Born 1823, probably in Pennsylvania.
William Brewer married Catharine Smith October 30, 1845 in Colombia County, Pennsylvania.
1850 Census in the Orange Township of Columbia County, PA, William Brewer, carpenter, 28 years old.
Reported to have moved to Iowa in 1855.
Found in 1860 Federal Census of Bourbor County, Kansas, P.O. Mapleton.
Civil War Service in the Company K, 5th Regiment Kansas Cav, US Vol. Honorable discharge in 1862 due to injury.
Recorded in the 1870 Federal Census of Cherry Township in the County of Montgomery, Kansas, P.O. Montgomery City.
Homesteaded on land in Latah and Nez Perce County, Idaho. Issued land patent in 1890.
Occupations: Gardner, Farmer, Carpenter, Wagon maker
Reported to be buried in Wild Rose Cemetery on Big
Bear Ridge near Kendrick, ID. There was no headstone.
Children of William and Catharine (Smith) Brewer:
As a child, when I lived in Juliaetta and during the visits back to the small town, I heard many times from my Dad and other family that a grandfather built houses there in the early days. This grandfather built the house where Aunt Betty lived on old Main Street, the one across the road where Grandma Pearl Scott grew up and several more around town. Another family story is that as a child Pearl Pierce Scott rode the first load of lumber on the back of a wagon to Kendrick; it was destined for the first house to be built there. (Story from Beverly Bowen Hahn, granddaughter of Pearl) I just assumed that the carpenter was Thomas H. Pierce, father of Grandma Pearl because he had moved there in the early years. But I never found any mention in any records--census, pension or land entry file--that Thomas was a builder. I now think that carpenter who built houses in Juliaetta and Kendrick was William Joseph Brewer, the father of Anna Medora Brewer Pierce, grandfather of Pearl Pierce Scott and my great, great-grandfather.
According to family records, William J. Brewer was born August 4, 1823 in Pennsylvania. Census records, W.J.'s military records and his land entry file support the Pennsylvania birthplace and 1823 birth date. In 1845 William Brewer of Orangeville married Catharine Smith of Franklin Township at St. John's Lutheran Church , Catawissa, Colombia County, Pennsylvania. (Information copied from the "Union Lutheran and Reformed Church Book In the Year of Our Lord 1817"--copied and mailed to me by the Colombia Historical and Genealogical Society in February 2001). The 1850 Federal Census lists William Brewer and family in the Orange Township of Colombia County, PA. He was 27 years old, a carpenter; Catherine his wife was 23; his son Alva H. was 4 years old and Anna Medora was 2 years old. In the same year and township there is a Richard Brewer, 49 year old Inn Keeper listed. This household includes Mary age 48, Charles age 22, Lloyd T. age 9, and Mary C. age 13. I have family group sheets that say William had a brother Lloyd Thomas Brewer who was employed by the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Note also that William had a son named Lloyd Thomas. Note: Richard Brewer was born in New Jersey.
Kansas was opened to white settlement in 1854--many of the Indians were sent to Oklahoma reservations but the fierce Prairie Indians still resisted the settlers pouring in from the north and south. Then the Territory of Kansas became known as "Bleeding Kansas" as the northerners and southerners clashed. Proslavery supporters burned part of the town of Lawrence in 1856. John Brown who was violently opposed to slavery led a raid on Potawatomie Creek and five proslavery men were killed. Anna Medora Brewer Pierce's obituary in 1937 reported that the Brewer family moved to Iowa when she was seven years old and then on to Kansas. Its not clear how long the family lived in Iowa but they landed in turbulent Kansas by 1860 when they were recorded in the 1860 Federal Census in Bourbon County, Kansas, P.O. Mapleton. William J. Brewer age 36 was listed as a farmer with a personal estate valued at $500.00. Catherine H. age 33 was keeping house; Alva was age 14; Anna M. was age 12; Emma L. was age 9. All members of the family were reported as born in Pennsylvania. The Kansas 1859 State Census Index shows that a W.J. Brewer was located in the Timber Hill Township--just south of Mapleton--of Bourbon County.
On January 29, 1861, Kansas became a state. The Civil War started April 12, 1861. William J. Brewer enlisted in Company K, 5th Regiment of the Kansas Cavalry at Fort Lincoln on November 13, 1861. He signed up for a term of 3 years. Description: age 38 years; height 5 feet 10 inches; complexion light; eyes blue; hair brown; where born Penn; Occupation Joiner. (From Webster's Unabridged dictionary: 2. a carpenter, esp., one who constructs doors, window sashes, paneling and other permanent woodwork.) William's son, Alva H. Brewer, enlisted in the 5th Kansas Cavalry, Company K on May 1, 1862--he would have been 16 years old at this time..
William mustered in the military as a private. On December 19th, 1861 he was appointed Sergeant. He was promoted to 1st Sergeant February 11, 1862 and appointed 2nd Lieutenant on August 1, 1862. On November 30th, 1862 W.J. tendered his resignation due to ill health:
This letter described W.J's disability:
William Brewer was honorably discharged.
[Note: Alva H. Brewer mustered out of the military May 1, 1865.]
William G. Cutler's "History of The State of Kansas"--published in 1883 by A.T. Andreas, Chicago, IL--has been transcribed online at www.ukans.edu/carrie/kancoll/books/cutler This book tells the early history of the state of Kansas and its early pioneers. Under the Section "Neosho County, Part 2, Early Settlements", the author writes in the third paragraph: "Walnut Grove Township was settled in 1865 by E.J. Pierce and W.I. Brewer." When Anna Medora Brewer Pierce applied for a widow's pension in 1907, she reported that Thomas and she were married in Walnut Grove, by Ezra Pierce. It was recorded on their 1867 marriage certificate that they were married at the Bride's father's home by E. Pierce. Ezra Pierce/Peirce was the name of Thomas H. Pierce's father. In the third paragraph, Cutler wrote, "The first deed now found upon the records of the county was one bearing date December 28, 1866, for sixty-two acres of land, in the southeast quarter of Section 35, Township 28, Range 21; the grantors were John and Electy Ann Pisell and the grantee Thomas H. Pierce."
By 1870, W.J. Brewer and family were found in Cherry Township, Montgomery County, Kansas, P.O. Montgomery City. The household 20/20 had these people listed: W.J. Brewer age 46, farmer b. Penn., personal estate valued at $800.00, C.H. Brewer age 43 b. Penn. keeping house, E.L. (Emma Lavender) age 18 b. Penn., L.T. (Lloyd Thomas) age 10 b. Kansas, L.D. (Lizzie Donna) age 7 b. Kansas and M.E. (Miles Ernest) age 1 b. Kansas. While the Brewer family was residing in Montgomery County, Alvah H. Brewer of Cherryvale, aged 23, years and Mary A. Logan , aged 23 years were joined in marriage on October 21, 1870 by W. J. Brewer, Justice of the Peace. This was Alvah's second wife. On April 9th, 1868 the Neosho County Court District Court had dissolved. the marriage relationship between Mary L. Brewer and Alvah H. Brewer, "hereby set aside and wholly annulled , and said parties wholly released form the obligations of the same." The plaintiff Mary L. Brewer had her maiden name, Maye L. Shampaine restored and the defendant, Alvah H. Brewer was ordered "do pay to plaintiff for her reasonable alimony the sum of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00)." [Source: Civil War Pension file for Alvah obtained from NARA.]
Another Brewer family was located in Cherry Township in 1870. Household 27/27 listed Charles Brewer age 42 b. in Penn, Henrietta Brewer age 43 b. in Penn, Lucy age 12 b. in Penn, Eu??? (female) age 10 b. in Penn, Wilbur age 7 b. in Penn and Richard Brewer age 69, b. in N.J. I believe that Charles was probably William's brother and Richard was his father. [Anna Medora and Thomas H. Pierce were living in nearby Verdigris Township--later renamed Liberty.] Cutler names Pierces and Brewers as early settlers of Montgomery County in his Kansas History.
An article published in a Spokane newspaper when Anna Medora was 82 years old, reported an Indian raid that occurred when Anna Medora lived near Medicine Lodge, Barber County, Kansas. Anna Medora said that her mother (Catharine Brewer) was with her at the time of the raid. Cutler wrote in his "History of The State of Kansas" under the Early History of Barber County that the Indian Raid up the Medicine River occurred in 1874. So the Brewer family was probably in Barber County at that time.. Anna also said that Thomas was a buffalo hunter. Cutler quoted E.P. Caruthers of the Index "This County was a great grazing district for buffalo, and old settlers tell us that there were twenty times as many buffalo here as there are cattle now. One enthusiastic old settler remarked that he had seen them so thick on the Medicine River that one could walk for miles by only stepping from one buffalo to another.
After the Medicine River scare the Pierces moved to Cedarvale in Howard County--now Chautauqua County--and then on to Idaho in 1877. I do not know where the W.J.Brewer family moved at that time and I have not found them in the 1880 census.[ Note: see addendum for later residences.] An Alva/Alvin Brewer (age 36, b. in Penn and parents b. in Penn) and family are listed in the 1880 census in Joplin, Jasper County, MO. I have found a family group sheet among my Mother's things that reported Catharine Brewer died at Webb City, Jasper County, Missouri in 1881--no sources given. Lizzie Donna Brewer married James Flinn in Jasper County about 1881 or 1882 and their daughter Almeda--W.J.'s granddaughter--was born in Joplin, Missouri on April 14, 1884. A U.S. Senate Resolution of December 8, 1882 called for the creation of a List of Pensioners on the Roll January 1, 1883; giving the name of each pensioner , the cause for which pensioned, the post-office address, the rate of pension per month, and the date of original allowance. William J. Brewer is found in Volume 5, page 538, Jasper County, Missouri. No. of Certificate: 194,624; Post-office address: Joplin, MO.; Cause for which pensioned: spinal irritation; Monthly rate: $2.00; Date of original allowance: Aug 1881.
Almeda Flinn McIntyre (daughter of Lizzie and granddaughter of W.J.) wrote a letter in 1960 to a relative. I'm sure you were mistaken about Mamma coming west first, because my own father was quiet ill with tuberculosis and Mamma , he and I came to Idaho about 1885 or 1886 and Aunt Doras' (Anna Medora) met us in Moscow, (the end of the railroad at the time) and we went to stay with them at a place about 1 mi west of Juliaetta, where my father died in Sept 1886. I do not know when Aunt Doras' came to Idaho.
The first record of William J. Brewer in Idaho is a document in his Civil War pension file where he made a declaration for invalid pension in 1884. He reported his address as Moscow, Nez Perce County, Idaho Territory. [Note: Latah County had not been created yet.] One of his witnesses was his son-in-law, Thomas H. Pierce. The second record of William in Idaho is his homestead Land entry file. The following is a transcription of some of the questions and answers that he filled out on the Testimony of Claimant form.
The U.S. government awarded William J. Brewer the patent for the above homestead claim on June 20, 1890. This was the same year that Idaho became a state.
In his application, William Brewer mentioned that his son lived with him at times. I think that the son referred to may have been William's youngest son, Miles Ernest Brewer. I found a record of a Brewer marriage--volume P-1, page 135 at the Latah County Courthouse.
Miles Brewer son of William would have been 21 in January of 1891 because he would not have turned 22 until April. Thus far I have no record of Emma Lavender or Thomas Brewer after William moved to Idaho. They may have stayed in the midwest. According to the family, William Joseph Brewer died in 1895 during the 1890's depression. Madeline Pierce Kingsley Goodwin--great-granddaughter through Miles Pierce--remembered visiting the Wild Rose Cemetery with her Mother and Grandmother to put flowers on the grave of W.J. She said that there was no headstone because the family could not afford one.
Addendum: November 13, 2001
Additional information gleamed from the Civil War Pension file from the National Archives for William J. Brewer.
On November 10th, 1874 William J. Brewer aged 57 years, a resident of the town of Peru in the county of Howard, Kansas submitted his first application for a war pension. [Howard County was broken up and renamed Elk and Chautauqua Counties in 1875].
This application was rejected but W.J. did not give up and the pension file contains each application. Due to this man's perseverance, we have a record of many of the places that he resided from 1874 until his death in 1895. On February 28th, 1876 William Brewer applied for a pension again. He reported that he had resided at Mapleton, Bourbon County, KS; Cherry Vale, Montgomery County, KS; Neodesha and Peru, Chautauqua County, KS since the Civil War. In December of 1876 he deposed to the clerk of Chautauqua County:
He applied again on October 4th, 1878 and May 26, 1879 from Buffalo, Dallas County, Missouri. On January 11, 1881, W.J. filed from Pierce City, Lawrence County, Missouri. His son, Lloyd Thomas of Lawrence County, Missouri testified on May 30th, 1881 that William J. was an invalid and that he, Lloyd T. Brewer was acting as William's nurse. At some time in 1881 the government finally approved a pension for W.J. so he applied for an increase in his pension on December 17th, 1881, reporting that he was a resident of Neodesha, Kansas. (Very persistent. *smile*)
Congress commissioned a study to list pensioners and their addresses; this report was called "Pensioners on the Roll" William J. Brewer was counted in Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri in 1883. By 1884, W. J. made another declaration for pension. At this time he reported his age as 61; his address was Moscow, Nez Perce County, Idaho. One of his witnesses was his son-in-law, Thomas H. Pierce.
The last pension payment to William J. Brewer was in May 1895. His reported death was June 17, 1895.
[Note: spelling errors from original documents were left in the transcriptions.]
Last update: November 13, 2001