Wednesday, January 23, 2013


onight I found in my mail the quarterly newsletter “Perry County Quarterly” published by the Perry County Historical Society in Linden, Tennessee (   To my amazement across the front page were the words THOMAS MAGRUDER BRASHEAR followed by two pages about his life. Thomas was my 2nd great grandfather (see previous blog posts at,  and  See also my post on the Maryland Genealogy Forum and its response (

Thomas Magruder Brashear (or “T.M.” as he was known) was born 19 December 1816 in Frederick County, Maryland. The Perry County Quarterly article, written by Jessie Ruth Tiller, discusses Thomas’ life starting in Perry County, Tennessee in the 1840s up until his death in 1882. While I was aware of the Census information and political/legal career of T.M. discussed by Jessie, there were other details that I did not know such as:
  • Thomas’ residence at the time of the 1850 Census was a boarding house. (1)
  • Jessie refers to an article by Barney DePriest published in the Perry Countian in November of 1924 which described Thomas Brashear’s great intelligence and knowledge of liberal arts. DePriest’s article also talks about Thomas’ love of music but inability to carry a tune. (2)  I did not know about the publication Perry Countian, so now I want to track it down.

The only problem I found with Jesse’s article is that she states that one of T.M.’s children, William M. Brashear, born 1857, died young.  My great grandfather, WILLIAM M. BRASHEAR, was Thomas’ son. He was born in May 1858 in Tennessee and died 5 March 1924 in Clinton, Oneida County, New York.  Here is a picture of his gravestone and the Brashear marker at Sunset Hill Cemetery in Clinton, New York

Brashear Family Marker
Sunset Hill Cemetery, Clinton, Oneida County, New York

William M. Brashear Gravestone
Sunset Hill Cemetery, Clinton, Oneida County, New York

Perhaps there was another William M. Brashear born in 1857 who died young. Nonetheless, William Magruder Brashear, born May 1858, was very much alive and produced five children, one of whom was my grandmother, MARTHA JANE BRASHEAR (see my blog post “Martha Brashear Taylor Ranke” (

William Brashear’s obituary was listed in the Clinton New York Courier on Wednesday, March 5, 1924. I quote in part:

Jessie states that the exact date of T.M.’s marriage to MARTHA JANE TURNER is unknown. This is true; I have tried unsuccessfully to get the exact date. It did not help that the Perry County Courthouse burned in 1863.

There are still many unknowns about T.M.’s life, such as where did he receive his legal education?  I am piecing his life together bit by bit.   I have had my DNA tested by and have countless cousin hits with the names Brashear, Magruder and Turner.  There is no doubt in my mind that I have acquired a great deal of DNA from that particular side of my family. 

T.M. was an important person in the history of Perry County and Tennessee.  Stay tuned as I unearth more clues about him!

One final note—this is a good example of why you should join the genealogy societies in the places where your ancestors lived. I may never have known about this article but for my membership in the Perry County Historical Society. Thank you, Perry County Historical Society, for taking the time to research and write an article about my 2nd great grandfather!


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Victorian Decorative Letters, 1999.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1268 Old-Time Cuts and Ornaments, 2006.


(1) Tiller, Jessie Ruth, “Thomas Magruder Brashear,” The Perry County Quarterly, December 2012, Issue 18-4, p. 1.

(2) Ibid, p. 2.

(3) Ibid, p. 2.

(4)  “William M. Brashear,” Clinton New York Courier, March 5, 1924, digital image 964145, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.

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