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Recently my mother-in-law, Irene, gave us a pewter toothpick holder with a weighted bottom that she said is a souvenir from the World’s Fair.  When I heard about it I remembered reading that Irene’s grandparents went to a World’s Fair:

C.E.Garee (Ed) went by rail (and others) to Stockton, MO and married Eva Dunaway in Stockton.  They returned to Noble by rail attending the World’s Fair in St. Louis for their honeymoon and then visiting the Wiggins and Aunt Rhoda Garee in Kansas on the way to Noble…” (source: Elizabeth Bullard, Ed & Eva’s daughter)

So, I figured the toothpick holder was their souvenir.  When I saw that on one side it is engraved “St. Louis 1904″ and on the other it says “Maye”, I knew this was not their souvenir.  Ed & Eva were married in Stockton, Missouri but on October 15, 1897 and then the name “Maye” indicates this belonged to someone else.  All of this information left us wondering who was the original owner of this well used toothpick holder.

Click to enlarge

A few days later my mother-in-law sent me an email that said:

I’ve been thinking about this toothpick holder..and I think I know who bought it.

Grandma and Grandpa (Garee) had some friends..their age..and the woman’s name was Maye. I bet when she died….Grandma was given this pewter cup. Their names were James and Maye Brosius…and they lived two doors down from Mother (Elizabeth). They were fairly well off…had no children..and not unlikely they would have been the ones who bought it.

When I read this email I remembered seeing the surname Brosius in the Noble history that Elizabeth Bullard nee Garee had written in 1974.  When I read it more carefully I understood that Maye Brosius’ connection to Noble was just as strong as the Garee connection.  Here are some of those entries:

No history of a town would be complete without including a record of the schools. The first school was a subscription school lasting only a few months. According to Mrs. L.J. Brosius (Maye Klinglesmith Brosius) her aunt, Miss Mary Anne Klingesmith, taught the first school but the Norman Transcript on January 4th, 1890 printed “Mrs. G.W. Henderson Noble’s school teacher was a pleasant caller at the Transcript Office Saturday as last week. As Mrs. Brosius moved to Noble her with her family in January 1890. I’m inclined to believe Mrs. Henderson was the first teacher!

Another viewing the efforts of those plunging into a rolling river, Mrs. Kathryn Prater, and she was a sister of C.P. & J.W. Klinglesmith, watched from the red hill in north Purcell, the run and to her it seemed “so silly as to want some of that bare prairie”. Five Klinglesmith men L.P., Billie, Ambrose, C. P., and J.W. were very prominent men in the new town and surrounding area serving as Justice of Peace, Notary Public, Blacksmith, Undertaker and Charter member of the first church in Noble.

Maye K Brosius wrote that Noble took on new life when our father C.E. Garee with two partners built a suspension bridge over the So. Canadian river joining Cleveland and McClain counties at Noble.

With this additional information I began researching them and found that Lewis James Brosius was born October 10, 1880 in Missouri.   Ora “Maye” Kinglesmith, daughter of C.P. (Charles Philip) & Mattie, was born March 26, 1880 in Illinois.  Lewis, or perhaps he went by James, and Maye married when they were 24, in 1904 or early 1905.  I did not find them listed in the Missouri marriage indexes but did find Ed & Eva’s marriage license.  Since Lewis & Maye were likely married in 1904, I wonder if they went to the World’s Fair in St. Louis for their honeymoon.

The Brosius’ lived only a few houses away from the Garee’s throughout their lives and are buried in the IOOF Noble Cemetery.  Lewis died October 22 1961 and Maye died July 30, 1957.  Since Eva died in 1961 it may be, as my mother-in-law suggests, that some of Maye’s things were given to her and then passed on to Eva’s daughter, Elizabeth.

Update:

My mother-in-law’s brother recalled that the Brosius’ maintained an outdoor pit toilet because they didn’t connect to the sewer line in Noble until very later.  Interestingly though, my mother-in-law indicated that when the Brosiuses died, they left the Noble Methodist Church quite a bit of money.  Maye was one of its Charter Members, as was Eva Garee.

Eva’s daughter, Elizabeth, told her daughter, my mother-in-law, what things to save when she was gone.  One of the items was a pink marble table that had been the Brosius’.   A few years ago, the table itself broke but the pink marble top is still in my mother-in-law’s living room.

Ed & Eva Garee, according to their grandson Robert, did attend the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair when Stella, their daughter, was living there.

Further Reading:

  1. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture entry on Noble cites Mrs. Brosius’ book as a source and references CE Garee
  2. A symposium of Noble, Oklahoma, by Noble Future Homemakers of America, May Klinglesmith Brosius, Merle Austin Turner [and] Mary Leslie Ishmael, 1957.
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