Edward Lewis Brazenor (1839 – 1904)

Edward Lewis Brazenor, baptised in 1839, at Wem, Shropshire, was the fifth child of Richard and Mary Brazenor, nee Lewis and like his father he became a saddler.  He was named after Mary’s father Edward Lewis, of Trwstywelin, Montgomeryshire, Wales. In the 1841 Census he was living with his parents and siblings at Wem, where his father had a saddlery business. Sometime between 1842 – 1846 the family moved to Birmingham, where they were living at the date of the 1851 Census. Their address was at Harborne Heath Road and all members of the family were present except for Edward’s eldest sister Mary, who was looking after her grandfather Edward Lewis, in Wales.

Edward does not appear in the 1861 Census of England & Wales. However, an Edward Brazner was in Kings County, New York in 1860, which might account for his absence. In 1861, Edward was included in the Census of Ontario, Canada where he was living and working in King St, Toronto. He was one of eight young saddlers working for a saddlery business.

By 1868, Edward was advertising his own business in Hamilton, Ontario, where he was a horse collar maker. He was also involved with the Maple Leaf Base Ball Club. It would appear that Edward may have moved north to avoid becoming involved in the American Civil War, because by 1872, he had returned south and was in Bourbon County, Kentucky, where he became a US citizen. His elder brother Richard Brazenor, had arrived in the USA in 1871, and he took up his US citizenship in Bourbon County, in 1873.

Edward later returned to Hamilton  where he probably married Jane Lily Beeby in about 1873. Their son Robert was born in Ontario, in 1874, though his birth is only known from the 1881 Census, when the family was still at Hamilton, and where Edward was again a horse collar maker.  That same year their daughter Grace Elizabeth was born at Wentworth, Hamilton, on 30 April 1881, not 1887, as some have transcribed. In the 1880’s, the family moved to Manatoulin Island in Lake Huron, Ontario. E L Brazenor is recorded as the proprietor of both a saddlery business and a hardware store. Grace went to school at Gore Bay and the family were to live there until about 1903. In the 1891 Census, Edward, Jane and daughter Grace, aged 10, were present at Gore Bay but not Robert who, if still living, would have been about 17 years old.

In 1879, 1882 and 1897 Edward applied for patents in Ontario, all of which involved improvements to the processing and manufacture of leather harnesses and horse collars. On the 16 March 1900, a Patriotic Concert was held at Brazenors Hall, Gore Bay, attended  by E L Brazener (sic), to raise funds to send a contingent of men to fight in the Boer War in South Africa. Just as in Australia and New Zealand, the British migrants rallied round the flag, for Queen and Empire.

In the 1901 Census, the family was still at Gore Bay and their dates of birth were given as :-Edward – 21 July 1839, Jane – 3 September 1853, (this should probably read 1851, as she was baptised on 23 November 1851) and Grace – 30 April 1881. Edward’s year of migration was given as 1851, which is definitely incorrect and Jane’s was 1863, which means that she migrated as a child, presumably with her family. It is likely that for Edward  1851 should read 1861. On 3 May 1902, Audrey J Brazenor was born in Buffalo, New York State. In all subsequent census records Audrey was stated to be the daughter of Jane and Edward Brazenor. This is not impossible but it is  highly unlikely to be true as in 1902, Jane would have been 51 years old and her previous child had been born in 1881. It is much more likely that Audrey was Grace’s daughter. It is apparent that in subsequent censuses Jane and Grace drastically discounted their ages, possibly so that it would appear that Jane was indeed Audrey’s mother and that Grace could not possibly be so, such was the stigma of illegitimacy at that time. Grace actually made her mother ten years younger on her death certificate in 1933, having her born in 1861, instead of 1851. When Grace died in 1959, her birth year was given as 1887, instead of 1881, the informant being her probable daughter, Audrey.

In 1903, E L Brazenor was paid an allowance from the public purse for being the local Treasurer at Gore Bay and was also reimbursed expenses for tools and boat hire. However, the following year he was in Chicago, Illinois, where he died on 2 October 1904. There was a funeral notice for Edward in the Chicago Daily Tribune of 4 October, which read “Beloved husband of Jennie and father of Grace and Audrey (no mention of Robert) aged 64 years 2 months and 11 days. Funeral from sister in law Mrs Hannah Crook’s 1207 Wilton Avenue, on Tuesday at 2pm, then by carriages to Rosehill Cemetery. Hamilton and Toronto papers please copy”.

This line of the Brazenor name should therefore have terminated with the death of Edward and Jane but for the following events. On 29 December 1906, Grace E Brazenor married Paul R Boossus at Chicago, Illinois. In  about 1907/8, Edward Louis (sic) Brazenor was born in South Jacksonville, Duval  County, Florida, but this is known only from the 1910 Census. In this census, Grace, Edward and her mother Jane are together in South Jacksonville but there is no mention of Audrey. Grace had reverted to her maiden name and Edward Brazenor’s father appears to have been of German nationality. Boossus is a German name but there is no sign of him being present. However, in 1959, on Grace’s death certificate, her former husband’s name is given but her marital status was recorded as being divorced. The name Edward Lewis Brazenor was thus continued for two further generations.

In 1933, Jane Lillie Brazenor, nee Beeby, or Jennie as she was known, died and was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Norfolk, Virginia on 16 November 1933. On some web sites she is recorded as having various erroneous ages, probably as a result of her having given less than accurate information in some census returns. She was baptised on 24 November 1851 and therefore probably lived to the age of 82. Grace E Brazenor, Audrey (Overton), Edward Lewis Brazenor 2 and his wife Edna and their son Edward Lewis Brazenor 3, are also buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Norfolk, Virginia.

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