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

Friday, December 16, 2016

Brown - Burns Connections

John Brown, the third son of Timothy/Thady Brown and Honora/Hannah Kelly, was baptized January 1, 1835 at Patrickswell Catholic Church in County Limerick, Ireland.  Remember from an earlier post (Instant gratification!) that the second child of Timothy and Hannah, David, baptized January 11, 1832, has not been accounted for in America, and, it is presumed that he died before the family arrived in Boston in January 1849.  (Arriving in America)  John is enumerated in the 1850 US census in Brandon, Rutland County, Vermont with the rest of his family.   He is shown as single and was a laborer at age sixteen.  Like his older brother Patrick, John moved to central Ohio in the 1850s; unlike his brother, he did not leave the Columbus area.

John married Ellen Burns August 28, 1856 at St Patrick’s Catholic
Marriage Register from St. Patrick's, Columbus, OH
(click to enlarge)
Church in Columbus, Ohio.1    Ellen is a sister of Ann, the wife of Patrick.  Another sister, Martha Burns, also lived in Columbus.  Martha’s family and John and Ellen Brown lived and worked in close proximity; so close, that it is impossible to tell John’s story without also telling the story of Martha Burns and her husband, Peter. 

Did these families know each other from an earlier time?  The parents of Anne, Ellen, and Martha are Michael and Julia Burns.  Charts in the David Brown letter indicate that Julia’s maiden name
Portion of family tree from David Brown letter
was Thompson.2  The 1908 death certificate for Martha, the last survivor of the three sisters, shows the father’s name as Michael Burnes and the mother’s name as, “Julia,” with no surname given.3   One son of John and Ellen, James, shows a surname of “Thompson” for his mother’s maiden name on his death certificate.  The surname is “Burns,” but, it could be a clue to the identity of this family since there does not seem to be a surname referenced in other records. 

Julia died in 1887.  Her tombstone, see photo at left, indicates that she was a “native of Queens Co. Ireland” which is an earlier name
Tombstone, Mt. Calvary Cemetery
Columbus, Ohio
(click to enlarge)
for County Laois.4  Death certificates for most of the children of Anne and Ellen show their mother’s place of birth as “Ireland,” as do so many records for Irish families.   One daughter of Anne, Mary Ann, shows the birthplace of her mother, Anne Burns Brown, as “Queenstown.”5  Queenstown is now known as the city of Cobh in County Cork where many immigrants left for the Americas; but, the city had recently been in the news because of the Irish Civil War (1922 to 1924).  Perhaps the family of Mary Ann knew the location was “Queens-something” and picked up on the familiar name in the news.   A daughter of Ellen, another Mary Ann, shows the birthplace of her mother, Ellen Burns Brown, as “County Limerick.”6  We do know that Limerick is the origin of the Brown family, but was the Burns family also from Limerick?

Julia’s age is also in question.  Census records (1860 to 1880) give
1887 Death Register for Julia Burns
(click to enlarge)
her birth year as 1813, 1810, and 1800.  The tombstone shows 1790 as the birth year; the death register, (see copy of register right),7 shows 1792; and, an article in the Daily Ohio State Journal, (see notice below),
Notice of Julia's Death, Columbus, Ohio
8 states that she was born sometime between 1780 and 1790. A review of the birth year of the three daughters (from census records), Anne (1830 to 1835), Martha (1829 to 1834), and Ellen (1842) indicate that Julia could have been born as early as 1790, but probably not before.

Armed with this information, I attempted to find church records in Ireland using many surname variations of Burns/Byrnes and Thompson/Thomson.  I also checked alternate first names and nicknames for the three girls, Anne, Martha, and Ellen.9  I did not find baptism records, nor did I find a marriage record for Michael and Julia.  While I did not locate records, I believe Laois or one of the surrounding counties is the probable origin for the Burns family.  Information on the tombstone is the earliest information available and likely came from Martha, Julia’s daughter who was also born in Ireland, presumably in close vicinity of her mother’s birthplace.  Remember, that while some church records in Ireland began early, before 1800, other parishes did not begin until 1850 or even later. 

Because of the distance, it is unlikely that the Brown family and the family of Michael and Julia Burns knew one another in Ireland; but, what about Peter Burns, the husband of Martha Burns?  Peter was baptized May 17, 1832 at Carbury Catholic Church and lived in Cloonkeen,  Carbury, Kildare.10  Again, this is a long distance from Limerick and the Brown family.  However, Peter had three brothers, Patrick, John and Edward who were living in Montreal Canada by 1843.  All of the brothers married in Montreal.11  Patrick and John moved to Vermont by 1851.  John lived in Brandon, Rutland, Vermont, the same location the Browns were living in the 1850 US census.   The youngest son of John and Margaret Kilmartin Burns was baptized March 18, 1860 at St. Monica in Forestdale.12  Recall from the map in the Vermont post (Vermont) that Forestdale was one possible location for the Brown family (Hannah/Annora and her six children) in the 1850 census.  While the Brown family was in Ohio by 1860, earlier births are identified in the same area in the Civil War widow’s pension application for Margaret Kilmartin Burns.13   Could this be the connection to the Brown family?  (Remember this family.  They will have a part in the Brown story in a future generation.)

Martha Burns, daughter of Michael and Julia Burns, married Peter Burns, son of John and Esther Cary Burns,14 sometime before June 1851 when their oldest child, Julia, was born.  Both of their children, Julia and a younger brother, Willie (about 1853) were born in Ohio as shown in the 1860 U.S. Census.15   There does not appear to be a record of their marriage in Ohio despite a possible listing for Martha’s family in the 1850 U.S. Census in Columbiana County in central eastern, Ohio.  (See a previous discussion in It looked like home! The Vermont church records do not begin early enough, but could Martha and Peter have met and been married in Vermont? 

Additional information for Martha, which may give further insight, is contained in the 1900 U.S. Census, and a news clipping
Death notice for Martha Burns
(click to enlarge)
published at her death in 1909.16 The news clipping (see right) states that she, “. . . came to America  with her parents while still a girl.”  From this, we know that the family of Michael and Julia Burns probably traveled together.   Although all other records state that Martha was born in Ireland, the 1900 Census record states that she was born in Canada and came to the US in 1848.17 (see copy below) Could Martha and her family have emigrated first to Canada before coming to America?  I have not found any evidence, and, this may be too much of a coincidence, but, could there be a Canadian tie in addition to a Vermont tie?  Questions and yet more questions!
1900 U.S. Census (click to enlarge)

The next post will give further information about John, third son of Timothy and Hannah Brown, in Franklin County, Ohio – and yes, probably more questions.    

1.      Catholic Record Society, Marriage Register, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Columbus, Ohio.  Cropped to show only the entry for John and Ellen.  Additional marriage records are available online from Family Search.   Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013, database, and 

2.      Brown, David, Kewanee, IL, 11 May 1943, Letter to Esther _________, Columbus, OH, Chart 2 and Chart 3.

3.      Certificate of Death #56218, Registered No. 2597, 1909, Martha Hogan, State of Ohio, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Franklin Township, Columbus, Ohio.  Available online at: 

4.      Catholic Cemeteries, Julia Burns, 1887, grave 3, lot 85, Cathedral, section B, Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio.  There is no record for Michael Burns, husband of Julia.  Note that the tombstone shows the year of death as 1886.  The death register and the news article are from 1887.

5.      “Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947,” database, Family search ( : 27 December 2014), Mary Cox, 22 Mar 1930; Public Board of Health, Archives, Springfield; FHL microfilm 1,643,655.

6.      Certificate of Death #8915, Registration District #392, 1930, Mary Ann Murnane, State of Ohio, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Franklin County, Columbus, Ohio.  Available online at:

7.      “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, Family Search ( : 9 October 2014), Julia Burns, 10 Jul 1887; citing Death, Columbus, Franklin, Ohio, United States, source ID Cn61, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 2,026,908

8.      Daily Ohio State Journal, Death of a Centennarian, Columbus, Ohio, July 12, 1887, page 2

9.      I checked indexes at Find My Past (, Irish Family History Foundation (, and both with and without surnames and variations for all of Ireland paying particular attention to the counties of Limerick, Laois, and the counties surrounding Laois.  I did locate one record showing the father as Michael Byrne and the mother as Judy Thompson, (Judith is an alternate name for Julia), in the parish of Killaveney in County Wicklow, but, I don't the other entries for the parish are the same couple.  (See below)  I also reviewed the microfilm for this parish available online through the National Library of Ireland ( with no further results.

10.  National Library Ireland, Carbury and Dunforth Catholic Church, Carbury, County Kildare, Ireland, microfilm 04203/10, Dublin, Ireland.  Peter was baptized May 17, 1832; Edward was baptized March 16, 1827; John was baptized February 23, 1825.  There is no baptismal record for Patrick born March 1821; however, baptismal records for this parish do not begin until October 1821.  Patrick was likely born and baptized in the same location as his brothers.

11. Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968.  Available online at   Patrick married Rose Coffey February 8, 1843.  John married Margaret Kilmartin/Martin February 12, 1846. Edward married Mary Woods January 24, 1848.

12.  The Vermont French-Canadian Genealogical Society, Baptism Repertoire St Mary “Our Lady of Good Help” Brandon, Vermont  inluding the Old St. Monica, Forestdale, Vermont Mission, Vermont Catholic Diocese, 2014, Burlington, Vermont.  Baptisms for St. Monica include the years 1856 to 1868.  Baptisms for St. Mary include the years 1869 to 1948.

13.  John Burns (Pvt, Co. B, 7th Regiment, Vermont Infantry, Civil War, pension application no. 105,140, certificate no. 82,573, Case Files of Approved Pension Applications . . ., 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.   Papers include a signed affidavit from Dr. Charles Backus, who lived in the area of Forestdale, that he attended Margaret Kilmartin Burns at births in 1851 and 1853,

14.  Information from Great Aunt Maggie, (Margaret Brown Shrum), and her sisters, fervently avowed there was no blood relation between Martha Burns and Peter Burns.  I guess we should have asked more questions!

15.  1860 U.S. Federal Census, Perry, Franklin, Ohio, Roll: M653_962; Page 161; Image: 327

16.  Columbus Citizen, Wealthy Pioneer Woman is Dead, November 29, 1909, page 11, Columbus, Ohio

17.  1900 U.S. Federal Census, Franklin, Franklin, Ohio, Roll: 126; Page 7A; Enumeration District: 0030.  James, listed as a son, is actually the son of Martha's second husband, Michael Hogan and his first wife.