James Brewer.The frontier line, which for decade after decade was depicted on the census maps, can no longer be described. The pioneer era has passed. There yet remain in Kansas, however, a few of the state's first settlers who are links connecting the old order with the new and who know by actual living experiences the remarkable changes that have taken place in Kansas in the half century of its statehood. They have witnessed the marvelous development of the state's natural resources, its rapid advance in commercial fields, the colossal growth of its railroads and its progress toward a foremost place in the Union in respect to its educational and civic development. One of the earliest of these pioneers is James Brewer, who resides at 1027 Western avenue, Topeka, Kan., full of years and honor, having reached the advanced age of eighty-six years. Mr. Brewer was born on Jan. 25, 1825, in the town of Fitzwilliam, Cheshire county, New Hampshire, the descendant of stanch Revolutionary ancestors and of English descent. He comes from an old New England family and inherited the enterprise and excellent qualities of his race. The Brewers for four generations were natives of New Hampshire. James Brewer, as well as his father, Asa Brewer, and his grandfather, who also was named Asa, were all born in Cheshire county of that state. Lieut. James Brewer, the great-grandfather of James Brewer of this review, was a native of New Hampshire and was a patriot of the Revolutionary war, in which he served as a lieutenant in Captain Mann's company of New Hampshire troops. Asa Brewer, the father of our subject, was born in the town of Troy in 1798 and died in the town of Fitzwilliam in 1863. He married Miss Rachel Knight, a native of Sudbury, Mass., and the daughter of Joel Knight, who operated a grist mill in Sudbury. To their union were born three sons: Joel, James and George, of whom only James is now living. Rachel (Knight) Brewer, the mother, died on Nov. 28, 1828. which was her twenty-eighth birthday. Later the father married Betsey Knight, a sister of his first wife, who bore him six children, five of whom are now living. The father was survived by his second wife many years, she having lived to the age of ninety-six years. James Brewer remained at the parental home until twenty-one years of age. He then went to Boston, where he was engaged in various kinds of employment nine years, and from Boston he went to New York city, where he was engaged in the express business three years. About the time he left Boston he married Miss Cyrena Matthews, who was born and reared in Sidney, Me. They began housekeeping in Brooklyn, N. Y., but about two and a half years after their marriage she died at the Brewer homestead in New Hampshire in 1857. Mr. Brewer came to Kansas and located in Topeka in April of that year. Secure in a belt he had $500, which was his capital to begin his career in the new state. He bought the land where Seabrook now stands from a squatter, and later from the government, and ever since then he has been buying, improving and then selling realty, being engaged in that business even now at his advanced age. On the northeast corner of Sixth and Kansas avenues, where the Jewell building now stands, he erected the first store building which the old settlers will remember, was blown up with naphtha. In 1861 he first improved the four lots on Fifth avenue, now occupied by the Lindsay stables. He owned and made the first improvements on the four lots where the English Lutheran church now stands, and built and resided for a time in the stone residence west of the first alley beyond the court-house on Fifth avenue. He owned the land now occupied by Oakland and bought the quarter-section that is now College Hill, which he laid out into acre lots and sold. He also owned the lots and carried on the first lumber business in the city on the corner of Sixth avenue and Jackson street. He has resided on the site of his present home since August, 1866, formerly in a concrete house, which was replaced by his present substantial brick residence in 1884.
On Jan. 3, 1864, Mr. Brewer married Miss Ruth Glazier, who was born on a farm near Kendallville, Ind., Jan. 26, 1845. Her parents, Nelson and Perlina (Hovey) Glazier, were both natives of Ohio. In 1849 Mr. Glazier, with his wife and his daughter, Ruth, started with a four-horse wagon and a two-horse wagon overland for the gold fields of California. When they reached St. Joseph, Mo., the father became ill of cholera and died. The mother continued to reside in St. Joseph until 1854 and there married J. W. Chamberlain. In that year the mother, her husband, Mr. Chamberlain, and her daughter removed to Big Springs, Kan., ten miles east of Topeka. There Mrs. Brewer was reared and received her education in the public schools of her locality and in private schools in Topeka. The first Sunday school ever organized in the state was organized at the home of her stepfather, J. W. Chamberlain, at Big Springs, in 1855. Mr. and Mrs. Brewer became the parents of five children, two of whom died in infancy. Concerning those who grew to maturity the following data are given: Lester G. Brewer, who was born in Topeka, March 21, 1866, received a high school education in that city. His business career thus far has been spent principally in Colorado, where he has served as private secretary to three governors and is a popular citizen of that state. At present (1911) he is superintendent of the Denver & South Platte railroad. In 1887 he married Miss Grace Campbell and to their union have been born two children: Ruth and James Perry. Walter H. Brewer was born in Topeka, April 7, 1868, and was educated in the Topeka public schools, including the high school. He is now assistant to the general manager of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe coast lines at Los Angeles, Cal. He married Mannette Collins and they have two children: Phylis and Walter Collins. Lulu C. Brewer, born April 3, 1872, was educated in the Topeka High School and at Bethany College, Topeka. She married Arthur R. Lingafelt on Oct. 18, 1893. He is the third district division superintendent of the Gulf division of the Western Union Telegraph lines and is located at Oklahoma City, Okla. Mrs. Lingafelt is gifted in music and is a skilled pianist. They have no children.
Mr. Brewer has been a Republican all of his life. During the exciting days of 1861 to 1865, when the border warfare kept Kansas in constant turmoil Mr. Brewer served sixteen days in the pursuit of Price. He is a Mason, and he and the late Governor Carney were initiated together on the same night in the Masonic Lodge, No. 17, of Topeka. Mr. Brewer is keenly interested in the general topics of the day, is active and retains all his mental faculties perfectly.Pages 1540-1542 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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