Robert Goode Brazenor (1877-1952)

Robert Goode Brazenor, born in 1877, at Clerkenwell, London,  was the eldest son of Robert Liddelow  and Elizabeth Sophie Brazenor, nee Brodie. He was the  grandson of Robert and Lucy Brazenor, nee Liddelow, and great grandson of Richard and Mary Brazenor, nee Cooper, of Pontesbury, Shropshire.  The name Goode came from Elizabeth Brodie’s maternal line.  In the England & Wales censuses of 1881 and 1891, Robert  was  living with his parents at St Pancras and Marylebone, respectively. He is first heard of independently of his parents in 1899, when he advertised in the Post Office Directory of London, as  Brazenor and Verbregue, Cycle Makers of 18 Lexington Street, London.  His partner was Eugene Verbregue who was possibly of French or Belgian extraction. That  same year Robert married Agnes May F Bannon and in the March quarter of 1900, they had a daughter Agnes May, her birth being registered at St Giles, Westminster, London. In the census of 1901, they were living at 12 Lexington Street and Robert was still making and repairing cycles. They registered the birth of their first son William James Brazenor, in the June quarter of 1902, at Westminster. (William’s DOB given as 19 Feb 1902, in his USSSDI entry).  Just a  year or so later Robert and his family emigrated to the USA, arriving at Boston, Massachusetts on the ship Romanic, on 28 November 1903. His younger brother William had left for America  in 1900, and had married there in 1902, at Massachusetts. Robert and Agnes probably made their way to Worcester, Massachusetts to meet up with William and his wife. Robert and Agnes’s daughter Lucy was born in 1904, in Massachusetts, although this information is gleaned only from Census data.

Their sojourn in Massachusetts was relatively short for they are next heard of in Brooklyn, New York where their son Robert George was born on 27 Aug 1906. In the magazine Motorcycles Illustrated of 1909, it is recorded that Brazenor & Ruderman of 849 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn were agents for Thor motorcycles. An advertisement also states that they had secured the agency for Excelsior motorcycles and that the 1910 models would soon be available for demonstration. In the 1910 Census Robert and family were still living in Brooklyn, where Robert was a motorcycle machinist. They had two London born children and two children born in the USA. On 5 October 1914, it was reported in the New York Tribune that Mrs Robert Brazenor of 1507 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn had been run over by a motorcycle ridden by one of her husband’s employees. In 1918, on 15 August, after a gap of some twelve years, Robert and Agnes had their last child, a son, whom they named Walter.  A month later, on 12 September 1918, Robert filled out an army draft registration card. He was 42 years old and the armistice to end WW1, had already been agreed, to take effect on 11 November 1918. His registration card reveals quite a bit of information, including that he was short, slender and blue eyed, that he was still an alien, and that he was a motorcycle dealer trading under the name Bob Brazenor Co. Inc. His home and business address was 1150 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn. It is sad to relate that while Robert was filling in his forms, his youngest brother Walter, who was in France, serving in the Leicestershire Regiment  was about to die, just a few weeks before the hostilities ceased.

In the 1920 Census  Robert and Agnes together with their five children were still living in Brooklyn. Both Robert and his 17 year old son William, were motor mechanics. On 26 March 1921, Bob Brazenor Co. Inc. advertised in the Evening Telegram, New York. He  offered motorcycle sales and repairs at 468 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn. A photograph of William taken in about 1921 can be seen in the photo gallery which shows William Brazenor and his Indian motorbike, at a hill climbing meet. It is likely that the person actually holding the bike in the photograph is his father Robert G Brazenor.  Another photograph taken in 1929, includes William, his wife Helen, his daughter  Helen and his mother Agnes May Brazenor.

Just a year later Robert Brazenor was granted US Citizenship on 16 February 1922. It is possible that Robert may have applied for citizenship because he needed to get a  passport, to make a visit to England. A Robert Brazenor, born in 1878, departed Liverpool for New York in 1923 and it is assumed that the same Robert Brazenor arrived at New York, on the ship Tyrrhenia from Liverpool, on 30 January 1923.

The year 1928 saw two of Robert’s sons married. William James married Helen Schaper in New York and  his brother Robert George married Irene Marion Sennet, at Howards Beach.  A decade later in 1930, Robert, Agnes and 11 year old Walter were at Howards Beach, Queens, New York. Robert was still a motorcycle dealer. Also living with them was Lucille and Earl Centre and their daughter Lucille. It would appear that Lucy Brazenor had married orchestral musician Earl Centre, in about 1928, because their daughter was born in 1929, in New York. Robert and Agnes must have  had the house at Howard Beach, for quite some time because a photograph  exists of Walter in the driveway, taken when he was about three  years old.

In the 1940 Census Robert and Agnes and all their offspring were still living in Queens, New York. As well as Walter, their other children and their families appear to be living very near them on 159th Avenue, if not in the same building. These included William, Robert Jnr, Lucy and also May (Agnes). The latter must have married a James Santos in about 1930, as they had a 10 year old daughter  named May.

On 26 April 1942, Robert Goode Brazenor again filled out a draft registration card, though aged 64. He gave his date of birth as 15 November 1877, at London and his appearance was described as being white, of ruddy complexion, blue eyes, grey hair, height 5ft 5 ins, and weight 125 lbs. Agnes May Brazenor, Robert’s wife, died in Queens County New York, on 24 March 1946, aged 65. Robert passed away 1 Feb 1952, aged 74, and was buried at Brooklyn.

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