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The Family of Percy Brees & Cornelia Lunde

Born on a farm outside Osakis, MN.

1895 state census Orange, Douglas Co., Minnesota
Solomon Brees, age 56, b. NY, in state 28 yrs, 5 months; in district 17 yrs, 2 months, Farmer
Sarrah, age 53, b. NY
Arthur, age 28, b. MN, in state 28 yrs, 5 months; in district 17 yrs, 2 months, Farmer
Zelotus, age 26, b. MN, in state 26 yrs, 11 months; in district 17 yrs, 2 months, Farmer
Ruby, age 22, b. MN
Ruphus, age 18, b. NY
Claud, age 14, b. MN
Clide, age 9, b. MN
Percy, age 7, b. MN

1900 census Orange Twp., Douglas Co., MN Page 2B & 3 A
Household #41
Solomen Brees, head, May 1839, age 61, married 35 years, NY\NY\NY, farmer
Sarah J., wife, Feb 1842, age 58, married 35 years, 9 births, 8 surviving, NY\NY\NY
Arthur P., Jan 1867, age 33, MN\NY\NY, farmer
Zelotus F., son, July 1869, age 32, MN\NY\NY, farmer
Rufus W., son, May 1877, age 23, NY\NY\NY, farmer
Claude L., son, May 1882, age 18, MN\NY\NY, at school
Clyde E., son, May 1886, age 14, MN\NY\NY, at school
Percy E., son, July 1888, age 11, MN\NY\NY, at school
Household #42
Charles Cannon, head, Nov 1875, age 24, md 4 yrs, MN/OH/OH, day laborer
Ruby M., wife, Sept 1875, age 24, md 4 yrs, 2 births, 2 surviving, MN\NY\NY
Fern, April 1877, daughter, age 3, MN/MN/MN
Floyd, son, Oct 1879, age 4 months, MN/MN/MN
Household #43
Harry Brees, head, Aug 1872, age 27, md 6 yrs, MN/NY/NY, farm laborer
Jeffry, wife, Nov 1873, age 26, md 6 yrs, 2 births, 1 surviving, MN/Scotland/MN
Myrtle,daughter, Sept 1895, daughter, age 4 , MN/MN/MN

1905 state census Birchdale, Todd Co., Minnesota June 21, 1905
PO Grey Eagle
Starting line 13
Squire W. Brees, age 70, NY/NY/NY, Farming, in state 31 yrs 6 months; in district 8 yrs, 6 months
Elenor M, age 62, NY/NY/NY, Laborer, in state 31 yrs 6 months; in district 8 yrs, 6 months
Luther D, age 33, OH/NY/NY, Farmer, in state 31 yrs 6 months; in district 8 yrs, 6 months
Fred, age 23, MN/NY/NY, Laborer, in state 23 yrs 1 months; in district 8 yrs, 6 months
Starting line 25
Solomon E. Brees, age 66, NY/NY/NY, Farming, in state 29 yrs, 5 months, in district 3 yrs, 5 months
Sarah J., age 64, NY/NY/NY, Laborer, in state 29 yrs, 5 months, in district 3 yrs, 5 months
Clyde E., age 19, MN/NY/NY, Laborer, in state 19 yrs, 5 months, in district 3 yrs, 5 months
Percy E., age 16, MN/NY/NY, in state 16 yrs, 7 months, in district 3 yrs, 5 months

1910 census Birchdale Twp., Todd Co., MN Sheet 8B
Household #152
Solomon E. Brees, head, age 70, married 44 years, NY\NY\NY, farmer
Sarah J., wife, age 68, married 44 years, 9 births, 8 surviving, NY\NY\NY
Arthur P., son, age 43, MN\NY\NY, farmer
Percy E., son, age 21 , MN\NY\NY, farm labor

Emigrated to Choteau, MT in 1913. Married Cornelia in 1917 (they met when she came to MT to visit mutual friends, Frank & Anna Curtis)

June 5, 1917
WWI Registration Card
Percy Elwood Brees, age 28
Born July 20, 1888 in Osakis, Minnesota, USA
Medium height, medium build, brown eyes, brown hair, not bald
Address: Choteau, Montana
Occupation - clerk
Employer - Jos. Hirshberg & Co., Choteau, Montana
Single, caucasian

Choteau County Montana Archives
This file is a part of the Bureau of Land Management Database for the states of Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Data edited and prepared by Joy Fisher,
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) inherited the functions of the General Land Office when it was established by Congress in 1946. The South Dakota Land Patents Database, derived from General Land Office and BLM information, contains deeds (primarily patents) issued by the United States in the region now known as the State of South Dakota between 1859 and 1995. While BLM has been referred to as "the Nations record keeper", it is the National Archives that actually keeps the files. The BLM, maintains diagrammatic plats known as Master Title Plats, which depict lands which are owned by the United States and lands which are patented.
However, these plats do not have any information about who the lands were patented to. That information which has only been available after tedious research, it is available now in this database.
The South Dakota Land Patents Database contains the following information for each land transaction: date, location (township, range, section, meridian), name of person the land was patented to, case type, conveyance type, county, and the patent document identification number.
Using this information you can obtain copies of the patent file for $10 from the National Archives at the following address:
Reference Branch (Lands)
National Archives
Washington, DC 20408
(202) 501-5428
You need to submit your request on a copy of Form 84. To get the form, send an e-mail message to
In the body of the message, be sure to ask for Form 84 "Order for Copies of Land Entry Files", tell them how many copies you want (get at least 2, in case you make a mistake) and give your name and snail address so they can send you the forms.(Or you can send a snail mail letter to above address). Sending by e-mail takes less than a week; by snail mail both ways takes about 2 weeks.

Key to Case Types
251000- Homestead

Land Conveyance types in this database:
PA - Patent

05 - 5th Principal Meridian -- located in the eastern part of Iowa
06 - 6th Principal Meridian -- located south of Yankton - not used by east River counties
07 - Black Hills Meridian -- located on the SD - WY border
(See map

BREES PERCY E 20 0240N 0030E 019 160 015 251101 PA 851879 02/25/1922
BREES PERCY E 20 0240N 0030E 019 22.72 015 251101 PA 851879 02/25/1922
BREES PERCY E 20 0240N 0030E 019 22.64 015 251101 PA 851879 02/25/1922
BREES PERCY E 20 0240N 0030E 030 80 015 251101 PA 851879 02/25/1922

1920 - Have not been able to find Percy & Cornelia on census records. On Phyllis' birth certificate (July 19, 1920) her parents address is listed as Breeston, MT which was a 2-room house on Percy Brees' homestead that became an official US Post Office. Pictures of homestead show a sign saying Elwood, MT on top of house. This name rejected by the US Postmaster because there were too many towns named Elwood. Breeston was the name sent back by the US Postmaster as the official name. In later pictures of the homestead, the name of Elwood is no longer on the top of the house and a sign saying Breeston is over the front door.

----- Original Message -----
From: James Sheridan
To: Kari
Cc: Will ; Nicki ; Cindy
Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2002 10:54 PM
Subject: comments from Mom (email written by Atlanta Brees Dye)

This is Mom...
Started looking at your webisite last night. On the picture of Ward and Dad and the model T, there was never a store in the sense that Dad expected to make it a business or profit. There was Mr. Cameron, who had grazed sheep when the area was still open range, who knew of the spring on Dad's place and some others that occasionally used it (mom said) This was a clear, cold spring that came down from the hills through cracks in the rocks just like Giant Springs from the Highwoods near Gt. Falls. Roads were 2 rutters on the various homesteads, road going across Big Timber coulee was especially bad when wet (gumbo), and you avoided it if possible. Dad was east of Big Timber, Choteau and Dutton were west of it.
His neighbors on the east side knew Dad went in to Choteau more frequently than they did, and he always brought a little extra in staples. A few of his neighbors would buy some of Dad's extras from him to avoid the coulee. In fact, this is why he started a postoffice. One of the neighbors asked him to pick up his mail in Choteau. When Dad tried, the Choteau postmaster said that wasn't legal, suggested that he start his own. Dad filled out papers he was given, and applied. He suggested Elwood as a name, and there is a snapshot somewhere (I don't have) showing the house with a sign on the roof that says Elwood. When Dad received his answer from the Postmaster General, they said they had too many Elwood's and said the name was Breeston, MT. Dad went $50 for the first batch of postcards, stamps etc. After that, he was Postmaster for the next 21 months for the homesteaders east of Big Timber Coulee. (If you lived far enough east, you were in the Fort Benton district.) There is another snapshot of a ballgame and the house with Breeston over the front door can be seen, also several Model Ts.
There is one snapshot that was taken with Ward in the Model T with a long wooden sign on the running board that says something like come to the Elwood Mercantile Co., but it was more of a spoof, Dad never set up in the business. Uncle Ward did try to start taxi service from Choteau to GT. Falls, and had a metal nameplate to put on the car (Phyllis has it), but branch railroad line went through sometime in there, so the taxi service was no longer needed (I don't have dates you would have to verify it). I don't know how much business he actually had before it folded, but he went back to Minnesota, and lived on farm with Arthur till he died. Mom says Dad had to clear up some bills he left, but Dad wasn't part of the taxi business. He was too busy trying to homestead. In the 3 years they were on the homestead, Mom had 3 kids Must have been that fresh country air. They moved to Gt. Falls and did't have another for 3 years - ME! Change that bit about the store on the web.

p.s. The same hills that supplied our spring are now the source of water for a co-op that supplies all those old homesteads with running water.


House in Choteau is still there. Percy had carpenters build it. He was working at the time for Adams on a dray line. He delivered ice in the summer in a truck. Moved to Great Falls, MT about 1922 where he lived until he died.

Obit Solomon Brees, who died on April 08, 1921 Grey Eagle, Todd County paper
Death of Solomon E. Brees
Solomon E. Brees, a respected citizen of the community, and, since 1902 a resident of Birchdale Township, passed away at his farm home on last Friday morning. Mr. Brees had suffered for a number of years from asthma and while in failing health for some time was nevertheless able to be about and visit with his friends in the village until recently.
Solomon E. Brees was born near Horse Heads, Chemung Co., N.Y., on May 4, 1839, his death occuring at 11 o'clock p.m. Friday. He was united in marriage at Erie, Penn., on Oct. 5, 1865 to Sarah J. Thorne who survives him. To this union there were nine children born being Arthur P. Brees, who has made his residence in the family home; Zelotus F. Brees of Libby, Mont.; Harry J. Brees, now residing at Osakis, Minn.; Mrs. Ruby M. Arnold of Los Angeles, Cal.; Claude L. and Clyde E. Brees of Grey Eagle,; Percy Brees of Choteau, Mont.; and a son Roy, who died at the age of 8 months and 27 days. Mr. and Mrs. Brees moved from N.Y. to Owatonna in the Spring of 1866 and during the year 1876 they returned to New York, and in 1878 settled in Douglas County, Minnesota, where they resided for some 23 years coming to Todd County and locating at their present home in 1902. Funeral services were conducted by Rev. J. A. Downing, pastor of the United Brethren Church of Grey Eagle. Interment was made at English Grove, Minnesota. The deceased during his long residence in Minnesota gained a wide acquaintance, and was one of those men who helped to develop the State and his beautiful rural home was the result of many days of labor and brought comfort to the members of his family and was shared by a devoted companion. The Gazette joins in extending sympathy to the bereaved ones.
We wish to thank our many friends who so kindly assisted us during our late bereavement. Mrs. Sarah J. Brees and family.

1930 census Great Falls, Cascade Co., MT, page 107
Percy Brees, head, age 44, age at first marriage: 28, MN/NY/PA, laborer, smelter
Cornelia, wife, age 38, age at first marriage: 24, MN/MN/WI
Elwood, son, age 11, MN/MN/MN
Phyllis, daughter, age 9, MT/MN/MN
John, son, age 8, MT/MN/MN
Atlanta, daughter, age 5, MT/MN/MN
Virginia, daughter, age 1, MT/MN/MN

Died of a heart attack while home alone. (Cornelia was away at the time - she was on a bus coming home from a visit to California and Oregon. Percy never showed up to pick her up at the bus station. The police chief, who was a friend of the family, showed up and picked her up). Death certificate is dated June 15, 1951 because that is the day his body was found, but he probably died during the night. A neighbor saw him at 9 PM the night before.

Percy E. BREES, 62, a Great Falls resident for the last 38 years, was found dead early Friday morning at his home at 3217 Fourth avenue north. Death was attributed to a heart attack Thursday night, according to Dr. Charles E. MAGNER, coroner. His death was discovered after Mrs. BREES, who was waiting for her husband at the bus depot after a trip to California, had telephoned a neighbor asking that Brees be notified that she had returned. Brees had been employed at the ACM wire mill the past 28 years. He was born July 20, 1888 at Osakis, Minn., and came to Great Falls in 1913. He married Cornelia LUNDE July 12, 1916. Survivors include his wife, three sons, Elwood, with the air corps now stationed in New York,; Duane of Great Falls; John R., Portland, Ore.; three daughters, Mrs. Phyllis DAVIS, Atlanta BREES and Mrs. Virginia KILBOURN, all of Denver, and seven grandchildren. Mrs. Elwood BREES and children arrived here from California with her mother-in-law when her husband was transferred to New York. Funeral arrangements will be announced from the Croxford mortuary.
Montana Death Index, 1907-2002
about Percy E Brees
Name: Percy E Brees
Age: 62
Estimated birth year: 1889
Gender: Male
Death Date: 15 Jun 1951
Death County: Cascade
Index Number: Cas 3072
Source: Montana Office of Vital Statistics

New Highland cemetery, Cascade Co., MT
Percy Elwood Brees 1951
Anna Cornelia Brees1980