Brothers, family history

Pharaby Brothers

Today’s post is about my third great-grandmother, Pharaby Brothers. I absolutely adore her name. It’s so unusual but I love the way it rolls off the tongue. It feels so bubbly and effervescent. And it must have been popular at one time because when I was trying to search baby name sites for a meaning, I found multiple comments from others who were searching for a meaning as well after finding the name in their own family trees. I wasn’t able to find much about the name, meaning or otherwise, and I haven’t found anything to indicate that it was a family surname used as a first name. So sadly, the meaning has probably been lost to time. Unless they made bibles of baby names in the 1700’s which I doubt. So without further ado, let me introduce you to my third great-grandmother, Pharaby Brothers.

On the 2 of August, 1830, Pharaby was born to Harvey and Sarah (Gales) Brothers in Indiana. I haven’t discovered much about her early life. I know her parents were born in either North or South Carolina in around 1800. And her parents were married in 1824 in Indiana. Whether Harvey and Sarah knew each other prior to their marriage in Indiana, I’m not certain. I’m also unaware of any siblings Pharaby may have had. I think it’s safe to assume that Pharaby does indeed have siblings was typical at that time. And because of that, I’m also uncertain if Harvey and Sarah are her parents.

On 12 November 1833, Pharaby and her family would have experience The Night the Stars Fell, a great meteor shower that covered much of the United States. However, not all rejoiced in the sight. At that time, much of the country believed it was the time of a Second Great Awakening, and believed the meteor shower meant it was the end of days.

Pharaby and her parents moved from Indiana, eventually settling in Van Buren County, Iowa, located on the eastern border. It was there that Pharaby met and wed Maxey Malachi Davis on 15 December 1843. Pharaby was only thirteen. At 39, this was her husband’s second marriage. In fact, Pharaby was six months younger than her oldest step-daughter.

While they moved around frequently, they eventually settled in Toledo, Tama, Iowa. Together, they had nine children: William Wilson, b. 19 November 1847 in Toledo, Tama, Iowa; Miles Wesley, b. 4 November 1852 in Iowa City, Van Buren, Iowa; Harney E., b. 6 June 1857; Sarah Francina, b. 5 July 1859 in Lincoln, Logan, Illinois; Freemont John, b. 11 January 1861 in Aplington, Butler, Iowa; Melby Maxey, b. 15 April 1863 in Toledo, Tama, Iowa; Lewis Orval, b. 2 March 1865 in Toledo, Tama, Iowa; Harvey Elmer, b. 15 August 1867; and Perry Edward, b. 10 March 1872 in Toledo, Tama, Iowa. 

Pharaby’s experienced the loss of three of the children: Harney (uncertain of his death date), Freemont, d.  29 MAY 1891 in Oregon; and and Harvey Elmer, d. 1870 in Iowa. 

And in 1889, at the age of 59, Pharaby became a widow. Maxey Malachi was laid to rest in Rose Hill Cemetery in Tama, Iowa. Pharaby spent her later years living with her son Perry Edward and his family, before finally living alone. According to the 1910 Federal Census she lived on her own income. I feel that she would have had to have been an independent woman to be living on her own at the age of seventy-nine, and in the early years of the twentieth century. On 16 March 1917, Pharaby passed away at the age of 86. Below is her obituary from the Toledo Chronicle:

Pharaby’s Obituary:
From the Toledo Chronicle
Mrs. Pharaby Davis Died at Home Here
Friday at Advanced Age of 86

Pharaby Brothers was born in Brown County, Indiana, August 2, 1830, and departed this life March 16, 1917 aged 86 years, 7 months and 14 days.

She was married to Maxey Davis in 1844 and to this union nine children were born, six of whom are left to mourn the loss of a good Christian mother. They are: William, Miles, Milby, Levis, Edward and Mrs. A.F. Lucas, all of whom were at her bedside during her last illness except Lwis of Cold Harbor, North Dakota.

The deceased joined the Methodist church when young and always lived a helpful, devoted Christian life. She was faithful in all the services of the church until the infirmities of age prevented her from leaving her home. The words she left with her children were, “I am ready and anxious to go”.

The funeral services was held from the Methodist church Tuesday forenoon with Dr. W.L. Alexander in charge. Music was furnished by the Methodist quartet composed of Messrs. Haworth, Shadle, Giger and Adair with Mrs. Giger at the organ.

The pallbearers were H.B. Green, J.L. Lupton, F.O. Nelson, E.B. Arnold and H.G. Ross. The remains were interred in Rose Hill Cemetery.

Below is Pharaby’s gravestone from Rose Hill

Pharaby Davis

PS: As I wrote this I was completely inspired by the life Pharaby would have led. I have all of these ideas whirling around my mind for a potential book: the mystery of her early life, who her parents and siblings might be, wondering why she was married at such a young age, and why to a man old enough to be her father, wondering if he was friends with her own father! A rough outline is in the works!

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