Monday, April 17, 2017

Putting it graphically . . .

While waiting for additional research materials to arrive, I thought it would be a good opportunity to review some family relationships and, perhaps, catch-up on a few other items.  I know I was getting confused working with the children of Patrick and John Brown.  So many of the children carry the same name; and, I thought a partial pedigree chart would help clarify the relationships.  A chart of the original emigrants was shown in an earlier post titled Chicago. (See previous post on Chicago.) 

The chart below shows Patrick and John Brown, their families, and where they fit within the larger Browne and Burns families.  John and Patrick married sisters, Anne and Ellen Burns making their children “double cousins.”   Anne and Ellen had another sister, Martha who married Peter Burns.  Peter and Martha figured prominently in the family of John and Ellen.  We looked at Peter and Martha in previous posts (Brown-Burns Connections, John and Peter, and John and Ellen) and will look at them again in a future post.

What is comforting to me is that, despite the geographic distance of these families, to say nothing of the difficulties of communicating in the mid to late 1800s, they remained close.  We saw in the “John and Ellen” post that John’s brother Patrick came to Columbus from Illinois less than two weeks after Ellen died.  He did take one of the younger children, William Henry, back to Illinois with him.  We also saw that William Henry lived, for awhile, in Adrian, Nobles, Minnesota near Patrick’s children Mary Ann Brown Cox, Sarah Jane Brown Taylor, and Hannah Brown Lynch.  (see previous post for SOLD . . . to the highest bidder . . . and ". . . and he leaves a large family to mourn his death")  We will see more interaction between the families in future posts.

The Nebraska searched turned up a marriage record in Alliance for John B. Brown, second son of Patrick and Anne Burns Brown.  The information was documented in the Comment section of the post for “he leaves a large family to mourn his death.”  At least two sisters and a cousin, (one of John’s children) were also living in Alliance at the time.    With permission of descendents of Patrick, I have also added a couple of photos to the same post.  Compare those photos with that of William Henry Brown from the last post and future posts for John’s children.  These children display similar physical characteristics.  Do the photos give us a clue to what Patrick and Anne and John and Ellen looked like? 

In the next post, we will learn more about the children of John and Ellen Burns Brown.

Families of Patrick and John Brown
showing name, spouse and date of marriage, and known locations of residence
(click to enlarge)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

SOLD . . . to the highest bidder . . .

William and Margaret Hendricks Brown
The last blog posting stated that William Henry Brown, the youngest son of John and Ellen Brown at the time of John’s death1, was living with his Uncle Patrick in McLean County, Illinois by November 1879.  (William Henry had likely traveled to Illinois earlier with Patrick when he returned home after Ellen’s death in April 1878.)  Although he was still a minor, he was the first of the children to leave the Columbus, Ohio area.  (See previous post for John and Ellen)  In this post, we will take a closer look at William Henry’s life.  The following information was submitted by Don, a descendant of William Henry Brown.  

William Henry Brown, son of John Brown and Ellen Burns, was born in 1868 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio, USA.  There is some controversy about the date of his birth.  A letter from Bernard
Fairview Cemetery, Stanley, ND
Charles Brown, a grandson to Jack and June Brown, another grandson, from several years ago, states William Henry was born on April 2, 1864.  William’s grave marker and his obituary show 1864 as his year of birth.  (See image of tombstone)

Page four of the Brown letter of 19432, shows a “?” for his Baptism date.  Also a brother, Thomas, is listed in the same letter as being baptized on April 19, 1864 Baptism.  (See previous post for John and Peter.)  It would be impossible to have two children born on different days in April 1864.  There is no evidence of a Baptism Certificate for William Henry.  Perhaps it was lost, not registered, or just not done.

His father, John Brown, was killed in 1873 after being run over by a train he was hitching a ride on.  His mother, Ellen, died from breast cancer five years later in 1878 leaving him and his siblings orphans.  Patrick Brown, a brother of John Brown, took William Henry in after Ellen’s death.  Patrick who lived in McLean, Illinois had ten children of his own.  He also was raising two other nephews, James and David Roach, who were children of his sister Johanna.  The other siblings of William were taken in by other family members.

In the 1870 Federal Census in Ohio, William Henry was listed as two years old; and, the 1880 Federal Census in Illinois shows him as eleven years old making his year of birth 1868.  In all other Federal census records, his age is consistent with the 1870 and 1880 census. 

He may have gone to Nebraska with Patrick in the late 1880’s but there are no records of that.  It is more likely that he moved to Nobles County, Minnesota about 1888, the same time as Mary Ann Brown and James Cox, a daughter of Patrick Brown and her husband3.   (See information about Mary Ann and James Cox in the previous post, " . . . and he leaves a large family to mourn his death.")  William Henry is listed in the 1905 Minnesota State Census in Adrian, Nobles, Minnesota4.  The record shows that he had been a resident of the area for seventeen years which would put his entry into Minnesota about 1888, the same time as the Cox family.   
1905 MN state census cropped to show data on two pages.  Note highlighted sections
(click to enlarge)
While in Nobles County, he met and married Margaret Elizabeth Hendricks on January 11, 1893.  She was the daughter of James Hendricks and Margaret Brobender.  Margaret Elizabeth was born on February 22, 1869 in Terre Haute, Vigo, Indiana.  Eight of their ten children were born in Adrian, Nobles, Minnesota:  John Edward “Ed”, Mary Agnes Henrietta “Ag”, Claude William, Margaret Ellen “Nellie”, Martha, James Francis “Jimmy”, Cecilia Emily, and Ann Irene.

William Henry and his growing family, four children by this time, are listed in the 1900 US Census in Olney Township, Nobles County, Minnesota where he was renting a farm5.  Based on neighbors shown on the census record, the farm was likely located just southeast of the town of Adrian, also in Olney Township.   The 1905 Minnesota State Census shows him living on Second Ave, in the town of Adrian.  (See above.)  His occupation is given as “auctioneer,” a vocation he followed the rest of his life.  The 1910 US Census shows William Henry, again a farmer, in Mountrail County, North Dakota6This location is in the very northwest corner of the state.  What prompted him to move to a seemingly out of the way place?

William Henry was raised by his Uncle Patrick, who himself and his family, seemed to travel great distances to find better opportunities.  Perhaps it was this environment that encouraged William Henry to seek alternative locations.  Events in Minnesota may have also affected his decision to move to North Dakota.  As we saw earlier, William Henry was listed as a farmer in the 1900 US Census.  In July, 1903, a devastating hail storm hit the area where his farm was located.  A long wet season followed the storm with about six inches of rain in six hours falling on September 11th alone, completely wiping out the crops for that year.  Several wet years in succession ruined many farmers7.  Perhaps this affected his decision to re-locate to North Dakota where he remained the rest of his life.

1914 Land patent sections 29 and 32
Algers Township, Mountrail County, ND
(click to enlarge)
Land was available for homesteading when William Henry moved to North Dakota, and, he took advantage of this.  (Another reason that drew him to the state?)  Bureau of Land Management records show that he had two plots of land in sections 29 and 32 of Alger Township, Mountrail, North Dakota, just southwest of Stanley, the county seat for Mountrail County.  The first was forty acres purchased in 1910 as a “cash entry.”  The other property was an “original entry” homestead finalized in 1914 consisting of 160 acres8

William Henry appears to have been one of the leaders of the Mountrail area.  The site chosen for the new county courthouse in Mountrail County was a topic for much discussion in 1913.  William Henry attended a “mass meeting” to consider its location.  He was mentioned in an article in The Stanley Sun in September 1913 under the heading “MASS MEETING ON COURT HOUSE SITE9.”  He certainly gave his opinion on the issue.  Included in the article was the following.  “ . . . The meeting was address by several of the Stanley people and W. H. Brown, who lives south of Ross, and who is the leading auctioneer of the county, spoke on the subject.  He stated that he had possibly talked to more farmers in the county than any other man in the county, as that was his business, and that he believed that 95 percent of the farmers were in favor of the half block donated by the city three years ago . . ."  William Henry was elected to the board of directors of the newly formed North Dakota Auctioneers Association in February 1920.  The same month, he was also named director from Mountrail County for the Mouse River Loop Pure Bred Livestock Association, another newly formed group.  In February 1922, he was named a director to the Northwestern North Dakota Potato Growers’ Association.  In March 1919, William Henry entered a “short-horn” Bull in the prestigious Ward County Breeders sale10; and, he was listed as the auctioneer for several livestock auctions held in the area.

By 1920, William Henry was living in Stanley City, Mountrail, North Dakota and again listed his occupation in the census of that year11 as an auctioneer.  The two youngest children of William and
The Ward County Independent, May 26, 1921
Margaret, Lucille and William Joseph “Pat”, born in Ross and Stanley, were included in this census. During late May, 1921, the house they were living in was struck by lightning, but, no one was injured.  (See newsclipping right.)

 While William Henry continued to maintain his residence in Stanley throughout the rest of his life, he also maintained the homestead, and, according to another grandson, always had livestock on the property, cattle and horses, which the family bought and sold as part of their auction and cattle business.  His oldest son, John Edward “Ed’, was also an auctioneer.  His youngest son, William Joseph “Pat”, was a cattle buyer, buying and selling as a family business.  Pat was named “Cattle Buyer of the Year” for a number of years.  
Advertisement appearing in the Ward County Independent on October 2, 1919
Obituary for William
Henry Brown, 1947
(click to enlarge)
Obituary for Margaret
Hendricks Brown, 1935
(click to enlarge)
William Henry was active in the business until a few months before his death from colon cancer.  He died July 6, 1947 in a hospital in Fargo, North Dakota.  He is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Stanley, ND.  Margaret, his wife, preceded him in death September 26, 1935. See the attached obituaries from The Stanley Sun.

In the next post, we will continue looking at the children of John and Ellen Burns Brown.

1.       From the last post, we learned that Ellen was pregnant with their last child at the time of John’s tragic death.  Peter Brown was born posthumously on October 14, 1873.  He was baptized December 6, 1873 at St. Patrick’s Church in Columbus, Ohio.  Catholic Record Society, Baptismal Register, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Columbus, Ohio

2.       Brown, David, Kewanee, IL, 11 May 1943, Letter to Esther _______, Columbus, OH.  Records from the Catholic Record Society also confirm Thomas’ baptismal date as May 7, 1864.

3.       The Petition for Letters of Administration in the estate file for Patrick Brown identifies three children living in Adrian, Minnesota at the time of his death in 1891; Mary Ann Cox, age 34, James E. Brown, age 25, and Hannah K. Brown, age 21.  Since the original research on Patrick’s children was done, I have discovered a marriage record for James E. Brown in Box Butte County, Nebraska to Jennie Phillips.  Witnesses were David Brown (a brother of James or perhaps a cousin, a son of John Brown and Ellen Burns) and John Phillips.  The record is dated August 26, 1888 and definitely shows his parents as Patrick Brown and Ann Burns.  Alliance in Box Butte County, Nebraska was identified in the same Petition for Letters of Administration as the residence of Emily Julia Brown Betebenner, another daughter of Patrick Brown.  The original research showed that James E. Brown married Jennie Barney about 1893.  Perhaps this was an earlier marriage for James E. Brown and James had moved back to Minnesota by 1891, the time of his father’s death.  Additional research is needed to follow up on this new information. 

4.       Minnesota State Census, 1905, database with images, William H Brown, Adrian, Nobles, Minnesota; citing p. 169, line 39, State Library and Records Service, St. Paul; FHL microfilm 9328,798. : 15 November 2014. 

5.       United States Census, 1900, database with images, , William Brown, Olney & Westside Townships Adrian village, Nobles, Minnesota, United States; (ED) 221, sheet 5A, family 71, NARA microbilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972): FHL microfilm 1,240,778. FamilySearch ( MR)

6.       United States Census, 1910, database with images, William H Brown, Alger, Mountrail, North Dakota, Unites States; ED 106, sheet 12B, family 291, NARA microfilm publication Y624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982) roll 1143; FHL microfilm 1,375,156. FamilySearch (

7.       Rose, Arthur P, An Illustrated History of Nobles County, Minnesota, Northern History Publishing Company, Worthington, Minnesota, 1908, p. 120

8.       Bureau of Land Management, “Land Patent Search,” digital images, General Land Office Records ( : accessed 23 March 2017), William H. Brown (Mountrail County, North Dakota), homestead patent no. 06864 and no. 05119

9.       Mountrail County Historical Society, Tales of Mighty Mountrail , A History of Mountrail County, North Dakota, Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, Texas, 1979, p. 14.  The rest of the quote is as follows, “. . . He also stated that the farmers were under the impression that the matter had long ago been settled and that they were satisfied.  He further stated that he did not believe that the taxpayers wanted their money spent at this time on unnecessary grounds.  He urged the people of Stanley to get together on the question and stated that the way things were going now, was disgusting to the farmers and would work to the detriment of Stanley. . .”

10.   Information concerning his membership, and leadership, in many of the associations concerned with farming and raising livestock in the area was taken from The Ward County Independent, a newspaper located in Minot, Ward County, North Dakota, just east of Mountrail County where William Henry lived.  Online information, through the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America site, is only available until 1922. I’m sure that a review of The Stanley Sun (sadly not available online) in Stanley, Mountrail County, and The Ward County Independent through 1947, the year of William’s death, would reveal additional information about his social and business dealings in the community. 

11.   United States Census, 1920, database with images, William H Brown, Stanley, Mountrail, North Dakota, United States; ED 163, sheet 1B, line 64, family 15, NARA microfilm publication Y625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1337; FHL microfilm 1,821,337. FamilySearch (

Monday, February 20, 2017

John and Ellen

John Brown was killed instantly on the evening of June 3, 1873 when he fell under the wheels of a train bound for Piqua, Ohio.  (See Death Register below.1)  The accident happened about one half
John Brown death register
(click to enlarge
mile from where he was living at the quarry of his brother-in-law, Peter Burns, on Dublin Road.  There is no indication that the train was stopped or that the conductor even knew of the accident; nor, was there an indication in the news articles of who found John’s dismembered body.  (From the article In the Ohio State Journal, the discovery must have been just as the accident occurred.  See the article from the Ohio State Journal in the last post.)  The coroner, Patrick Egan, was called, but no existing report can be found.2

Family lore does not tell us how John’s wife, Ellen, learned of the accident or how the family coped in the days that followed.  It must have been devastating. (See the David Brown letter right.3) Their
Section of 1943 David Brown Letter
(click to enlarge)
oldest son, John E. was not quite sixteen.  Seven additional children ages three to fourteen were at home; and, recall that their youngest daughter, Julia, had died just five months earlier.  Moreover, Ellen was about four months pregnant with Peter, their last child, who was born October 14, 1873.  I can only imagine that it was a difficult pregnancy to say the least.

While Ellen did manage to carry Peter to term, her life, too, was cut short.  On April 11, 1878, just five years after John’s death, Ellen,
Death Register for Ellen Brown
(click to enlarge)
age 36, died of cancer.  (See death register for Ellen, left.4)  By this time, John E., the oldest son, was twenty.  The eldest daughter, Mary Ann was married to Timothy Murane5 and living in her own household; but, there were still seven under age children left at home.  
John and Ellen Brown are buried in graves 4 & 5 in B, Cathedral Section, Lot 85  (see footnote 6)
Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio

There are no details of what happened to John and Ellen’s family after John’s death.  The estate was not filed until after Ellen’s death.  Documents in the probate file do give some information.

The David Brown letter states that, “I don’t believe that these people lived in Delaware as did Patrick Brown and family. The only place of their residence, to my knowledge, was on what we formerly knew as ‘Dublin Road’ . . . “  There are a couple of documents in the probate record that support this theory.  The Will of Martha Burns Brown Hogan, Ellen’s sister and wife of Peter Burns, left the quarry property to her nephew, John E. Brown.7  The description of the property in the will says “houses” (plural) suggesting that John and Ellen did, indeed, live on the quarry property with Peter and Martha Burns. 

More telling information can be inferred from a bill found in the probate record from J.T. Williams & Son, a blacksmith shop located on West Linn Street in Columbus.  (See the bill below right.8)
Bill from J.T.Williams & Sons
(click to enlarge)
 The bill covers a period of about six months from September 1877 to February 1878 with additional later payment information.  There are several line items for repairs to at least one wagon; however, most of the bill is for horse shoes.  Thirty-seven shoes (23 old and 14 new) were purchased during that short period.  The wagon(s) and horses were presumably used in the quarry business and were likely large enough for heavy loads of stone requiring a team of at least two horses to pull the load – perhaps more than two.  Even with the heavy loads, horse shoes are pretty durable and 37 shoes would be a lot to go through in a six month period for just two horses.  My guess is that there were multiple horses, and, perhaps multiple wagons.9

The death register for Ellen states that she was living on “S. Mead” at the time of her death.  Ellen is also shown on Mead Alley in the 1877 and 1878 Columbus City Directory.10   While this location is
Receipts from Ellen's doctors - (click to enlarge)
less than four miles from the quarry, she may have moved there because it was in town, and, she would have had easier access to medical care.   Ellen reputedly died of breast cancer.   Documents in the probate record indicate that she was treated by Dr. S.H. Stewart and Dr. J.W. Hamilton from May 1877 until her death.  (See copies of doctor’s receipts above left.)   Dr. John Waterman Hamilton was a noted surgeon of the time and taught surgery at Starling Medical College and Columbus Medical College which he founded along with other prominent physicians in 1874.11  The entire notation on the receipt is not legible, but it appears to be for some surgery on the breast done in May, 1877.  This seems to corroborate what was written by David Brown in 1943.12  (See section of the letter below.)
1943 David Brown letter - (click to enlarge)

As indicated in the last post, John and Ellen Brown owned two city lots.  Since there were outstanding bills, the Probate Court ordered that the real estate be sold to settle debts. The major bills appeared to be the blacksmith bill shown above, the mortgage for the city lots held by Thomas Bergin, (see details in the last post) and a bill from the undertaker, Patrick Egan, for the 1873 burials of John Brown and his daughter, Julia.13  (See below)  On April 22, 1878, an estate file was established for John Brown.  On April 16, 1878, a bond was posted by Patrick Egan to be named Administrator of the estate. 
Egan bills for 1873 burials of Julia and John Brown and 1878 burial of Ellen Brown
(click to enlarge)

Yes, this is the same Patrick Egan who submitted a bill for his services as an undertaker in 1873.  Today, we would question that as a conflict of interest.  I don’t think that was the case here.  Patrick Egan died on October 12, 1890.  He was a successful businessman and had been the county coroner for many years, and, in fact, had been the coroner at the time of John’s death in 1873.  In addition to his obituary, a separate article was published the same day in the Columbus Dispatch stating that the Irish community had lost a valuable friend.  Egan, himself born in Ireland, had used his wealth and influence to assist many Irish immigrants, spending vast sums to help them.  Had his only motive been to collect the debt, he would not have waited five years to submit a bill.  Since there were funds available after the forced sale of the real estate to cover other
Administrator's Account for John Brown estate
(click to enlarge)
expenses, (the city lots were sold at auction on May 17, 1879 for $365.00 to Thomas Bergin), Mr. Egan did collect his fee for the 1873 burials.  There was another bill for Ellen’s funeral (see above) which does not seem to be included in the final accounting.14  (See Administrator's Account right.)  It appears that Mr. Egan was trying to retain as much cash as he could for the family.

After Ellen’s death, Patrick Brown, John’s brother and husband of Ellen’s sister, (see previous posts about Patrick Brown.  It looked like home!  Illinois Prairie Years  Homesteading), came to Columbus to help the family.  This can be verified by another document in the
Notarized copy to children of John Brown
(click to enlarge)
probate records. On April 23, 1878, Patrick signed a note stating he had served notice to all of the children of John and Ellen Brown that there had been a claim filed against the real estate.15  (See copy left)  The note was notarized by Martin Nolan, an attorney practicing in Columbus, Ohio.

All of the children stayed in the Columbus area with Peter and Martha Burns, at least for awhile, except William Henry who was living with his uncle Patrick as we saw in the 1880 U.S. Census for McLean County, Illinois.  (See previous posts for Patrick named above.)   Family lore says that William went to Illinois with Patrick when he returned home after Ellen’s death.  A final document in the estate file seems to verify this.  Patrick Brown signed a notice dated November 18, 1879 notifying William, still a minor, that the real
1879 notarized copy signed in Illinois
(click to enlarge)
estate had been sold.16  (See copy right)  The notice was notarized by Richard E Moreland, a neighbor of Patrick’s in McLean County, Illinois.  That is where we will go for the next part of the story.

One final thought, (plea) before I end this blog.  Many years ago, (2004) a family tree that included this specific Brown family was posted on RootsWeb – long since taken down – that stated, “Ruth has picture of Ellen Burns.”  The note further states that the photo was, “dated April 13, 1818 or that was Ellen’s birthdate???or date of death?”  I have a theory that the ink was faded on the back of the photo and that the date was written April 13, 1878 – the actual date of Ellen’s death.  (The "7" had faded to look like a "1"?)  Perhaps "Ruth" is a descendant of Thomas, fifth child of John and Ellen?  If anyone knows of the photo, I would love to see a copy!      

1.       “Ohio County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 December 2014), John Brown 03 Jan 1873; citing Death, Franklin Township, Franklin, Ohio, United States, source ID v1 p71, County courthouses, Ohio: FHL microfilm 285,206.  The record shows the date of death as January 3, 1873.  The correct date of death is June 3, 1873.

2.       I did contact the Franklin Coroner’s Office.  They do not have files from that early time frame, and, there does not appear to be files at the Ohio Historical Society.

3.       Brown, David, Kewanee, Il, 11 May 1943, Letter to Esther _________, Columbus, OH.

4.       “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch ( 13 Dec 2014), Ellen Brown, 11 Apr 1878: citing Death, Columbus, Franklin, Ohio, Unites States, source ID v1 p 125, County courthouses, Ohio: FHL microfilm 285,206.

5.       “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2014), Timothy Murmane [Murnane] and Mary Ann Brown, 01 Apr 1875; citing Franklin, Ohio, United States, reference Vol 13 p230; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,147

6.       Information from Catholic Cemeteries, Columbus, Ohio.  Few early records for the cemetery were kept.  Information is from a ledger available at the office of St. Joseph Cemetery, Lockbourne, Ohio.  Remember that twelve graves were purchased by Mrs. John Brown on January 22, 1873 for $35.00.  Cemetery records show burials for the Brown family in graves numbered one through six.  Graves seven and eight do not show burials.  Graves nine through twelve show burials for a Vogt-Tyler family.  There is no indication in the cemetery records that these graves were sold by the Brown family and I do not know of any relation to this family.  The earliest burial is for Edmond Vogt in 1935.  

7.       Franklin County, Ohio, probate case files, estate no. 24,074, Martha Brown Hogan (1909), last will and testament, Will Book v FF p35, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio

8.       Franklin County, Ohio probate case files, estate no. 010060, John Brown (1878), bill of J.T. Williams & Son, 17 Jun 1878, Probate Court, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio.  Note:  The bill does not state whether the horses were shod at the Williams’ establishment or whether the shoes were purchased and put on by one of the Brown-Burns family at the quarry.  Remember, there was a Brown that was a blacksmith in the Patrickswell area in County Limerick and someone from the family in America may have developed that skill.

9.       Having owned horses myself for many years, I do have some experience with blacksmiths and horse shoeing.  While horse shoes are custom fit, if not custom made, as a rule after the horse matures, the size of a horse’s hoof does not change over the years.  In general, metal horse shoes last many years.

10.   The 1877 directory shows Mrs. Ellen Brown as a resident on the east side of Mead north of State Street.  The 1878 directory shows the widow E Brown on Mead south of Rush Allen.  Mead Alley is now May Street.  While the property is now vacant, this house was located in what is now called “the bottoms” of Columbus just west of downtown and the Scioto River.  It would have been in Franklinton, the earliest settlement in Franklin County.

11. Moore, Opha, History of Franklin County, Ohio, Historical Publishing Company, Topeka & Indianapolis, 1930, Volume One, p. 356.  Available online at: 

12.   Op. cit., David Brown letter

13.   Franklin County, Ohio probate case files, estate no. 010060, John Brown (1878), Bills from Patrick A. Egan, undertaker.  The top portion of the bill for Ellen, dated April 13, 1878, is not legible.  Since the total sum due for this occurrence was $95.00, the top line would be for $60.00.  If this bill follows the structure of the previous bill, the first line would show the cost of the casket.

14.   Franklin County, Ohio probate case files, estate no. 010060, John Brown (1878), Administrator’s or Executor’s Account, not dated, Probate Court, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio.  There appear to be a couple of omissions from the accounting, notably the blacksmith bill (J.T. Williams & Sons), and Patrick Egan’s bill for Ellen’s funeral expenses.  Also note the $35.00 payment for the cemetery lots in Mt. Calvary from 1873.  Additionally, the original mortgage on the city lots was for $235.00.   Payment on the note to settle the estate was for $65.00; so, some earlier payment(s) must have been made on the mortgage.    

15.   Franklin County, Ohio probate case files, estate no. 010060, John Brown (1878), Notice to John E Brown and others, 23 Apr 1878, Probate Court, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio.

16.   Franklin County, Ohio probate case files, estate no. 010060, John Brown (1878), Notice to William Brown, 18 Nov 1879, Probate Court, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

John and Peter

1872 Birds-eye view Columbus, Ohio (click to enlarge)
As we saw in the last post, John Brown and Ellen Burns were married at St. Patrick’s church in Columbus, Ohio on August 28, 1856.  John and his growing family are shown in the 1860 US
1860 US Census
(click to enlarge)
Census living in Perry Township, in Franklin County, Ohio.1  (See 1860 Census left.)  By this time, John and Ellen have three children, John E., Mary Ann, and Martha, all of whom were baptized at St. Patrick’s in Columbus.  (See copy of David Brown Letter below right.2)  Ellen’s mother, Julia Burns, was also living with them.  Perry
Section of David Brown Letter
(click to enlarge)
Township is located northwest of downtown Columbus, between the Olentangy and Scioto Rivers, and extends north to the Franklin – Delaware County line.  (See map of townships in Franklin County below.3)  In 1860, it was outside of the
Townships of Franklin Co.
(click to enlarge)
city limits so records of residents would not have been included in the Columbus City Directory.  There is a listing for a “John Brown” residing on Cleveland Ave between North Public Lane (Naughten Street) and Spring Street in the 1858-59 city directory.  This would have been just a couple of blocks from St. Patrick’s in the Irish section of town.  However, it is far from certain that this is the same family since Peter Burns is not listed separately in the directory, and these two families always lived in very close proximity. Could it be that Peter and John were living in the same household and only one name was recorded?

The 1860 US Census also shows Peter Burns and his family (his wife, Martha, sister of Ellen Brown, and two children, Julia, age 9, and Willie, age 7), living in a separate residence virtually next door
Southwest portion of Perry Twp.
(click to enlarge)
to John Brown.  Both men are identified as laborers.  Because neither of them owned land, it is difficult to exactly pinpoint them on a map.  However, other individuals enumerated within a couple of pages of them in the census do own land and can be identified on an 1872 map of Perry Township.4  (See Perry Township map left)  From this information we can identify an area in the southern most portion of Perry Township, bordering Franklin Township, where both John Brown and Peter Burns were living in 1860.   

The 1870 US Census finds both John Brown and Peter Burns living in Franklin Township, Franklin County, Ohio - a different location from the 1860 census.  (See 1870 Census below right.5)   The family must have been doing better financially since, at this time, both men are property owners.  Note that John and Ellen now have eight
1870 US Census
(click to enlarge)
children.  John Gray is a border.  Julia, the mother of Ellen and Martha, is living with Peter and Martha.  (The census suggests Julia’s last name is “Tracy” when the name is actually Julia Burns.  This can be verified later in the 1880 census.)  No children are listed with Peter and Martha.  Their oldest child, Julia, shown in the 1860 census, married John Murnane on October 1, 1869.  (Remember this surname.  We will see it again later.)  Julia died just four months later on February 26, 1870 of “intermitting fever” and is buried in Mr. Calvary Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.  Nothing more is known of their other child, Willie. 

The property for Peter Burns was relatively easy to find.  Family lore has always identified these two men, Peter and John, with the stone quarries on the near northwest side of Columbus, and is verified by the occupation column of the 1870 census.   Peter
Northeast section of Franklin Twp.
(click to enlarge)
Burns purchased approximately five acres along the Scioto River from Garrett Miller on July 8, 1869.7  The property, located on Dublin Road (following the Scioto River and on some old maps identified as “Stone Quarry Pike”) was the site of a former paper mill erected about 1839.8  It was used by Peter, and presumably John Brown, as a quarry and remained in the family until 1960. Statistics of the quarry industry created as documentation for the 1880 US Census, lists the property as an active quarry.9  An 1872 map of Franklin Township shows the location of the property. (See Franklin Township map above left) (See section of Table IV below.)   
Section of Table IV - 1880 US Census - Report on the Building Stones of the United  States  (click to enlarge)

The property for John Brown was more difficult to locate and, when found, led to further information about these families.  Because of the common name (John Brown), and because I was looking for property in Franklin Township near that of Peter Burns, I did not find the property until I had access to the estate file of John Brown from 187810 where the sale of real estate was ordered
1872 Map of Columbus showing location of
John Brown's city lots  (click to enlarge)
to settle debts of the estate
11.   The property is described as “lots seven and eight in original lot fifty-nine in William Phelan’s Mount Pleasant Addition in the city of Columbus, E. Sorins subdivision.”  A map of the area, (see left), shows the location.  The vacant lots were purchased for $160 by John Brown from Edward Sorin on August 8, 1864 and are located in Montgomery Township at the corner of Third Avenue and Sixth Street. 

On August 26, 1865, Peter Burns also purchased property from Edward Sorin.  He purchased lots eight, nine, ten and eleven in original lots twenty-eight, twenty-nine, and thirty also in William Phelan’s Mount Pleasant Addition for $400.12  These properties would have been in very close proximity to the lots purchased by John Brown just a year earlier.  I do not know whether the lots were purchased with the intent to build their homes there, or, whether they were intended as a business venture; perhaps both since each man purchased multiple lots.  Whatever the reason, Peter sold his city lots to Catharine Ryan on August 30, 1871 for a nice profit, receiving $1,400 for the property.13  By this time, Peter had purchased the quarry property (1869) and, according to the 1870 census (see above) was living at the quarry, probably with John Brown and his family.

On February 23, 1872, John and Ellen Burns took out a mortgage
1872 Mortgage - page 1
(click to enlarge)
on their city lots.14  They received $235 from Thomas Bergin due in one year from the date of the mortgage. (See Mortgage Deed left and right.)   We will probably never know why the loan was taken out.  It could have been for use in the quarry business, for general household expenses, or something
1872 Mortgage - page 2
(click to enlarge)
else.  We do know the mortgage was not paid, likely because of other events.  On January 22, 1873, just shortly before the mortgage was due, John and Ellen lost their youngest daughter, Julia, to “inflamation.”  Julia was just fourteen months old at the time of her death.15  John Brown purchased twelve graves in Mr. Calvary Cemetery on January 22, 1873 at a cost of $35.00.  Julia is buried in grave #1.  No stone marks her grave.16  

Trains provided an important function in the late 1800s and were the main source of transportation at the time even for short distances.  The Redfield & Logan’s Columbus & Indianapolis Central Railway Business Guide17 gives information for a train line (the Columbus Chicago and Indiana Central division of the Pan-Handle Railroad) running from the station on North High Street at Naughten Street going north and west to a flag station at “Scioto” four miles from the city near where the Brown and Burns families were living.  The track runs east of Dublin Road and crosses the Scioto River just north of Fifth Avenue and, actually could have been used in the quarry business.  The tracks still exist today.  (Refer to the earlier images of Franklin and Perry Townships for location of the tracks.)  Ease of transportation is probably the reason all of the children were baptized at St. Patrick’s.  It would have been a ten minute ride to downtown Columbus.   Remember St. Patrick’s is located just a few blocks east of the site of the train station on Naughten Street.

For whatever reason, perhaps it was to address the overdue
News article-Daily Dispatch
June 4, 1873
(click to enlarge)
mortgage, John Brown was in Columbus on June 3, 1873.  Often, locals were given a complimentary ride on the locomotive by the engineer.  This day, being denied a ride, John hopped the 6:18 train leaving Columbus bound for Piqua, Ohio riding on the bumper of a

freight car.  Because the family lived so close to the track, they must have heard the train
News article-Ohio State Journal
June 5, 1873
(click to enlarge)
coming and expected John home soon.  When the train slowed to cross the bridge over the Scioto River, John jumped from the train.  His foot slipped and he was thrown under the wheels of the train killing him instantly.18  Both the Daily Dispatch and the Ohio State Journal carried news of the gruesome accident.19  (See both articles along
with a current map of the area marking where the accident happened.)  A report of the accident was included in the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Railroads, and stated that, “June 3, 1873.  John Brown, Scioto; killed; stealing a ride, fell under train.  P.Egan, Coroner.”20   
Current map of the area from Google Earth.  Railway identified by red line.  Property of Peter Burns and where John Brown
was likely living is approximately the red roofed building below the "Dublin Rd" label.  Note the proximity of the property
to the accident site.  (Click to enlarge) 

In the next post, we will look at the aftermath of the accident and what happened to Ellen and the children.

This post was written with the able assistance of Marion.

1872 Birds-eye View of Columbus, Ohio.  Map used with permission of the The Columbus Metropolitan Library Image Collections.  Detailed map in high resolution allows view of specific Columbus locations in 1872.  The blue circle shows the train station.  The purple circle shows St. Patrick’s Church.  The red circle shows the city lots purchased by John Brown in 1864.  Zoom in to see details.  Street names have changed since the map was created.  They are listed in the 1874 edition of the Columbus City Directory.  Clinton is now Fourth St.; East is now Sixth St.; Eastern is now Fifth St.; Phelan is now Fourth St.    

1.       1860 U.S. Census, Perry Township, Franklin County, Ohio; Roll M653_962; Page 161; Image 327.  Available online at Family Search:

2.       Brown, David, Kewanee, IL 11 May 1943, Letter to Esther _________, Columbus, OH.  Verification of the baptisms at St. Patrick’s church, Columbus, Ohio, were obtained for all of the children through the Catholic Record Society, Diocese of Columbus, Columbus, OH - Mary Ann baptized 7 Nov 1858; Martha baptized 10 Mar 1860; James baptized 12 Mar 1862; Thomas baptized 7 May 1864; David baptized 10 Jan 1866; Ellen baptized 16 Oct 1869; Julia baptized 31 Nov 1871; Peter baptized 6 Dec 1873.  Note that records do not exist anywhere in the Columbus Diocese for John E, the oldest son, and William Henry, the seventh child.  Since this family made a special trip to St. Patrick’s for the other baptisms, like David Brown, I assume John and William were also baptized at St. Patrick’s and the event was just not recorded.

3.       Caldwell, J.A., 1872 Caldwell’s Atlas of Franklin Co. and the City of Columbus : from actual surveys, J.A. Caldwell & H.T. Gould, Columbus, Ohio, 1872.  All map images in this section are reproduced with permission from “The Columbus Metropolitan Library Image Collections” and are available online at:

4.       Ibid.

5.       1870 U.S. Census, Franklin Township, Franklin County, Ohio; Roll: B593_1200; Page 486B; Image 401757.  Available online at Family Search:

6.       "Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2014), John Murnane and Julia A.C. Burns, 01 Oct 1869; citing Franklin, Ohio, United States, reference p66; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,146.  Available online at:

"Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 December 2014), Julia Mumine, 27 Feb 1870; citing Death, Franklin Township, Franklin, Ohio, United States, source ID v 1 p 36, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,206.  Available online at:

Letter to the author from Catholic Cemeteries, Columbus, Ohio dated July 21, 2004. “John Murnane purchased 6 grave spaces in B, Cathedral Section, Lot 21.  These spaces were purchased February 27, 1870 at a cost of $17.50.  The grave spaces were transferred to Peter Burns (Peter Burns Stone Quarry) on February 20, 1892. . .  do show burials in all 6 grave spaces but no names are listed.”    (Image of Julia’s tombstone below.)
Tombstone of Julia Burns Murnane - Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio

7.       Franklin Co., OH, Deed Book, Volume 98, page 635.  Garrett and Catharine Miller to Peter Burns for $3,000 dated 8 Jul 1869.  The property consisted of two parcels.  The “paper mill” parcel was deeded to Garrett Miller by John Dorsey, et al on 25 Nov 1865 (1 acre 164 poles) (Deed Book Volume 85, page 542).  The larger parcel (3 27/100 acres) was deeded to Garrett Miller by Archibald Woods on 5 Jan 1864. (Deed Book Volume 78 page 354)  These are available online at:   

8.       Taylor, William Alexander, Centennial History of Columbus and Franklin County, Ohio, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, Volume 1, page 54.  Available online at: 

9.       Report on The Building Stones of the United States, and Statistics of the Quarry Industry for 1880, Table IV–Tables Indicating the Amount and Kinds of Rock Quarries in the Different States , page 82.  The report was created by the Department of the Interior as part of the documentation for the Tenth Census of the United States.   Available online at:  

10.   Franklin County, Ohio, probate case files, estate no. 010060, John Brown (1878), Notice of Sale, 2 Oct 1879, Probate Court, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio.

11.   Franklin County, OH, Deed Book 140, Page 491.  Sale of real estate from the estate of John Brown to Thomas Bergin, 3 Oct 1879.  William Phelan was a large land owner in Franklin County including the Mount Pleasant Addition in the north side of Columbus.  The property was divided into large lots and sold to individuals who further subdivided them into city lots.  Edward Sorin purchased many lots from Phelan.  A map is available online at the Columbus Metropolitan Library (1899 Baists Property Atlans of the City of Columbus -  [section 14]) that shows the lots purchased by “E. Sorin” which were further subdivided.  To identify the exact location of the city lots owned by John Brown, I followed sales of the property until it could be identified on a current tax map. In Columbus, numbered avenues run east and west; numbered streets run north and south.

12.   Franklin County, OH, Deed Book 85, Page 212.  Sale of real estate from Edward Sorin to Peter Burns for $400.00

13.   Franklin County, Ohio, Deed Book 106, page 107.  Sale of lots 8, 9, 10, and 11 in original lots twenty-eight, twenty-nine, and thirty from Peter Burns to Catharine Ryan for $1,400.

14.   Franklin County, Ohio, probate case files, op.cit.  Mortgage Deed dated 23 Feb 1872.

15.   "Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 December 2014), Jule Brown, 24 Jan 1873; citing Death, Franklin Township, Franklin, Ohio, United States, source ID v 1 p 63, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,206.

16.   Information from Catholic Cemeteries, Columbus, Ohio.  Few early records for the cemetery were kept.  Information is from a ledger available at the office of St. Joseph Cemetery, Lockbourne, Ohio.

18.   "Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 December 2014), John Brown, 03 Jan 1873; citing Death, Franklin Township, Franklin, Ohio, United States, source ID v 1 p 71, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,206.  Death Register shows death as January 3, 1873.  The date, from news clippings, is actually June 3, 1873.

19.   “KILLED BY THE CARS,” The Daily Dispatch, Columbus, Ohio, June 4, 1873, page 1

“Terrible Accident,” Daily Ohio State Journal, Columbus, Ohio, June 5, 1873, last page

 Seventh Annual Report of the Commissioner of Railroads and Telegraphs of Ohio for the year ending June 30th, Accidents to Persons in Ohio, page 436, Nevins & Myers, State Printers, Columbus, Ohio, 1874  Available online through Google books at:,+1873.+John+Brown,+Scioto:+killed;+stealing+a+ride,+fell+under+train&source=bl&ots=5ONQX-oqZ0&sig=E1nadEncgKaq1I8EbslTFZ6OWV4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjDtfKm9LDRAhWIi1QKHYlyAjwQ6AEIGjAA#v=onepage&q=June%203%2C%201873.%20John%20Brown%2C%20Scioto%3A%20killed%3B%20stealing%20a%20ride%2C%20fell%20under%20train&f=false