To quote a song from the musical Hamilton,
“You have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story.”
I want to tell his story…
First let me say that I am neither a genealogist nor a writer. I am just a gal with an interest in my family’s history. None of this post will be properly cited (much to the chagrin of my genealogist husband). The information presented here comes from documented verbal history (Esther Brewer), separate handwritten letters from Valentine and Fred Brewer to Carl Brewer, and things found on the internet. Rest assured, though; I am 90% confident the information is accurate. (There is some confusion about the spelling of a few names, though.)
This is a story about Henry Valley Brewer.
Henry – who went by the name “Valley” – was born on March 11, 1922. Valley was the sixth child of Joseph Valentine (“Tine”) Brewer and Mary Rosalia (“Rosa”) Reed. Carl Brewer, my grandfather, was Valley’s brother. There was a 17-year age difference between the two brothers.
Valley started getting sick on Sunday, February 13, 1928. Valley’s father and another brother, Fred, also had the same illness just before Valley became sick. Both men said they had a head cold and complained of earaches, but they recovered fully. Valley also suffered from an earache, but the illness hit him a lot harder.
The sick 5-year-old boy was confined to the house for approximately 11 days, and he spent most of that time in bed. He had a bit of a reprieve from his illness on Sunday, February 20, when he got out of bed and road his tricycle inside the house. However, later that evening he became so sick that Tine and Rosa called for Dr. Shirley to come to their home. The doctor said it was a “virus in his head” causing the high temperature.
During this time Valley hadn’t eaten much of anything. His bowels hadn’t moved in five days, and he was suffering from a high fever. He became so weak he could barely raise himself in the bed. Tine stayed by his son’s side, sometimes staying up with him the entire night.
On February 23, Tine was still optimistic that his young son would recover. However, Valley passed away at 7:35 a.m. the very next morning. Valley was five years, eleven months, and seven days old. Although Valley’s death certificate lists the cause of death as Osteitis, at least two other documents state he died from Spinal Meningitis. Valley is buried along with his parents at Mount Hope Cemetery in Perryville, MO.
I hope this helps keep Valley alive in our memories.
Photo of Henry Valley Brewer – Age 4
Cemetery Information from Findagrave
Letter to Carl from Fred 2-17-28 (This is an interesting letter because it talks about boot-legging as well as Charles Lindbergh.)
Letter to Carl from Tine 2-21-28
Letter to Carl from Tine 2-23-28