THE BRAZEE FAMILY


Although Henry P. Brazee and 3 generations of descendants almost never lived within the most extended boundaries of Cannelton, he and several of them maintained social and business ties to the town; seven members of the family are buried in Cliff Cemetery. With his wife and 2 eldest children he took up ownership and residence after 5 July 1835 a mile and a half downstream at the far end of what later was optimistically called Lower Cannelton. This was more than a year before James Hobart came to the area and set about establishing the American Cannel Coal Company.

Henry P. Brazee was born 31 March 1805 at Athens, NY. By the early 1830s he was in Cincinnati, Ohio. Whether he was married before or after his arrival there has not been learned. His wife was born 19 November 1809 in New Jersey. There may be a small controversy as to whether her name was Mary E. Osborne or Mary E. Aikens. Since the monument in Greenwood Cemetery at Tell City has Osborne chiseled in stone there should be no controversy. However, DeLaHunt (p. 153) gives Aikens as her maiden name. The Brazee's 6th child was named Hiram Osborne and their 9th child Samuel Aikens. One possible explanation for a double maiden name could be that she was born Osborne or Aikens, then her mother remarried the other name, thus providing her with a step-father.

Samuel Akins of Cincinnati had purchased the Fulton Tract from the Fulton heirs on 5 July 1835 and had sold it immediately to Henry P. Brazee. For 18 more years the names of Aikens, Brazee and Fulton, along with John Breckenridge and Elisha M. Huntington were repeated in subsequent transactions with parts of the tract. Brazee finally finished with a large site on the river for his 1850s-built mansion, Mulberry Park, and a 200-acre tract on and over the hill behind it.

Possibly because of his profession of the law, Brazee was appointed a justice of the peace about as soon as he stepped off the steamboat in 1835; he held that office again in 1842. During the 36 years of his life at Mulberry Park he engaged in the law, farming and sawmilling. Two sawmills across the Plank Road from his home burned, one in 1849 and another in 1857. On 26 December 1857 he and William P. Beacon from Cannelton were able to purchase the Plank Road Company at bankruptcy auction for $4.00.

Henry P. Brazee died on 19 October 1871 and was buried in the family vault on the hill behind Mulberry Park. Mary E. Brazee was also buried there at her death on 25 November 1879.

The first 2 children of Henry and Mary Brazee were born at Cincinnati, Ohio. Henry P. Jr., was born on 8 August 1832. In 1851 he was a student sponsored by the county at Indiana University. He was admitted to the Perry County bar in 1856 and was rated as "a fair lawyer." On 3 September 1857 he married Janet Kirkpatrick in Perry County. In 1859 he served as town attorney. He later removed to Cincinnati where he died from consumption on 23 July 1872 according to the Cannelton Enquirer. (The monument gives 2 July.) He was buried in the family vault on 26 July.

Daughter Mary E. Brazee was born at Cincinnati in 1834 or 35. On 11 May 1852 she married William A. Wandall. He arrived in Cannelton in late 1850 and was admitted to the bar in 1851. He defended Robert and Moses Kelly in their trial and conviction for murder at Hawesville in 1853. Goodspeed recorded that "he was canny, adroit, and would take any case, at the bottom of which was a good fee. He received a good practice." He was appointed town attorney in February 1853. When or why the marriage ended is not known. When Mary died at St. Louis, MO., on 17 February 1885, she was Mrs. Mary McGinnis.

Amanda Brazee was the first Brazee child to be born at the Mulberry Park site in 1837. On 8 September 1858 she married Paul Schuster (b. 20 March 1823 in Strasbourg, Alsace-Lorraine). He had come with the Swiss Colonization Society in early 1858 as "resident lawyer and land agent." He soon transferred his activity to Cannelton as principal of the heralded but short-lived Franklin Institute. This was conducted in the newly-built brick school house on 6th Street between Lawrence and Clay Streets, carrying the educational gamut from primary through college preparation studies. When the schoolhouse became the County Courthouse in the fall of 1859, classes were taught at the Presbyterian Church at the north corner of 4th and Adams, at Mozart Hall at 1st and Madison and at Vaughan's Hall on Front Street above Castlebury Creek. Shortly after this the Schusters moved to Cincinnati where the Schuster School of Expression was continued under the leadership of their daughter, Helen Merci Schuster (Mrs. William Warren Martin) after her father's death on 9 October 1905. The time of Amanda Brazee Schuster's death is not here known.

Less is known of the fourth child of the Brazees, Adelaide Victoria, born in 1839. On 24 November 1863 she married Charles W. Parker. By summer 1870 she was living with her parents at Mulberry Park with 3 daughters: Isabella (1865), Mary (1866) and Henrietta (July 1869). In Perry County in April 1876 she and Henderson Marquiss Huff obtained a license to marry. He was a son of William and Margaret Davis Huff, and a grandson of Acquilla Huff after whom Huff Township in Spencer County is named. In the spring of 1876 he and Victoria's brother, Hiram, purchased the Cannelton Reporter, Huff as editor. They sold to Will Underwood and William E. Knight in June 1877. The Huffs moved to Huff Township where 2 daughters are listed in the 1880 census: Corine (1877) and Frances (April 1880); Corine died in November 1900. Nothing further is known of these Huffs nor of the 3 Parker daughters.

Hiram Osborne Brazee (30 January 1846) is noted above as co-owner of the Cannelton Reporter in 1876-1877. He married Fannie M. Simpson (27 November 1854, Ohio) who had been residing in Hancock County with her mother and step-father, Nancy V. Hukill House and John Joseph House. Hiram spent most of his adult life at Memphis, Tenn., employed as a steamboat operator and inspector, earning the title of Captain. Fanny M. Brazee died there on 13 February 1889 and was buried in Greathouse Cemetery west of New Chapel in the Troy Bend section of Hancock County; her mother died 4 years later on 28 May 1893 and was also buried there. Hiram died at Gallatin, Tenn., on 16 February 1907; he was buried in the Brazee family vault. One daughter, Mary E., was placed under the guardianship of Hiram's niece, Mrs. Jennie Brazee Goetmann, after his death.

Albert G. Brazee (30 August 1843) did not marry. In 1900 he was living with his brother Samuel, his occupation that of Saw Dresser in a sawmill. He died on 4 August 1903 and was buried in the family vault.

William Z. T. (30 July 1847)-- Nothing further could be learned of him until his death on 12 November 1904; he was buried in the family vault.

Merrill A. Brazee (23 February 1852) resided at Mulberry Park until after 1904. On 18 November 1874 he married Ella Long (27 May 1853, Cannelton), a daughter of Scott and Nancy Long. On 7 May 1877 he placed this announcement in the Cannelton Enquirer & Reporter:

"You are all invited to call at Mulberry Park tomorrow for a nice plate of ice cream, a glass of wine or lemonade, and some fine cake, and other confections. It will be open permanently after that date, and all those in quest of a quiet place for a few hours recreation will find this a pleasant locality."

In the mid-1890s he delayed the opening of "the back road between Cannelton and Tell City"(approximately today's Highway #66) for 3 years by refusing to allow it to cross the east end of the Brazee farm. Finally in December 1896 he took down his fences and the road has been in use ever since.

Merrill and Ella Brazee were parents of 6 children, 5 of them here identified.

1.) Jenny J. (16 June 1877) on 2 January 1901 married John E. Goetmann (March 1878, Germany), son of George Edward and Louise Bohne Goetmann, immigrants to the United States in 1883. They resided in a home on the east end of the Brazee farm near the present McDonald's Restaurant. Their first-born, William Allen (11 November 1901) died at 2 years of age on 4 March 1904 and was buried in Cliff Cemetery.

Hiram E. Goetmann (11 August 1904) resided in Detroit, MI, a milk-salesman in 1928. His first wife is not here identified. On 27 August 1928 in Perry County he married Viola N. Clark (15 July 1906, Brookfield, MO), a school-teacher. He was in Chattanooga, Tenn., in 1948. Anna Ella Goetman (11 January 1912) on 28 December 1932 married Virgil Nash (18 December 1907, Tell City), son of Henry P. and Sarah Davis Nash; they resided on a farm in northern Troy Township and reared a family. Of John and Jemy Goetmann's son, Hardin, and daughter, Mrs. Thelma Enochs, nothing further is here known. Jenny died on 14 December 1948, John in 1956.

2.) The second known child of Merrill and Ella Brazee, Emma (March 1882), 10 April 1901 married Oscar W. Reif (June 1878, Tell City), son of Charels W. and Lillie Seim Reif. Two daughters, Emilia (19 October 1904) and Doris (18 January 1914) apparently did not survive their mother. She died at San Antonio, TX, on 13 May 1954.

3.) Florence Brazee (December 1884) married Barney Simonton; they were residing in Memphis, Tenn., in 1948 and 1954.

4. & 5.) On 19 June 1890 twins were born to Merrill and Ella Brazee. Only Mary E. survived and married a Chaffee; they were residing in Brunswick, Tenn., in 1948 and 1954. Merrill M., the twin son, died before 1900.

The 9th and youngest child of Henry P. and Mary E. Brazee, Samuel Akins, was born 20 April 1854. On 25 December 1879 he married Bessie A. Payne (8 January 1857), daughter of Robert and Nancy Payne, a grocer in Cannelton. She was the first child to be christened in St. Luke's Church at Cannelton shortly after the Episcopal Church assumed ownership of the now historic structure. Bessie Payne was a school-teacher in Cannelton in 1876-77, Bessie Brazee in 1879-80. They had no children, residing on the Brazee estate as farmers. Samuel died 8 July 1933, Bessie on 22 September 1943. Both were buried in Cliff Cemetery.