Henry James McQuillen  and Ralph Waldo Brasher Sr.,

World War I Era Veterans, Both Married to Mabel Vie.

Henry J. McQuillen (left) and Ralph W. Brasher, Sr. (right)
     Click on Henry's picture for enlargement and click on Ralph's picture for unit photo.

 

"The Continuing Story Of The Vies"

by Jim Brasher, of Albuquerque, NM

    Mabel Vie, who was the youngest sister of Oliver and Archie Vie, married two veterans of World War I at different times in history. Both of these veterans were my grandfathers. Henry James McQuillen and Ralph Waldo Brasher Sr. Henry was my mother's father and Ralph was my father's father

      Henry met and married Mabel Vie sometime in 1913 while living in north St Louis near the old Kerry Patch, near fourteenth and Franklin, they had a daughter, my mother, Margaret Florence McQuillen, born Jan 17, 1915. Henry was a "save until needed soldier" as his service dates show. (Aug 30, 1918 to Dec 3, 1918) He was sent for basic training but never called up. This was a constant irritant to him, because "they ran out of Hun's" before he got to serve.

      Henry's contribution to the ww1 war effort was one of willingness rather than actual effort. He would constantly tell family and friends what he would do to those...@#$%*x+#@...Huns when he was sent "over there" to save the world from "this terrible threat to American freedom." Henry's disappointment at not serving on active duty was his Burr under his "saddle blanket" of life. His discomfort was not relieved when my grandmother, Mabel, would quote the old saying, "those also serve who sit at home and wait." Being a true Irishman, Henry was not a patient man and was known to hoist a mug or two on numerous occasions. He was born in St Louis in 1894 in the Kerry Patch where he and Mabel first met and was the son of George W. and Sinie McQuillen. He went to meet his maker in 1932 when a keg of nails fell onto his head off of a scaffold on a construction site where he was working as a carpenter. He lies at rest with other family members in north St Louis at Calvary Cemetery. Ralph Waldo Brasher Sr married for the first time in 1915, Betty Mae Brown, a local beauty in Cape Girardeau, MO and had a son and daughter, Ralph Jr b: 1916 and Nolda Mae b: 1918. Betty Mae decided in 1924 that Hollywood was the only place to be, so off she went with her new divorce and no children. It was in 1933 that Ralph Jr, my father, met and married Margaret Florence McQuillen, my mother. (May 5, 1933) It was here in the story that I made my appearance in 1935 while they were living at 1815 North Market st in north St Louis.

     It was through their son and daughter that Ralph Sr and Mabel Vie met and married in 1934. A family joke has been that even though Ralph Jr and Florence were divorced in 1949 they were still related as brother and sister. (step bro and step sis) This makes me my own first cousin.

     Ralph Waldo Sr was born in a small town at Griffin, Indiana April 11, 1894 and was one of two surviving sons of James Alfred and Laura Alice Brasher who moved to Puxico, Missouri about 1897 where his only surviving brother Walter was born in 1899. They were from a family of eight boys, six of which succumbed in infancy. By 1917 both brothers were living in St Louis where they were called to serve on active duty. Ralph's call to active duty came Sept 5, 1918. Walter disappeared from family sight when he was sent north to Washington state and didn't surface again until 1919 after the war was over. Ralph was sent south to the New Mexico/Mexico border. As I was growing up, Ralph told me many stories about army life during the great war and to me the ones about the border were the ones that seemed most exciting. His favorite story was about the Mexican revolutionaries that would taunt them from their side of the border and would then disappear when the soldiers in his unit would start to mobilize. Their taunts of "Hey Gringo, your sister is ugly and your mother's laundry is still dirty" was often a good excuse to rile the troops. This was shortly after Pancho Villa and his Banditos raided Columbus, New Mexico on the American side of the border and a time when very little fuel was needed to ignite an incident. In later life when Ralph's widowed mother remarried another man who had a daughter, he would laugh and say, "Well, I guess she is my sister and the dust sure did fly in those days."

Ralph was another soldier that felt Germany was causing the unrest along the Mexican border just like his future brother in law, Oliver Vie. It wasn't too long after that, he was shipped overseas to France. He didn't tell too many stories about that experience as he felt that some things were best forgotten. After he was discharged, Oct 28, 1919 he returned to St Louis and went to work at Browns shoe company and later opened a shoe repair store at the corner of Tower Grove and Vista. It was this small shoe store that allowed Ralph and Mabel to save enough money to buy a small 40 acre farm in the Ozarks. Ralph and Mabel were laid to rest in a small cemetery in Cuba, Missouri in 1968 just 3 months apart.

See also story about Mabel's brothers, Archie and Oliver Vie.

 

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