No children were born to Brady and Lillian during the twenty some years of their marriage. Lillian developed cancer and died in 1972 at the early age of 51! Brady described his wife as "a clean, decent woman who was a good cook too." She was also an excellent seamstress. Brady Jefcoat mourned the untimely loss of his wife, and in an attempt to overcome this loss he began to work longer hours and harder to hopefully overcome the grief he was facing. One day working at a North Carolina professor's house he noticed something that looked like an old sewing machine. The professor's wife explained that it was an old phonograph with missing parts. Brady was given the phonograph and two horns and a "new interest" was born! This was the beginning of one of the largest collections of phonographs in the world! At first it was just phonographs, then he realized "whatever I like and if I really like it I will corner the market!"
So it began! Jefcoat expanded his interests with the same enthusiasm to things like radios, music boxes, records, toys, old tools, washing machines, irons, wilderness taxidermy, juke boxes, knives, air rifles and the incredible list goes on. His collection soon filled his basement and started to make it's way on to the main floor. Soon visitors to the house had to navigate a maze that filled every nook and cranny of the home. He also filled his large garage that had a basement and upper floors, and in addition he filled up several barns as well. The Jefcoat collection contains over fourteen thousand items of American history and includes the largest collections in America of washing machines, irons and dairy equipment. The music box collections is believed to be the largest of its kind in America. His collection donated to the Murfreesboro Historical Association is valued at over $5,000,000! He also set up a Charitable Trust for the association in favor of the Jefcoat Museum in excess of another $1,000,000!
Brady Jefcoat was loyal to his collection. Many a Museum official had travelled from all over the world to try and obtain parts of Jefcoat's collection. The North Carolina Museum of History wanted his collection very much, and Sotheby's Auction House sent appraisers to Raleigh to try and convince Brady to let them auction off part of his collection. "No Deal" he told them! Brady had only two conditions to whomever would receive his collection. "The recipient must agree to never sell, trade or barter a single item in the collection, and also agree to display all of the collection"! Realizing he had no family or children to leave his collection to, he started the search for the right home for his collection. Brady's relationship with Murfeesboro started with Chowan College. Dr. Jerry Jackson, the president of Chowan, knew of Jefcoat's ability as a public speaker and invited him to be the commencement speaker at Chowan College graduation in the spring of 1990! Dr. Jackson let the Murfreesboro Historical Association know that he had invited Jefcoat as a speaker. They were made aware of the wonderfully vast collection of Americana Jefcoat had amassed over the last twenty years and that he was in the process of finding a home for his collection. Dr. Jackson suggested that they meet Jefcoat and tell him about the wonderful work being done in Historic Murfreesboro! Dr. Jackson also suggested that they see if there was a suitable location for this amazing collection. They decided that the old high school would be the perfect location. The Murfreesboro Historical Association did indeed meet Brady Jefcoat and convinced him of their interest and ability to get the job done. He liked the idea of using the old Murfreesboro High School. After much discussion and several trips to Raleigh the Historical Association and Brady C. Jefcoat signed a letter of intent to donate his entire lifelong collection to them and to be housed in the renovated old high school! So with many trips and much arduous labor, made easier by the stories that accompanied each piece of Jefcoat's treasure as it left it's home onto it's new home in Murfreesboro North Carolina. So the "The Brady C Jefcoat Museum of American" was born!