Patrick and Bridget Brown, the children of Irish immigrants, reared a large Catholic family in Mineral County, West Virginia and Allegany County, Maryland around the turn of the Twentieth Century. Patrick Henry ‘PH’ Brown was a miner and eventually a mine owner. He served as president of the Elk Garden Big Vein Coal Company for many years. He also owned hotels in Maryland and Pennsylvania and may have been a partner in a whiskey distillery in Frederick County, Maryland. According to family history, he took 'Henry' as a middle name after he became an adult. They reared thirteen children who settled all over the United States and had many offspring of their own, making this family a true Irish-American success story.
JPW Note: The author has identified over thirty grandchildren born between 1898 and 1937.
Patrick Henry Brown and Bridget Theresa Burke were married in St Peter’s Catholic Church, Westernport, Allegany County, Maryland, on September 17, 1876 – a good year. During most of their married years they lived in Allegany County, Maryland, and Mineral County, West Virginia. Bridget died January 23, 1936 while living at the home of Ursula Burke Brown Davis, her youngest daughter, near Monrovia, Frederick County, Maryland. Patrick died November 25, 1928 at the home of James Patrick "Gee" Brown at Westover, West Virginia. He is buried next to Bridget in St. Michael’s Cemetery, Frostburg, Maryland.
Patrick and Bridget
The Brown, Burke and Dugan families of Ireland came to America in the mid-nineteenth century. Patrick Henry ‘PH’ Brown and Bridget ‘Biddy’ Theresa Burke were born in America. James and Julia Dugan (also spelled Duggan and Dugen) Brown, and Martin and Anne Coffey Burke, their parents, emigrated from Ireland probably during the period from 1848 to 1854. We know far more about the Browns than we do about the Burkes and Dugans.
Bridget Theresa Burke probably was born near Ellicott City, Howard County, Maryland, on February 21, 1855. Bridget was the second child of Martin Joseph and Anne Coffey (also spelled Coffee) Burke, both of whom were born in Ireland. Martin Joseph ‘Marty Joe’ was born about 1824 and Ann ‘Annie’ Coffey Burke was born about 1826. The US Census taken in June 1880 in Piedmont, West Virginia, shows Martin to be 56 years old and Annie to be 52. Martin died May 9, 1900. They are buried in St Peter’s Cemetery, Westernport, Maryland. Marty Joe was a foreman or "section boss" for the P&P Railroad. Their other children were Mary (1854), Ann (1857), William (1860), and Elizabeth (1863).
According to family lore, Patrick’s mother’s family, the Dugans, hailed from County Clare, Ireland, where they may have been neighbors of the Browns. Both families came to Western Maryland when the railroads were being built. The first name of Julia’s mother was Mary, and she was born about 1810; the 1880 US Census shows her to be 70 years old. Julia had a younger brother, Pat Dugan, who was also born in Ireland about 1848. Since her obituary shows that she was 80 years old at the time of death on January 23, 1907. However, the 1900 US Census shows that she was born March 1833. She is buried in St Peter’s Cemetery, Westernport, Maryland.
Patrick’s father, James ‘Jim’ Brown, was born in Ireland about 1819. Family lore says that his brother (name unknown), and perhaps Jim as well, left Ireland in a hurry. Jim’s brother struck an English official at some sort of public gathering, then hid in a haystack and boarded ship for Australia and was never heard from again. Jim and his family left at the same time for America. Of course, we Irish would never embellish a story.
James Brown married Margaret Carroll in Ireland and, with children, Mary and James, arrived in America around 1848. According to the 1900 US Census and the records at St. Peter Catholic Church in Westernport, Maryland, James, their son, was born in County Clare, Ireland on February 10, 1846. The 1850 US Census records show Mary age 7 and James age 5. Daughter Ann was 18 months old at the time of the US Census and it indicates that she was born in Maryland. What happened to Margaret and the two daughters between 1850 and 1853? Family lore says that they may have died in a train accident. The Allegany County, Maryland, and church records show that Jim married his second wife, Julia Elizabeth Dugan, in May 1853 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Cumberland, Maryland. The 1860 US Census shows James, Julia and son James, age 13, in addition to children of James and Julia.
According to family lore, Patrick, their first child, was born March 23, 1854 in Kitzmiller, Allegany County (now Garrett County), Maryland. However his death certificate indicates that he was born in Virginia. The author is researching the place of birth and has recent information that he may have been born in Hampshire County, Virginia. West Virginia and Mineral County were formed in 1863/
In addition to Patrick, the other children of James and Julia were Joseph (1856), Margaret (1858), Anne (1863), Phillip (1865) and Nellie (or Ellen) (1868) before Jim died of "sunstroke" on June 17, 1868. His West Virginia death certificate shows his father’s name as James and his mother’s name as Mary. The 1860 US Census shows James, age 40; Julia, age 30; James, age 13; Patrick, age 6; Joseph, age 4, and Margaret, age 2. Phillip and Elle "Nellie" were born after 1860. The 1860 records show that James, Julia and James, the son, were born in Ireland. The 1870 Census shows Julia Brown, age 40, living in Piedmont, West Virginia with Patrick, age 14; Joseph, age 12; Margaret "Maggie" , age 10; Anne, age 7; Phillip, age 5, and Nellie , age 2. As adults, Margaret (Mrs. Dennis Healy), Phillip, and Nellie (Mrs. John Davis) raised large families in Maryland and West Virginia.
JPW Note: James Brown, son of James and Margaret, married Bedelia Connelly [also spelled Conley and Connolly] from County Galway, Ireland on August 26, 1872 in Westernport, Maryland, and they had six children, four sons and two daughters. The boys were named James, Martin, Joseph and John. Bedelia Connelly Brown died from complications of childbirth in 1889 and is buried in St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery, Westernport, Maryland. James married Bridget Loftis, his second wife, in 1895 and died in September 1908. Since these children were approximately the same age as some of Patrick and Bridget’s oldest children, at least two of the boys were raised by them after their mother’s death. The families of James and Patrick lived near each other in Elk Garden, West Virginia, for several years. John Frioli Brown, the youngest son of James and Bedelia, became a prominent jurist in Elkins, West Virginia.
The Thirteen Children of PH and Bridget
—known to the family as ‘Nan’.
Ann Loretta Brown Moore
Born in Bloomington, Maryland, on July 6, 1877, (Mineral County records show May 5, 1877) and died in Danville, Pennsylvania, on November 9, 1925. She was burned when still a young girl while living in Elk Garden, West Virginia, and received skin grafts at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. She "took charge of the family most of the time."
She married G. Benjamin Carson May 1900. He died of typhoid fever February 1, 1901. Their son, Ben Carson Jr, only lived for two days. Both husband and son are buried in St Michael’s Cemetery, Frostburg, Maryland, near the grave of Julia Brown Ryan, his aunt.
Her second marriage was to Horace Agnew Moore of Taneytown, Maryland, on November 25, 1914, at St Peter’s Catholic Church, Westernport, Maryland. He was the manager of The Oak Extract Company in Newport, Pennsylvania.
Nan is buried with Horace in the Odd Fellows Cemetery, Danville, Pennsylvania.
Leo Phillip Brown, Sr.—known to the family as ‘Leo’. Born October 20, 1878 in Piedmont, West Virginia, and died 1934 while working as a railroad conductor. He married Elizabeth Stuart and their large fine family lived for many years in Cumberland, Maryland. They had one daughter and nine sons. That is a separate interesting story.
JPW Note: Earlier history texts showed Phillip Leo. However, his direct relatives report that Leo was his first name.
Martin Joseph Brown
Born March 28, 1880, probably in Piedmont, West Virginia and died February 25, 1919, in Western State Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is buried with his parents in St Michael’s Cemetery, Frostburg, Maryland. He married Ati Myrtle Humberson on February 27, 1911, at St Michael’s Catholic Church, Frostburg, Maryland.
Martin was educated at a business college and was a bookkeeper for his father in the mines and a manager of his father’s hotel in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. He was the assistant manager of the Pittsburgh Athletic Club at the time of his death.
James Patrick Brown—known to the family as ‘Gee’.
Born September 18, 1881, in Davis Island (Luke), Maryland, and died May 11, 1930, in a coal mine accident near Morgantown, West Virginia. At the time of his death, he was the mine safety officer for a mine owned by the Brock Company. He is buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery, Morgantown, West Virginia. He married Ethel C. Spill of Frostburg, Maryland on October 14, 1903 at St. Michael's Catholic Church, Frostburg, Maryland.
From 1910 until prohibition, Gee was the manager of Price’s Distillery in Frederick County, Maryland, for almost ten years.
William Edward Brown—known to the family as ‘Will’.
Born July 19, 1883, in Elk Garden, West Virginia, and died in 1941. He was married to Mae L. Neff who died March 14, 1973. They are buried in St Michael’s Cemetery, Frostburg, Maryland, immediately behind the graves of his parents.
Will was a professional miner and worked for many years as a superintendent of mines in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Francis "Frank" Aloysius Brown
Born February 12, 1885, in Elk Garden, West Virginia, and died July 28, 1943 and is buried in Bellevue Cemetery, Ontario, California.
Frank went to Montana sometime in 1910 or 1911, and was probably married on or before 1912 since his first child was born in 1912. According to the 1930 US Census, the first name of his wife was Jane. The author is not certain of her maiden name, it may have been Lebrun. He owned a fox farm near Edgar, Montana. According to family lore he worked as a manifest clerk for his father but had to leave the Maryland area for personal reasons involving a young lady.
The family moved to California in the early years of World War II so that Frank could work in an aircraft factory.
Bernard Truman Brown—known to the family as ‘Senator’.
Born September 15, 1886, in Elk Garden, West Virginia, and died on March 12, 1965 in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania. He was educated at Penn State as a mine engineer and played the violin. Bernard served in World War I and was wounded in Europe. He is buried in the Phillipsburg Cemetery, Philipsburg, Pennsylvania.
He married Ida Stonebreaker, a teacher, on April 18, 1918 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Osceola, Pennsylvania. They did not have children.
According to family lore, Bernard was "a bruiser"—he was always picking fights when he was a boy.
Julia Elizabeth Brown Ryan
Born March 24, 1888 (Mineral County records show August 15, 1888) in Elk Garden, West Virginia and died in 1912 in childbirth in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is buried in St Michael’s Cemetery, Frostburg, Maryland.
Julia graduated in 1908 from Frostburg Normal School (now Frostburg University) as a teacher and taught at the Winchester Bridge School in Allegany County, Maryland.
Julia married John T. Ryan from Dudley, Pennsylvania, a mining engineer, and founder of a company in Pittsburgh. They were married on June 2, 1911 at Trinity Catholic Church, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and their wedding breakfast was held in the Brunswick Hotel that was owned by her father and managed by Martin.
Mary Virginia Brown—Sister Mary Joseph.
Born December 27, 1889, in Elk Garden, West Virginia, and died in Catonsville, Maryland, of influenza on October 25, 1918. She entered the Ursuline Catholic Order in 1907 and was took her religious name, Sister Mary Joseph. The family history indicates that she was assigned to St Vincent’s Orphanage near Baltimore, Maryland. She is buried in St. Michael's cemetery, Frostburg, Maryland.
Bessie Helena Brown Matthes—known to the family as ‘Bess’.
Born July 8, 1891, in Elk Garden, West Virginia, and died June 25, 1925 in Whitehaven, Pennsylvania, in 1925. She is buried in the Mount Bethel Cemetery in Columbia, Pennsylvania
Bess graduated from Frostburg Normal School in Maryland in 1909 as a teacher. She was an excellent artist. She married Max Houck Matthes, a civil engineer.
Ella Irene Brown Hagner—known to the family as ‘Rene’.
Born December 23, 1893 (Mineral County records show December 24, 1893) in Elk Garden, West Virginia, and died November 19, 1923 in Bethesda, Maryland. She was buried November 21, 1923 in Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, DC with her husband and daughter Anne.
She married Robert Dodge Hagner of Washington, DC, on November 12, 1917, at St Ignatius Catholic Church, Urbana, Maryland. She was staying at the home of her brother, Gee, at the time of her marriage.
Rene graduated in 1913 from Frostburg Normal School as a teacher and was the principal of Bethesda Elementary School in Bethesda, Maryland.
Ursula Burke Brown Davis—known to the family as ‘Urse’.
Born July 5, 1895, in Elk Garden, West Virginia, and died at the home of her daughter in District Heights, Maryland. She died May 10, 1967 and is buried in Mt Olivet Cemetery, Frederick, Maryland.
She was educated at Mt Aloysius Academy, Cresson, Pennsylvania, and was in nurses training at Frederick Hospital in Frederick, Maryland, when she met Aubrey G. Davis, her husband. They were married on June 15, 1915, at St Ignatius Catholic Church, Urbana, Maryland. She, like Rene, was staying at the home of her brother, Gee.
Urse took pride in her 'French' cooking and claimed to have been trained by her father’s chef (from France) at the Graham House in Newport, Pennsylvania, that was managed by Nan.
Harry Frioli Brown
Born July 15, 1897 in Elk Garden, West Virginia. Harry died November 25, 1962 in Hollywood, Florida. He married Frances Pickering, a nurse from Waterbury, Connecticut, whom he met while on the SS America. They were married about 1932 in New York City. After Frances died in 1947, Harry moved to Florida and remarried.
During the 1930s, Harry was the night manager of the Hotel New Yorker in New York City.
Return to top