September 18th is the 124th anniversary of my paternal grandmother’s birthday. Sarah Helen Murphy was born in Aspen, Colorado in 1893, the 3rd of 6 living children born to John Joseph Murphy (about 1861 – 6/23/16) and Maria (pronounced Mariah) (Moore) Murphy (about 1868 to 5/15/1908)
According to the Aspen Historical Society: by 1893, Aspen was a booming silver town with 12,000 people, six newspapers, two railroads, four schools, three banks, electric lights, a modern hospital, two theaters, an opera house, and a very small brothel district. In 1893 the repeal of the Sherman Silver Act demonetized silver and marked Aspen’s decline as a mining town.
The family lived in Victor, CO for a short time. ‘The discovery of gold in Victor and Cripple Creek, in the late 19th century produced the second largest gold mining district in the country. In August of 1899, a five-hour fire destroyed the entire business district. The town had about 18,000 residents at the time.’ [Wikipedia] Sadie was almost 6 and she remembers standing on the hill and watching the town burn.
Sadie’s mother and the child died in childbirth on May 15, 1908 in Roswell, CO (now incorporated into Colorado Springs). As the oldest daughter, Sadie took over the cooking and caring for her 2 younger sisters and brother. She was 14 years old. The 1910 Census shows the family living in Roswell, Colorado; all the children, but Sadie were attending school and her father worked for the railroad.
Life did not get any easier for the family when John passed away in June of 1916. Sadie was just 22 years old. She married Perry Deeter in October of 1916 – he was 20 years her senior. Perry died in the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.
On July 6, 1920 Sadie married my grandfather, Henry Otis Brewer in Pueblo, CO. They settled at 1928 E Monument Street in Colorado Springs and after several miscarriages/still births, my father was born in 1927. In 1931 Sadie and Otis adopted a baby girl. They struggled raising their family during the depression years but managed to keep food on the table and the mortgage and property taxes paid.
Sadie was a devout Catholic who walked to church almost every Sunday and sent her children to St Mary’s Catholic school. She was a member of the Catholic Daughter’s of America, the VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post 101 Colorado Springs, CO; a member and officer of the Knob Hill Community Club and prominent in 4H work.
She passed away of heart failure December 14, 1968 as she sat in her chair reading her prayer-book and saying her nightly prayers. She was 75 years old.
My brothers and sister and I were fortunate to have lived close by and spent a lot of time with Sadie and Otis. I am very thankful for that.
My grandmother kept all of her photos loose and in the bottom storage space under the fold down couch. We used to go through them on evenings when we spent the night. I do not know what happened to all those pictures after my grandfather died and the house sold. If I had a few, I would show them to you.
What questions do you wish you would have asked your grandparents? I wish I knew how my grandparents met.