Joseph Brothers

Joseph Brothers was the seventh child of William and Mary Brothers. William was born March 10 1847 in Allegheny Co. Pennsylvania. William was a brick maker. He married Mary Isabelle Heckard on Jan. 13, 1870.  His military records describe him as 5’9″ with black eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion. The family lived in Newton, Iowa, New Zealand, Oregon, Washington and California. After William’s death in 1924, Mary married Robert Moore in 1925.

Joseph Brothers was born on June 19, 1859 at Newton, Iowa and died May 26, 1923 at La Center, Washington. Joe was a life-long farmer and enjoyed the outdoors. He enjoyed journaling details of family life, and we have him to thank for many of the Brothers family history details. During 1917 he served the La Center Community as a notary public. He also was a justice of the peace, and served in both capacities for many years. Uncle Joe also owned the first Telephone Company in La Center.


The Brothers family move to La Center was sometime early in the decade of the 1880’s. The family bought the homestead farm from one of the Bartlett brothers who had been in the same wagon train west with Magilbra Anderson. Mrs. Bartlett was a sister of Grandmother Caroline Anderson. Both were daughters of the Reverend Williams in Illinois.

The farm in La Center was worked by the sons of William. William used his time for exploring the wilderness about him. His strolls about the land were not always appreciated by neighboring farmers who looked with suspicion upon any leisure time. Perhaps this odd behavior was acceptable in a degree because William Brothers would preach on a Sunday at Mt. Zion Church if no traveling evangelist were at hand for the occasion.

Sons Will and Charles, along with their families lived elsewhere. Uriah built a home on the farm at the far edge, half a mile east of the homestead house. This house still stands on the left as you begin to travel up Brothers Road.

James and his family were soon away at one of the mill camps. James bought up timber land and went into logging operations. He developed an extensive lumber cutting operation. The Brothers Mill was located northeast of Beetree School, near Charter Oaks.

After the death of their mother, Mary Walker Brothers William lived on at La Center in the homestead adjacent to the Andersons. Joseph, Harry, Mary Jane and Anne Maria were with him. Grandmother Caroline Anderson took special interest in looking after the young girls. With an eligible son, she probably thought one of these young ladies would one day be a daughter in law. She was right. Young Anne caught the eye of Benjamin Anderson.

During the last year of his life, grandfather Brothers suggested that Uncle Joe write down the events of the family. Uncle Joe honored that request, however part of the Brothers family history is written in first person and other accounts in third person.

In May 1891 William Brothers bought a butcher shop in La Center from George Ford Jr. for $30.00. It is unclear if it was the first or second butcher shop. According to Reuben Mead, there were two butcher shops in town. He sold meat to a sawmill, although we do not know which one. The mills debt to him was so high, that eventually they turned the sawmill over to him for payment. William was in the sawmill business for twenty-three years and loved every minute of it.

Interview ca 2008 – 2012 by Candy Falk

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