James A. Brakebill was an important early resident of Hickory County. He arrived in the county in the early 1860s and was a relatively wealthy farmer (property valued at $3500 and personal property valued at $800) living in Center township in August, 1870, when the Census was taken. James was elected county assessor for Hickory County on November 6, 1866, and was re-elected in 1868. In November 1886, James was elected judge of the Hickory County Circuit Court, resigning in March 1888.[Source: Wilson's History, pp.5-6]
James' obituary, published in The Index on April 11, 1895, testifies to his role in the community:
OBITUARY. Died, at his home in Preston, March 31, 1895 at 5 o’clock A. M., James A. Brakebill, in the 66th year of his age. Deceased was born in Monroe county, Tenn., March 2nd 1820 and moved with his family to Mo. and has been a resident of Hickory county for more than 30 years. He was father of eleven children, two preceeded him to the better world. He leaves a wife, five sons and four daughters to mourn his departure. Mr. Brakebill was the Sr. proprietor of the Roller Mills at Preston, his sons and A. A. Liggett being his partners. His death is a great loss to the community in which he lived but to his family it is a loss that is irreparable. His children looked to him for counsel from the oldest down to the least and strong ties of love bound them together and many silent tears will be shed, but when death comes those ties of love must be broken. He was so good and kind to his family and was a good neighbor and citizen and was ever ready to help the poor. May the Lord bless the mother and the dear children in their affliction. A. Friend.
Wilson's History of Hickory County provides the following description of the James A. Brakebill family" [annotations in brown submitted by Fran Childers, a descendant of this family]
James A. Brakebill was born in Monroe county, Tenn., Mar. 2, 1830, and is now deceased. Mary A. Moser was born in the year 1835, in Monroe county, Tenn. James A. Brakebill and Mary A. Moser were married in Monroe county, Tenn., Jan. 16, 1853, by Lewis Carter.
1. Henry Holston, was born in Monroe county, Tenn., Aug. 31, 1854, and died at Preston, Mo., about Aug. 1895.
2. Jacob Buchanan, was born in Monroe county, Tenn., Dec. 25, 1856, and died in Hickory county, about 1883. Died 1889 in Cross Timbers.
3. John William, was born in Jasper county, Iowa, Aug. 2, 1859. Died 1932 in Redlands, San Bernardino, CA.
4. Etna Ann was born in Hickory county, Mo., Jan. 2, 1863. Married a LIGGETT and died in 1898 in Hickory county.
5. Iona, was born in Hickory county, Mo., Feb. 10, 1865. Died 1868 in Hickory county.
6. Ofie Jane, was born in Hickory county, Mo., Mar. 9, 1867. Married a LIGGETT and died 1952 in Hickory county.
7. James A., was born in Hickory county, Mo., Aug. 22, 1870. Died 1949 in Hickory county.
8. U. S. P. V., was born near Cross Timbers, Oct. 28, 1872. Ulysses S. Grant Brakebill died 1941 in Oakland, Alameda county, CA.
9. Minnie D., was born near Cross Timbers, Feb. 6, 1875. Married a PIPER and died in 1916 in Hickory county.
10. Bruno, was born near Cross Timbers, July 11, 1878. Died 1953 in Riverside county, CA.
11. Mone, the youngest daughter, now lives with her mother and brother, James. A., at Preston, but we have been unable to procure date of her birth, and the copy of the Family Record furnished does not give dates of deaths. Named "Mauna Loa", died 1962 in Hickory county. [pp.112-113]
On March 7, 1888, John W. Brakebill married Marie Kittel, both of Cross Timbers, at the residence of W. M. Jenkins, Minister of the Gospel. A combined Kittel-Brakebill family photo is below.
These photos and captions provided by Fran Childers. Page design and additional information provided by Ginny Sharp, February 2005.
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