Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #61 Bartender and Owner of Brazell’s Bar in Detroit

Samuel Royalty “Roy” LILLIE, son of Isaac Spencer “Ike” LILLIE and Florence ROYALTY, played in important roll in this collection of old photographs. It was very likely his mother Florence who saved most of the older photographs while Roy added to the collection with his own portraits. His son Lynn Vance LILLIE  was the last owner of the collection before it was saved from the trash.

In this photograph we see Roy posing with a bottle of liquor at Brazell’s Bar in Detroit, Michigan in 1939.

MRIN21907 LillieSamuelRoyaltyBarkeep Rooney CollectionRoy and his business partner Russell (King) HEATH bought the “saloon” around 1939 for $1,000, “liquor license & all.” King, as he was known to Roy, was a switch-man for the steam railroad in 1930, as was Roy. In 1942 at the time of the World War II registration draft Heath was working for Golda Kline as a bartender. He died in 1944.

Buying Brazell’s Bar did not make bar-tending a full time job for Roy. He had changed from working as a switch-man with the railroad in 1930 to working for the steel mill as a by 1940. In 1942 on his WW II card his employer was the Great Lakes Steel Co. in Ecorse, Michigan. He would remain with this employer until retirement as we will see next week.

MRIN21907 LillieSamuelRoyaltyBarkeepback Rooney CollectionS.R. Lillie & Russell (King) Heath
Detroit Mich. Brazell’s Bar
Taken 1939 Bot (sic) Saloon for $1,000.00
Liquor Lic & all.

Other photographs of Samuel Royalty LILLIE:
#53 Samuel Royalty “Roy” LILLIE 1895-1979 (young Roy)
#54 Samuel Royalty “Roy” LILLIE 1895-1979 (in uniform)
#55 Samuel Royalty “Roy” LILLIE 1895-1979
(portrait with hat)
#56 Samuel Royalty “Roy” LILLIE 1895-1979 (in uniform with rifle)
#57 Samuel Royalty “Roy” LILLIE 1895-1979 (barber staff)
#58 Samuel Royalty “Roy” LILLIE 1895-1979 (Liberty trucks)
#59 Samuel Royalty “Roy” LILLIE 1895-1979 (in New Orleans)
#61 Bartender and Owner of Brazell’s Bar in Detroit

More about this collection, how it came to be in my possession,
and links to previous posts in the series can be found here.

Please contact me!
Are you related to a person mentioned in this post? Send an email to
openingdoorsinbrickwalls @ pt.lu or message me on my Facebook page
Opening Doors in Brick Walls.

© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.









Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

When I’m not doing genealogy and blogging, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful Luxembourg countryside.

6 thoughts on “Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #61 Bartender and Owner of Brazell’s Bar in Detroit”

  1. My Uncle Roy dragged me to various places in Detroit when I visited one summer. I remember he called a certain section “Hunk Town” because Hungarians clustered there. They self identified with that name, and I’ll bet the bar he dragged me to was that one in the picture. I was probably 14 or so at the time and didn’t/wasn’t writing anything down and dating it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Joe. I searched the internet and found one newspaper article about a person who had died and was seen at the bar. I don’t have a subscription and could only view the text. But it was proof that the bar existed in the 1940s.


  2. Looking for info on Rebecca Ellen Sumner sister to Major Sumner. Parents died young and she went to live as a young girl at the Agibright family on Little River. She had three sons that she gave her maiden name to. Dave Sumner sheriff in Blacksburg Va, Thomas Clifton Sumner which was my great grandfather and another son named William Sumner. This is my brick wall. Do not know the fathers name since she gave them her last name Sumner.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Connie,
      As Rebecca Ellen SUMNER had her three sons before 1900 it is very difficult to find records which may help with your brick wall. I found your tree on Ancestry and see you are actively researching the line. I am not at all certain the death record for Tom Sumner who died in 1916 is for Thomas Clifton Sumner. Either way it does not give the names of parents. I located the other two sons’ death records and one has unknown while the other has A.A. Sumner which is obviously a mistake. What about marriage records of the sons? Do any of them mention parents?
      I suspect the only way to open the door in this brick wall is to have Rebecca’s oldest descendants’ DNA tested. It is important to remember she also had a daughter with her husband Henry A. Carner. This may help to sort through DNA matches if Mr. Carner was NOT related to the father(s) of Rebecca’s sons.
      I know you manage at least one DNA test which is a match to a test I have access to so you must already be looking into solving the mystery using genetic genealogy. Have you tried Jonathan Brecher’s Shared Clustering tool?
      Best wishes,


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