biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
HARRY BREWER, an Iowa pioneer of 1842, and one of the best known citizens of Des Moines Township, owns and occupies a valuable farm estate of 340 acres located on section 12 He is a native of Chenango County, N. Y., born Nov. 19, 1815, and is a son of Henry and Lucinda (Johnson) Brewer, both natives of the Empire State. His grandfather, John Brewer, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and was one of the early settlers of New York. The father of Harry was by trade a wagon-maker and carpenter. In 1834 the family came west, and located in Fulton County, Ill. They only remained there about three months, during which time the elder Brewer worked at carpentering in Canton, while Harry worked for a Mr. Rose, at Farmington, the same length of time. The family then moved to Sterling, Whiteside Co., Ill., where the parents subsequently died. Harry remained at Sterling until the spring of 1842, when he came to Van Buren County, Iowa, and remained one year. In the last week of April, 1843, he came to Mahaska County, and camped on Muchachinock Creek, where he now lives. In company with three other men, with some provisions and an ax carefully concealed in a pack, he was permitted to pass the outposts of the soldiers into the county, but with the promise that he would do no work until the expiration of the Indian title on the 30th day of April, 1843. On arriving here our subject found on the place a small Indian hut made of poles, which he used as his home for three weeks, or until he could get a cabin built. A large tract of land was claimed by Mr. Brewer and the three already mentioned, which they divided up into four quarters, drawing lots for the choice, Mr. Brewer drawing the quarter section on which he now liyes. For several weeks after he came to this county he made his bread with flour and water, without salt, cooking it in a piece of elm bark before the fire. After the Indians left the country, Mr. Brewer proceeded to improve his claim, breaking ten acres of land the first year. At this time he had but two yoke of oxen, a few articles of household furniture, and was $25 in debt. He lived in the log cabin which he first erected for one year, with neither floor nor door. On the 13th day of March, 1844, Mr. Brewer, finding it not good to be alone, was united in marriage with Miss Helen M., a daughter of William C. and Sarah (Hill) Adams. She was born in Licking County, Ohio, while her parents were natives of Pennsylvania. Mr. and Mrs. Brewer have had nine children; seven of whom are now living: Sarah E., born Feb. 24, 1845, is now the wife of Finley McGrew, of Van Buren County; William Henry, born Oct. 17, 1847, died April 21, 1863; George W., born Feb. 22, 1850, is in the mercantile business at Given; Frank P., born Oct. 26, 1852, and Edward D., Feb. 26, 1855, are residing in Jefferson Township; Lucius W., born April 16, 1858, is engaged in farming in Dallas County, Iowa; Mary Florence, born September 29, 1860, died in September, 1862; John Elmer, born Aug. 11, 1867, and Albert H., May 13, 1870, reside at home with their parents. Mr. and Mrs. Brewer are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Harry Brewer has been honored by his fellow-citizens with various local offices, serving two terms as Justice of the Peace and four terms as Township Trustee. He believes in seeing something of the world, and has made three trips to California. In the winter of 1885-86, he visited the World's Exposition at New Orleans. Success has bountifully attended him. He has given three of his sons good farms, and still has his ample and beautiful homestead upon which to pass his declining years. He came to this county a poor man, and what he has attained has been secured by industry, economy and good management. Being one of the first settlers of the county, it can well be seen that he has endured all the toils and privations of pioneer life, while living to witness the great changes that have been made, not only in this county, but throughout the state and Nation. That his last days here upon earth may be his best and happiest is the wish of everyone who knows him.
Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy