Saturday, June 13, 2009

A little Brown family history

It turns out that Mary Ann, who I've grown accustomed to visiting with over coffee after church at St. Andrews on Sunday mornings, is a cousin, a great-great-granddaughter of Jonathan Edward Brown, elder brother by some 40 years of my grandmother, Jessie (Brown) Miller. When I tell you that much of Lucas and adjoining counties is related I'm not kidding, so such occurrances are not that surprising.

Since that branch of the family doesn't know much about the Browns, and I do, I started most mornings this week assembling what follows for the honorable descendants of Jonathan Edward and Elizabeth Laurel (Crawford) Brown. It's far from complete but the point was to assemble an outline, not write a family history.

Posting the outline here is a lazy (and cheap) way to distribute the thing --- far easier to provide a Web address than to print, assemble and mail.

The photo at the top of the post is my great-grandfather, Joseph Brown, and his second wife, Penelope Dawson (Jonathan Edward's mother was Joseph's first wife, Hester; and Jessie's mother, his third wife, Chloe). The photo was taken during the fall of 1869 in Washington, Iowa. Penelope lived less than a year after her marriage to Joseph and is buried in the old cemetery (Woodlawn) at Washington. The photos at the end of the post are of her original tombstone and a later stone that marks the graves of both Penelope and her first husband, Isaac Dawson.


William Brown, our emigrant ancestor, was born about 1778 in Northern Ireland, perhaps near Belfast. We know nothing about his parents. When he was 18, about 1796, he came to the United States and made his way to southwest Ohio.

More than 10 years later, probably during 1809, William married Eleanor Kelley, a daughter of Solomon Kelley. The Kelleys were natives of North Carolina who also had moved into southwest Ohio. The marriage most likely occurred in or near what now is Clark County, Ohio, but we have been unable to find a record of it. We do not know Eleanor’s date of birth or her date of death.

William and Eleanor established their first home in Clark County and it is likely that all of their nine children (two of whom died young and three of whom were triplets) were born there. In the mid-1820s, the Brown family moved one county west to Lost Creek Township, Miami County.

Eleanor died between 1840 and 1850 on the farm in Lost Creek Township and was buried in a family cemetery nearby, now lost. William Brown moved soon after 1850 a couple of miles north to property just north of Fletcher in Brown Township (reportedly named for him) that he had purchased in the 1820s but had never lived upon (his sons Joseph and Archibald and their families were the first to build homes and live there).

William died 21 August 1864 at his home near Fletcher and was buried beside Eleanor and other family members in the now-destroyed Brown Cemetery. He was by trade a farmer and a weaver, according to family stories, and a fierce Presbyterian, an organizer and the first presiding elder of the Fletcher Presbyterian Church.

The Brown family scattered south and west like buckshot from Miami County and by the mid-1930s none of the family remained there.

The nine children of William and Eleanor (Kelley) Brown were:

1. Solomon Kelley Brown, born 6 February 1810 in Clark County, Ohio, married (1st) Mary Ralston 24 May 1832 in Miami County. They had four children, William B. Brown, Elizabeth Jane Brown (died young), Andrew R. Brown and John Forgy Brown (died young). Following Mary’s death on 18 July 1841, Solomon Kelley married (2nd) Anna Denman on 20 September 1842 in Miami County. Solomon Kelley and Anna had eight children: Mary Ellen (died young), Wilson Holiday Brown (died young), Joseph Brown (died young), Sarah Abigail Brown (died young along the Oregon Trail), Jonathan Rollins Brown, Solomon Kelley Brown Jr., Levi Wellington Brown and Alfred Rinehart Brown. In 1847, the Solomon Kelley Browns followed the Oregon Trail west to become pioneers in the Willamette valley. Solomon Kelley died at Philomath, Benton County, Oregon, on 16 January 1893. His family spread widely in the Pacific Northwest where many of his descendants continue to live.

2. Joseph Brown, our ancestor (which see).

3. Margaret Brown was born 7 March 1813 in Clark County, Ohio, and died there on 9 February 1818. We do not know where she was buried.

4. Mary Brown was born 13 October 1815 in Clark County, Ohio, and died 25 August 1826, probably in Lost Creek Township, Miami County. It is likely that she was buried in the Brown family cemetery, no longer extant.

5. James Brown was born 2 February 1818 in Clark County, Ohio, and remains the most enigmatic of the Brown children. He married (1st) Catherine McGinley on 9 May 1839 in Miami County, Ohio. They had two children, John M. and Ellen. Catherine died about 1848 perhaps in or near Fort Madison, Iowa. James then married (2nd) a woman named Louisa although the date and place of that marriage are unknown and they settled at Fayette in Jefferson County, Mississippi, and had two children, Eugene and Eva. James died of a gunshot wound described as accidental during April of 1860 in or near Fayette.

6. Jane Brown, the eldest by several minutes of triplets, was born shortly before midnight on Nov. 13, 1819, in Clark County, Ohio. Jane, who was deaf, spent much of her life caring for her birth family and married in middle age after the death of her father, on 12 September 1865 in Miami County, an older widower named Joseph Van Horn. Jane died 8 October 1893 at the Brown homestead north of Fletcher and was buried in the Fletcher Cemetery.

7. Archibald Steele Brown, one of triplets, was born early Nov. 14, 1819, in Clark County, Ohio. On 17 March 1846 in Miami County he married Lucinda McCashen. Archibald and Lucinda began housekeeping on land north of Fletcher, Brown Township, owned by his father, as did his brother and sister-in-law, Joseph and Hester (Eldridge) Brown. Following Hester’s death in 1850, Archibald and Lucinda and Joseph and his elder children moved west to Washington County, Iowa. A couple of years later, Archibald and Lucinda moved to a farm on the south edge of Cincinnati, Appanoose County, Iowa, where Lucinda died between 1856 and 1858. Archibald S. then married Mary Boswell, daughter of Thomas B. and Mary Boswell, on 25 January 1859 in Appanoose County. They had one child, Jeannette B., known as Jennie. Mary (Boswell) Brown died 28 June 1884 at Cleopatra, Mercer County, Missouri, and was buried in Wilder Cemetery near there. Archibald died 5 December 1886 at Cincinnati and his body was taken to Cleopatra for burial.

8. Elizabeth Brown, one of triplets, was born early on Nov. 14, 1819, in Clark County, Ohio. She married Thomas Heston on 13 November 1845 in Miami County, Ohio, and died in childbirth on 25 September 1846. It isn’t known where she was buried.

9. John McPherson Brown, was born 19 December 1821 in Clark County, Ohio, and married Nancy Bigger on 21 February 1850 in Miami County, Ohio. John and Nancy had four children, William Wilson, Louisa Jane, James Hearst and John Campbell. John died 13 August 1859 in Miami County and was buried in the family cemetery. Nancy died 8 October 1891 on the Brown homestead at Fletcher and was buried in the Fletcher Cemetery.

Brown family tenure in Miami County, Ohio, ended with the deaths of first-cousins who had married late in life as a matter of convenience (although they certainly were fond of each other, too) --- William B. Brown, son of Solomon Kelley Brown, and Louisa Jane Brown, daughter of John McPherson Brown. Their marriage united Brown family holdings inherited separately and they lived until old age on the homestead north of Fletcher. William B. Brown died at the age of 95 on 10 April 1929 and Louisa died 9 June 1932 at the age of 79. They are buried in the Forest Hills Mausoleum in Piqua, Miami County. Following their deaths, Brown property that had been in the family for more than a century was sold and family belongings scattered (mostly among the John McPherson Brown family) or sold.


Joseph Brown, second child of William and Eleanor (Kelley) Brown was born 4 July 1811 in Clark County, Ohio, and moved with his parents and siblings to Lost Creek Township, Miami County, Ohio, in the mid-1820s. He married Hester Eldridge, daughter of Jonathan and Mary (Ramsey) Eldridge, on 3 March 1836 in Shelby County, Ohio. Hester was born about 1816.

Joseph and Hester along with his brother and sister-in-law, Archibald and Lucinda Brown, built the first homes on property north of Fletcher in Brown Township, Miami County, that their father had purchased in the 1820s but never lived upon.

Joseph and Hester became the parents of seven children there, but she died of tuberculosis during May of 1850 when the youngest, Lucinda, was under 2 years old. Presumably Hester was buried in the Brown family cemetery, no longer extant.

Not long after Hester died, Joseph and his older children, William Wilson, Jonathan Edward and Eleanor, moved west to Washington County, Iowa, along with his brother and sister-in-law, Archibald and Lucinda. They were joined later by three of the younger children, Archibald S. Brown Jr., Mary and Lucinda. Lydia, about 4 when her mother died, was given to a cousin of Joseph, William R. Forgy, and his wife, Elizabeth, who had no children of their own, to raise. The Forgys lived in Clark County, Ohio.

On 10 September 1869, Joseph married as his second wife in Washington County Penelope Dawson, widow of Isaac. Penelope, born 12 May 1817 in Maryland, had a large family by her first marriage. Sadly, Penelope died less than a year after her marriage to Joseph, on 5 July 1870 after returning home from Washington’s 4th of July celebration.

Family heirlooms include a silver serving spoon monogrammed “PB” for Penelope Brown, given to Joseph and Penelope upon their marriage by her children. When she died her children asked that the spoon be returned, apparently feeling that the marriage had not lasted long enough to justify the expense. Joseph declined. My cousin, Alice Sims, is the spoon’s current custodian.

After Penelope’s death, Joseph moved from Washington to Appanoose County to be near his brother, Archibald S. Brown Sr., and two of his children, Archibald S. Brown Jr. and Mary (Brown) DeMack, who were living there with their families.

Archibald S. Brown Sr. had married Mary Boswell in 1859 and through her Joseph was introduced to her widowed niece, Chloe (Boswell) Prentiss, whose first husband, Moses Prentiss, had been killed 6 July 1865 when the boiler being used to power a saw mill he was operating exploded. Chloe had been left with four young daughters.

Chloe, a daughter of Peachy Gilmer and Caroline (McDaniel) Boswell, was born 23 August 1833 at Point Pleasant, Mason County, (West) Virginia, and had married Moses Prentiss on 18 March 1852 in Van Buren County, Iowa. They had moved to Corydon, Wayne County, in 1854.

Joseph and Chloe were married at Corydon on 17 November 1870 and in the spring of 1871 moved across Lucas County to Columbia, in southern Marion County. They purchased 40 acres that now is the northwest quarter of Columbia and built their home and outbuildings on a two-acre lot in the southeast corner of Columbia’s only intersection. Reportedly, Joseph selected Columbia as a home because he liked the Presbyterian church there. Unfortunately the church burned and was not rebuilt. So this staunch lifelong Presbyterian spent his final years among Methodists, including Chloe who had always been just that.

Joseph and Chloe became the parents of two children while living in Columbia, Joseph Ellis Brown, born when his father was 60, and my grandmother, Jessie Frances Brown, born when her father was 64.

Joseph died at Colmbia on 4 December 1893, during the same year his surviving siblings, Solomon Kelley and Jane, also died, and was buried in the Columbia Cemetery.

Chloe, daughter Jessie and their granddaughter and niece, Verna, continued to live in Columbia until Jessie married William Ambrose Miller in 1905. Chloe and Verna then moved to English Township, Lucas County, to live with Will and Jessie. Chloe died there on 15 June 1914 and was taken to Columbia for funeral services and burial.


Joseph Brown’s extended family consisted of 13 children, seven by Hester Eldridge, his first wife; two by Chloe Boswell/Prentiss, his third wife; and four who were daughters of Chloe and therefore his stepdaughters. William Wilson Brown, Joseph’s eldest child, was nearly 40 when the youngest child, Jessie, was born. The children of Joseph and Hester (Eldridge) Brown were as follows:

1. William Wilson Brown was born 19 December 1836 in Brown Township, Miami County, Ohio, and came west to Washington County, Iowa, with his father and siblings Jonathan Edward and Eleanor in 1850. After service during the Civil War he returned to Iowa and married Josephine W. Basey, daughter of William and Rebecca (Ayers) Basey, on 15 March 1866 at Sigourney in Keokuk County. The William Wilson Browns lived near Sigourney, near Durham and finally in Oskaloosa, where he died on 2 May 1915. Josephine, born 17 March 1846 in Keokuk or Washington county, died 19 November 1923. Both are buried at Forest Cemetery in Oskaloosa. They had 7 children: Amy J. Brown (died young), George Edward Brown (married Louella E. McLaughlin), Charles Brown (married Alice M. Warrington), Purl G. Brown (a boy who died at age 12 and is buried at Eureka), Harry T. Brown (died young), James A. “Tad” Brown (married Anna) and Besse A. Brown (married Harry Scull).

2. Jonathan Edward Brown, born 20 April 1838 in Brown Township, Miami County, Ohio, came west to Washington County, Iowa, with his father and siblings William Wilson and Eleanor in 1850. He married Elizabeth Laurel Crawford 6 October 1859 in Washington County, Iowa. Elizabeth was born 21 March 1838 at Fallston, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. The Browns lived in Washington County, in Oskaloosa, at Otley in Marion County and finally at Durham, also in Marion County, where Jonathan Edward farmed and worked as a stone mason. He died of an apparent heart attack while at work on a barn foundation on 18 March 1897 and was buried in Eureka Cemetery. Elizabeth continued to live in Durham until 26 May 1919 when she died, probably of asphyxiation after the oil stove she was lighting apparently exploded in her face, knocking her to the floor and filling the house with soot and fumes. She, too, was buried at Eureka. Jonathan Edward and Elizabeth had 10 children: Oren Brown (married Marinda Anderson), Florence Della Brown (married James William Larew), William Tecumseh Sherman Brown (married Easter C. Parsons), Harriet D. Brown (married Webster J. Payton), Blanche May Brown (married John Wesley Lancaster), Sarah Ellen Brown (married J. Cliff, Benjamin Franklin Smith, William H. Keeves and James Montis), Jessie Jane Brown (married David Smith), Minnette Brown (married William Lewis Winslow and Luther Smith) and Fanny and another child, both of whom died young. About Jonathan Edward Brown’s name: The Browns had a habit of naming their sons after preachers, so it seems likely that Joseph and Hester intended to name their second son Jonathan Edwards Brown after the Calvinist preacher, missionary and theologian Jonathan Edwards. The “s” on Edwards tends to be dropped nowadays, however.

3. Eleanor Brown, born 5 February 1840 in Brown Township, Miami County, Ohio, moved west to Washington County, Iowa, with her father and elder brothers. She married Silas Jagger, a widower, on 27 December 1859 in Washington County. About 1862, the Jaggers moved from Washington County to a farm in Poe Township, Ringgold County, Iowa, southwest of Kellerton, where the remainder of their lives were spent. Silas, born 5 October 1832 in Indiana, died 2 March 1899. Eleanor died 16 June 1903. Both are buried in Oakland Cemetery, Poe Township. Eleanor and Silas became the parents of 12 children: Silas Manson Jagger (married Ida), Laura Alice Jagger (married William Hardin Goodall), Emma Kay Jagger (married Benjamin Leonard Cracraft), Keziah Jagger (married Frank Bayless), Anna Jagger (married George N. Davis), Etta J. Jagger (did not marry), Joseph Jagger (died young), Jonathan Jagger (twin; died young), John T. Jagger (twin; died young), Josephine Jagger (married Gustav Heinisch), Nora May Jagger (died young), and William N. Jagger (died young).

4. Archibald S. Brown Jr., named for his uncle and “junior” because uncle and nephew always lived near one another, was born 5 January 1843 in Brown Township, Miami County, Ohio, and joined his father and elder siblings in Washington County, Iowa, before 1856. He then joined his uncle, Archibald S. Brown Sr., at Cincinnati in Appanoose County, Iowa, where the remainder of his life was spent. Following Civil War service, Archibald returned to Cincinnati and married Rebecca A. Brown (not a relative) on 7 March 1867. Archibald, who returned from the Civil War with impaired health, developed tuberculosis. He farmed, mined coal and apparently operated a store before his death on 7 October 1876, age 33. Archibald and Rebecca had five children: William Henry Brown (married Lyda M. Stripe), Cornelius Elmer Brown (died young), Charles Wilson Brown (died young), Ida Belle Brown (married James Gallett Rogers) and Archibald Anson Brown (born after his father’s death; died young). Following Archibald’s death, Rebecca married(2nd) widowed Cincinnati businessman John Alden Corder (27 December 1847-24 July 1927) and they had two sons, Homer S. Corder and John Fenton Corder. Rebecca, born 14 September 1848 in Ohio, died 17 October 1920 at Cincinnati and was buried with Archibald and her sons who died young in the old cemetery at Cincinnati, Evergreen.

5. Mary Brown, born 23 October 1844, joined her father and elder siblings in Washington County, Iowa, before 1856. She married Thomas DeMack, a native of England, on 24 January 1861, in Washington County. They moved to the area of Cincinnati, Appanoose County, where Mary’s uncle and brother, both named Archibald S. Brown, already were living. The DeMacks always lived in or near the neighboring towns of Cincinnatti, Iowa, and Mendota, Missouri, just across the state line, while Tommy mined coal and farmed. Tommy, born 20 May 1821 and more than 20 years older than Mary, died 21 August 1899 at Mendota. Mary died 21 February 1905, also at Mendota. Both are buried in the Mendota Cemetery. Their eight children were: Frank M. DeMack, Hester DeMack (married Miles McCann), Albert DeMack (married Maggie Clinkenbeard and Marie Kelly), Florence DeMack (married William Wilson), Sarah Mary DeMack (married John Edward Ruch), Archibald DeMack (married Kate Sammons), Maude Gertrude DeMack (married Lee Ollie Ryals) and William Thomas DeMack (married Clara Etta Branscomb).

6. Lydia Jane Brown was born during July 1846 in Brown Township, Miami County, Ohio, and following her mother’s death was raised in Clark County, Ohio, by Joseph Brown’s cousin, William R. Forgy, and his second wife, Elizabeth Milhollen, who had no children of their own. She married Bushrod N. Spencer (also born July 1846) on 29 November 1866 in Clark County, Ohio, and they had two sons, William Forgy Spencer and Clarence P. Spencer. Although Lydia remained in contact with some of her siblings she became estranged from her father, who did not know her whereabouts or married name when he died. Lydia was far closer to her extended Eldridge family and because of that moved with her family to St. Louis where Bushrod worked in mercantile establishments owned by Eldridge kin. After financial and other reverses, Bushrod died on 23 March 1904 in St. Louis, crushed to death in an elevator shaft while working as a night watchman. Lydia, then critically ill with tuberculosis, was taken under the wing of her Eldridge cousins and moved to Colorado Springs in hope of a cure. She died there at the Alta Vista Hotel on 4 March 1905. Both Lydia and Bushrod are buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, St. Louis.

7. Lucinda Brown, born about 1848 in Brown Township, Miami County, Ohio, and was about 2 when her mother died. She joined her father and older siblings in Washington County, Iowa, prior to 1856. Lucinda died at age 16, about 1864, although it is not known where that death occurred or where she was buried. Lucinda was living with her sister and brother-in-law, Eleanor and Silas Jagger, in 1860 and may still have been living with them in 1864 but that is by no means certain. The only family story that survives regarding Lucinda is that when she became critically ill, word was gotten to her father, Joseph, and he set out on horseback to reach her bedside. She died, however, before he arrived.


Joseph Brown’s youngest children, Joseph Ellis and Jessie Frances, were 30-40 years younger than their Brown half siblings and as a result had much more in common with their nieces and nephews. My grandmother was closest to Ida Belle (Brown) Rogers, daughter of Archibald S. and Rebecca Brown, and the daughters of Jonathan Edward and Elizabeth Laurel Brown.

Because Columbia and Durham were near each other, Joseph Brown’s younger family and the Jonathan Edward Brown family saw each other most other often. On the other hand, my grandmother recalled seeing her sister Eleanor Jagger only once when she, Jessie, went to Kellerton for a vaist.

Chloe’s daughters by her first marriage, to Moses Prentiss, were important members of the Columbia-based Brown family. They were Eva L. (who married John Rush West), Laura R. (married Alpheus Elkanah Love), Sarah Olive (married Samuel Prentiss McCorkle) and Emma Caroline (did not marry but had a daughter, Verna, known as Verna Brown, who was an important member of the extended Brown-Miller family).

1. Joseph Ellis Brown, born 4 September 1871 at Columbia in Marion County, Iowa, was a blacksmith and farmer who occasionally worked in the quarries at Durham. He married Anna E. Stone (29 July 1872-20 May 1959) on 15 March 1895. Unfortunately, Joe developed tuberculosis, which had killed at least two of his older half-siblings, Archibald and Lydia. In the hope drier air would improve his health, Joe and Anna moved west to Nuckolls County, Nebraska, on the Kansas state line south of Lincoln not long after their marriage. Their only child, Ronald Merle Brown, was born here on 27 October 1897. The widowed Chloe Brown and her two children by Joseph Brown were an extremely close-knit family and wanted to be closer to each other so Joe returned to Columbia in the fall of 1898 and drove Chloe, Jessie and their granddaughter and niece, Verna, west to Nebraska in a covered wagon. Joe died near Bostwick in Nuckolls County on 25 September 1899, age 28. The Brown family accompanied his body home to Columbia by train and he was buried in the Columbia Cemetery. Chloe, Jessie and Verna then resumed their lives in Columbia. Joe’s widow, Anna, married twice after Joe’s death and her second husband, surnamed Fraser, adopted Merle and he took the Fraser surname. Anna and Merle spent most of their lives in Seattle, Washington.

2. Jessie Frances Brown was born in Columbia on 19 January 1875 when her father was 64 and her mother, 42. Soon after 1900, the switchboard that served the Columbia telephone exchange was moved into the Brown sitting room and Jessie became its principal operator for several years. During that time she met William Ambrose Miller, treasurer of the telephone exchange that served his neighborhood in English Township, Lucas County (his family operated the switchboard, too). They were married 3 July 1905 in Corydon and settled on the Miller family farm in English Township where they were joined by Chloe and Verna. Chloe died there in 1914 and Verna remained with the Miller family for the remainder of her long life. Jessie and Will became the parents of seven children during 40 years of marriage. She died 7 January 1945 at home in English Township of complications from diabetes. Will Miller died 26 February 1969, age 94. Both Jessie and Will are buried in the Columbia Cemetery. The seven Miller children were: Joseph Edwin Brown (married Helen Krutsinger), Loren Owen Miller (married Norma Wilson), Olive Mae Miller (married Elmer Gibbany), Mary Ellen Miller (married O. Kenneth Krutsinger), William Ambrose Miller Jr. (died young), Reefa L. Miller (married Daniel F. Myers) and Richard Lloyd Miller (married Marie Lindquist).


a brisee said...

Frank - The C. G. Brisee Genealogy Library in Irwin, Iowa just acquired the Jonathan Edward & Elizabeth Laurel (Crawford) Broun Family Bible. The surname is spelled Broun in the earlier records, then Brown in the later ones. I will be uploading the transcriptions and scans this coming weekend to one of our websites. and go to Family Bibles, Surnames B, then Jonathan Broun.

Frank D. Myers said...

Wow, that's great! I'll be sure to check it out and pass the information along since I'm still in contact with a few Jonathan Edward Brown descendants.

Adrian Brisee said...

Frank - I had paperwork to do, so I am uploading it right now. It should be done in about another 5 minutes. The scans aren't great as the ink is quite faded in the Bible, but it is fully transribed.

Frank D. Myers said...

Hi Adrian: My goodness, thanks for the prompt addition! I'm still thinking about some of the content, which does add a few pieces of information that we didn't have, principally regarding daughter Fannie and the unnamed infant.

Can you talk about the origin of the Bible, or would you prefer not to? It's one of those mysteries my mind goes instantly to work on since it has ended up rather far from home (which would be the Durham-Harvey neighborhood of Marion County, Iowa).

I have an idea that the Bible might have been given to Oren Brown, the eldest child, upon his mother's death. Daughter Jessie Smith's death in 1921 was the last recorded. Oren himself died next, on 20 October 1928, and although he is buried with much of this family at Eureka Cemetery in Marion County, we have no idea where he died or knowledge of the circumstances of his death. So far as any of us know now, many years later, he had no children. So it seems logical to me at least that the Bible might have remained with his widow (providing there was a widow at the time of his death) and then been set adrift.

Whatever the case, I'm always fascinated when a document like this appears as if from nowhere and I certainly do appreciate your effort and consideration. I will call it to the attention of my cousins Dorothy and Mary Ann, who are direct descendants of Jonathan Edward and Elizabeth Laurel.


Adrian Brisee said...

Frank - I bought this from a person in West Des Moines, and actually it is one of the closer Bibles geographically speaking, to my library. There was a newspaper article in the Bible about a Mrs. andy (Grace) Roorda's tulip tree, but I didn't include it as I couldn't figure out a connection. Maybe you know of one. Beyond that, I can't tell you much more on its origin. I'm glad it helped out, makes it all worthwhile on this end.

Frank D. Myers said...

Hi Adrian -- Thanks for the additional information. Actually, the important things here are that the Bible turned up and that you made the records it contained available to researchers, so thanks again!

Several of the children of Jonathan Edward and Elizabeth Laurel Brown lived in Des Moines at one time or another, as did grandchildren, so it's not surprising the Bible turned up there.

The Roordas are an old Dutch family centered in Pella, just a few miles north of Durham and Harvey, where the Browns lived. A Brown granddaughter, Blanche Laurel Larew, married Gerrit John Roorda, so there is a family connection --- but I don't know how Andy/Grace Roorda might have been related to Gerrit.

The Roordas were people many of the Brown descendants probably would have known, however.

Best regards,


Anonymous said...

Hello Brown Cousins,
I am one of the descendants living in the Pacific Northwest. My direct line is, William Brown - Solomon Kelly Brown Sr. - Levi Wellington Brown - George “Dewey” Brown - C. Quest (Brown) Keatts - Ray Neil Keatts - and me, Wendi Rochelle (Keatts) Watson, then my daughter Josephine Quest Watson b. 7/22/10. A cousin and I now share my Grandma Quest’s genealogy hobby and I was excited to find the posted information here. We too have stories of William Brown being a strict Presbyterian, so strict that he would not allow his children to whistle or crack nuts on Sunday. I was told he immigrated to America from Ireland after his entire family died in a Cholera epidemic, and that he was a weaver by trade. (all information you likely possess.)
We have long been stumped by the dead end of William Brown, and I'd love any hints on how to do international research and trace the Irish roots. My husband and I are planning a trip to Ohio next summer, and may have the opportunity to follow up on leads. Since I am new to the hands on research, can anyone offer tips and advice on where to start, so I don’t duplicate what has already been done?
Thanks so much! Wendi

Frank D. Myers said...

Hi Wendy,

It's good to hear from you. Because of the way "Blogger" is set up I can't communicate directly with you, so hope you're monitoring this.

Our mutual cousin, Helen B., often speaks of Quest, so I know where you fit into our family. Helen blew through here earlier this year (there's actually a photo of her with one of the May --- I think --- entries on this blog); when last heard from she was in Texas headed for New Mexico then home to Utah. She keeps threatening to write the "Brown book," but I'm not sure she'll ever settle down long enough to actually do it.

If you click on "family history files" under "Lucas County links" you'll go to my online GEDCOM where more detailed Brown material is available (but I don't work hard enough at that end of things to ensure its comprehensiveness).
Another cousin, Janet, of Colorado Springs, descended from a third Brown sibling of the S.K. and Joseph generation, also works on these things. All of us, I'm afraid, have gotten lazy during the last couple of years.

If you'd like, use the e-mail address that appears under "My Complete Profile" and that I would be able to respond to.


Anonymous said...

This is very interesting and a bit overwhelming. I've just started going through family documents and items that I've inherited and the puzzle just keeps getting bigger. My name is Katy Beltrami. I have a journal kept by my great-grandfather, William Clair Brown, during a trip he took from Oregon to visit various family members and landmarks. While staying at the farm with Uncle Will and Aunt Lou (assume this is William B. Brown and Louisa Jane Brown) he wrote, "We all went down to the old Brown Schoolhouse in Lost Creek Township. There are the graves of my great grandparents Brown (my note - believe this to be William Brown and Elenor Kelly). Also Allen and Mary Ralston, my own grandmother Mary Ralston Brown (my note- first wife of Solomon Kelly Brown), Elizabeth Brown Heston, Margaret, Mary and John Brown." There is no year recorded on the journal but believe it was 1901 due to reference of President McKinley's death and first celebration of my great-grandfathers b-day with Uncle Will's 68th (both were born on Sept. 19th). Any idea on if anyone else was buried there or when it disappeared?

Frank D. Myers said...

Hi Katy --- It's always good to hear from another cousin. The great news here is that William Clair Brown's journal confirms the identities of several family members who were buried on the school house lot. We'd always figured these people were there, but no one bothered to inventory the tombstones before the cemetery was destroyed, so it was just supposition. Also presumed to be buried there is Hester (Eldridge) Brown, the first of my great-grandfather's (Joseph Brown's) three wives. She died of tuberculosis during 1850. Since the Brown school was the first meeting place of what became Fletcher Presbyterian Church it's likely other early members of that congregation are buried there, too. After the church was built in Fletcher, a cemetery was established at the new church --- but our family seems to have buried instead in the big Fletcher city cemetery. Keep your eyes open, too, for an ancient family Bible that may have belonged either to William/Eleanor or to S.K. It is somewhere on the west coast. Our late cousin, Helen (Brown) Bolen, had seen it, even copied some of the family records out of it, but had forgotten exactly who had it and had no idea where it had gone to. You probably missed Cousin Helen, who died just a year or two ago, which is too bad --- she was funny and, in her way, very wise wise --- and just like an old dog with a bone when it came to genealogy.

Anonymous said...

Hi Frank -- I'm just thrilled to know of the existence of a few other cousins. I am not the custodian of the ancient family Bible but believe much of the information that I have was collected by William Clair Brown and likely from that Bible too. The information you have posted and information that I have are amazingly similar. I did not know Helen and the only place where I have even run across the name Helen is in an unfinished letter from William Clair to an unknown Helen in 1939. He was sharing info he found on births and deaths of David Crist, Nancy Crist and Nancy Crist Calbreath. I know the Browns and Calbreaths (and name variations from original Galbraith to Calbreath) join in several places. He also mentions that Mint (Arminda Simmons Brown), his wife and my great-grandmother, often talked very favorably about her after meeting her. Your information is much more vast that I ever hope to accumulate but items that I do have fit very well into what you have posted. For example, an old letter to John and Nancy Calbraith from A.S Brown and Mary Brown written from Cincinnati Iowa on Oct. 8, 1866 states, "I am living on my farm. Archibald Brown is farming it for me and boarding with us..." Enjoying slowly going through what I have and trying to build a puzzle from the past. Seems that I'm not alone.

Frank D. Myers said...

Hi Katy --- Cousins? Oh my, we must have thousands of Brown cousins by now. First of all, I misspelled Helen's name. It's Bollen (not Bolen) --- she'd kill me. If you'd like to learn more about this remarkable lady, she has an entry at Find A Grave that you can search for (links don't work very well when shared in Blogger comments). She's buried at Wilamette National Cemetery, Portland. Helen and I also worked with Janet (whose last name I can't remember off the top of my head) who lives in Colorado Springs. She was descended from John McPherson Brown. I should try to track Janet down again. I was interested to hear about the letter from A.S. Brown to John and Nancy Calbreath. A.S. was our mutual uncle, Archibald Steele Brown Sr., and the Archibald Brown who was farming for him, generally known as Archibald Brown Jr., was actually his nephew, my grandmother's half-brother. This family gets very complicated at times. Stay in touch! If you'd rather, use my direct e-mail,

Tianna Goddard said...

I am going through stuff at my grandma's house today and came across an article by you about Elanore Jagger. She was my third great grandma. It shows me how small of a world it is since I live in Chariton. If you want any information on some of her family tree in modern times I can fill in some of the details. Her great granddaughter lives in Kellerton, but will soon be moving to an apartment in Chariton.