Samuel Perkins Brand and Martha Elizabeth Hatch Family Secrets

Samuel Perkins Brand (1849-1925) and Martha Elizabeth Hatch (1855-1933)

Samuel Begins Life in New York

Samuel Perkins Brand was born 13 Nov 1849 in Lewis County, New York. Lewis County is located in the northern part of the state, approximately in the middle. It was once a part of a much larger county, Albany, but Albany was divided into three parts in the 1700’s. It was named for a Governor of New York, Morgan Lewis.

Samuel was the oldest son of Baker Brand and Sarah Ann Higby. He had four younger sisters (Sarah Etta, Julia, Bessie, and Effie) and one younger brother (Leonard). He suffered from a mental illness for many years; the family endured several tragedies, including the death of Samuel’s sister, Bessie, when she was caught under the front of a reaper at the age of ten. As well, Samuel’s parents, Baker and Sarah, divorced in 1874 when he was 25 years old. He married the same year, but he no doubt felt a responsibility to help his mother.

Moving to Minnesota with his parents

Prior to 1870, when he was 20 years old, Samuel moved with his parents to Richland Township, Rice, Minnesota, and he can be found in the 1870 Census, living with his parents and his younger siblings. Richland Township, with a population even today of just under 500, must have been very small in the 1870’s. What Samuel and his father, Baker, did to make a living is uncertain, though Samuel is said to have been a “labourer.” In the 1880 Census, he is listed as a “Nursery Man.” Most likely he was a farm labourer, but it is not known precisely what skills he had. On his death certificate, he is listed as a “farmer.”

Marriage and Family

Samuel met Martha Elizabeth Hatch in the early 1870’s, and they were married in 1874 when Martha was 19 years old and Samuel was 25. We know little of Martha Hatch, except that she was born in Sparta, Wisconsin in 1855. She had a brother in the Civil War. In the 1930 census, she indicates that her father had been born in Massachusetts and her mother in Connecticut.

Samuel and Martha are in a census of Waseca, Waseca County, Minnesota by 1 May 1875. By this time, Samuel’s parents are divorced, his father living in Arizona and his mother remaining in Richland, Minnesota with three of his younger siblings. Waseca County is just slightly southwest of Rice County; the two counties actually border each other for a short distance.

It looks as though Samuel’s younger brother, Leonard, took over the responsibilities of his mother and sisters, while Samuel tried to start a new life elsewhere. Waseca and Richland are only about 25 miles apart, but it was probably far enough that visits with family were rare.

It is believed that Samuel and Martha may have had six children:

Was Grace actually Samuel and Martha’s Child?

By the 1880 Census, Samuel and Martha are living in Waseca, Minnesota, with their daughter, Carrie (who is three), and Grace (8 months old). Ten years later, in 1890, Grace is sent to live with her Aunt Julia in Kansas City, and she never lives with the family again. There is a possibility that Grace was the niece of Samuel and Martha, not their daughter. Etta, Samuel’s sister, may have left her mother’s home in Richland, Minnesota, and gone to live with her older brother and sister-in-law until she gave birth to Grace. Then, perhaps, she left Grace in her brother’s care and moved to Kansas City where she lived until she died in 1890. This mystery may never be resolved, but there is much evidence to suggest that Grace was the daughter of Samuel’s sister, Etta.

The following events occurred which made Grace suspicious all her Iife that Samuel and Martha were not her parents, but she never sought answers: (1) Grace did not live with Samuel and Martha after about 1888 or 1890. (2) Instead, she went to live in Kansas City with her Aunt Julia after her Aunt Etta had died and left her a house, clothes, and jewels. (3) Grace thought that she was going to Kansas City to sign some papers, but instead she remained there until adulthood. (4) Aunt Julia never married, and told Grace that her Aunt Sarah Etta wanted her middle name to be “Cuba”. (5) Grace remembers a “nice man who came to visit” her and gave her gifts; she always wondered if this man might really be her father. He was dark and very handsome. (6) The marriage certificate documents give Grace’s middle name as “Culia.” This may be an error in transcription, and it really said “Cuba.” Family speculation has always been that the name Cuba was to honor the heritage of Grace’s real father. The proof of Grace’s real parents, if they weren’t Sam and Martha Brand, is probably forever lost to time.

More Troubles for the Brands

Sam and Martha and their children cannot be found in the 1890 Census, but in 1900, Samuel P. Brand is an “inmate” in the State Hospital for the Insane No. 2 in Washington Township, Buchanan County, Missouri. He was ill for at least five years before his admittance, according to hospital records. His sister, Julia, was the one who signed the commitment papers to put Samuel in the hospital.

While Sam was in the mental institution, Martha (in the 1900 Federal Census) is living in Richmond, Ray County, Missouri, with her sons, Fred, 16 and Harvey, 3, and her two daughters, Alline, 8, and Pansy, 13. Her oldest daughter, Carrie, and her son-in-law, Harry Holman, live with her, as well as another family — A.M. Shanks, 43; Ollie Shanks, 19; and Castise Shanks, 3. Perhaps they were boarders. This must have been a difficult time for all of them, especially since Sam apparently needed hospital care long before he went into hospital. It is not known how Martha supported herself and the children.

Samuel was released from hospital in about 1907 (though there apparently were still “issues”). It appears that he suffered from paranoia.

Samuel still Struggles, but Martha Remains with Him til his Death

In the 1910 Census, Samuel (age 59) and Martha (age 55) are living in Creek, Oklahoma, with their two sons: Fred (age 27) and Harvey (age 12). Thus far, no Census records have been found of where Samuel and Martha lived between 1910 and 1925, when Samuel died. Family rumours have them in Oklahoma, Kansas City, southern Missouri, and Oregon. It is believed that at one time they lived with or near their daughter, Alline.

As the death certificate above states, Samuel died on 9 Jun 1925 in Troy, Alabama, where he is also buried. No one knows just what he was doing there. He was 76 years old. He died of a heart attack at 3:00 p.m. The death certificate listed his profession as a farmer; Fred (a son) signed the certificate as the informant.

After Samuel’s death in 1925, Martha moved to Benton, Missouri, where she lived once again with two of her sons, Fred and Harvey, who by now were 47 and 33 years old, respectively. There is no indication that either one of the sons were ever married.

Martha died on 7 May 1933 in Neosho, Missouri, at the age of 78 years. She is buried in the Hazelgreen Cemetery in Newton County. Her name is listed on the list of persons buried in that cemetery: Row 20, L South.

This page written and researched by Susan Overturf Ingraham, wife of Robert Philip Ingraham, a descendant of Samuel Perkins Brand and Martha Hatch. Page last updated on December 18, 2011.

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