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)
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”.