Who Was Ida Brewster?

In last week’s blog post I mentioned the water problems we had in our basement after receiving 5 inches of rain in a very short period of time the Wednesday night before. Our sump pump did not fail. Ironically it went out just three days before and Joe installed a new one. No, the rain came down so hard that it came in the basement window in the back room.

I had a hard time believing that so much water could come in through the bottom of a window but I had the chance to view it first-hand last Sunday night when we received another very hard rain–another 1.7 inches to be exact.

I was down in the basement checking on that same window when the water started coming in again. It was like a little waterfall and I could not stop it. I felt so helpless. I yelled for Joe as I tried to pack the bottom of the window with the rag I was holding. The puny cloth did not do much good and the water flowed down the wall and rapidly moved across the floor as I yelled to Joe, encouraging him to hurry up and get the wet/dry vacuum to suck up the water.

I moved boxes and other stuff across the room and tried to mop the water back to Joe, who finally had the vacuum up and running under the window.

Thank goodness that rain did not last long and we were able to keep ahead of the water that night. We certainly did not need any more rain. The standing water outside had been receding from Wednesday’s 5 inch downpour and things weren’t looking too bad that Sunday.

We sometimes watch the HGTV show Beachfront Bargains and one of the things people always ask for is a home with a view of the water. Well, we have that right here this year. For the last two weeks we have been able to see water from every window in our house–a view of water in every direction. Never mind that most of that water is standing in a field our in our front yard.

However, the basement water problem actually turned out to be a good thing. I decided to make lemonade out of lemons and take the opportunity to give the basement a good cleaning and rearrange things while everything was moved around and the area rugs were outside drying out.

1894 Book from Ida Brewster. (2017 photo by Karen)

While going through some boxes I found this nice old book that I think we found while going through things at my mom’s last year. I remember seeing the name Ida Brewster written in pencil on the inside and figured that it came from my dad’s side of the family. I knew someday I would try to figure out who Ida Brewster was. It should be as simple as searching my database.


The inscription reads: Presented to Harry Snyder by Ida Brewster, Dec. 25, 1894. The book, Youthful Yarns, has a copyright of 1894 and Ida probably purchased it as a Christmas present for little Harry.

1894 Book from Ida Brewster. (2017 photo by Karen)

The inscription is dated 1894, two years before my grandmother Gertrude (Brewster) Miller was born. I looked through my Brewster database but there are no Ida Brewsters in it. Maybe Ida married a Brewster–a Brewster by marriage. Or maybe my database is incomplete.

As I searched the Internet looking for an Ida that married a Brewster I learned that a Charles W. Brewster married an Ida M. Cramer in 1898. There is a Charles William Brewster (1871-1943) in our family, the son of Daniel and Sarah (Fetters) Brewster. But that really did not fit because the book was signed with the date 1894 and Ida M. Cramer would not have been a Brewster until 1898. I looked at this couple anyway.

I learned this was not my relative, but another Charles W. Brewster, born in Pennsylvania in September 1872, [1] who married Ida M. Cramer 20 February 1898 in Noble County, Indiana. [2] Ida was born September 1879 in Indiana. [1] I tracked Charles and Ida in the 1910-1940 censuses while at the same time I tracked my Charles W. Brewster (my relative) and his wife. The other (non-relative) Charles W. Brewster died in 1947 and his wife Ida May (Cramer) died in 1952. They are both buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, Noble County, Indiana. [3] I believe I can eliminate this Ida Brewster as the presenter of this book.

So who was the Ida Brewster who gifted this book? Was Ida a nickname or an unknown middle name of one of my relatives? Maybe.

Ida would have been from the generation before my grandmother Gertrude, probably from Gertrude’s father Philip’s generation. Gertrude, born in 1896, was the oldest child in her family and her father Philip was the oldest child in his family.

1894 Book from Ida Brewster. (2017 photo by Karen)

I noticed that that one James Thomas Brewster married Ida Heacock in 1891, [4] and they lived in Pike County, Indiana. [5] Not a Brewster from our family that I am aware of.

I also searched for Harry Snyder, mainly in Adams County, Indiana, but did not have any success there, either.

There was an Ha…Snyder in Madison, Pike, Indiana. His first name is unreadable because there is a big black blotch on the image, but the name looks like Ha…, with the last letter having a loop, like g or y. So it could be Harry Snyder who was 9 years old in 1900. [6] The Ida Brewster lived in Marion, Pike County, Indiana, about 30 minutes away.

This was getting to be way too much conjecture and at that point I decided to throw in the towel for this one.

Maybe someone in my family randomly found this book with a Brewster name, purchased it, and Ida Brewster was never even our relative. Or maybe Ida Brewster is a relative that I have not learned about yet.

And, just in case you are wondering, the area beneath the leaky basement window has been totally cleared of boxes and other stuff, cleared of everything except the wet/dry vacuum, ready for duty in the event of another downpour.


[1] 1940 U.S. Census, Albion, Noble, Indiana, ED 57-2, p.1A, line 24, Chas Brewster; Ancestry.com; from NARA microfilm T627, roll 1082.

[2] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch.org, Charles W Brewster and Ida M Cramer, 20 Feb 1898; Noble Marriages, Vol. 7, p.378; FHL microfilm 1704901.

[3] Find a Grave.com, Charles W. Brewster memorial #31505558; Ida May Brewster memorial #31505601; Rose Hill Cemetery, Albion, Noble County, Indiana.

[4] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch.org, Thomas Brewster and Ida Heacock, 20 Oct 1891; Pike Marriages Vol. 8, p.513; FHL microfilm 1433322.

[5] 1900 U.S. Census, Marion, Pike, Indiana, ED 28, p.2A, dwelling & family 27, Thomas Brewster; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 1240397, NARA microfilm T623, roll 397.

[6] 1900 U.S. Census, Madison, Pike, Indiana, ED 26, p.4B, dwelling 78, family 82, Peter R Snyder; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 1240397, NARA microfilm T623, roll 397.


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    • Frank McCollister on June 2, 2017 at 5:55 am
    • Reply


    Oh how many times have I been in a similar situation. Like I have had to shelve the mystery and move on. And then months or years later something will point me to this person again and I start the hunt anew. Alas, more often than not I end up putting it on the shelf again, no further along than before. Yet I always hold hope that some day I will figure it all out:)

    Glad to hear that the rains have calmed down. We too have had far to much rain in Fort Wayne. It has been a nice cool stretch but we need some 80 degree days to dry things out thoroughly. But then I remind myself that in a couple of months we will be begging for that same rain. Therefore I have decided to rejoice in today with all its mysteries and frustrations and leave the worries of tomorrow in another’s hands.


    1. You are so right. I may find some piece of information about Ida some day or maybe someone will read the post and know who Ida was. And we said the same thing about the rain–we have too much right now but will want and need rain later in the summer. That is something we just have no control over. However, this past week’s weather has been absolutely perfect! It is drying out here and our ability to see water from most of our windows is nearly gone. Thanks for writing!

    • Jacque Brewster on November 29, 2021 at 7:42 pm
    • Reply

    I’m assuming that you have found Ida, I have one in my family that was a sister to my Grandfather, George Berry Brewster, dob 11/14/1917 dod 6/06/2008. Hmmmm looks like dates are wonky in comparison to yours… Ida Maude Brewster Schoonover dob 11/11/1920 dod 1/28/2006 and was married to James Melvin Schoonover. My line is father Christopher Charles Brewster, gf George Berry Brewster, John Jared Brewster, George Otis Brewster, John Wilkinson Brewster, John Otis Brewster, (Jr.),, Judge John Otis Brewster (Sr), Daniel Brewster, Captain John Brewster, Captain Daniel Brewster, Captain Benjamin Brewster (Sr), Jonathan Brewster, Elder William Brewster. Lol nice to meet me and to begin poking through your stuff, your site came up during one of my random searches 😉

    1. No, I have not found Ida. I see you descend from the Mayflower Brewsters. I believe our Brewsters were from another line and we may be related farther back. Thanks for writing.

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