Tombstone Tuesday–James Henry Brewster

James Henry Brewster (1841-1916), Mt. Hope Cemetery, Montgomery County, Kansas

This is the tombstone of James Henry Brewster. The tombstone is located in the Brewster plot of Mt. Hope Cemetery, Independence, Montgomery County, Kansas. The tombstone is inscribed BREWSTER, James H., Penn. 1841-1916, Co. E 80th O.V.V.I.– Jane, his wife 1840-1940.

James Henry Brewster was born 9 August 1841 in Pennsylvania. He was the son of Jackson and Mary Ann (Martin) Brewster and was the older brother of my great-great-grandfather, Daniel Brewster. James Henry Brewster married Jane Newton 8 March 1866 in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. Jane Newton was born in 1840 in Ohio and died in 1940 in Montgomery County, Kansas.

James Henry and Jane Brewster had eleven children: Henderson Angelo (1867-c1946), Franklin Delano (1868-1933), Caroline “Callie” (1870-1947), Margaret “Maggie” (1871-1942), Jesse B. (1873-1944), Flora Belle (1875-1965), Niles Orland (1876-1902), Millie Nell (1878-bef 1970), Daisy (1880-bef 1900), Emerson Walter (1883-bef 1970), and Jennie (1884-1969).

James Henry Brewster was enumerated with his family in Goshen Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio, in the 1880 US census. His occupation was stone mason. The family moved to Kansas a few years later.

The 1903 Montgomery County, Kansas, History gives quite a bit of information about James Henry Brewster:  (James Henry Brewster) has lived four miles east of Independence for the past twenty years, and is himself one of the leading contractors of the county. (He) is a native of Pennsylvania. He learned the stone-cutters’ trade and followed it for some years in the east. He married Jane Newton in 1865 or ’66, and lived in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, until his coming to Kansas in 1884. He has since cultivated the farm on which he now resides, and, in addition, has carried on an extensive business as a general contractor in the county. Many of the larger public buildings are of his construction, notably the last two school buildings built in Independence. His citizenship during his residence in Montgomery County has been of the highest quality and the large family which he has reared reflects credit upon the different communities of which they are members. (James and Jane) are both life-long members of the M. E. Church, and are held in high esteem by a large circle of friends. Their children are: Henderson A., a contractor at Coffeyville; F. D. [Franklin Delano], [a contractor at Independence]; Caroline, Mrs. Harvey Wilson of Burlingame, Kansas; Maggie, wife of John Dreher of Montreal, Canada; Jesse B,  a contractor at Bartlesville, I.T.; Flora B, Mrs. Frank Stovall of Guthrie, Ok. Ty.; Minnie N., wife of F. G. Wilson, of Independence; Miles [Niles] O., deceased in 1902, at twenty-three years; Emerson W., a bricklayer of Oklahoma City; Jennie, single; and Daisy, who died in infancy. (source: History of Montgomery County, Kansas, Duncan, 1903:734-5)

Montgomery County, Kansas, Courthouse at Independence

The above photo shows the current Montgomery County, Kansas, Courthouse in Independence. James Henry Brewster built a courthouse for Montgomery County in 1886 at a cost of $34,900. Several of his sons continued the construction business as the Brewster Bros. Franklin D. Brewster was the contractor for a new city hall in 1915. The Brewster Bros. built other buildings that included a Junior High School in 1922, a large ice storage building in 1924, and various remodeling jobs of city buildings and churches.

James Henry Brewster stipulated in his Last Will and Testament: I desire that my Executor shall erect at my grave a plain, simple, granite stone, two feet square and three feet high with a polished tablet (set permanently) which shall show my name, age and nativity with the name of the company and Regiment in which I fought under my country’s flag for Liberty—Co. E. 80th O.V.V.I. (Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry); and it is my wish that my late comrades in arms—the G.A.R.—shall be in charge of the services at my funeral. (source: Last Will and Testament of J.H. Brewster, on microfilm at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Independence, Kansas, Item VIII)

Thanks to my fourth cousins, Jean M. & Deb B., for sharing these photos and information about James Henry Brewster and his family with me several years ago. They are direct descendants of James Henry Brewster and descend from his daughter Caroline “Callie”.


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  1. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill 😉
    Author of “13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories” and family saga novels:
    “Back to the Homeplace” and “The Homeplace Revisited”

    1. Thank you for the welcome! You are a great group and I have gotten several ideas from the Daily Themes.

    • Trinity on December 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm
    • Reply

    My granny lives in the farmhouse you described in the article, there’s a concrete slab at the front with his name and the dates 1884-1911. My sister and i wanted to know more about the house so we looked up the name and found your article! It’s a beautiful house, and the master craftsmanship is quite evident in how well preserved the house is.

    1. Thanks for writing. This is so interesting! It is good to know that the house is still in very good condition. I hope to get out there and see it someday.

      • Debbie Bass on January 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm
      • Reply

      Trinity, My name is Debbie Bass, J.H. Brewster was my Great Great Grandfather. My mother has pictures of the house that you Grandmother lives in. She also has a piece of Furniture from that house. One of the pictures is as it is being built.
      She is hunting the pictures. She will get hold of you.
      Could you send a resent picture of the house along with a picture of the cement slab that has the dates on it?
      Thank you.
      We will get pictures of the house and get them to you.

        • Joan Woods on September 7, 2021 at 1:10 am
        • Reply

        My great great grandfather was JH Brewster. My great grandfather was Jesse Burgess . I would love to know more about the house?

        1. Hopefully Debbie will see this.

          • Deborah Lynn Bass on February 4, 2022 at 12:14 pm
          • Reply

          JoAn, I have aquired more pictures of the Brewster Manson just two days ago. Please I need an Email.
          I don’t know how to post all the pictures here.
          I would love to share with everyone.

    • Frank D Brewster on September 22, 2013 at 3:17 pm
    • Reply

    J H Brewster and Jane are my great grandparents. Frank D Brewster is my grandfather. There are still a number of descendants in this area (Independence). I was looking at this site because in an hour or so some folks from New Mexico are coming by to visit , they are from the Minnie Wilson line. Never met before but I am looking forward to exchange of information. Years ago Ken Brown did a series of books on homes and buildings in this area ( always complementary of the Brewsters) Thanks to Claudia and her husband Richard for keeping the old house alive. Understand someone has contacted Claudia about doing an article on the old house.

    Thank You for having this site
    Frank Brewster

    1. Hello Cousin! I am glad to hear from you. I would love to know about the old house and see some recent photos of it. Any information about the family and the home is always appreciated. Thanks!

        • Frank D Brewster on September 23, 2013 at 7:52 pm
        • Reply

        I’m sorry I mistakenly referred to Robert Soleman and family as being in Minnie’s line when in truth it is Caroline’s (Callies) line through her daughter Lena. The Soleman’s were in the area to lay to rest Robert’s brother Loyd at Bartlesville, OK. Among the family members here were Loyd’s daughter and son, Mary and Pat.

        Frank Brewster

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