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.