Willis Brumley – life his way, he had four wives and six children and lived a life of questions. I have been on his trail since the early 1980’s as my mother, Nancy Gertrude Brumley Weik and I tried to put the pieces of his life together. We have had some success but now it is just myself trying to put this jigsaw puzzle together.
The information I have gathered just leads to more questions than answers. I am going to share and update what I have in hopes that someone will read this and contact me that knows anything about Willis Brumley.
Willis is my great-great-grandfather he was born about 1824 in Missouri. At this writing, I think his parents were James Brumley and Eleanor “Nellie” Crismon, but I have no concrete evidence that connects him to James.
Willis was married to his first wife, Mary “Polly” Johns February 25, 1844, in Gasconade County, Missouri. They had four children together, William “Bill” 1847, Nancy Ann “Aunt Coon” 1850, Amanda Elizabeth “Mandy” 1855 and John Brumley 1860. It is not clear if Polly died after giving birth to her last child John or if it was a later date. I have been unable to find her gravesite or any of her relatives over the years. So that is my first question mark on Willis. I found two of Willis’ grandchildren that were children of his son John Brumley, Effie and Edna. They provided some information about what they knew of his life but there were still more questions.
I do know in July of 1863 in Saint Louis he registered for the Civil War and it stated that he was a widower with children and living in Mount Sterling, Gasconade, Missouri. I have been unable to find if he actually served in the Civil War. He either had too many obligations at the time or could find no one to take care of his children. Polly Johns Brumley must have died sometime after 1860.
On June 12, 1864, he married for the second time to Sarah Lane/Jane Shockley in Gasconade County. I have discovered no children born to this union. I have no more information on her except the marriage record. Another question mark for Willis.
Willis married for the third time to Nancy J Vaughn-Lowery/Loughry-Lewis/Louis on September 26, 1868, in Osage County, Missouri. Willis and Nancy had two children, Alice Florence 1869 and my great-grandfather, Isaac Walter Brumley in 1875. This is perplexing because of the seven-year gap between siblings. Nancy had other children from her prior two marriages, Edward, Martha and Charlesann “Annie” Loughry and Julia E Lewis/Louis. My mother and I had thought for years that Delalin Foster Harris was my great-grandfather’s mother. I have discovered in the U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index 1936-2007 that he said his mother’s name was Nancy Lowery. Still, I have questions about who his mother really was Nancy or Delalin.
I think Willis was working on the railroad when they traveled to Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska and where Isaac Walter was born. I don’t know what happened to Nancy if she died or they divorced or if she remained in Nebraska. I have not found a gravesite for Nancy or know of any marriages after Willis.
This is where it really gets tricky. Willis married for the fourth time to Delalin Foster Harris on February 22, 1874, in Osage County, Missouri.
It states on Isaac Walter’s Death Certificate that he was born in 1875 but that he married Delalin in 1874. Walter’s third wife is the one who filled out the information at the time of his death so she may not have known the correct year.
I have determined that Willis must have died sometime around 1899 in Maries County, Missouri and is buried in the Kenner Cemetery near Hayden. There is no information about dates on his headstone. I do not find him on any census after 1900. I have never found a picture of him and to this date, no relatives have any pictures of him.
I have started my blog back up again with updated information. If you have any information on Willis Brumley please contact me through this blog. If you like this blog please spread the word.