Since no one has said I can’t post this, I will go ahead, hoping that I transcribed it correctly (and if I didn’t, someone will contact me about any necessary corrections).
Perdita Brockbank Guymon put her address at the bottom of this biography, but because this is a public blog, I’m not going to include it.
THE BIOGRAPHY OF JOHN LEASIL BRASHER
My Grandfather, John Leasil Brasher, was born on the 9th of August, 1843, in Lyon County, Kentucky. His parents were Andrew Jackson Brasher and Temperence Goodwin Stone.
Grandfather was the oldest child of a family of seven. Their names were:
John Leasil, who was my Grandfather, Nancy, Priscilla Jane, Wallace, Giles, Brooks, and Kirk. His father was considered a very well-to-do man. He owned a large plantation; the main crops being cotton and tobacco. He had many horses and many slaves.
They were a very religious family. His father donated the ground for the Baptist Church and cemetary, which was just across the street from their large, red brick home. His father was sheriff of Caldwell, Crittenden, Lyon County, which was all one county at that time. He had been out riding and came in overheated, tired, and drank a great deal of water which caused his death. Grandfather was eleven years old at the time of his father’s death. He grew up on the plantation where he learned to ride horses at a very early age. Many times he was put on a horse to deliver a message many miles away.
Grandfather often talked about home, and when the song, “My Old Kentucky Home” was sung, his eyes would fill with tears. He was very tenderhearted. Because Grandfather was a lover of horses, he often talked about his father’s horses. His favorite horse would come to the gate and whinny, and would pump water to the other horses.
One time my mother [his daughter Elizabeth] asked him if he ever sat down to the table with their negro slaves and Grandfather answered, “They had
their place and we had ours.”
If ever you heard Grandfather sneeze, you would never forget it for you could hear it for two blocks away.
Grandfather enlisted and served two years in the confederate army. He took part in many engagements. He received a bullet in his hip and had to return home for a time. The horrors of the Civil War were terrible and only on a
very few occasions did he talk about it. When his children would ask questions about the war, he would answer them in as few words as possible. It made him feel badly even to think about it. After his wound was healed he either had to go back to the war or come West. So he decided to move West. When he left his mother’s home she put her arms around his neck and said, “Johnie, promise me that you will never play cards or gamble,” and he never did.
He was given the gun used by General Morgan and it is still in the family. He was offered a pension, but he refused, saying he did that for his country.
His first employment in the West was as a mail carrier for the pony express. It was called the Wells Fargo Express. He had four horses and many times his life was in danger as the Indians chased him across the country.
He did a lot of freighting and always with horses, as horses were next to human with him. Many times you would think he had company, but it was only his horses; he would talk to them as if they were his best friends. He said, “Horses never forget a good master.” One time he sold a team to Mr. Kimball, and years later he saw them again. They stomped and whinnied; and he knew that they recognized him.
He met Eliza Cheshire while she was working for Glob’s Bakery in Salt Lake City. They were married when he was twenty-two and she was only seventeen. Grandmother’s parents were George and Eliza Cheshire. They were early converts of the Mormon Church and lived in Salt Lake City. Grandfather joined the Mormon church December 5, 1864. His Patriarchal blessing tells us that he joined the church when he knew very little about it. He was a good reader and did a lot of reading.
Grandfather and Grandmother’s first home was on the corner of the City and County building block. It consisted of two rooms, one closet, and a pantry.
When Grandmother was not quite twenty and had two children, Clara and John, Grandfather married Ann Butler, and brought her home to live with them. Ann was eight years older than Grandmother and was so very bossy and demanding on Grandfather, which made things very unpleasant for Grandmother. Needless to say, Grandmother’s feelings were very hurt, so she packed up her things and took her two children, Clara and John, and went home to her parents. They stayed all night and in the morning her parents told her to go back and make the best of it, telling her she had made her bed and now she must make the best of it.
Grandfather was very good and, so very loving to the children. After living in their first home for three years, they moved to Kamas, Summit County, where he built two homes for his two families, and He went to work in the timber, high in the mountains. One day at work, he met with an accident and broke his leg. Fellow workers took two poles, laid branches across them for a bed, and carried him several miles out of the mountains.
The families were very poor so Grandmother took her two children and went to Salt Lake for employment. She braided straw for hats to get money to buy clothes for Ann, the second wife.
Later they sold their homes and bought cattle and moved to Bear Lake. It was good cattle country, and for awhile they prospered and did very well. Next they moved to Randolph, Rich County in 1875. Everything went well until they had a hard winter. It is said that the cattle froze to death standing up. Grandfather lost all his cattle except for one cow.
In the spring of 1880 after the hard winter people were very discouraged. Grandfather and his two families, William Howard and his three families, and Randolph Sewart and his three families were counseled to move to Castle Valley. They made preparations to move and prepared nearly all summer. In September, 1880, the three families left Randolph for Castle Valley. They were two weeks traveling from Salt Lake City to Price; the roads were so very rough and rocky. Some times they could only travel two miles. Grandfather drove the first wagon and his second wife and her family were with him. Uncle John, Grandmother’s oldest son, then eleven, drove the other team with Grandmother and her family. They came through Soldier’s Canyon and camped on the Price River two weeks, then came on to Huntington and camped on the bank of the Huntington River.
Grandfather along with the others went right to work cutting timber and leveling off a place to build a home. They first room was soon built for Ann, Grandfather’s second wife. Grandmother and her family lived in wagon boxes until after Christmas when they moved into their new home, not three stories high but three long, and each room could tell its own story.
The first summer Grandfather raised forty bushels fo wheat, and a thresher came from Ferron to thresh the wheat.
In the Spring of 1881 Grandfather and William Howard went to Salt Lake for flour and other provisions. While returning they came in contact with high water at the Price River. It was necessary to unload their load and put poles across the top of the wagon box, and then put the flour and the rest of the provisions on top of the poles. The team swam the river and brought across
the load. The families did so appreciate the good things, especially the white flour.
Grandmother used to tell me, “You know nothing about hard times and poverty.” In the fall of 1881 Grandfather, William Howard, Elias Cox and others went up the canyon and got logs to build a meeting house. The house was completed for Christmas. There was a big Christmas party, with a program and a dance. The children and all had a good time. The building was used for a meeting house, dance hall, school room and many good times were held there.
The family lived on the farm while the children were small and they walked to town and school and were never late, nor were they late on other occasions.
Like Grandmother Cheshire’s and Grandfather’s in Kentucky their homes were always open to people who had no place to go, and this characteristic lived on with him always. People traveling from one town to another stayed there. At conference time they always had a house full.
Grandfather and Grandmother furnished the sacrament for Sunday School and Sacrament Meeting. A Mr. Woodward made a small trunk and Grandfather carried the dishes back and forth in the wooden trunk.
Grandfather’s hobby was pretty horses. He traded a stable horse for a whole city block. On the block was a home with two rooms and Grandfather added other rooms. It was their home for many years, in fact, Grandfather and Grandmother both died there. Grandfather planted a lawn. They didn’t have lawn mowers as we do today, so he would keep it cut and well-trimmed with wool shears. He planted box elder trees and one pretty pine tree. Most of the box elders have been taken out but the pine tree still stands.
Grandfather and Grandmoter were very patriotic to their country, church, school and community where they lived. Tables and benches were set on the front lawn and a hot breakfast was served to the band when they serenaded the town on the Fourth of July and Twenty-fourth of July.
At one time, Grandfather made a trip back to Kentucky to see his mother. He went on the train and then from the train depot he took taxi to his Mother’s home. One of the slaves looked out in front of the home and saw the taxi and Grandfather getting out. She called out, “Oh Mammy, Mammy, come quick — here is Johnny!” Grandfather had a good visit with his mother and other kin folk. He told them about the Mormon Church, and what they believed. Among other things, they discussed, was the fact that the Mormons bury their dead in white clothing.
Years later Grandfather came walking into my mother’s [his daughter Elizabeth] home. He handed her a letter to read. It was one of Grandfather’s nieces telling of the death of his mother. The letter told that [great] Grandmother requested that she be dressed in white. My mother said, “Did your mother know that the Mormons bury in white?” He said, “Yes, that’s it Dot.”
At one time, Grandmother got a letter from some of her folks asking to take care of her Father. Now Grandmother’s family were all married and lived within two blocks of their family home. Not many days went by that they didn’t call. Sometimes they were all together; they didn’t stay long, but they were very interested in their Mother and Father’s welfare. All of the family members had a lot of discussion about whether or not they should have Grandmother’s father come to live with them.
On one particular day, they were all there when the letter was read. They were all very much opposed to the proposition. They said things like this: “Let them take care of him as they have had his money,” or “we can’t come home with our children for he has never liked children”. Well, Grandfather sat and heard the remarks, then he stamped his foot lightly and said, “Now that is your Mother’s Father and as long as John Brasher has a roof over his head, we will share and I want you all to rally around and help your mother take care of her Father.” There was not another word said. Grandfather Cheshire came and we all learned to love and admire him. He was so tall and straight and walked with a cane. I don’t really believe he needed the cane. It was just a status symbol. He used to take long walks every day and we all felt bad when he passed away.
The stagecoach drawn by four horses arrived in Huntington each day about noon. It was the one that carried the mail and passengers and they changed horses in Huntington, so while the drivers and passengers were having their dinners at the Hotel, GRandfather would feed and water the horses and give them a good curry or brush down. He took great pride in the driver starting off each day with a fresh team.
As he loved horses, so he loved people. Many people came to him for advice and he was always glad to give it. One bit of advice was “whether it is international affairs or relationships between two individuals, never let the sun go down on a misunderstanding, no matter what it is–go the second mile. You will never regret it, and you will feel much better.”
He loved children and he always, told his grandchildren, never to pass him by, as he always had time to stop and talk to them. In later years, when the Mail came by truck, we would get our mail about 9 o’clock and Grandfather would go for his paper. We, as little girls, would watch for him so we could just say “Hello”, and many times he would come in for a few minutes.
We loved him dearly, as so did his many other grandchildren. He passed away on the 20th of January, 1915. He was an active church worker and public-spirited citizen and was loved and respected by everyone. We who knew him, hold in our hearts loving memories and we hope that his fine characteristics will live on in his posterity.
Perdita (Brockbank) Guyman