Biography of Mrs. Lucinda J. Brearley

In a history of the settlement of a state there is usually but slight reference made to the part which the women have taken in its development. This is, of course, due to the more active connection of the pioneer men with public life, while the wives, mothers and daughters are concerned in the duties of home making. Great credit, however, is due the brave pioneer women, who stand courageously by the side of husbands and fathers, sharing with them in the hardships and dangers which accompany the development of a new section; nor is their influence a minor factor in the social, educational and moral life of the community, and therefore the names of such esteemed pioneer ladies as Mrs. Brearley well deserve a place by the side of those of the men who have laid the foundations for the growth and prosper-ity of a newly developed region.

Her husband, John Brearley, was the pioneer banker of Lewiston, and for many years was connected with its business interests. He was born in Hudson, Michigan, in 1839. His parents being early settlers of that state. In 1855 he crossed the plains with an ox team and spent several years in Sacramento. In 1862 he removed to Elk City, where he engaged in mining, making considerable money, after which he purchased the express business between that place and Lewiston, carrying the express on horseback through the summer months, while in the winter he made the journey on snowshoes. He also learned assaying at Lewiston, and bought out the assay business of John Proctor. In this way he became acquainted with the miners, from them purchased gold, and at the urgent solicitation of his good wife he opened the first bank in the town, known as John Brearley’s Bank. This he successfully conducted up to the time of his death. He was very liberal in his methods, thoroughly reliable in his dealings and progressive in his management of the affairs of the bank, and thus he prospered at the same time giving to the people of the com-munity a safe place of deposit for their surplus earnings. He also successfully engaged in stock raising and in the meat business, and in fact carried forward to successful consummation whatever he undertook, his industry and capable management being most marked. He died in 1883, at the age of forty-four years, and after his death his brother, N. W. Brearley, and W. F. Kettenbach, who had been employed in the bank, organized as its successor the Lewiston National Bank, which has been a paying investment and is now doing a good business.

Mrs. Brearley was in her maidenhood Miss Lucinda Jane Hatton, and she was born in Indiana, August 14, 1835. Her father, John Hatton, was of English descent, and with his family he started across the plains in 1852, but unfortunately died on the way, at Burned river. Mrs. Brearley was thus in a measure thrown upon her own resources. She went to the home of a relative in Vancouver, and in 1865 went with a lady friend to Florence and thence to Lewiston. Here she worked for Mrs. Grostein and later gave her hand in marriage to Mr. Brearley, proving to him a most faithful companion and helpmeet. They became the parents of three children, but their only son, John, died at the age of ten years. Frankie became the wife of Isaac B. Gray, who for some years was mate on the steamer Lewiston. Phoebe is the wife of Captain John Akin, a pilot on the Clearwater River. After the death of her husband Mrs. Brearley had to obtain possession of and manage her share of the estate, which she has done with considerable ability, but not without meeting with serious difficulties. Most of these, however, she has overcome and is now the owner of some valuable property. She is greatly esteemed for her sterling worth, and has many friends in the community where she has so long resided.


Biography, Women,

Illustrated History of the State of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1899.

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