Sunday, July 9, 2017

More Brown Children

Just like older brother and sister, Patrick and Anne Burns Brown, John and Ellen Burns Brown also had a large family.  So far we have looked at William Henry, David and James.  In this post, we will look at more of the Brown children.

Mary Ann was the second child and oldest daughter of John and Ellen.  She was born October 4, 1858 in Franklin County and was baptized at St. Patrick’s in Columbus on November 7, 18581.  Mary
Mary Ann Brown and grandson - c. 1918
Ann was just fifteen when her father died in 1873.   She married Timothy (Tade) Murnane on April 1, 18752. This was two years after her father died and three years before the death of her mother.   The two oldest children of Mary Ann and Timothy, John and Julia, were born before Ellen died; so, Ellen did get to see, at least, some of her grandchildren.  (Ellen died just two weeks after Julia was born in 1878.)   Mary Ann and Timothy eventually had a total of ten children: John, Julia, James Joseph, Ellen, Mary Clare, Grace, Nora Cecelia, Margaret, Timothy, and David.

Mary Ann and Timothy set up housekeeping on Dublin Road near the stone quarry owned by Peter Burns in Franklin Township.   Like, Mary Ann, Timothy was born in Ohio of Irish immigrant parents.  While there was still much public bias against the Irish at this time, second generation Irish did assimilate into the “American” culture easier than their parents.  There were still predominantly “Irish” sections of town, but, there were steadier employment opportunities allowing a more affluent lifestyle and better housing than the original immigrants experienced.  In 1902 they moved to 133 N. Eureka Ave. in the “Hilltop” area where they lived the rest of their lives3.  

From a young age, Timothy worked in the stone quarries in the area, advancing to foreman and eventually superintendent of the Casparis Quarry before his death on May 15, 1913 from tuberculosis4.  He was just 54.  Two of their daughters, Ellen and Margaret also died of tuberculosis before their father; one in 1905 and the other in 1911.  Mary Ann continued to live in the family home with her youngest surviving daughter who cared for her until February 18, 1930 when she died of heart problems at age 725.  She is described by her descendents as a “typical Irish woman who demanded respect but loved children.”  She had a wonderful sense of humor and could tell a good story.  Mary Ann was deeply religious and belonged to several Catholic organizations.  She passed her love of her Catholic faith on to her children.    

The third child of John and Ellen Burns Brown was Martha, born February 21, 1860 and baptized at St. Patrick’s on March 10, 18606.  Like her brothers and sisters, Martha lived at the home of Aunt Martha, her mother’s sister, and Uncle Pete, on the quarry property after the death of her parents.  On September 8, 1881, Martha married William Murnane7.  William was a brother of Timothy Murnane, husband of Martha’s sister, Mary Ann.  Martha and William had five daughters, Clara, Nellie, Julia, Margaret and Mary Cecilia.  Both Nellie and Julia died by 1902, before reaching adulthood. 

1899 Poster showing roster of fireman
(click to enlarge)
Martha and William probably lived on or near the quarry property until about 1896 when the Columbus City Directory shows them living at 143 N. Central Ave8., just a few doors south of Martha’s brother James Brown.  (James was one of the subjects of our last blog.)  The 1896 directory lists William as a “quarryman.”  This was a likely occupation for him from the time of his marriage, and perhaps before.  The 1880 US Census shows him living near the Brown/Burns family at the quarry where he was a “laborer.”  The 1897 Columbus city directory identifies him as a “fireman.”  Except for a short time between 1904 and 1906, until his death in 1912, William’s occupation is given as “fireman.”  A poster, available at The Ohio History Connection, (see above right) includes a roster of Columbus firemen in 1899.  It shows William working at No. 10 Engine Co., located on West Broad Street at Glenwood Avenue, not
Engine House No. 10 c. 1897
James Brown and William Murnane likely in photo
far from where he lived.  He was assigned to the No. 4 Truck Co., of the No. 10 Engine Co9.  Note that other family members are also listed in the roster.  James Brown, brother of Martha and Mary Ann, was also stationed at Engine House No. 10; and Charles Fleming was listed as a “sub.”  Charles was a brother of Josephine and Hettie Fleming, wives of Thomas and James Brown.  Information from the Central Ohio Fire Museum states that William was a substitute fireman and then a regular full time fireman.  Regular pay for firemen around 1900 was $1,000 a year - payable once a year.  Substitute firemen earned $2.50 a day10.  They were paid daily.  William was active with the fire station until his death on July 10, 1912 from heart disease11.  Martha continued living in the family home until her death on September 6, 1914 from cancer12.  She was just 54.

All of the Brown brothers and sisters, except William Henry, and other Fleming and Murnane siblings and cousins, lived in close proximity on the west side of Columbus at one time or another.  I remember stories of all of them visiting back and forth, especially on Sundays, and "discussing" who served the "best" meals.  The children of John E. even stayed at "Aunt Mat's" (Martha Brown Murnane) when their house was quarantined for typhoid.

Thomas Brown is the fifth child and third son of John and Ellen.  (He is between James and David, both of whom were featured in the last post.)  Thomas was born April 19, 1864 and baptized May 7, 1864 at St. Patrick’s in Columbus13.   Thomas married Josephine Fleming on October 24, 188614.  Josephine (Josie) is a sister of Hettie Fleming.  Remember from the last post that Hettie married James Brown in 1883.  Thomas and Josephine lived on the west side of Columbus until about 1895 where Thomas was a fireman for both the Columbus Fire Department and the “Insane Asylum15.”  All three of their children, Mary, John D.16, and Josephine were born in Ohio. 

Thomas, like his brothers David and William Henry, inherited a wanderlust.  The 1900 US Federal Census shows Thomas with Josephine and the three children living in Rochester, Minnesota.  He was in a partnership with Frank More in a saloon business17.  Thomas is back in Columbus in 191018; but, in 1920 he is living in Cut Bank Township, Bottineau County, North Dakota19.   By 1930, Thomas again returned to the central Ohio area, where he owned property in Delaware County on High Street north of Powell Road.  His mailing address was Westerville, but the property was directly north of Worthington where he worked as a night watchman at the Josephinium Pontifical College20.  It is interesting to note that Thomas’ son, John D. was living in Bottineau County, North Dakota in the 1910 US Census; but, was back in Columbus by 1920.  John’s daughter, Ruth, was born in North Dakota in 191621

Thomas passed away on August 5, 193022 at age 64 of chronic
1930 obit for Thomas Brown
nephritis and was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery south of Columbus.  Josephine survived Thomas nearly twenty years.  She died in Columbus on June 12, 194923 at the age of 81.

Ellen A. Brown is the eighth child and third daughter of John and Ellen.  She was born September 23, 1869 and was baptized October 16, 1869 at St. Patrick’s24.  Ellen, also known as Ella, Ellie and Nellie, never married.  She lived with her aunt and uncle, Martha and Peter Burns after her parents died.  From 1896 until 193925, when she was seventy years old, she worked at the state asylum, sometimes known as the “Imbecile Institute” and also as the “State Institution for the Feeble Minded” on West Broad Street in Columbus - the Hilltop area.  Her occupation was given alternately as an attendant or a watchman.  She probably resided at the institution since no other address is given for her in the Columbus City Directory until 1935 when she was living at the home of a niece.  This was actually the home that had belonged to her sister, Mary Ann Murnane.  The 1940 US Federal Census26 gives her residence as St. Francis Convent Home for the Aged in Tiffin, Chester Township, Seneca County, Ohio.    The St. Francis Home began in 1869 as a home for orphans and older adults.  It is still in operation today as a senior living center.  I don’t know how long Nellie lived in Tiffin; she was living there in 1947 when her brother William Henry died in North Dakota.  Sometime before 1960, Ellen returned to Columbus and was living at St. Raphael’s Home on December 2, 1960, where she died aged 9127. Descendants of Mary Ann who knew “Aunt Nellie,” described her as imposing and kind of quiet.  She wore a straw hat and round glasses and reminded them of Grandma Moses.  She is buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in the same plot with her parents.

The next child is Julia Brown, born November 7, 1871 and baptized at St. Patrick’s on November 31, 1871.  Julia died January 22, 187328 of “inflammation”, six months before her father was killed in the train accident.  She was just over a year old.  Although no stone marks her grave, she is buried in the family plot at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio29.

The youngest child born to John and Ellen Burns Brown was Peter.  Peter was born on October 14, 1873, four months after his father was killed.  He, too, was baptized at St. Patrick’s on December 6, 187330 and was just three and a half years of age when he was orphaned.  Peter was raised by Uncle Peter, whom he was probably named after, and Aunt Martha Burns.  Nothing is known of Peter’s life except that he died and was buried sometime in 1892 in the family plot in Mt. Calvary Cemetery31.  A review of the death records in Franklin County does not identify him; so, presumably he died somewhere else and was returned to the family in Columbus.  He could have been living out of town with an older sibling.  There may be some notice in the local papers that would give more information.  However, since no specific date is given, it will take awhile to do the search - something I intend to do sometime in the future.

With the previous posts, that covers all of the children of John and Ellen Burns Brown with the exception of their oldest son, John E., who will be the subject of the next post.

1.       Catholic Record Society, Baptismal Records, Columbus, Ohio

2.       “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2014), Timothy Murmane and Mary Ann Brown, 01 Apr 1875; citing Franklin, Ohio, United States, reference Vol 13, p 230; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,147.

3.       Information for residences was taken from the Columbus City Directory, 1898 to 1916, available at    The “Hilltop” area of Columbus has always been associated with the Columbus State Hospital for the Insane.  It was a large employer in the region for over 100 years and was built in the late 1870s. The Hilltop was also the location of Camp Chase, a Confederate Prisoner of War camp during the Civil War.  The area was previously a largely agricultural tract owned by the Sullivan family until the late 1800s and early 1900s when it was subdivided into residential neighborhoods popular with up and coming young married couples.  From Wikipedia at,_Columbus,_Ohio  

4.       "Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001," database with images, FamilySearch( : 13 December 2014), Timothy Murnane, 15 May 1913; citing Death, Columbus, Franklin, Ohio, United States, source ID 1913 fn 1409, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 2,032,528.

Columbus Evening Dispatch, Obituaries, 14 May 1913, page 2.  “Illness from a complication of diseases caused the death at 6 o’clock Thursday morning of Timothy Murnane, of 133 Eureka avenue.  He was 54 years old and last employed as superintendent of the Casparis quarries. . .”

5.       "Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001," database with images, FamilySearch( : 13 December 2014), Mary Ann Murname, 18 Feb 1930; citing Death, Columbus, Franklin, Ohio, United States, source ID 1930 fn 662, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 2,032,729.

6.       Ibid., Catholic Record Society

7.       “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2014), William Murnane and Martha A. Brown, 09 Sep 1881; citing Franklin, Ohio, United States, reference; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,149.

8.       Information about residences and occupations was taken from the Columbus City Directory, 1896 to 1914, available at

9.       Columbus Ohio Department of Public Safety Division of Fire, Fireman’s Register, Columbus Fire Department, 1899. Collection Catalog Number OVS 5578, Ohio History Connection, Columbus, Ohio.  The Roster of 1899 lists all firemen employed by the city including substitutes.  Martha’s brother, James, was also assigned to No. 10 Engine Co.  This would have been just before James went into the saloon business with brother, David – also a subject of the last blog. Engine House No. 10 was constructed in 1897 and is still standing today.

Photo is of Engine House No. 10 and was probably taken at the opening in 1897.  Family members, William Murnane and James Brown are likely included in the photo.

10.   Salary Information from the Central Ohio Fire Museum, Columbus, Ohio.

11.   “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 December 2014), William Murnane, 10 Jul 1912; citing Death, Columbus, Franklin, Ohio, United States, source ID 912 fn 1728, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 2,032,527.

12.   “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 December 2014), Martha Murnane, 10 Sep 1914; citing Death, Columbus, Franklin, Ohio, United States, source ID 1914 fn 2487, County courthouses, Ohio, FHL microfilm 2,032,531.

13.   Ibid., Catholic Record Society

14.   “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2014), Thomas Brown and Josephine Fleming, 27 Oct 1886; citing Franklin, Ohio, United States, reference p548; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,150.

15.   Information for occupation and residences was taken from the Columbus City Directory, 1888 to 1895, available at

16.   The Birth Register for John D. shows his mother’s name as “Josie.”  John D’s birth was registered the same day as the birth of Leo (Lee) Brown, the fourth child of James and Hettie Fleming Brown – James being a brother of Thomas and Hettie being a sister of Josephine.  The children were born just ten days apart.  “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 22 December 2016), J.D. Brown, 19 Aug 1889 and Leo Brown, 9 Aug 1889, citing Birth, Franklin, Franklin, Ohio, United States, county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 185,136

17.   U.S. Federal Census, 1900, Rochester Ward 1, Olmsted, Minnesota; Roll: 779; Page 1B; Enumeration District: 0115; FHL microfilm: 1240779 available at  Thomas’ partner, Frank More, was born in Illinois.  The 1880 and 1910 census records show Frank More in McLean County, Illinois.  This was the same area in Illinois where Patrick Brown, oldest son of John and Ellen Burns Brown, lived with his family.  Could there be another connection with this part of the family in McLean County, Illinois?

18.   U.S. Federal Census, 1910, Columbus, Ward 9, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: T624_1182; Page 3B; Enumeration District: 0142; FHL microfilm: 11375195 available at

19.   U.S. Federal Census, 1920, Cut Bank, Bottineau, North Dakota; Roll T625_1331; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 45, image 16B available at  While this location was not far from where William Henry Brown was living in Mountrail County, the descendants of William Henry were not aware that William’s brother was living so close.

20.   U.S. Federal Census, 1930, Orange, Delaware, Ohio; Roll: 1790; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0020, Image: 419.0; FHL microfilm: 2341524 available at

21.   Information for John D. Brown and his family is taken from the 1910 and 1920 US Federal Census available on

22.   “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2014), Thomas Brown, 05 Aug 1930; citing Delaware Twp, Delaware, Ohio, reference fn 47486; FHL microfilm 1,992,174.

23.   Ibid., Ohio Deaths, Josephine Brown, 12 Jun 1949; citing, reference certificate; FHL microfilm 2,247,091.

24.   Catholic Record Society, Baptismal Records, Columbus, Ohio

25.   Information for residences was taken from the Columbus City Directory, 1896 to 1939, available at

26.   U.S. Federal Census, 1940, Clinton, Seneca, Ohio; Roll T627_3144; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 74-8, available at

27.   Columbus Evening Dispatch, Deaths and Funerals, 3 Dec 1960, page 2.

28.   Catholic Record Society, Baptismal Records, Columbus, Ohio

29.   Catholic Cemeteries, Records from Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio.

30.   Ibid., Baptismal Records

31.   Ibid, Records from Mt. Calvary Cemetery

Monday, May 8, 2017

Steam and Saloons

David Brown, the sixth child and fourth son, of John Brown and Ellen Burns Brown, was born January 2, 1866 in Columbus and was baptized on January 10th at St. Patrick’s.  He was just seven
Wedding present to
Mary Ellen Shipley Brown
years old when his father died in the train accident and twelve at the death of his mother in 1878.  The 1880 US Census shows David living with Peter and Martha Burns on the quarry property on Dublin Rd. in Columbus.  (Remember, Martha was a sister of David’s mother, Ellen.)  Nothing more is known of David’s early life; but, as is stated in the David Brown letter1, probably all of the children, “worked when they could and when the weather was such that the younger ones could not work in it [the quarry], they then went to school.” 

The first confirmed record found for David outside of Ohio is his Homestead application in Alliance, Nebraska begun March 26, 18892.  However, David was likely in the area prior to this time.  He appears to be a witness at the marriage of his cousin, James E.
Is this David Brown?
(see footnotes)
Brown, fourth son of Patrick Brown, to Jennie Phillips in August 18883.  It is possible that when David left Columbus, he first stopped at the home of his Uncle Patrick in Custer County, Nebraska; and, that James and David traveled to Box Butte County together.  Railroads were opening the area during this time; and, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy line actually reached Alliance in early 1888.  This was the same line that went through Custer County making it an easy trip.

Application for Extension
(click to enlarge)
The actual homesteading for David may not have gone exactly as planned.  David filed for an extension4 on the claim due to an “extreme drought during the summer and fall of 1890.”  Even before the drought, David worked for wages “by the month or day” to support himself.  Because of the drought, employment was not available in the area and he was “compelled to go east for the purpose of procuring work.”   The
Testimony of Claimant
(click to enlarge)
extension was granted for November 1890 to November 1891; however, the Testimony of Claimant5 document, as part of the final proof of his homestead states that although he “. . . secured a leave of absence to expire Nov 1, 1891, but [he] never took advantage of it.” He did state that he would be gone a few weeks at a time to earn a living.  David’s homestead was finalized on September 16, 1896.  (Refer to the previous post on Homesteading for information about homesteading and obtaining homestead records.)
A story has been handed down to David’s descendants that he was a locomotive engineer for the Burlington railroad.  At some point, he was “disciplined” by the railroad and his friends staged a strike to get back his job.  He was a proud man and when his job was reinstated, he told them, “ . . . he wouldn’t take the job back if it was life or death.”

 A railroad engineer was a coveted position and only given to the best men who had, usually, taken many years to work their way up from lower positions.  During the first half of 1888, the engineers and firemen for the Burlington line staged a strike shutting down operations for a time from Chicago to all points west.  Scrambling to keep the rail lines open, many less experienced men were hired.  The strike, deemed to be over in most areas, lingered in the Nebraska area6.  If, as according to the David’s testimony in finalizing his claim, he did not leave the area, the strike could have been an opportunity for David, and many others to obtain well paying jobs.  By at least 1898, David was an engineer for the Burlington line.  Several references are made to “engineer D. Brown” in the local newspaper, The Alliance Times.  Other friends and neighbors of David were also mentioned, many engineers, and, from time to time, they “laid off” the railroad for a few weeks or months to attend to their farms and ranches7

David and Mary Ellen Shipley8 were married on June 12, 1895.  Witnesses to the marriage were Hannah Brown, youngest
Marriage Record of David & Mary Ellen
(Click to enlarge)
daughter of his Uncle Patrick, and Joseph Lynch, Hannah’s future husband.  Mary Ellen, born August 13, 1876, was the daughter of Robert and Rhoda Edwards Shipley.  The Shipley family also homesteaded in Box Butte County in a neighboring township9.  The family had previously farmed in Illinois where their seven children were born.  Robert and Rhoda were originally from Kentucky.  (See marriage license left.)  David and Mary Ellen had two children, David Earl and Francis Merle, while living in Nebraska.  This David Earl Brown is the writer of the letter that has been referred to frequently in this blog.  The Brown family probably lived in the town of Alliance, a town of 2,500 in 1900.  It was not unusual for a family to have a house in town and still maintain their farm or ranch, especially after their homestead was finalized10.

The June 23, 1899 edition of The Alliance Times ran the following notice under the Shop, Wheel and Rail column.  “All train and engine men and such other employees as are concerned in the handling of trains will be examined in hearing and sight between this and the first of September.”  Was David adversely affected by the “physical,” and could this have been the cause of the threatened strike by David’s friends?   The September 22, 1899 edition of the same paper, in the same column, stated, “Engineer D. Brown has left the service of the company;” and, still later, on September 29, 1899, the paper said, “Ex-Engineer D. Brown will leave tomorrow night accompanied by Mrs. Brown and the children, for Columbus, O., where he may decide to locate.”

David, his wife, and two sons are shown in the 1900 US Census for Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio.  It must have been very difficult for Mary Ellen to move to Columbus.  She left her family and friends behind in Nebraska and knew no one in Columbus except
David Earl Brown,
Oldest son of David Brown 
her husband.  Even David’s brothers and sisters would have been strangers.  Mary Ellen had always lived in a rural area, and Columbus with a population of over 125,000 in 1900, must have been very different for her.  David’s occupation is given as a “saloon keeper.”  The 1910 US Census shows his occupation as “retail dealer of liquors.”  The 1900 Columbus City Directory shows David in business with John Murnane11 as “Brown & Murnane.”  From 1901 to 1915, he is shown in the saloon business with his brother, James, as the “Brown Bros” at various locations on West Broad Street in Columbus12.

James is the fourth child and second son of John and Ellen Brown.  He was born in Franklin County on February 22, 1862 and baptized at St. Patrick’s on March 12, 1862.  He, too, was living with Peter and Martha Burns in the 1880 census.  On January 4, 1883, James married Hettie Fleming13, the daughter of John and Martha Fleming, neighbors in Franklin Township in Franklin County, Ohio.  James, unlike some of his brothers, never left the Columbus area.  Before he joined David in the saloon business, James and Hettie were living on North Central Avenue and James was a fireman.

In August 1902, James purchased a lot at 2510 West Broad Street, where the saloon was located for one year, 1904.  In 1911, a one-
Baist map of Columbus, 1899-see footnotes
Saloon in red circle in upper right
David's home in blue circle in lower left
Mt. Carmel hospital is located on State St between
David and Souder. just out of the image.
(click to enlarge)
half interest in this property was transferred to David Brown.  During 1907 the Brown Bros. saloon was moved to 741 West Broad Street; and, in June 1911 David and James purchased the property14.  It was a one story frame building with a basement and a backyard and was located at the southwest corner of West Broad Street and Green Street, sometimes called Doyle Alley, across from The Good Shepherd School and Convent15.  There had been a saloon at this address since before 1897.   (See the map left from the 1899 Baist Real Estate Atlas. The saloon is shown in the red circle.)

David died from pneumonia on July 14, 191416 leaving his wife and sons, ages 15 and 16.   No will was recorded.  Initial papers were filed with the Franklin County Probate Court to establish an estate record.  The estate was in probate for nearly six years and was not finalized until the real estate was transferred to the widow on April 9, 1920.  Perhaps the delay was caused by a disagreement concerning the liquor license.  On September 10, 1914, the same day the initial papers were submitted, James, as the surviving partner, filed his election to take the interest of the deceased partner, David Brown.  At the same time, an inventory was
Inventory of Brown Bros.
submitted17.  (see right) The next day, September 11th, David’s widow, Mary, applied for and was granted David’s one-half interest in the liquor license held for the Brown Bros paying $100 to the administrator of the estate18.    From 1915 to 1918, the Columbus City Directory shows another saloon proprietor, Benj Biete, at 741 W Broad.  Was the liquor license sold to Mr. Biete or did he have a license in his own name?  If the license was transferred, who did the transfer, or was it done jointly?   The questions could be answered by reviewing the liquor licenses. However, the records are not available19, so it is uncertain what happened to the license.  It could be that actually nothing happened because the Prohibition era began in Ohio in May 1919, nearly six months before the 18th Amendment was passed by Congress20.    

Both properties held by David and James Brown were sold during 1920; the property at 741 W. Broad on October 1, 1920, and the property at 2510 W. Broad on April 10, 1920 which had a $4,500 mortgage at the time. Both properties sold for $1.00 and “other valuable considerations.”  Whether it is of significance or not, James sold his personal residence at 47 S. Warren on March 4, 1920.21

The saloon was located in an area called “The Bottoms,” on lower ground and surrounded on three sides by the Scioto River.  On March 24, 1913, a major storm hit much of the eastern Midwest, including Columbus, causing flooding, destruction, and death over widespread areas.  Columbus received over five inches of rain in a
Map of flood area showing breaks in levees and flow of
flood waters.  Red "X" is location of Brown Bros.
(click to enlarge)
24 hour period.  The local rain plus runoff from areas north of town caused the Scioto to first overflow then breech the levees protecting the low-lying areas of Franklinton, including the bottoms22. (See map of flooded section left.)The saloon was located just a block west of Sandusky and a block east
West Broad St. at Davis looking toward Mt. Carmel Hospital
Mt. Carmel is the taller building in the upper right
of Davis.  (See photo of flood damage at Davis and Broad.)  There is not any visual or written record of the damage done to the saloon, but, it would have had water in the building at the least and, perhaps, structural damage which may have been a contributing factor in the mortgage on one of the properties and
Martin Ave. after the flood
the low level of spirits in the inventory at the time of David’s death.   David’s house, at 90 Martin Ave., was also in the flood area and may have sustained damage as well.  (See image of Martin Ave. after the flood.)  James’ residence was located further west on higher ground and was out of the flood area.

Without an income after David’s death, Mary Ellen rented rooms in her home to nurses from Mt. Carmel Hospital located just a couple of blocks away.  She also helped raise her three small grandsons, David Earl’s children, after their mother, Helen Neubeck, passed away at age 30 in 1928.  And, as a resourceful woman, she ran a numbers racket out of her kitchen based on the last three digits of the volume of trading on the stock market23.   She must have been quite a gal.  Mary Ellen passed away July 27, 1946.  Mary Ellen and David are buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.

James’ occupation, after the Brown Bros. saloon was closed, was shown as a fireman or a watchman in the Columbus City Directories.  James died of chronic nephritis on October 3, 183825.  His wife, Hettie Fleming, had predeceased him on December 12, 1927.  They are buried in St. Joseph Cemetery in Lockbourne, Ohio.  James and Hettie had five children, John, Arthur, Agnes, Lee, Walter, and Hettie.

Special thanks to Marion for her help with this post.

In the next blog, we will look at other children of John and Ellen Burns Brown.

IMAGE - The teapot and creamer shown in the first image was given to Mary Ellen Shipley Brown at her marriage to David Brown on June 12, 1895 in Alliance Nebraska.  Items are in possession of a descendent.

1.       Brown, David, Kewanee, IL, 11 May 1943, Letter to Esther _____, Columbus, Ohio, page 6.

2.       The Original Entry application in Section 30, Township 25N, Range 50W of the 6th prime meridian was completed on September 16, 1896 and is available online at Fold3.    There are likely two other claims made by David.  These are not available online to compare signatures.  One is a cash sale in Section 24, Township 25N, Range 51W in April 1891 adjoining the above property.  The other is a Timber Claim completed September 7, 1899 in Section 20, Township 25N, Range 50W.  It is not known how long these properties were held.

3.       Box Butte County Clerk of the District Court, Alliance, NE, Nebraska, Box Butte County Marriages, 1887-2005, volume A, page 51, The witnesses at this marriage are David Brown and John Phillips.  Remember, James had a brother named David, but, by this time he was going by the name of D.O. and had settled in Custer County.  The likely witness then is David Brown, the son of John and Ellen Burns Brown, the subject of this post.  We looked at James earlier in the post for . . . and he leaves a large family to mourn his death.  At that time it was determined that James had married Jenny Barney about 1894, and, was living in northeast Nebraska in 1900.  Also, remember that James was living in Adrian, Minnesota in 1891 at the time of his father’s, death.  It is assumed that this was a first marriage for James and that he left the area after the presumed death of his first wife.     

IMAGE - Is this a photo of David Brown?  It was found in a box of photos from Margaret Shrum, a granddaughter of John and Ellen Burns Brown.  The back of the photo gives the name of the Photographer, F.J. Buckmyer, and his address, 69 S. High St., Columbus, Ohio.  City Directories for Columbus show the photographer at this address from 1881 to 1887.  David would have been age 15 to 20 during this time frame.  Based on the physical appearance of the subject, I believe this to be “a Brown” of about 20 years of age.  The backdrop is a “western scene.”  Could this be a clue that he was heading west?

4.       Op. cit., Original Entry application, Application for Extension. When the extension was filed, David had built a 16 x 18 house, a cave that was 12 x 12 and had broken twelve acres of ground.  He had only a pony with which to do the work.   

5.       Op. cit., Original Entry application, Homestead Proof – Testimony of Claimant.  Part of the final process of a homestead claim was for the claimant, and two people who could vouch for him, to complete a questionnaire about improvements made to the property and his tenure on the land.

6.       Salmons, C. H., The Burlington Strike: its motives and methods including The Causes of the Strike, Press of Bunnell and Ward, Aurora, IL, 1889.

7.       Nebraska State Historical Society, The Alliance Times, Alliance, NE.  The Alliance Times is available through interlibrary loan on a limited basis.  I reviewed two reels of microfilm (071-Al5t, 006 and 007) for the period of May 13, 1898 to April 5, 1891.  The newspaper gives a lot of detail about the lives of the people in the area.  One regular column in the paper, “Shop, Wheel, and Rail,” specifically lists men, and their families, associated with the railroad. Perhaps additional information about David, when he started for the railroad, his assignments, and more could be located in earlier editions.   Thanks to the Wilmington Public Library in Wilmington, Ohio who managed to obtain the microfilm of the newspaper.

8.       Box Butte County Clerk of the District Court, Alliance, NE, Nebraska, Box Butte County Marriages, 1887-2005, volume A, page 431,

9.       Bureau of Land Records, Land Patents, Nebraska.  Records are available online at:; Images from the Alliance Land Office are available from Fold3 at:  Robert Shipley homesteaded in section 25 in township 026N, range 051W.  Robert Shipley’s sons, William T. and Archie L., homesteaded in section 26 in township 026N, range 051W.   Robert’s son-in-law, John Keeffe originally homesteaded in section 1, township 025N, range 050W.

10.   A review of many homestead applications and local news articles for friends and neighbors of the Brown’s find several notations that homesteads were maintained while the wife and children lived in town citing the harsh environment for women and children.  

11.   Remember from the post on John and Peter that Julia, the daughter of Peter Burns, was married to John Murnane.  Is this the same man?

12. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line], Columbus City Directory, 1884 to 1946.

13.   “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2012,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2014), James and Hattie Fleming. 04 Jan 1883; citing Franklin, Ohio, United States, reference 17; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,149.

14.   Franklin County Recorder’s Office, Public Records Search, online database of property sales in Franklin County, Ohio. .  Records of purchases and sales: 2510 W Broad St (lot 6 in the Terrace Addition) purchase by James Brown, v. 360 p. 183 Aug 15, 1902; transfer ½ interest in 2510 W Broad St to David Brown, v. 483 p.607 Jun 11, 1911; 741 W Broad St (lot 1 in Samuel Doyle’s Western Addition) purchased by David and James Brown, v. 513 p. 438 Jun 6, 1911.  The description of the property where the saloon was located was derived from the Sanborn Fire Insurance map located at the Columbus Metropolitan Library and the purchase deed.  “This deed is made subject to a certain lease made by grantor August 3, 1910 for a term of three years (3) from September 1, 1910, to August [Uihleen sp??] on that portion of the premises herein conveyed known as no. 741 W. Broad St. being storeroom basement and backyard of same.”


15.   The Good Shepherd School, Columbus.  Good Shepherd School was a house of refuge for troubled females of all ages.  It was located on the Sullivant estate on West Broad Street and Sandusky and consisted of several buildings including, a church, school, convent and several other buildings.  The grounds were extensive and covered several acres.   

IMAGE – Section of Plate 9 of the 1899 Real Estate Atlas for Columbus, Ohio, G. Wm Baist - Map used with permission of The Columbus Metropolitan Library Image Collections.

16.   Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 21 May 2014), 1914>image 1579 of 3301.

17.   Franklin County, Ohio probate case files, estate no. 29919, David Brown (1914), Inventory dated September 10, 1914.  Inventory consists of furniture and fixtures and one-half barrel spirits.  Was there other inventory that was moved prior to probate; or, was the inventory small because of the 1913 flood?

18.   Ibid., David Brown (1914), “Entry” dated September 11, 1914, “. . . administrator is ordered to transfer and assign the interest of said David Brown in said Liquor License, to said applicant [Mary E. Brown],; and it is therefore ordered and directed that upon the payment by said Mary E. Brown to said administrator, for the use and benefit of the estate of said David Brown, of the sum of $100.00, said administrator is hereby directed to assign and transfer to said Mary E. Brown, all the right, title and interest of the estate of said David Brown, deceased, in and to said Liquor License.” 

19.   The licensing division of the Franklin County Liquor Control holds records for licenses and transfers.  They do not have records before Prohibition, nor, are early records held at local repositories in Franklin County.

20.   Ohio Memory, The Prohibition Era Begins . . .,

21.   Op. cit., Franklin County Recorder’s Office, Public Records Search, sale of 741 W. Broad recorded in volume 691, page 246; sale of 2510 W. Broad recorded in volume 672, page 580; sale of 47 S. Warren recorded in volume 678, page 286.

22.   Section of map from the Ohio State Board of Health of March 1913 showing areas of Columbus, Ohio affected by the flood.  For more information on the flood in Columbus, see  and 

IMAGES of 1913 flood used with the permission of The Columbus Metropolitan Library Image Collections

23.   This information from descendents of David and Mary Ellen Brown.

24.   Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 21 May 2014), 1914>image 1579 of 3301.