Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Written by Roland Brees

Delbert (Del) Breese was born on the Brees Homestead in the Alert Community of Riley County Kansas on August 5th, 1875. Delbert was the 10th of 11 children of Watson and Sarah Ann Dugan Brees with only Zennie, who was born on April 21, 1881, being younger. Three of Delbert's older siblings, Joseph, Sylvester, and Martha, died about 1870 during one of the periodic epidemics which swept the state, and a 4th, William, Died of similar causes probably about 1879.
Delbert grew up and attended grade school in the Alert community where he helped his father farm. Delbert married Lucy Ann Stone on March 6, 1895. Lucy was the daughter of Thomas Dudley Stone who had been a Confederate soldier in the Civil War and who was a descendant of Thomas Stone who signed the Declaration of Independence. The irony of this is that Delbert's father, Watson, had served in the Union Army. There was a report that Thomas and Watson didn't get along, but doubt is cast on this by the fact that a D. Stone signed a decaration for pension for Watson in 1907. Thomas Dudley went by Dudley. Delbert and Lucy were married in Clay Center, Ks and on the way to Clay Center, they met John August Wickstrum and Hattie Belin, also from the Alert Community, who were on their way back from Clay Center where they had just been married. The significance of this is that Delbert's and lucy's son, Dudley, later married Florence, the daughter of John and Hattie.
After their marriage, Delbert and Lucy and , in March 1896, their first born, Dudley Clark, lived for a time in the original dugout that Watson had constructed when he first arrived in Kansas to homestead. Later, Del's family moved into the farmhouse with Watson. By this time, Del was doing most of the farming on the homestead as Watson was in his late sixties and the other sons had all left home.
In November of 1897, Del's younger sister, Zennie, 16, died after an illness of about 2 weeks duration of a complication of diseases. It should be noted that she had suffered serious infury in August of the same year when she was thrown from a horse and this probably contributed to her death. In March of 1899, Del's mother, Sarah, died after an illness of a very short time.
In August of 1910, Del's father, Watson, suffered an illness from which he never fully recovered and in November he had another attack which left him almost helpless. Despite his infirities, he remained cheerful to the last. Watson died on March 21, 1911 and he is buried in the Mayday, Kansas Cemetery alongside Sarah and Zennie.
Watson was the last of the old settlers in the Alert Community and was loved and respected by all. His house was just up the hill from the Alert School and on occasion he would come down to the school and the children would all gather around him much as if her were an affectionate grandfather. They enjoyed his company and he enjoyed their's.
Upon Watson's death, Delbert inherited the farm but with the stipulation that the other children of Watson's would receive a cash settlement. Delbert mortgaged the farm in order to obtain the necessary money, and when he was unable to repay the money, he lost the farm.
Meanwhile, Delbert's brother, Albert, had moved to Council Grove, Ks in 1919 where he had an orchard among other things. Delbert moved to Council Grove and started a dairy in the same general area which is known as Sample Town. In 1920, Delbert's son, Didley, who had just married Florence Wickstrum, joined the family enterprise in Council Grove. The venture, however, was short lived as a disease struck the dairy herd and it had to be destroyed.
From the southwest, meanwhile, had come glowing reports of lots of money to be earned by growing pinto beans with most of this information coming from Delbert's sister, Mary Ann (Maggie) and her husband, Asher Schoonover, who were living at Mr. Dora, New Mexico. Accordingly, Delbert and Lucy along with their children took off for New Mexico. Joining them were Dudley and Florence Brees and Delbert's daughter Ida Mae Erickson and husband, Ernest, and daughters Mildred and Evelyn. The report of the ability to grow large crops was true to an extent as the area had been experiencing an unusual wet spell in recent years and large yields could be realized the first year that the sod was busted up. However, when the rainfall returned to normal, the thin soil would blow and crops were destroyed. Indeed, New Mexico of the 1920's was a harbinger of the dust bowl days that would cover the great plains in the 1930's and the group was unable to raise enough of a crop to even pay for their seed and they lost their collateral.
Delbert and Lucy, Dudley and Florence (with Delbert's first grandson, Waldo, who had been born in New Mexico), and Ida and Ernie and family all returned to Kansas where Delbert and Lucy started running a boarding house in Leonardville which had belonged to Thomas Dudley Stone. Delbert continued in the dairy business by having a small herd at the old slaughter house west of Leonardville and later, in northeast leonardville. He also did odd jobs around town and worked in the WPA in the thirties.
Delbert died in January of 1963 and Lucy died in December of the same year. Both are buried in the Leonardville Cemetery.
It has been reported on good authority that Delbert would keep a bottle of whiskey in the oat bin in his barn which he would occassionally sample and share with others.

Thomas Dudley Stone

Is this our Thomas Stone?

Watson's Civil War Regiment

Great info. Tells of all the battles they were in.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Alice Clark has started up the DNA project for the Breese name. She is interested in getting some Breese males tested to see what line they fall under. Sounds like an interesting project and I'd love to hear how it goes! Please click on the link at top "Breese Surname DNA Project" for more information.

Friday, December 02, 2005


This is a useful website. I haven't used it in a few years, but I found alot of info on it when I did. I will need to start searching through it again to see if anything new has popped up!


I am going to post an email I got from Alice Clark. I've corresponded with her a couple of times and she is trying to make a connection from her Breese's to Watson Clark Brees. She also is wanting Brees men to do a dna test to see what line they are from. I'll post her dna link as soon as she gets it to me. Here's her email, if you know of these people, please let us know!

Hi again, Tanya.
I am descended from Moses Breese, who was born in New Jersey around
1775, traveled through PA and settled in Butler County OH, then moved to
Delaware Co., IN, where he died in 1847. His daughter, Nancy, married
Richard Clark in 1824 in Butler County, and they had 6 children.
I have been intrigued by your Moses Clark Breese, born in Indiana, and
one senses there could be a connection. A photo I have of Moses Clark
Breese seems to bear a resemblance to my GG grandfather, son of the
above Nancy and Richard.
I have corresponded with Wilda Sweigard, a descendant of another Breese
line. She has put together some suggestive information about 4 men
named Breese. We do not know their connection to one another, although
it is easy to speculate that they may have been brothers. Some of the
info from Wilda:

1751-1780 Timothy, Moses, David and John all say born in Morris County, NJ.
1786 - Timothy on tax records in Westmoreland Co, PA - all children say
born there
1790 - Timothy in Westmoreland under name of Brace
1793 - Moses, David and John in military census of Morris Co, NJ
1800 - Moses, David and John in Westmoreland (did they move out to join
1810-1820 - Moses, John and David begin to show on tax records - Butler
Co, OH
1820 - Timothy has been in Franklin Co, IN, Butler Co OH and Hamilton Co. OH
1820 - Moses in Butler, John in Sullivan Co, IN, didn't find David,
Timothy in Hamilton OH
1830 - Timothy in Franklin Co, IN, Moses and David in Butler Co, OH,
John in Greene, IN
1840 - Timothy not found but he tells pension that he was in Preble Co, OH
1840 - John has died, David is in Butler Co, OH
1847 - Timothy dies in Lee Co, IA, Moses dies in Butler Co
1850 and 1860 - David is in Hancock Co, IN

Tanya, is your husband related to any of these 4? The reason I am
looking for volunteers for DNA test is that it would show exactly who
(among today's descendants of any Breese men) is related to whom. We
could see if Timothy, Moses, David and John were relatives or just
happened to be in the same place at the same time. We could also tie
their decendants together with any other Breese families. So even if
your husband knows his direct line, he might be able to find other
relatives through the test.

In any event, I'd be very interested in any information you may have run
across on any of the above Breeses, or any leads on how to pursue these