Family History

John Brown Family History

Coming to Ohio


The documented history of my Brown ancestors begins in Muskingum County, Ohio about 1834 with the marriage of John Brown to Mary Ann James.

John Brown, it is reported in his obituary in 1855, was born in Wooster County Massachusetts in 1803, came to Muskingum county from Morgan County Ohio about 1833 when he joined Salem Baptist Church in Brookfield, Ohio, at some time previous to that served three years in the Army, and was a Mason. It is probable that, though sincere, John was also motivated to join the Church in Brookfield in order to court Mary Ann James who he married the following year.

We think, though not with certainty, that he was the son of the John Brown who died in Morgan County 2 February 1841 whose Will (Morgan County Bk. 3   p141) was probated 1 July 1841 mentioning his wife Mary, sons John and Jacob, and daughters Christina and Sarah.

Family lore places Brown ancestors at "The Boston Tea Party" and "The Battle of Bunker Hill". These statements were recounting of stories by Clara Richards, Great Granddaughter of John Brown as told to her by her Grandmother and John’s daughter Augusta Brown Brewer. It is possible, though not certain, that these men were members of the Brown family documented in the book, "William Brown - English Immigrant of Hatfield and Leicester, Massachusetts and his descendants 1634 - 1994" by Carol Willitts Brown and published by Gateway Press, Baltimore Maryland, 1994.

A number of items lend credence to this supposition and seem more than just coincidence. The following two entries can be found on pages 420 and 430 of "Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files Vol. I".

P420 - John Brown S-9718 Mass. Line, Soldier was born abt 1735, lived in Leicester Twp. in Worcester County, Mass. at enlistment, soldier received pension from 17 Mar. 1786 because of disability from wounds and was aged  51 at that time. In 1820 soldier was a resident of Adams Twp. in Washington County, Ohio.

P430 - Samuel Brown S-2395 Mass. Line, soldier was b. 6/1/1758 at Leicester in Worcester County, Mass. and enlisted there. After the war he moved to Winchester N.H., applied 26 Oct. 1832 in Washington County, Ohio aged 74. A resident of Barlow Twp., his father was John Brown Jr. who also served in the war and was wounded at the battle of Bunker Hill. His uncle, Benjamin Brown was Capt. of a Mass. Regiment and his uncle, Perly Brown was killed at White Plains. In 1832 Jean Brown and John Brown 2nd of Athens Ohio stated they were "relict" and son of Captain Benjamin Brown. In 1794 he left Leicester and moved to Winchester N.H. and in 1796 moved to Ohio arriving at Marietta in Nov. 1796.  (N.B.: "relict" means widow)

This Brown family was from Leicester Twp. in Worcester County, Massachusetts as our John was reported to be. They were in Washington and Adams Counties in Ohio by 1820 and were old enough to be our John’s parents. One of John’s grandsons was named Perly Benton Brown which is highly suggestive of a relationship of some kind with the Perly Brown mentioned in Samuel Brown’s abstract. Both John Browns mentioned in the abstracts were reported to be wounded during the war. Both Benjamin and Samuel were listed in "Revolutionary War Pensioners living in Ohio before 1834" p. 14.

I have not been able to obtain a copy of the book on the Brown family to research in depth, but there are enough similarities in the accounts to make it plausible.

The Civil War

During the Civil War all the boys joined the Union Army. David, the oldest, was married with a two year old son when he died of disease in one of the camps on 16 October 1861. His widow remarried and moved to Iowa with her son and new husband in 1863. Nothing is known about the war service of Edward, the second son. William was in the first battle of Bull Run, and Joseph, the youngest, apparently was a fire eater. According to the story, he ran away from home to join the Union Army and rejoined twice more. He was mustered out at the end of 90 days. After rejoining the second time he was invalided home (no story as to why). After regaining his health he enlisted as a substitute. The first two times he was with the Army of the Potomac. The third time he was in the battle where Sheridan made his famous ride to turn the retreating men and save the day for the Union.

In the meantime the women were having to make do as best they could. Their home was in the path of Morgan’s raiders and they were left with little to eat after such raids. Augusta Brown relates how she and her sisters harvested the crop of buckwheat (their only food) with case knives. She is said to have remarked that she never had any great hankering for buckwheat cakes thereafter.

During another year someone gave the family some seed potatoes. They scattered the potatoes in the barn lot and covered them with left over straw. They had plenty of potatoes but little else that year.

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