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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 10, No. 4
December, 1932

Page 600

Born near Hackett, in Sebastian County, Arkansas, June 18, 1861, died at Oklahoma City on August 28, 1932. Son of John Oliver Brewer, born in 1834 in Sebastian County, Arkansas, and his wife Sarah Louise Brewer, nee Council, born in Alabama. His paternal grandfather, William Lewis Brewer, a Methodist preacher, located in an early day in Sebastian County, coming from Pike County, Arkansas, where his father settled near Murfreesboro in 1818 or 1819, the Little Missouri River in said section being named by the party of settlers who came with his father from Missouri. His father was Oliver Brewer born in North Carolina in Hillsboro District, Chatham County, from where he moved to a point on the Missouri River near Boonville, and later to a point near Murfreesboro, in Pike County, Arkansas, where he died, on October 13, 1834. Married twice, by his first wife he had a son Henry Brewer, born in North Carolina, October 30, 1799, died April 30, 1875, and buried in cemetery at Murfreesboro, Arkansas, and a daughter by the name of Elizabeth, called Betsy. By the second wife, who was born on December 27, 1787, and died December 10, 1827, he had the following children: Henderson Brewer, born December 15, 1804, coming to Pike County, in Arkansas Territory, with his father and afterwards removing to a point in Northwest Arkansas. The said William Lewis Brewer, born October 3, 1809, near Boonville, Missouri, coming with his father Oliver Brewer to Pike County, Arkansas, died March 1, 1871, in Sebastian County, Arkansas, and is buried at Mt. Olive Cemetery at Midland, Arkansas. His wife was Elizabeth Sorrells, daughter of George Washington Sorrells who coming from Westmoreland County, Virginia, was one of the early judges of Scott County, Arkansas. Another son by the second wife was James Stephen Brewer, born in Pike County, Arkansas, July 26, 1811. The following daughters were by the second wife: Lucinda, born in Missouri, December 13, 1813, whose first husband was John M. Dixon. After his death she married Abijah Davis. Another daughter was Rebecca Brewer, born in Missouri, January 12, 1815. Her first husband was named Sorrells; her second was named Griffin; her third was named Orrick; and her fourth named Barrentine. Another daughter was Mary Brewer, born March 15, 1820, in Pike County, Arkansas. She died March 14, 1841. Another daughter was Mathilda Brewer, born April 3, 1823, died March 31, 1841. Another daughter was Luvisa Brewer, born December 7, 1825. She married Major William Preston, who in an early day was engaged in the mercantile business in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. They had a son who was a distinguished officer in the Confederate Army. The dates of the births and deaths of the said Oliver Brewer and his wife and children are secured from an old family Bible in the possession of Mrs. Cora Rountree, of Murfreesboro, Pike County, Arkansas, who is a descendant of Lucinda Brewer. On the inside of the old leather bound volume appears in faded ink the following words: "Lucinda Davis—her book." On the front page of the Bible appears the following:

"Published by Waugh and T. Mason, for the Methodist Episcopal Church at the Conference Office, 14 Crosby Street,

J. Collard, Printer.

Brewer Owens, who was raised by his grandfather, Henry Brewer, says that his said grandfather told him that Oliver Brewer, the original Arkansas settler of their family, had a daughter by his first wife whose

Judge Phil D. Brewer

Page 601

name he does not remember and who was a full sister to said Henry Brewer, and that after her marriage she moved to the west, probably to Oregon. He recalls correspondence with her family after the Civil War but such letters have been lost. John H. Haynes, of Hope, Arkansas, is a descendant of Henry Brewer, his grandmother's name being Lucinda Brewer. The Hon. Earl Brewer, formerly Governor of Mississippi, was also descended from the Brewers who came from Chatham County, North Carolina. The Brewers were of English descent, first settling in Virginia, their land grant being located in what is still known as "Brewer's Neck," which is between Brewer's and Chuckatuck Creeks, the patent being to John Brewer, who was a member of the House of Burgesses for Wamick River 1629-30. He was also Commissioner, being a member of the Council in 1632, dying somewhere about 1635. His will has been published in Waters Gleanings in the New England Historical & Genealogical Register, the recital being: "Will of John Brewer, citizen and grocer of London. 4th September 1631. Proved (in England) 13th May 1636." It shows that his father was named Thomas Brewer and that he had a son by the name of John Brewer, to whom was willed his plantation in Virginia called "Standley Hundred," and refers to another plantation called "Brewer's Borugh." His wife was named Mary. He had a son by the name of Roger Brewer, and a daughter named Margaret Brewer. He also had a brother named Thomas Brewer. He had an uncle named Roger Drake, obviously his mother being a Drake. The Brewer family from which Philip Doddridge Brewer was descended branched out from Virginia, settling in North Carolina, the Missouri Brewers coming from North Carolina. The father of Judge Philip D. Brewer, John Oliver Brewer, was named after his grandfather Oliver Brewer, and some say that he was also named John Oliver Brewer. O. J. M. Brewer, of Heavener, Oklahoma, is a son of William C. Brewer, full brother of John O. Brewer of Sebastian County, Arkansas. There is a division in the narration as to how the Brewer family came from near Boonville Missouri, to Arkansas; one branch of the family saying they came down what was called the "Old Buffalo Trail," by way of Little Rock, which was afterwards surveyed and called the "Military Road," and that by said trail the Brewers and their fellow settlers came from Missouri with ox teams settling near Murfreesboro in Pike County, Arkansas, about 1818 or 1819. The other account is that said party floated down the Missouri River to and down the Mississippi River, to and thence up Red River disembarking at a point near Fulton, Arkansas, and settling at a point near Murfreesboro in Pike County, Arkansas. In any event this party were among the first settlers in said section in Arkansas Territory.

At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 Judge Philip D. Brewer's father, John Oliver Brewer, was county surveyor of Sebastian County, Arkansas. He enlisted in the Union Army, serving in that capacity until 1863 when he died, being buried in the Union Soldier's section in the cemetery at Fayetteville, Arkansas.

His mother Sarah Louise Council, who was born in Alabama, came to Arkansas in 1858 whilst a girl, and married his father at a point near Hackett. His father dying in his infancy he and his mother continued to reside in the community, struggling against the adversities and vicissitudes, following the war. She died in 1913 at the age of eighty-three years and is buried in Hackett, Arkansas.

Being anxious to secure an education, the opportunities for which were meager on account of the devastation occasioned by the Civil War in that section, having attended available local schools, in 1877 he entered Asbury College, now DePauw University, at Greencastle, Indiana, where he was a student for a short while. This constituted all educational advantages except what he received at home and through his own personal efforts as a self-educator. Being ambitious to become a lawyer he studied at home and under the occasional tutorship of the Hon. J. S. Little, of Greenwood, Arkansas, State Prosecuting Attorney for that Circuit, and later Circuit Judge, Congressman, and Governor. Judge Philip

Page 602

D. Brewer was admitted to the bar after an examination in open court at Greenwood, Arkansas, on December 20, 1886. J. A. Hale, who was afterwards his law partner, and C. D. James, were admitted to the bar in the same order. He opened an office at Hackett, practicing in the Circuit Court at Greenwood and Fort Smith and at other points. He was elected as a Democrat to the Lower House of the Arkansas State Legislature at an election held in the fall of 1890, serving during that session which extended from January 12th, to April 3, 1891. Continuing in the active practice of the law with an office at Hackett, when the United States Court was established at Cameron, Indian Territory, in 1895, he opened an office at that point, under the firm name of Brewer & Hale, the junior member being James L. Hale, who now resides at Poteau, Oklahoma. He retained his residence and office at Hackett for a short while, dividing his time with the Cameron office, until he disposed of pending litigation on the Arkansas side. In the fall of 1895 he removed to Cameron to take care of growing business on the Indian Territory side, where he remained until the fall of 1897, then removing to McAlester, Indian Territory, and engaging in the practice of the law there under the firm name of Hale & Brewer, the senior member of said firm being the late Jap A. Hale. At the termination of this partnership he engaged in the practice of the law there under the firm name of Horton & Brewer, the senior member being William J. Horton. Later this partnership being dissolved he continued the practice of the law there under the firm name of Brewer & Andrews, the junior member being Guy L. Andrews. In 1909 he was appointed by the Governor as Judge of the Superior Court for Pittsburg County, which office had recently been created by an act of the Legislature. In 1910 having been elected for a full term to said office he continued in that capacity until he was appointed to the Supreme Court Commission in 1911. On August 1, 1911, he removed to Oklahoma City, having qualified as Supreme Court Commissioner, all the time being a presiding judge of a division and holding such office by reappointment, until he resigned in 1916 to engage in the practice of the law in Oklahoma City under the firm name of Vaught & Brewer, the senior member being Edgar S. Vaught now United States Judge for the Western District of Oklahoma, and so continued in the practice of the law until his retirement in 1926 on account of his health, the firm being at that time Everest, Vaught & Brewer.

The opinions prepared by him on the appellate court in reasoning, statement, and language disclosed a sound judicial capacity, learning and grasp of marked distinction. In the practice of the law in the Capital City he appeared only occasionally in the trial courts, being constantly engaged before the Supreme Court of the State, United States Circuit Courts of Appeal and Supreme Court of the United States, when not engrossed as a counselor, in all of which his work and achievements were of the first order.

He was a Mason, becoming a member of the Grand Lodge of the Indian Territory in 1898 at Wynnewood, later serving as Grand Orator, Grand Senior Warden, and Deputy Grand Master.

In 1903 he was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, A. F. & A. M. of Indian Territory, serving one year. He had also served as Worshipful Master of his local lodge. He received the Master Mason's degree in October, 1882, in Amity Lodge No. 267 at Hackett, Arkansas, serving as a Deputy Grand Master in the Arkansas jurisdiction. He received all degrees of Masonry from the third to the thirty-second and the Scottish Rite Consistory at McAlester, Oklahoma, and was a member of India Temple Shrine, Oklahoma City.

In politics he was a Democrat. In 1900 he became a member of the Indian Territory Democratic Central Committee and so continued until 1904. In his quiet but effective way for years he participated in the Democratic organization activities. At McAlester he served a number of years as a member of the school board.

A successful business man and a lawyer, for a number of years

Page 603

he was a director of the First National Bank of McAlester, and after retiring from the Supreme Court Commission, engaging in the active practice of the law, he participated in the organization of, and became a director of the Liberty National Bank of Oklahoma City, so continuing until his death. For a number of years he was its general counsel.

In early life he became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, for years a member of the Board of Stewards of St. Luke's Methodist Church at Oklahoma City, and at the time of his death a trustee.

He also took an active interest in the Oklahoma Historical Society, having been for years prior to his death a Vice-President and Director. He was a member of the committee appointed by the Oklahoma Historical Society at an annual meeting, and approved by the Legislature, to act jointly with the State Board of Affairs in the construction of the Oklahoma Historical Building, his name being carved on the corner stone as a member of said committee.

He was a member of the Oklahoma Golf & Country Club and Men's Dinner Club at Oklahoma City.

Whilst on all occasions displaying an admirable dignity, yet at times he disclosed a sense of quiet humor that was refreshing. His attitude towards early friends, especially those from the environs of his native country, evidenced highest appreciation of the refinements of friendship.

Able, well poised and open,—frank, firm but kind,—he faithfully met every obligation to his fellow man, country, Church and God. As a faithful and dependable friend, kind and loving husband, and foster father and grandfather he will be remembered. As an ethical lawyer and upright judge he was of the first rank, excelling not only in ability but also in character.

Married on November 25, 1894, at Hackett, Arkansas, he is survived by his widow, Mrs. Anna L. Brewer. In his death the state lost one of its best citizens.


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