Honoring Our Ancestors

This blog is dedicated to the Brewer Family of North Carolina. These pages present our recent family gatherings and more distant family history.
We have an ongoing effort to capture the Brewer genealogy to best honor our ancestors. We've identified our ancestors who moved from Mecklenburg County, Virginia to Orange and Chatham Counties, NC as early as 1750. In the 1800s, we saw a migration to Alexander and Iredell Counties in NC, Tennessee, and Kentucky. By the 20th century our family made their homes all over the nation.
Click on the "Older Posts" button at the bottom of the page. To go back, click on "Newer Posts" at the bottom of each page.
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Friday, April 14, 2017

What's New on the Brewer Blog?

We now are grouping postings by family branch. New postings won't necessarily be at the top of this page. Currently there are three long pages on the blog.  Click on "older posts" at the bottom of pages 1 and 2.  Here are our most recent additions and changes: 
  • James "Jimmie" Boyce Brewer (1926) and his wife Joan Summers Brewer celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.  Page 1, about 40% down the page.  
  • Bristol Irene Brewer Huffman (1927-2015). Page 1, near the top of the page.
  • A trip to the area in Virginia where Bid and Mattie Herrin Brewer settled, Page 1, about half way down the page.
  • Lessie Lucille Brewer Wagstaff (b. 1924) is the most senior member of our Brewer family. Page 1, about half way down the page.
  • Brewer family meeting, May 16, 2015, Page 1, below this listing.
  • Bristol Irene Brewer Huffman, one of our most senior family members, page 2, last article.
  • Descendants of Elizabeth Caroline Brewer (1855-before 1910), page 1, about 10% down the page.
  • Viola Dorothy Brewer McCurdy (1894-1983) on the Paddlewheel Queen in October 1961, page 2, almost half way down the page.
  • Effie Louise Mayberry Campbell (1908-1995) and her sister Eva Estelle Mayberry Gill (1911-2000), page 2, about 30% down the page.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Bristol Irene Brewer Huffman (1927-2015)

We lost one of our senior members on November 1, 2015. Irene was the last survivor among the children of James Robert Brewer and Bessie Dean Shoemaker.  The couple's children developed a poem to remember the order of birth. Below is a variation of that poem as presented at Irene's funeral:
The story is about a family tree,
Bob and Bess and baby made three.
The baby was a boy named Lester Ray.
They soon had a sister named Martha Faye.
They thought the perfect family was four,
So they decided to have two more.
Two boys and two girls they say,
So along came Betty Mae and Wiley Clay.
To break the lie along came James Paul,
They thought that would surely be all.
But Bristol Irene was the last to be seen.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Brewer Family Meeting, May 16, 2015

The Brewer family met at the Greenbriar Village CafĂ© in Statesville on May 16, 2015.  As always meeting with family members is a pleasure.  Attending were:  Seated--Irene Brewer Huffman, Nancy Brewer Sloop, Kale Sloop (Nancy's husband), and Shirley Austin Tuttle.  Standing--Cindy Brewer Ledford, Bill Brewer, Sandy Brewer (Bill's wife), Jane Hill (Ron's wife), Tony Brewer, Sherry Brewer McCollum, and Mickey McCollum (Sherry's husband).  Ron Hill was taking the picture.

All are descendants of Wiley Brewer (1832-1864).  Two of Wiley's children were represented: 
1. Jerry Lee Brewer and his children:  James Robert, Thomas Benjamin, Ila Etta, and Dewey Samuel.
2. John Preston Brewer and his children:  Orlando Roy and Maldon Oscar.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Wiley Brewer, Private, Confederate States of America

Most of us can trace our lineage to Wiley Brewer (1832-1864).  Unfortunately we have no picture of Wiley.  Wiley and his family moved from Chatham County, NC to Alexander County, NC about 1861.  He enlisted in the Army of the Confederate States of America in Wake County, NC on Oct. 26, 1863, became a private, and never returned home.  Wiley was captured at Spotsylvania Court House, VA on May 12, 1864 and confined at Point Lookout, MD. He was transferred on August 10, 1864, to Elmira, NY where he was confined as a POW until his death on Nov. 15, 1864 from dysentery.  He was one of 3,000 POWs who died in that prison under horrid conditions. Wiley was buried that same day in what is now the Woodland National Cemetery in NY. The first photo shows his tombstone. The second shows a portion of the Civil War section at Woodland.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lucretia Stout Brewer, wife of Wiley Brewer, and her sister, Sarah Ann Stout Willet, mother of Mary Elizabeth Willet Brewer

This is a historic family picture taken about 1920.  The older women is Lucretia Stout Brewer (1828-1922), wife of Wiley Brewer (1832-1864).  The girl is Mary Ethel Shoemaker (1909-1996), Lucretia's step great granddaughter.  The boy is Willie Harrison Brewer (1918-2003), Lucretia's great grandson and the son of Thomas Benjamin Wiley Brewer (1882-1952) and Noney Lee Shoemaker (1885-1942).  Thomas Benjamin and Noney Lee married in 1917.  Noney Lee was a widow with several children from her first marriage including Mary Ethel.  Mary Ethel helped care for the young Willie Harrison whom the couple welcomed in 1918.  

Lucretia was the daughter of Jesse Stout and Sarah Roach of Chatham County, NC.  She was an impressive woman who alone raised eight children during the difficult days of the Civil War and Reconstruction.  Her granddaughter, Ora Una Brewer Connolly, said she never weighed more than 95 pounds.  Lucretia outlived all eight of her children.  
You'll see more detail on her in "Stories from Our Ancestors" below.  This is the only known picture of Lucretia.

Lucretia's sister was Sarah Ann Stout Willet (1837-1930), wife of John C. Willet (1836-before 1870).  Sarah Ann's and John's daughter was Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Willet (1862-1907).  Betty married her cousin Jerry Lee Brewer  (1861-1903).  Jerry and Betty are the ancestors of a major branch of our family.  The Brewer, Stout, and Willet families are interwoven in our history.  In the "Letters from Our Ancestors" section below are several letters from our Stout ancestors.  

Monday, December 23, 2013

Descendants of Elizabeth Caroline Brewer

Elizabeth Caroline Brewer (1855-before 1910) was the daughter of Wiley Brewer and the wife of James C. Potts (1851-1925).  Elizabeth was born in Chatham County, NC, moved to Alexander County, NC, and eventually to Watauga County, NC.  Some members of the family migrated to Avery County, NC and eastern Tennessee.  We have no photos of Elizabeth Caroline, but her first born child, Minnie Bertha Potts (1877-1955), is pictured below on the right.  Minnie married Henry Walter Tate (1863-1945).  Hattie Lena Potts (1880-1952) also was the daughter of James and Elizabeth Potts.  She is pictured below on the left.  Hattie married Roby Lee Townsend (1883-1971).  

James Walter Potts (1885-1959) was the son of James and Elizabeth Potts.  He married Etta Mae Brinkley.

We honor our most senior living descendants.  James Dale Treadway (born 1933) is the great grandson of Elizabeth Caroline Brewer Potts, grandson of Minnie Bertha Potts Tate, and son of Mary Lenora Tate Treadway (1899-1944).  Jim served his country with a career in the US Army and retired as a Colonel.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Brewers of Chatham County, North Carolina

Our family migrated from Virginia to Chatham/Orange County, North Carolina in the late 1700s.  From the 1830s to 1860s, branches of our family moved to Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alexander County, NC.  But many members stayed and flourished in Chatham County.  Below is a Brewer family home in Chatham County.  The house was built about 1895 and was owned by the descendants of Terrell Brewer, Jr. and Ada Alice Phillips Brewer. 

Terrell Brewer, Jr.'s father was Terrell Brewer, Sr.  Terrell, Sr. married Mary Brewer, a lady with the same surname and who probably was distantly related.  Terrell, Sr. was the brother of our Wiley Brewer.  Wiley and Terrell, Sr. both fought in the Civil War.

Next door to the Brewer homestead above was Brewer's Grocery and Grill until the 1960s when it burned.  Today Brewer's Grill, owned by Raymond Brewer, is located about six miles away in Bear Creek, Chatham County. We dined at Brewer's Grill in December 2013.  Today a Brewer's Grocery is in Mooresville, NC and in the 1940s Brewer's Garage was located in Florida--both owned by members of our family.  You can see pictures of these businesses on this blog.

The Fall Creek Baptist Church, established in 1799, in Bennett, Chatham County plays a big part in our family's history.  Terrell Brewer, Jr.'s house, no longer standing, originally was across the street from this church.

You seldom see pictures of cemeteries on this blog, but the cemetery behind the Fall Creek Baptist Church is special.  At least 57 of the stones bear the surname of Brewer, more than any other we've found in this nation.  We can be sure many with other surnames in the cemetery are from related families.  We're identifying those markers now.  The neighboring pasture seems to add to the peace.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Some of Our North Carolina Brewers Migrated to Kentucky and Missouri

An older brother of our Wiley Brewer, Ambrose Brewer, was born in 1826 in Chatham County, North Carolina.  He married Elizabeth Foster before 1850.  They planned to settle in the midsections of the US, perhaps Kansas, but Ambrose died in 1860.  His passing is noted in an impressive article in the Raleigh Weekly Standard edition of Nov 21, 1860.  Ambrose's and Elizabeth's last child, appropriately named Ambrose Elizabeth Brewer (1861-1921), was born in Chatham County four months after his father passed away.  Despite her husband's death, Elizabeth and as many as ten of her children made the trip west anyway in the early 1860s.  It must have been quite an adventure. Their wagon had problems in Floyd County, Kentucky so the family settled there and never ventured farther west.  Later they migrated to Pike County, Kentucky.  You can read that story in the Family Stories section below.  

After living in Pike County and sometime between 1900 and 1910, Ambrose Elizabeth Brewer (the youngest offspring and the last to be born in Chatham County, NC) and his family boarded rafts, traveled down the Big Sandy River, and settled in Cass County, Missouri.  Below is a 1908 photo of that family.  Our information about our Kentucky and Missouri relatives continues to grow.

Elizabeth Foster Brewer (1828-1901) was a remarkable woman and the matriarch of our family in Kentucky and Missouri.  Her photo is below.  What motivated the family to move west?  Most likely it was to provide a better life for the family, and that often involved land.  Although the family never made it to Kansas, the following excerpt, from the online site Kansapedia, may provide some insight:  “The Homestead Act was one way settlers acquired land in Kansas and other parts of the west.  It was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862.  Under the provisions of the Homestead Act, settlers  could claim 160 acres of public land.  They paid a small filing fee and then had two options for getting title to the land.  If they lived on the 160 acres for five continuous years, built a residence and grew crops, they could then file for their deed for the property.  The second option was to purchase the land from the government for $1.25 per acre after living on the land for six months, building a home, and starting to grow crops. The head of the household of any citizen or a person intending to become a citizen (immigrants) were eligible to claim land under the Homestead Act.”

Benny Richard "Dickie" Brewer (1931-2014).  Dickie was the great grandson of Ambrose Brewer.  Ambrose spent his entire life in Chatham County, NC.  Dickie was a member of the third generation of Brewers who spent their entire lives in Kentucky. Dickie was instrumental in helping us connect with our cousins in that state.  He is pictured here at his 82nd birthday.

James "Jimmie" Boyce Brewer (b. 1926) and his wife Joan Summers Brewer (b. 1928) celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2017.  Jimmie is the great grandson of Ambrose Brewer whose family migrated from North Carolina to Kentucky in the early 1860s.  To our knowledge, Jimmie is the third oldest surviving member of our Brewer family.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

2013 Brewer Reunion

We enjoyed visiting with family members at our annual reunion held in Statesville on June 1, 2013.  Below are pictures of the members attending:

Descendant of Thomas Benjamin Wiley Brewer:  Nancy Dianne Brewer Sloop.

Descendants of James Robert Brewer:  Mark Stephen Huffman and Bristol Irene Brewer Huffman.

Descendants of Dewey Samuel Brewer, Sr:  Identities may come later.

Descendant of Orlando Roy Brewer:  Sandra Deanna Schleicher Brewer (wife) and William Preston Brewer, Sr.

Descendant of Joe Sephus Brewer, Sr.:  Mike Kent Brewer, Sr. and Pauline Jane Hinson Brewer (wife).

Monday, April 15, 2013

Brewer's Grocery Owned by James Robert Brewer. Plus Bristol Irene Brewer Huffman, one of our most senior family members

This photo was taken in the 1940s in front of Brewer's Grocery, owned by James Robert Brewer (1886-1956), in Mooresville, NC.  James' family is discussed later in this blog.  Pictured here are Bristol Irene Brewer Huffman (born 1927) on the left and Josie Cochran.  Bristol Irene is the daughter of James Robert. See her picture today on Page 2. Josie is not a direct member of our Brewer family, but we're happy to present her picture.  James Robert cut a door in the master bedroom of his home and built the store connected to the side of the house.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Stories from Our Ancestors

The various genealogy reports about our family are useful and interesting, but most of us also enjoy reading stories.  One of our family members, Susan Johnston Moore, volunteered to periodically provide narratives based on the research into our family. You can read our first story about the life of Lucretia Stout Brewer by clicking each link (in gray or blue) below.  Check this blog in the future as more stories are added.  If you're aware of an interesting story about our family, let us know, and we would be glad to help publish it here.

Family Snapshot: Lucretia Stout Brewer

Ora Una Brewer Connolly Family Stories:  Audio recording originally was transcribed by Sandy Brewer in 1981.  It was converted to digital text by Nancy Brewer Sloop.  The story is written just as Ora stated it.  Where clarification is needed, brackets [ ] are used.

James Paul Brewer's Early Military Service.  This details James Paul Brewer's service during and immediately after World War II in the Naval Reserves and US Navy.  He later continued to serve in the Merchant Marines and earned the rank of Captain.

A Trip to Pikeville, Kentucky.  A branch of our ancestors settled here in the 1860s.  Nancy Brewer Sloop recently made a trip to Pikeville.  Here is the story.

The US Navy Service of Wayne Joseph Brewer (1926-2004).  Wayne had an exciting naval career both during World War II and in the years after the war.  Susan Moore captured his service in this story.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Letters from Our Ancestors

Our family has collected letters written by our ancestors in the 1850s and 1860s.  Those letters have been transcribed, and they are much easier to read.  The majority of these letters were written by members of the Stout family, a significant branch of our ancestors.  By reading them, you’ll learn much about both our family and our nation’s history.  Particularly of interest are the letters concerning the Civil War and how attitudes changed during that period.
To read the letters, click on this link:  Letters from Our Ancestors.  You’ll see a series of folders by the various writers.  Click on any folder to read the individual letters by that writer.  You should not need any particular software on your computer.   In each file you’ll see two transcriptions.  The first section is a literal transcription of the letter.  The original language, misspellings, and errors were included.  The second section is an interpretation of what we believe was the author’s original intent.  Be sure to cursor down the page to see both sections.

We have electronic scans of each original letter although they often are challenging to read.  If you’d like to see scans of one or more of the original letters, let us know.

There likely are more letters written by our ancestors in the homes of our family’s descendants today.   By making these transcriptions available to everyone, we hope more descendants will share the letters in their possession .   Your original letters will not be harmed or modified in any way, and they will be returned to you.

Thanks go to Sandy Brewer, wife of Bill Brewer, and to Susan Moore, wife of Jim Moore, for the transcriptions and to Preston Brewer for electronically scanning the original letters.   Their work represented a monumental effort.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Harron Bidwell Brewer

Harron Bidwell "Bid" Brewer (1892-1951), son of Jerry Milton Lee Brewer, holds his grandson, Lonnie Watkins Brooks III.  In about 1916, Bid and his family made the move from Alexander County, NC to Lunenberg, VA.  This photo, made in about 1945, is the only photo we have of Bid.  

The following article is from the Statesville Daily Record appearing on June 25, 1951.  Bid died two days after the article was printed.  We hope his brothers were able to visit Bid before his passing.  

Bid Brewer and his wife, Mattie Jane Herrin Brewer (1894-1978), had seven children.  Below is Bid's and Mattie's sole surviving child.  Lessie Lucille Brewer Wagstaff (b. 1924) and her husband Cleveland Wagstaff, Jr. (b. 1922) still live not too far from the homestead of her father in Virginia.  She not only is the most senior member of that branch of the family, Lucille is the most senior member of our Brewer family whom we've identified. 

Our cousin, Nancy Brewer Sloop, made a trip in June 2015 to the area where Bid and Mattie settled in Virginia. She visited with Lucille and her family.  Read about Nancy's experiences by clicking here

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lucretia Stout Brewer's Antiques

Below is an article, dated September 1905, from the Statesville Landmark concerning historic artifacts owned by Lucretia Stout Brewer (1828-1922) wife of Wiley Brewer.  Lucretia and Wiley are ancestors of most of the people reading this blog.  It would be wonderful if we knew where these artifacts, particularly the vest, are today.  We assume Lucretia was speaking of the Stout side of her family.  There have been suggestions the Stouts have a Revolutionary War Patriot in their ancestry. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Brewer Lane, Mooresville, NC

Most towns have streets named after respected citizens. In Mooresville, NC, Brewer Lane was named by our family! Michael Gene Brewer and Frances Earlene Cockrell, both grandchildren of James Robert Brewer (1886-1956) and Bessie Dean Shoemaker (1888-1964), live in sight of the sign.  Mike named the street when he moved there, and he runs a store near Brewer Lane.  Our Nancy Dianne Brewer Sloop (pictured below) stopped by after the reunion and purely by chance discovered the homes of Mike and Earlene.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

2012 Brewer Family reunion

We had another wonderful Brewer reunion at the Covenant AR Presbyterian Church in Statesville on Saturday, June 9, 2012.  Our numbers were small this year likely due to conflicts with high school graduations, but we plan to find a solution for the 2013 reunion.  Below are our family members grouped by ancestry.  Click on any photo for a larger view.

Family of Dewey Samuel Brewer, Sr.:  Standing:  Michael Shannon Brewer, Brent Brewer, Bill Brewer, Bobby Brewer, Willa Dean Brewer Sigmon, Ronald Hill.  Seated:  Vallie Brewer Rogers, Freddie Brewer, Judith Brewer Lance, Gentry Brewer.

Family of Orlando Roy Brewer:  Standing:  Pamela Jean Templeton Collins, Janet Templeton, William Preston, Brewer, Jr.  Seated:  Roy Brewer, Jean Brewer Templeton,  William Preston Brewer, Sr., Rosemary Brewer Ramsey.

Family of Joe Sephus Brewer, Sr.:  Mike Kent Brewer, Sr., Mike Kent Brewer, Jr.

Family of Ora Una Brewer:  Barbara Mayberry Hawks.

Family of Thomas Benjamin Wiley Brewer:  Nancy Brewer Sloop.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Jerry Milton Lee Brewer (1861-1903), husband of Mary Elizabeth Willet and son of Wiley Brewer and Lucretia Stout.  This is the only portrait we have of Jerry.  Nancy Brewer Sloop rescued and scanned the original portrait.  Susan Johnston Moore (wife of James Reid Moore) restored the portrait.  You'll see two versions:  the original damaged graphic and the restored graphic after Susan worked her magic.  We hope you'll find and share such photos or paintings of our ancestors.  Susan would be happy to restore them as she did with Jerry's portrait.  The original versions of your photos or portraits will not be affected.  Send me an e-mail if you have any of these important components of our family's history.

Obituary of Jerry Milton Lee Brewer from 1903 newspaper article:

Death of Mr. Brewer, of Alexander. Corrspondence of The Landmark. Mr. J. L. Brewer, near Grade, Alexander county, died October 8th, 1903, of chronic indigestion. He had been confined for some time. He was about 40 years, was born and raised in a half mile of where he died. He leaves a wife and six children, a mother and one brother--J.P. Brewer, of Grade--and three sisters to mourn their loss. He was buried at Pilgrim church, where he was a member. Grade, N.C., Oct. 14, 1903.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gentry Lee Brewer

We lost our most senior Brewer descendant on July 17, 2014.  Gentry was born on November 7, 1921. He was the son of Dewey Samuel Brewer (1898-1977); the grandson of Jerry Milton Lee Brewer (1861-1903); and the great grandson of Wiley Brewer (1832-1864).   Gentry lost his wife of 72 years, Billie on March 19, 2014.

Gentry Lee Brewer with his bride Willa Dean Williams Brewer (1926-2014) in the 1940s. 

Gentry Michael Brewer (1945-2013), son of Gentry Lee Brewer and Willa Dean Williams Brewer.  Mike served his nation in the War in Viet Nam.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Family of Shubert Pharis Brewer and their Sacrifice in World War II

James Coite Brewer (1919-1944) and Ernest William Brewer (1926-1945), sons of Shubert Pharis Brewer and Daisy Mae McDaniels Brewer, gave their lives for their country in World War II.  A third brother, Lee Ransom Brewer (1914-1973) was wounded in battle.  See the April 23, 1945 edition of the Statesville Daily Record below about these three sons.  Two other sons, John Woodrow Brewer (1916-1969) and Clifford William Brewer (1924-1971) served their nation in World War II.  That's a total of five sons of Shubert and Daisy who were involved in the War.

Ernest William Brewer (1926-1945).  The picture below appears to have been taken when he was in basic training.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Margaret Amelia Carson Brewer and Sarah Catherine Brewer Meadows

Margaret Amelia Carson Brewer (1867-1940), wife of John Preston Brewer and her sister-in-law, Sarah Catherine "Cas" Brewer Meadows (1857-1920), daughter of Wiley Brewer and Lucretia Stout Brewer and wife of Augustus F. Meadows.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Brewer Family Reunion, June 12, 2011

We had a grand Brewer Family reunion on Sunday, June 12, at the Statesville Civic Center.  About 80 attended--the best attendance in our history.  Below are pictures of the event.  To see a larger version of any picture, just click on it.  If you want a high-resolution photo, let me know. 

Our senior members, the grandchildren of Jerry Milton Lee Brewer and John Preston Brewer

Family of Orlando Roy Brewer

Family of Ila Etta Elizabeth Brewer

Family of Dewey Samuel Brewer, Sr.

Family of Izetta Margara Brewer

Family of Joe Sephus Brewer, Sr.

Family of Shubert Pharis Brewer

Family of Thomas Benjamin Wiley Brewer and James Robert Brewer

Several members of the Brewer family were unable to attend our reunion on June 12, but these members got together a couple of months ago.  Below are pictures of the folks who were not with us in June:

Family of Ora Una Brewer

Family of Edna Bonnie Brewer

Family of Maldon Oscar Brewer


Click on "Older Posts" to see other posts and pictures.