Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Correction, A Thanksgiving Wish, and Another Brown Family

First, a correction from last week’s column. Thanks to Wanda Brown Gibson of Blairsville who knows much more about the many Brown family lines in Union and Towns Counties than I could ever hope to uncover, I have this glaring error to correct from last week’s column (November 19), last paragraph.

I wrote that Smith and Mary Brown’s eighth child, Henry Franklin Brown, became a Baptist minister. Actually, this Henry Brown, son of Smith and Mary, became a deacon at New Liberty Baptist Church—not a minister. The Rev. Henry Brown was a descendent of Ezekiel Brown through Walter Brown. Ezekiel Brown had large holdings along the Hiawassee River in Towns County and before the Emancipation Proclamation, owned a number of slaves. This line of Browns made bricks from clay and Ezekiel Brown built an imposing brick house for his family. Rev. Henry Jud Brown was born February 28, 1880 and died March 20, 1968 at age 88. At age 21, he was the first pastor of West Union Baptist Church in Towns County when it was organized in 1901. Other known pastorates were Mt. Pisgah in North Carolina, and in Georgia Old Brasstown, Old Union, Liberty, Zebulon, Harmony Grove, Ebenezer, Antioch, Blairsville and Choestoe. I’m sorry for any confusion my error caused researchers.

Now for a Thanksgiving wish. Our American holiday which we call Thanksgiving dates back to November 21, 1621 when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony and their neighbors, the Wampanoag Indians with Chief Massasoit as their leader, gathered for a feast of Thanksgiving. The Mayflower Compact governed the Plymouth Colony in those early years. The friendly Indians lent help to the brave band of Pilgrims as they planted their first crops and survived the rigors of their first year in a strange land.

The stories of how they built their government, settled into village life, and made friends with the Indians has inspired generations since 1620. As we gather with families on this Thanksgiving, may we consider the principles upon which America was founded. The Pilgrims made a solemn covenant to treat one another with brotherly love, to seek to supply one another’s needs, to live together in peace and harmony, to share each other’s joys and sorrows, and to work for the greater good of their community. My wish for you is a solemn and grateful Thanksgiving and a return to principles that served our forebears well in the early years of this nation.

Today’s focus on another Brown family will be that of Martha Clementine Brown (05/02/1861-09/05/1933), the eleventh child of twelve born to Harmon and Sarah Brown. On February 12, 1878, Martha Clementine, called “Tina” and John Padgett Souther (09/12/1858 -3/04/1959) spoke their wedding vows. Tina’s husband was the fifth child of ten born to his parents, John Combs Hayes Souther (10/22/1827-01/04/1891) and Nancy Collins Souther (02/13/1829-07/22/1888). Recall, please, from last week’s article that Mary Elizabeth Souther (04/07/1853-01/11/1929), John Padgett’s Souther’s oldest sister, married the Rev. Smith Loransey Brown (01/20;1850-05/16/1932), the sixth child of Harmon and Sarah Brown. The children of these couples, being double-first cousins, would have much in common, living rather close together on farms in the Choestoe District. Rev. Smith Brown and Mary Elizabeth Brown had nine children (see last week’s article for that list). John Padgett Souther and Martha Clementine “Tina” Brown Souther had sixteen children:

1. Jasper Gilliam Souther (11/29/1878-07/24/1943) married first, Nancy Collins (1876-1907) and second, Estella Mae Cole (1888-1978). Gilliam was an ordained Baptist minister. He died in the pulpit while conducting revival meeting at New Liberty Baptist Church. He had expressed a desire to die while preaching, and his wish was fulfilled. He was buried in Clermont, Georgia.

2. Sarah J. Souther (10/18/1880-02/15/1881)
3. Homer H. Souther (12/24/1881-1946) married Lizzie Plott.
4. Oria C. Souther (12/23/1883-12/29/1965) married Edward Collins.
5. Infant (b/d 03/14/1884).
6. Nora E. Souther (10/12/1887-10/17/1919) married LaFayette Jackson.
7. Maria Souther (08/02/1886-05/30/1950).
8. William H. Souther (07/17/1889-?), married twice; spouses’ names unknown.
9. Joseph Thompson Souther (02/22/1893-05/14/1983) married Bertha Pruitt.
10. Martha D. Souther (02/11/1891-07/03/1893)
11. Grady G. Souther (01/05/1895-09/25/1970) married Mary Johnson
12. Mary Souther (08/02/1897-05/30/1950).
13. Lydia Souther (09/22/1899 - ?).
14. Emily Rose Souther (10/26/1901 - ?) married John Rice.
15. Johnnie P. Souther (01/15/1905-01/06/1929).
16. Cora Souther (07/27/1903-11/09/1903).

We can imagine the heartache Martha Clementine “Tina” Brown Souther endured with four of her sixteen children dying as infants and one young son, Johnnie, at age 24. Tina died ten years before her preacher son, Jasper Gilliam, died at New Liberty Church in 1943, but his father, John Padgett Souther, who lived to be 99, was still living when his son, Rev. Gilliam Souther, died at age sixty-seven.

c2009 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Nov. 26, 2009 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rev. John Monroe Brown and Rev. Smith Loransey Brown, Sons of Harmon Brown (part 4 of Series)

In last week’s column we looked at the life of Harmon and Sarah Clonginger Brown who were in Union County until where they lived became Towns County in 1856. They had a large family of twelve, eleven of whom grew to adulthood and married. Two of his sons became ordained Baptist ministers. These two, John Monroe and Smith Loransey, will be the focus of today’s Brown story.

Firstborn of Harmon and Sarah Brown, John Monroe Brown, was born July 31, 1838 and lived until March 8, 1932. On December 23, 1856 he married Emmaline Garrett (01-27-1840 – 03-27-1927). Her parents were H. Posie and Louisa Hogan Garrett.

The six children born to John Monroe Brown and Emmaline Garrett Brown were:

Sarah (07-29-1858) married Julius Tipton;
Haseltine (10-19-1860) never married;
Lucinda (02-16-1863) married Washington Pierce;
George Sherman (1866) married Sarah Alice Berry;
Zoa (02-27-1869) married Fidell Davis;
Julia (07-13-1872) married Levi Reed; and
Martha Elizabeth (07-25-1875).
Just when John Monroe Brown was ordained to the gospel ministry is not known to this writer, nor the churches he served. But when the Civil War came, John Monroe enlisted in 1862 as a private. While in Kentucky he developed a serious case of rheumatism and spent time in Chango Hospital. He was sent back to Georgia and at Tunnel Hill, Georgia got typhoid fever. He was in a hospital there until he was sent home on January 3, 1863 to recover further. He had a relapse of the fever in 1863 and was hospitalized at Catoosa Springs. When able, he was sent home again in March of 1863. After the spring and summer at home, he reenlisted with the North Carolina 6th Infantry Regiment in November, 1863. He was captured in battle and sent to prison at Fort Delaware. Following the end of the war, he was released from prison in May of 1865. He returned to his home, farmed, and preached, probably without much pay for his ministerial services unless it was a small amount of offerings taken, a little for weddings performed, and payment in grain or other farm products.

Smith Loransey Brown (01-20-1850 – 05-16-1923), the sixth child of Harmon and Sarah Clonginger Brown, was also an ordained Baptist minister. That two of their children, the first-born and the sixth-born, became ministers, speaks well of the home and religious training Harmon and Sarah provided for their children. The date of Smith’s ordination to the gospel ministry is not known by this writer. He married Mary Elizabeth Souther (07-07-1853 – 01-11-1929) in 1870. He most likely met Mary Elizabeth as he went to preach at the country church she attended near her home.

Mary Elizabeth Souther was the oldest child of John Combs Hayes Souther and Nancy Collins Souther. Her marriage to the Rev. Smith Loransey Brown brought together two stalwart pioneer families.

Maybe the young preacher was attracted to Mary Elizabeth by her clear, strong voice as a singer. In the days before hymn books were available to all in the congregation, the song leader would “line out” the words and the congregation would sing. It is said that Mary’s strong voice stood out above the others in a harmonizing alto. Mary Elizabeth was supportive of her husband’s ministry and would ride with him to his church charges for Saturday and Sunday meetings, every Sunday for them, but only once a month to the churches as they made their rounds to his charges. Their home was near her parents on the north side of Town Creek in Choestoe District. There they farmed and went out to his churches on weekends.

The Rev. Smith Loransey Brown and Mary Elizabeth Souther Brown had nine children: John Brown (09-28-1871) married Lillie Woodring; Sarah Brown (02-18-1875) married Benson Hudson; James A. Brown (08-29-1877) died young; Joseph L. Brown (07-27-1879) married Ida Logan; Daniel Brown (07-02-1881) married Fannie Turner; Arvil Brown (04-03-1884) married Mary Nix; Ellen Brown (07-08-1886) married Joseph Johnson; Henry Brown (04-20-1891) married Myrtle Collesta Thomaston; and Mary Evelyn Brown (12-21-1895) married Avery Woodring.

At their deaths, the Rev. Smith Loransey Brown and his beloved wife, Mary Elizabeth Souther Brown, were interred at the New Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery, Choestoe. Rev. Brown had been pastor of that church. Mary’s grandfather, John Souther, had given land for the church and cemetery. Smith and Mary Brown’s eighth child, Henry Brown, became a Baptist minister, and served many churches in Union and Towns Counties, including First Baptist Church, Blairsville.

c 2009 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Nov. 19, 2009 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Focusing on the Harmon Brown Family of Union/Towns Counties (part 3 of Series)

As Part 1 and Part 2 of this Brown Family Series indicates, the Browns were a major part of the population of early Union County, and, because of the location where some of them lived when Towns County was formed from Union in 1856, several of the Brown families became residents of the new Towns County without moving from their home. This fact can be confusing when tracing genealogy.

Today we focus on the family of Harmon Brown (July 2, 1816 – 1904), born in South Carolina to Henry and Rachel Harmon Brown. Harmon, who was given his mother’s maiden name, was the first-born of this couple in 1816. His known siblings were Romulus A. Brown who married Elizabeth Corn; Mariah Jane who married Henry H. Burch; Martha who married Joseph Stephens; and Elliott who married Alex Caldwell.

The Brown family moved from South Carolina to Buncombe County, North Carolina. When Harmon was a young man, he set out on his own to become independent. He went to Tennessee, to the area since called the Great Copper Basin. There, between two fledgling towns, Ducktown and Isabella, where copper (first mistaken for gold) had been found in 1843. Harmon Brown bought land in that vicinity, but evidently did not mine for copper. After marrying about 1837 a young lady he met there, Sarah Clonginger (b. 9/1/1820-?), whose parents were Jack Rhine Clonginger and Elizabeth Hancock Clemmer, Harmon sold his land in Tennessee and headed for Union County, Georgia. Later, he heard about the copper available on his Tennessee farm and went back to investigate, but the sale of land had been finalized and he could not buy it back.

They bought property in Union that then became Towns County in 1856, in what was known as the “Fodder Creek” area. The Harmon Brown family was recorded in the Union County census in both 1840 and 1850, with his family growing from five in number in 1840 to nine in 1850. By 1860, the family was listed in the Towns County census. Living in the same neighborhood that his brother Harmon lived was Romulus A. Brown, his wife Elizabeth, and their growing family.

In Towns County, Harmon Brown became a prominent citizen. His land holdings in 1860 were evaluated at $3,000, several hundred acres. The Browns were Baptists by religious persuasion, and several of the Brown offspring from various Brown families became ordained Baptist ministers. In fact, Harmon and Sarah’s first-born, John Monroe Brown (b. July 31, 1838 in Union County, GA, died March 8, 1932) who married Emmaline Garrett in Union County on Dec. 23, 1856, was ordained to the gospel ministry. The Brown family was also gifted in music and enjoyed playing and singing the “shaped note” Fa-Sol-La method. They had a place dedicated to worship in the cove where they lived, and the place is still sometimes known as “Meetin’ House Cove.”

Old Union Baptist Church in Towns County was founded August 5, 1843. Rachel Harmon Brown, Harmon’s mother, was living in his household and she became member number 23 at Old Union. His sister, Martha, also was among the first members, as was his sister-in-law, the wife of the Rev. John Monroe Brown, Emmaline, who joined in 1892.

Harmon and Sarah Clonginger Brown had a large family of twelve children. They are as follows:

(1) John Monroe Brown (1838-1932) married Emmaline Garrett.
(2) Alfred E. Brown (1840-?) married Mary Malinda Allen.
(3) Jacob Washington Brown (1843-1865) lost his life in the Civil War.
(4) George Elisha Brown (1845-1929) married Mary Ann Woodring.
(5) Jeremiah Jackson Brown (1847-1915) married Sarah G. Kendall.
(6) Smith Loransey Brown (1850-1915) married Mary Elizabeth Souther.
(7) William Clayton Brown (1852-1930) married Rebecca Roberson.
(8) Rachel Elizabeth Brown (1854-1946) married Enos Plott.
(9) James LaFayette Brown (1856-1945) married Margaret Elizabeth Kirby.
(10) Samuel Young Brown (1859-?) married Narcissa Nichols.
(11) Martha Clementine Brown (1860-1933) married John Padgett Souther.
(12) Joseph H. Brown (1863-1865).
With a large family of twelve children, eleven of whom grew to adulthood, and ten of these having married, Harmon and Sarah Clonginger Brown’s family increased to a sizeable descendancy.

Before the days of public education, Harmon Brown, wishing to have his children learn the rudiments of reading, writing and arithmetic, helped to fund and establish a subscription school at Macedonia in Towns County taught by a Miss Pitchford.

Sarah Brown’s Bible passed on to one of her many grandchildren, reveals her precise Victorian script as she carefully penned in the names of her twelve children.

Harmon Brown and his beloved wife Sarah Clonginger Brown were laid to rest at the Mt. Ivey Cemetery on Sunnyside in Towns County. At last account, their graves were unmarked. Maybe some of their descendants will investigate finding the graves and erecting a marked stone to their memory.

[Resources: The Harmon Brown story in The Heritage of Union County (1994), p. 84; in Hearthstones of Home (Towns County History, 1983), p. 23; and GED Brown Family Genealogy website.]

c 2009 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Nov. 12, 2009 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tracing Some Marriages in Early Brown Families in Union County (part 2 in Series)

Brown families in early Union County grew from two in 1834 to eleven in 1840 to twenty-one in 1850. The population within these Brown households numbered sixteen in 1834, sixty-three in 1840 and eighty-five in 1850. See last week’s column to learn the names of these heads of households and, in 1850, the names of their children still at home.

Brown as a surname is descriptive, denoting color—either of skin, hair, garments or place of residence. It derives from the Middle English, broun, the Old English and Old French, brun, and the old Gaelic word donn meaning brown. Today, Brown as a surname is the fifth most popular in the United States, with the first being Smith, the second Johnson, the third Williams, and the fourth Jones.

In England, Brown is the fifth most popular surname, but the spelling there and in Ireland and Scotland as well is apt to be Browne.

Brown is the second most popular surname among African-Americans in the United States today. This stems from many freed slaves adopting Brown as their surname following the Civil War, rather than keeping the surname of their former masters. Many also adopted the name Brown to honor the famed abolitionist John Brown (1800-1895).

Last week’s column promised a look in this article at Brown marriages in Union County by 1850. The Browns who grew from two households in 1834 to eleven in 1840 to twenty-one in 1850 had a number of children who married citizens of the county, thereby connecting Browns to other early settlers. Maybe readers can find within this listing a relative of theirs joined in holy matrimony when the county was young.

The first Brown marriage recorded in Union County occurred on August 22, 1834, performed by Thomas Cearley, Justice of the Peace. It joined William Brown to Elizabeth Ensley.

Next came another William Brown who married Elizabeth Penson on August 6, 1837, with William Jones, Justice of the Peace, officiating.

Three couples went to the altar in 1839. These were Mariah Jane Brown who married H. Burch on March 12, 1839, with R. Byers, Justice of the Peace performing their ceremony. Next came Margaret Brown who married John Webster on May 10, 1839, joined by Justice of the Peace A. Chastain. On July 18, 1839, Milton Brown married Mary Conner with Robert Byers, Justice of the Peace, joining them.

Minervy Brown married Noah Raper on January 24, 1840, with David Thompson, Justice of the Peace, joining the couple.

Charles Brown married Ann Twiggs on April 24, 1842. John Martin, Minister of the Gospel, performed the ceremony.

Three couples were wed in 1843. Clarinda Brown married Alfred Shook on April 8, 1843, with Rev. Abner Chastain as officiant. John Solomon Brown married Sary (Sarah) Twiggs on September 3, 1843, with Lindsey Gaddis, JP, performing the ceremony. Elizabeth Brown married B. D. Beaver on October 5, 1843, with William Poteat, JP, the officiant.

James Brown and Lisa Roper chose May 19, 1844 as their wedding day, with David Thompson, JP, performing their ceremony.

Malinda Brown married John C. Patton on January 4, 1845. The Rev. D. D. Roach performed their ceremony.

Two Brown marriages occurred in 1846. Martha Brown and Joseph Stevens chose Valentine’s Day, February 14 as their wedding day, with the Rev. John Corn officiating. Emily Brown and James Cathey were married May 25 with the Rev. John Corn also marrying this couple.

Peggie Brown married Henry A. Lyons on September 17, 1847 with the Rev. John Corn as officiant.

April 2, 1848 was the date chosen by Rebecca Jane Brown and John Daniel for their wedding day. They secured Charles Crumley, Justice of the Peace, for their ceremony.

Three Brown marriages were recorded in 1849. On January 13 Mary A. Brown married John Thomas with H. J. Sparks, JP, officiating. On April 4, Sabry Adaline Brown married Hugh Seay with the Rev. Elisha Hunt officiating. On July 22, Robert Brown and Elizabeth Ann Carter were married by the Rev. Elisha Hunt.

Before 1850, nineteen young Browns were joined in holy matrimony in Union County. Space precludes my listing the 40 other Brown marriages that occurred between 1850 and 1897. My resource for this information came from the book, Union County Marriage Records, 1833-1897 (c1992) compiled and published by Viola H. Jones, extracted from Union County marriage records at the Georgia State Archives.

Look forward next week to accounts of some individual Brown families and their contributions to Union County’s growth and development.

c 2009 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Nov. 5, 2009 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.