This section covers the family of Louise Heath Brown, daughter of Fred Cameron Brown and Louise Heath. An index of all persons included in this section can be found here.
Louise was the elder of the two daughters of Fred and Louise Brown. She was born in the city of Gadsden in East-Central Alabama in 1918. When she was still a baby, the family moved to the town of Chickasaw, Alabama on the Gulf Coast where her father worked for the shipyards. She spent the early part of her childhood there and had a pleasant time living in the area (except for a vivid memory of falling into one of South Alabama's numerous beds of red ants and being sick afterward). Before she was 12, the family moved again, this time to the Ensley-Central Park area of Birmingham. She graduated from Ramsey High School in Birmingham and took a job as a secretary with a car dealer then later as the secretary at South Highland Presbyterian Church.
Louise Brown Kneisley (about 1940)
Louise was attending a Presbyterian camp at Shocco Springs, Alabama when she met another Birmingham resident, Carl Kneisley (see the Kneisley Family section of this website). They married in 1938 and moved into a home in Fairfield, Alabama where Carl had grown up. They lived in Fairfield for the rest of their more than fifty years of married life, raising four children and caring for Carl's widowed mother. In addition to her family duties, Louise was extremely active in the Fairfield Presbyterian Church where she was a Church Elder and the Church Secretary for many years. She lived to the age of ninety, dying in 2008 in Birmingham. She is buried with Carl in Elmwood Cemetery there.
It's possible to trace Louise's ancestry back about 200 years. The family tree below lists her ancestors that we know about.
Ancestors of Louise Brown
Below are short histories of some of the people in Louise's family tree. Clicking on a Blue name in the histories or a name in any chart will take you to that person's Individual Info Page where you will find more information about the person. To return to this page, click the Brown tab at the top of any page (or use your browser's Back button). For help with moving around in the web site, click the Help tab at the top of any page.
Nelson J. Brown and Nancy Hedden were Louise's great-great grandparents. Nelson was born about 1817 in Kentucky and Nancy was born about 1822, also in Kentucky. They were married in the late 1830's and settled down to a farming life in Spencer County, Kentucky. There, in 1840, they had a son, Elisha Samuel Brown, who was the first of what would eventually be ten children.
In the early 1840's, Nelson and Nancy moved from Spencer County to neighboring Shelby County where they spent the rest of their lives. It seems that Nelson and Nancy both died in the 1850's (possibly in the 1857 influenza pandemic). Their children were dispersed to relatives in Spencer County, Shelby County, and Missouri.
Nelson and Nancy had numerous descendants. The ones I know are shown in this chart: Descendants of Nelson J and Nancy Hedden Brown.
Nelson and Nancy's son Elisha Samuel Brown was in his teens when his parents died and he and his brother William went to live with Samuel H. Brown (possibly, an uncle) in Paris, Monroe County, Missouri. When the Civil War began, Elisha returned to Kentucky and enlisted as a Private in Company D of the 6th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, USA assigned to Hazen's Brigade. He obviously had good leadership abilities, as he was promoted to be the Company's First Sergeant within three months of his enlistment. The 6th fought in some of the most terrible battles of the war, including Shiloh, Stone's River, Chickamauga and the battles for Atlanta. The unit lost almost half of its 900 men during the war; Elisha himself was wounded in the left shoulder while fighting at Chickamauga. In May 1864, he was offered a promotion to 1st Lieutenant, but according to family tradition, he refused the promotion and when the unit was disbanded in December 1864, he was mustered out as a sergeant.
Elisha S. Brown (photo courtesy Rob Norris)
Soon after returning from the war, Elisha married Emma Young, a native of Scotland. Emma appears to have been the adopted daughter of Cyrus H. Young and his wife Nancy Howser of Louisville, Kentucky. Family tradition has it that Emma was Emma Nettie Young, daughter of Lucinda Young. Lucinda came to America in 1850 and she arrived with an infant (said to be Emma) who may have been born during the journey. It is thought that Lucinda died soon after arriving and that Emma was adopted and raised by Cyrus and Nancy.
In about July of 1866, Elisha and Emma had a son, Jolly R. Brown who was probably born in Missouri. Soon after Jolly's birth, the family moved moved back to Kentucky where Elisha taught school in Spencer County. Elisha and Emma would eventually have three other sons, Guy, Hugh, and Elmer, all born in Kentucky. Sometime in the 1870's Elisha and Emma divorced, but they seem to have continued to live together into the 1880's, probably to care for the children. Elisha remarried and had two more children. He lived in Mount Eden, Spencer County until his death in 1922. Emma left Kentucky and lived for a while near Atlanta, then in Birmingham, finally settling on the Louisiana Gulf Coast where she died in 1932.
Jolly R. Brown (photo courtesy of Ellen Brown)
Jolly R. Brown was born about July 1866, most likely in Monroe County, Missouri. He was a toddler when his family moved to Northern Kentucky which is where Jolly lived until the late 1880's. During this period, Jolly must have shown a talent for working with financial accounts. He put this skill to use around age 22 when he struck out on his own and took a job as a clerk with the steel mills in the then-new city of Birmingham, Alabama.
Rose Miller Brown (photo courtesy of Ellen Brown)
By 1890, Jolly had moved back to Northern Kentucky and was working for a bank in Louisville. It may have been during this time that he met Louisville native Rose Miller, who he married in 1891 or '92 (see "The Beutels and Millers"). Soon after they married, the Browns moved to Atlanta where the first of their children, Fred Camron Brown was born in the Spring of 1894. Jolly and Rose moved to Birmingham in the late 1890's. There, Jolly worked as a bookkeeper for Republic Iron and Steel Company.
In the early 1900's, Gadsden, Alabama, like Birminghgam, was a major steelmaking center. Jolly's background in the industry was probably part of what motivated the family to move to there in 1909. He took a job there as head bookkeeper for Southern Iron and Steel Company. The family settled in Gadsden and might have had a pleasant life there, except for a senseless crime that occurred in 1912. In the Summer of that year, Jolly was knifed and left for dead by a boy named Lester Moore who apparently had no motive other than to show off for his friends. In spite of serious wounds, Jolly survived for eighteen months, dying in November, 1913. Rose stayed in Gadsden and raised their eight children, the youngest of whom was just a year old when Jolly died (the struggle to single-handedly control a house full of children may have been eased somewhat by the fact that Rose was hard of hearing). Rose lived until November, 1945. She is buried at Forrest Cemetery in Gadsden.
Fred Brown - 1918 (photo coursety Rob Norris)
Jolly and Rose's son Fred Camron Brown was born in the Spring of 1894 in Atlanta. Fred was 18 when his father was attacked and as the oldest son, he took responsibility as "the man of the family." With seven brothers and sisters, this had to be a hardship for an energetic young man. He was doubtless eager to move out on his own and by 1917, he had done just that. He married a neighbor girl, Alta Louise "Buddy" Heath and took a job as an accountant with Gulf States Steel in Gadsden. Fred and Buddy's daughter, Louise, was born in July of the following year.
Alta Louise Brown and daughter Louise (photo courtesy Margaret Kneisley)
About the same time, Fred was sent off to serve in World War I. He was assigned to the 308th Aero Squadron. Judging from what he told his family, the highlight of his memories about this service was a crash-landing in a tree. He kept the control stick from this crashed aircraft and it has been handed down to the present generation.
Fred returned from the war in November 1918. It seems that he was unable to find work in Gadsden, and the family moved to the town of Chickasaw on the Alabama Gulf Coast where he worked for a shipyard. Fred and Buddy's second daughter, Mary Rose Brown, was born there in 1920.
Buddy's mother Ida was living with them in Chickasaw, and it must have been while they were living there that Ida became sick with what would turn out to be her final illness. In the early 1920's, Fred moved the family to Birmingham, probably so that Ida could get treatment there.
With his background in the steel industry, Fred doubtless looked for work at Birmingham's steel mills, but he was evidently unable to find a position and in 1930, he was an accountant for a Birmingham department store. As the Great Depression continued through the 1930's it must have been harder and harder to find work in Birmingham. Industry recovered more quickly in Chicago than in other parts of the country and that was probably the reason that Fred moved the family there sometime before 1940. He took a job with Chicago Bridge and Iron and worked there until his death in 1943.
An interesting legend has been passed down about Fred's time in Chicago. It is said that he somehow became associated with the operators of "The Big House" in East Chicago. In the 1930's and 40's, The Big House was Indiana's largest illegal gambling center. It is said to have been taking in as much as $9M a year in illegal profits. The operation was thought to have ties to the Capone organization and to have financial backing from Capone's henchman, Frank Nitti. Family tradition has it that Fred was an accountant for The Big House. If that is true, and if he had lived a few years longer, he might have become a target of Federal criminal prosecution when the U.S. Senate investigated Chicago-area gambling in the late 1940's.
After Fred's death, Buddy moved back to Birmingham. She married twice more, to James Nunnally and to John Yeats. She lived to the age of 88, dying in Birmingham in 1983. She and Fred are both buried in Forrest Cemetery in Gadsden.
Louise's maternal line traces back to Marcus De Lafayette Heath and his wife Mary Jane Whedbee of Georgia. The Heath surname indicates that the family originated in the British Isles. It is an ancient family name associated with an open, uncultivated area and may indicate that Louise's ancestors once lived in such a location. The name was also used for residents of the towns named "Heath", of which there are many throughout England and Ireland.
Mary Jane Whedbee Heath (photo courtesy Lila Sandstrom)
Marcus D L Heath (or "Heeth", as he spelled it) was born about 1819 in Georgia, probably near Washington in Wilkes County on the South Carolina border. I don't know anything about his life until 1836. In that year, he had just left school and was in Covington, near Atlanta when he enlisted in the 2nd Regiment (Williamson's Regiment) of the Georgia Volunteers for the Creek War of 1836. This war, sometimes referred to as the Second Creek War, was fought to resolve conflicts between Creek Indians and white settlers in southern Alabama and Georgia. Marcus served as a Private and was discharged in July 1836 when the unit was mustered out in Columbus, Georgia. For his service, he was granted 40 acres of land near Gadsden, Alabama; he later sold his rights to this land.
He seems to have spent most of the next few years on the move. It is said that between 1836 and 1842, he spent time in the towns of Thomasville, Marietta, and Warrenton, Georgia, and lived for a while in Hamilton County, Florida. Sometime during this period, he may have received legal training, since by 1848, he was a practicing lawyer.
In November 1842, he married Mary Jane Whedbee, a Georgia native born about 1818. They were married in Marietta and that seems to have been their home until the mid 1840's when they moved to Hamilton County, Florida on the Georgia-Florida line. Marcus worked as a lawyer there and bought land. It appears as though the family planned to settle there permanently. But by 1849, Mary Jane was back in the Atlanta-Marietta area and Marcus seems to have been urgently trying to tie up his business in Florida and sell his property there so that he could also return to Georgia. Their reason for moving back is not completely clear, but in an 1849 letter, Marcus discusses the death of a near relative who had young children (possibly Mary Jane's brother-in-law) and this may have necessitated their return. In any case, by August 1850, the family was re-assembled in Marietta and that seems to have been Marcus's and Mary Jane's home for the rest of their lives together.
Advertisement for Mills and Heeth, Marietta, 1854
In addition to his career as an attorney, Marcus was a merchant. In 1854, he was co-proprietor of a Marietta auction/commission business specializing in "dry goods, groceries, grain, bacon, &c." By 1857, he had started another business in Benton County, Alabama, near Gadsden. It was apparently in support of that business that he travelled to New York to buy goods in March of 1857. According to family tradition, he boarded the ship for the return trip to Savannah but he was not on board when the ship arrived. The ship's captain did not know what happened to him, but he supposed that Marcus might have been swept overboard in a storm.
Notice of Marcus's disappearance (Memphis daily appeal, May 16, 1857)
Marcus's death left Mary Jane a widow with five children ranging in age from fourteen to five. She moved the family to near-by Newton County, and seems to have made her living by taking in student boarders from Emory University. The last record we have of her is from 1893 when she was in Gadsden where her sons Carolyn and Charles were living. She does not appear in the 1900 census and it is probable that she died between 1893 and 1900.
Marcus and Mary Jane's descendants that I know of are listed in this chart: Descendants of Marcus De Lafayette and Mary Jane Heath.
Charles E. Heath was the youngest child of Marcus D. L. and Mary Jane Whedbee Heath. He was born about February 1852 in Georgia, probably in Marietta. He was just five when his father disappeared and he and his four brothers and sisters were raised by their mother in Newton County, Georgia where the family was living in 1860 and 1870.
Charles E. Heath (photo courtesy of Margaret Kneisley)
Charles' life after that time is something of a mystery. I haven't found any sign of him during the 1870's and early '80's. There is a photograph of him in an odd military-style uniform that may be from this time period, but we haven't been able to match the uniform with military styles of the period (it may be that it is not a military uniform, but rather, the outfit of a fraternal organization). In 1884, he was living in Etowah County, Alabama where he purchased 36 acres of land lying in what is now the city of Gadsden. It's tempting to think that his move to that area was related to his father's business in near-by Benton County, but I haven't found evidence of any connection.
About 1892, Charles was married to Ida Bartow Presley from nearby Polk County, Georgia (see "The Presleys"). They had one child, Alta Louise Heath, born September 1894 in Florida, probably in Melbourne, Brevard County. By 1900, the family was back in Gadsden. Charles died there in 1909. Ida continued to live in Gadsden working as a seamstress until at least 1916. By 1920, she was living with her daughter's family in Mobile, Alabama. She died in Birmingham in 1924 and is buried with Charles at Forrest Cemetery in Gadsden.
The Beutels and Millers
"Beutel" is a German name that probably derives from the word "bute", meaning a cask. It is often thought to be associated with the makers of barrels that are used in brewing and winemaking. Another possible derivation is from the German "biutel" meaning purse or pouch and associated with bag-makers. Like many German names, the original has been Americanized into a wide variety of spellings such as Butel, Beitel and Beitler.
We can trace Louise Brown's Beutel ancestors back to the original immigrants from Germany. Her great-great-grandfather, Henry Beutel, came from Baden in what is now Southern Germany. His burial marker says that he originated in the city of Weinheim near Heidelburg. He was born there about 1810. His wife, Anna Barbara Schwartz, was born about 1819 in Wurttemburg, Baden's neighbor state to the East (Like Henry's, her burial marker has her birthplace as Weinheim, but all other records that I've found state that she was born in Wurttemburg. Perhaps her family started out in Wurttemburg and moved to Weinheim when she was young).
Southern Germany - 1815
We don't know exactly when Henry and Barbara came to America, nor whether they married before or after they immigrated. The first record we have of them as a couple indicates that they were in Pennsylvania in 1837 when their first son was born. By 1839, they had moved West into Ohio, where their second child, Mary M. Beutel, was born. They stayed in Ohio until at least 1843, then moved across the Ohio River into Kentucky. 1850 found them in Louisville, where Henry was working as an editor. But by 1858, they had returned North and were living in Indiana. We can only speculate about what triggered this move, but in the 1850's, Louisville was one of the largest slave trading centers in the nation. An anti-slavery newspaper editor would almost certainly have drawn harsh abuse and might have been forced to flee to a free state.
Whatever the reason, Henry and Barbara spent the rest of their lives in Southern Indiana. In 1860, they were living in Perry County where Henry was farming. Ten years later, they had moved up the Ohio to Clark County, just across the river from Louisville. They lived in the city of Jeffersonville, where Henry operated a hotel and saloon. He died in 1876. Barbara moved in with their oldest son, John, and lived another nine years in Clark County, dying at the age of 66. Both Henry and Barbara are buried in Walnut Ridge Cemetery in Jeffersonville.
Mary Beutel (photo courtesy Ellen Brown)
It may have been during the Beutel's residence in Louisville that Mary Beutel met her future husband Frederick C. Miller. Fred was born about 1838 in Kentucky to German immigrant parents (it's likely that his father was C. G. Miller, a Bavaria-born artist who was living in Louisville in 1850). In 1860, Fred crossed the Ohio to Mary's home county of Perry and they were married there in June. They seem to have immediately gone back to Louisville and they had their first child there the following year.
Frederick Miller (photo courtesy Ellen Brown)
Fred was a druggist in Louisville. He operated a pharmacy in downtown Louisville for many years and the family lived in the same building. It's clear that he was also committed to the education of future pharmacists. He served on the first Board of Directors of the Louisville College of Pharmacy, an independent college founded in 1870; this school became the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy. He also took a personal hand in helping his young brother-in-law, George Philip Beutel, who started out as a clerk in Fred's drugstore, became a pharmacist in his own right, and eventually became an M.D.
Fred and Mary raised nine children, the seventh of whom was Louise Brown's grandmother, Rose Miller (see "The Browns"). Fred worked in his pharmacy into the 1900's. He died in 1910 and Mary died ten years later. Both are buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville.
The Presley name is usually thought to have originated in England or Scotland. Some say the name derives from the Old English words "preost" (priest) and "leah" (clearing) to mean a clearing in a wood that is owned by priests. It's also possible that the Presley name is an Americanized form of a name from another nationality (for example, Elvis Presley's family name was Americanized from the German "Pressler").
The earliest Presley I know of in Louise Brown's line was Enoch B. Presley born about 1812 in South Carolina. Enoch was the husband of Mary Elizabeth Barrington, another South Carolina native who was born about 1815. They lived in Edgefield District, South Carolina until the early 1850's when they moved into Georgia. 1860 found them living in Cass County in northwest Georgia (Cass is now named Bartow County). This area was devastated during the Civil War, not only losing nearly a third of the county's soldiers as casualties, but also being ravaged by foraging parties from both armies. It is said that the war set the county's development back by decades. In 1863, Enoch served in the 10th Battalion of the Georgia State cavalry, a local defense force that was formed in response to the Yankee invasion of the state. At least one of his sons served in the regular Confederate Army and his son Edward was present at Appomattox Courthouse when Lee surrendered.
Enoch and Mary had nine children. Their second child was Louise Brown's great-grandfather, Charles W. Presley, born about 1839 when the family was living in South Carolina. It appears that Mary died sometime in the 1860's and Enoch remarried to a lady named Caroline. In 1870, Enoch, Caroline, and three of Enoch's children were living in the Atlanta area, where Enoch was working as a merchant. Ten years later, they had moved back to Western Georgia and were operating a hotel in the town of Rockmart. According to the last record we have of Enoch, he lived to be at least 88 years old and was living in Western South Carolina, not far from the place he was born.
Enoch and Mary's son Charles W. Presley probably lived for most of his youth in Edgefield District, South Carolina. He married another native of the state, Mary Elizabeth Nelson, who was born about 1840. They moved to Bartow County, Georgia (possibly along with Charles' parents) and were living there in 1860 when their daughter Ida Bartow Presley was born. Family tradition has it that Charles had a respiratory condition that prevented him from fighting in the Civil War, so he supported the Confederate cause by being a telegrapher and being responsible for building and maintaining telegraph lines. At the end of the war, he was living in Morgan County in central Georgia.
By 1870, the family had moved to Dade County in the far northwest corner of Georgia. This is the last record of Charles that I've been able to find and I only know that he died before 1900 when Mary was living with Ida's family in Gadsden, Alabama and stated that she was a widow. It is said that Mary died in Gadsden in 1903.