentler man

There is not a kinder, gentler man than my grandfather, Henry Otis Brewer.  My siblings, cousins and I called him Granddad, his friends and wife called him Otis or Pops.  He was known for his humility and quiet demeanor.

Otis and Eleanor 1971

Born in Rothville, MO January 12, 1887, he was the first son of Charles W. Brewer and Lucinda/Lucy J. (Gee)(Baise) Brewer.  In 1900 the family, consisting of Charles, Lucy, Lucy’s son William Baise, Otis, Lillian, and little Fred was in Marceline, MO about 10 miles NE of Rothville.

Charles W Brewer Family about 1893, Fred was not born until 1899

Being from Colorado, I had no idea where these towns were; turns out they are in north central Missouri.  I would love to know what prompted them to move to Colorado in the early part of the century.  What a trip it would have been!  Did they travel by wagon or rail, in a group or alone?  More research!!  Good thing winter is coming, it will keep me busy!  Today, the drive of 709 miles, is 11-12 hours, straight through.

Rothville, Chartiton County, MO

By 1902, the family lived in Colorado Springs.  At some point, as the story goes, William Baise, who was 19 in 1902, left to seek his fortune in Alaska and was never heard from again.  Otis, on the other hand, stayed with his family and worked as a clerk at JW Musick and as a millman at Gold Cycle Mill alongside his carpenter Dad.  His father died in 1915 from blood poisoning from a splinter that he had received.  That story makes more sense to me now that I know he was a carpenter at a mill.  His mother moved back to MO with his younger brother Fred and remarried in 1916.  His sister Lillian married sometime between 1911 and 1912 and remained in Colorado Springs.

In 1918, Otis enlisted in the US Army and deployed to France for the final battles of WWI, he served in Company F, 314 Engineers, 89th Division and earned the rank of Corporal.  Before being discharged in June of 1919, he served with the occupying army in Pelm, Germany.

Pressed into Otis’ pocket Bible: what is left after 99 years! “Received this flower bud on Friday the 13th day of December 1918 at Pelm, Germany.

When Otis was in France, his younger brother Charles F (Fred) Brewer, enlisted in the Army.  While at training camp, he contracted the Spanish flu that was epidemic at the time and passed away on November 4, 1918, he was 19 years old.

Corporal H.O. Brewer about 1919

Otis returned to Colorado Springs after the war, he married Sarah/Sadie (Murphy) (Deeter) on July 6, 1920.  A son born in February 1923 lived for 5 days, they named him Charles F. Brewer, burying him at Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs.  My mother told me my grandparents suffered the loss of 4 other babies.  A son born July 6, 1927 did survive, my Dad, John Joseph Brewer.  And in 1931 they adopted an infant girl, my Aunt, Mary Katherine (Brewer) (Canfield) Meyer.

Shortly before the birth of John, Otis and Sadie bought the home they lived in for the rest of their lives at 1928 E Monument Drive in Colorado Springs, CO.  They struggled through the depression years, as did most Americans.  Otis worked as driver for various employers: El Paso County Highway/Roads, Mowry Creamery, Dern-Brady Company and as a chauffeur for Rainbow Contr. before retiring in about 1956.  Despite the struggles and hardships, Sadie and Otis were happy and raised a happy family.

H. Otis Brewer sometime in 1930’s

By the time my siblings and cousins came along, Otis spent his days working in the yard, maintaining a large vegetable garden, tinkering in his garage that had a pot belly stove and stacks and stacks of ‘treasures’ i.e., junk.  Buried in the junk was a midget racer of my Dad’s.  We loved to climb the stack to the racer, throw off the junk and sit in it.  He and his best friend, Bill Perkins, spent hours together, hanging out in that garage – an original ‘Man-Cave’.  The grandkids tried to hang out in there too; occasionally, we found the hidden stash of “girly magazines” when he was not around.  He kept Prince Albert tobacco cans full of nails, screws and other ‘guy’ things on his work bench.  The tobacco in those cans, he thoroughly enjoyed.

Granddad used Prince Albert tobacco – loved the way he smelled because of it.

Otis was an avid fisherman, passing that love and skill to his son and grandsons.  My cousins can out fish the best, and do!  Prospect Lake was his closest and most frequented spot, he walked to it from his house.  His passion for fishing was so great, he even braved going there alone with 3 or more grandchildren at a time.   He also fished 11 Mile Reservoir when he could get there, which, as I recall was often; ’11 Mile’ is part of our family vocabulary!

Prospect Lake with Pikes Peak in the back ground and fisherman, not Granddad, in the foreground!

Our family was fortunate to have many years with Otis before he died in 1976 at the age of 89.   We spent many many hours at his house as we were growing up.  We played cards and BIG checkers, watched Gunsmoke and Bonanza with him, wore his T-shirts as PJ’s, raided his garden and garage, climbed his trees and loved on him as much as we could.  He taught us unconditional acceptance and love, how to fish, play cards, checkers and garden.  His patience was remarkable, I can’t recall even once that he lost his temper or was short with us.

And so, my friends and family, your call to action is to cherish the memories of your granddad(s) and share their stories to keep them alive.   This blog is for that purpose….add your stories…..share the link with your kids and grandkids and count yourself blessed if H.O Brewer was your Granddad!