The Brown Family of Hancock Co. OH

W elcome to a website devoted to the genealogy of the Brown Family of Hancock Co. OH and points east. This includes the family of Elisha Brown of Hancock County, and that of his father William S. Brown, and all their descendants, and ancestors as far as they are known. Other families included here are Stoots/Stotts, Evey/Avey, Lane, Vanlue, Shuler, Dutton, Corbin, etc. It contains old pictures, family trees, a big database report, etc. There is also some info on possibly related Brown lines.

The Brown

of Hancock
County Ohio

Loose ends that still need to be tied up include: whether there is any truth to the story about starvation during William Brown's Atlantic crossing; the dates and causes of death of Arthur Brown and his wife; more about the Indian massacre of a Brown family in 1778 at Fort Muncy at the mouth of Wallis' Run in the Juniata Valley in PA; more pictures of Elisha Brown's children and of William Brown's children - so far I only have Elisha and Joshua and most of them probably lived well into the age of photography; more about the early history of this family in America in places like Baltimore and Carroll Co. MD; the whereabouts of the late Joan Pressler's genealogy records or of her cousin Lillie McConnell; and more about Charles Ellsworth Brown the actor. Anyone with info about these things or anything else that should go on this site please contact me.

The Ancestors

Click here for a text file on the Brown family. There is some info in it, as well as some navigation features - you can click on the names up at the top or anywhere inside the file to jump to the corresponding record; plus you can use ctl-f to find your way around in it.

Y-chromosome DNA analysis can be used to trace a direct male line of descent. Except for the occasional mutation, the Y-chromosome comes down thru the generations unchanged, and thus mirrors the inheritance path of the last name. It's a guy thing. You can get 12-marker, 25-marker, and 37-marker tests done; the more markers you test the more accurate the comparisons are. E. A. Brown recommends at least the 25 marker test.

One long-lived mystery is whether my ancestor William S. Brown was closely related to Joshua Brown, the Joshua who lived in Springfield Twp Huntingdon Co., PA. and married Chartlotte Morris on 22 Dec 1790. We have a pretty good handle on Joshua's DNA now - see below. On the basis of a 37-marker DNA result that the late Bobby Brown had, he assured me that the answer to this question was "an overwhelming YES, and the common ancestors were within the last two to seven generations." A more detailed answer will have to await some other kindly William S. Brown descendant who decides to get the test done. And conventional genealogical research may someday reveal exactly what the relationship was.

Mark Brown and E. A. Brown, both of the Joshua Brown & Charlotte Morris line (Mark thru their son John, and E. A. thru their son Jeremiah; see below for more) have both had the 37-marker test done and all the markers match. The numbers are:

13 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 13 29 18 9 9 11 11 25 15 19 30 15 15 17 17 10 11 19 23 15 16 17 17 36 37 12 13

According to
this Family Tree DNA table there is a 50% chance that Jay Brown and Mark Brown share a common male ancestor within the last 2 or 3 generations, and a 95% chance within the last 7 generations.

Jay Brown, also of the Joshua Brown & Charlotte Morris line in the direct male line of descent (via their son Richard) has had the 37-marker test done. His numbers are:

13 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 13 29 18 9 9 11 11 25 15 19 30 15 15 15 17 10 11 19 23 15 16 17 17 36 37 12 13

With the exception highlighted in bold, the 37 markers match those of Mark and E. A. Brown above. According to the FTDNA chart above, there is a 50% chance that Jay Brown and Mark Brown share a common male ancestor within the last 4 generations, and a 95% chance within the last 10 generations.

James Marce Brown is still classed in group 20 on the Brown Society website (see below) but his genealogy is uncertain and his first 12 markers are like ours so I'm including him here. He's descended from Samuel Brown who d. in the early 1830's; census records say Samuel was born in IN, family oral history says he immigrated from England and had 5 children, though only Isom's name is known. After Isom Payne Brown the descent line is: Thomas Jefferson Brown, William Morris Brown, James T. Brown, James Marce Brown. James Marce has had the 37 marker test done; out of the first 25, his first 12 numbers match those of E. A. Brown, but three of the first 25 numbers don't, and there are several mismatches in the full 37 - they're highlighted in bold:

13 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 13 29 18 9 9 11 11 25 15 19 29 15 15 16 16 11 11 19 23 16 14 16 17 36 36 13 12

I don't have a chart that tells how closely related two people are if three of the 25 markers are off, but it's not too close, probably something like a 90% chance they have a common ancestor in the last 40 generations.

As for the significance of Y-chromosome analysis, it may be useful in determining whether the various Browns in places like Pennsylvania in the 1700's were closely related. Kathy Wells thinks we may be descended from a Quaker group of Chester/Lancaster County, or even from George Brown & Mary Nancy Stevenson. The Brown Society (which recommends Family Tree DNA for the tests) has arranged the various Brown lines into groups here - Mark and E. A. Brown are in group 50, which was separated out from group 20. In group 20 I notice that the last names include Browning and Brownlee. Could our name have been shortened from one of these? Also, the assumption on that website seems to be that all the current-day Browns descend from the same common ancestor - this doesn't seem too likely to me since anyone who came to England from one of the warmer climes, and probably any English sailor who had spent time in the Mediterranean, would have seemed brown to the English; so the name could easily have arisen more than once.

It's been suggested that Brown is an English spelling of the German Braun. And there are plenty of Germans in Pennsylvania. According to the Family Tree DNA site one of the things you can learn from a Y-chromosome test is the probable geographic origin of your direct male line of descent. So anyone who has had the test might want to check out their recent ancestral origins.

FTDNA has a good FAQ on DNA testing, and here is a pretty good technical introduction to Y-chromosome DNA analysis, and this article also has some good information including a formula for calculating how often mutations can be expected for a given number of markers. E. A. Brown recommends the book "DNA & Genealogy" which can be purchased at; though he says you can get a discount from FTDNA if you get it with a DNA test.

There are persistent rumors of Indian ancestry in this family. The picture below of Elisha Brown is enough to convince me he's at least part Indian. The one of brother Joshua provides some evidence too, too bad it's not a little clearer. The best candidate for Indianhood seems to be their mother Ruth Lane. Here's the evidence:

  • Clark Brown: "William Lane Brown told my grandmother that his grandmother was indian." Ruth Lane was William Lane Brown's father's mother. The generation is confirmed by Denise Brown of the Wilbur Lane Brown/William Lane Brown/Elisha line: "...the info that was always given to me was that I was 1/16 Indian as well", through her father's line. 1/16th is the right proportion if Ruth Lane was a full-blooded Indian. Denise also confirms the gender: "If I remember right, the story was that it was his great grandfather who married an Indian woman..."

  • "I was told by my eldest aunt that we had Native American blood through the Ethridge, Sickles, Melton and Brown sides of the family." This from Daniel J. Hawk Hoffman Sr. (AKA "Hawk With Seven Eyes") whose most recent Brown ancestor was Hannah Brown, daughter of Ruth Lane.

  • Earl Farthing says of the children of Samuel Brown, son of Elisha, that there were "six children, most of them I knew from the Farthing reunion which began in 1919 and continues today. The all had dark complexions, which ties in on the fact that Elisha was part Indian."

  • Ruth Lane's (purported) father was Rev. Samuel Lane (a man of sterling reputation, whose last name is still used as a middle name in Clark Brown's part of the family today). Adopting an Indian girl seems like the kind of thing a minister would do.

  • Alcoholism, which is a common problem among Indians, is not unknown in this family. Clark Brown says that William Lane Brown drank hard cider until he was in his late eighties. Denise Brown confirms this: "I think that Pop's own father must have had some drinking problem as well", and says, "I think that there was in fact several siblings" - of Wilbur Lane Brown's - "that had that illness." And my father, when he saw the death record of his great-uncle Charles Ellsworth Brown the actor, which says he died of acute pancreatitis, said, "Must have been an alcoholic." My dad was a doctor and he could look at a death record and tell you what they really died of.

  • Further circumstantial evidence for Indian heritage from Denise Brown: her father "spoke of that heritage often... Sure enough too, my father had very little (if any) hair on his legs, chest or face which (from what I understand) is an Indian/Asian trait. And interestingly enough, he looked as if he had Indian background." See my record for William Lane Brown for more. Lack of body hair shows up in my part of the family, too (my brother can't grow a beard to save his soul), as does an allergy to milk (if you can drink milk as an adult, your ancestors were cattle herders).

  • Robert D. Brown Jr. has an interesting take on all this. He is descended from William Brown b. 1815 in Baltimore Co., whose relationship to our William S. Brown in unknown; but he is also descended on his mother's side from the Lanes, and he thinks that is where his Indian ancestry is. His mother told him one of their Lane ancestors was on a ship that stopped at an island and he married an island girl, and that is why "all of her family were dark complected like an indian". So was Ruth Lane not the only Lane who was an Indian? This line of Lanes may be out of North Carolina, but more work needs to be done. See the Robert D. Brown Jr. link below.

    To clarify the issue, more pictures of William Brown and Ruth Lane Brown's children would be very helpful. So far I only have two of their 10 children, Elisha and Joshua. More pictures of Elisha Brown's children would also be helpful - this could clarify the Indian ancestry issue by giving us an idea what Elisha's first wife Elizabeth Stotts looked like, who was presumably not an Indian and might therefore be ruled out.

    With the advent of genetic analysis, it may be possible to decide with certainty whether Ruth Lane was in fact an Indian. This would require an analysis of the mitochondrial DNA of some volunteer (male or female) whose mother is in the direct female line of descent (mother's mother's mother's mother) from Ruth Lane. If you're in the direct female line from anyone in the partial list below you're a candidate. It might even be possible to figure out what tribe she came from. Here's an FAQ on DNA testing, and here you can get the mtDNA test, which would decide the issue conclusively. Or you can get the AncestryByDNA Autosomal DNA Test which will tell you how much Indian blood you have whether you're in the direct female line or not.

    Female lines of descent from Ruth Lane:

    MARY BROWN CORBIN (853) (1780-1855)
      Keziah CORBIN, 1811-1862 {1850: 37, PA}; m. Elijah Brown in 1834 
        Minerva BROWN, b. 1844/5, dead by 1880; m. Peter Cole 8/25/1864 (IGI)
          Laura V. Cole (1870: 1, OH; 1880: 11, OH); m. Adolphus Shepherd 1/29/1885 (IGI)
        Eveline BROWN, b. 3/1848; m. Jonathan Harshberger 10/1/1868 in Wyandot Co.
          Amanda Harshberger b. 1873/4 OH; in Wyandot Co. 1880;
      Sarah CORBIN
      Martha CORBIN DUNKEL, b. 1824/5 probably in Pickaway Co., OH
        Mary J. DUNKLE, b. 1843/4
        Lydia A. DUNKLE, b. 1847/8
        Barbara E. DUNKLE, b. 1850/1; in IA 1860
        Eveline or Elvina  M. DUNKLE, b. Wright Co. IA 1856; in IA 1860 & IN 1870
    NANCY BROWN HALL (864) (1787-1871) m. Obediah Hall
      Charlotte Hall, 22 in 1850, 35 in 1860, 42 in 1870; m. Philip King
        Mary Eliz. King, 5/4/1866-2/16/1953; m. Emanuel Springer 5/16/1895, Mercer Co OH
    ELIZABETH BROWN (865) (    -    )
    HANNAH BROWN SICKLES (854) (1800-1879) m. Benjamin F. Sickles
      Mary S. Sickles, b. 11/30/1819 Pickaway Co, d. 4/6/1890 Shelby Co
      Nancy Sickles Devor, b. 5/25/1832, d. 4/1/1913 Dry Point, Shelby Co. IL
        Sarah E. Devor, b. c. 1860 IL
        Hannah E. Devor, b. c. 1868 IL
        Nancy A. M. Devor, b. c. 1875 IL
      Martha J. Sickles Mansfield, b. 1836 OH; m. Jno. B. Mansfield
        Sarah Mansfield, b. 1857/8 in IL 
      Sarah Ellen Sickles Wood, b. 1838 OH, bur. Shelby Co. IL; m. Thos. 11/2/1856
        Rachel B. Wood, b. 1858/9 Shelby Co. IL - died young?
        Margaret Wood, 8 in 1870, Dry Point Twp, Shelby Co. IL
        Francena Wood, 4 in 1870, Dry Point Twp, Shelby Co. IL
        Irena Wood, b. 1868, Dry Point Twp, Shelby Co. IL; m. Enoch Rees?
        Elila Wood, 9 in 1880 IA, b. 1870/71 in IL; m. Wm Henry Horn?
      Hannah Sickles Whiteside, b. 7/5/1842 in OH, bur. Shelby Co. IL; m. Saml B. Whiteside
        Mary N. Whitesides b. 1868/9 in IL
      Katherine Sickles, b. 1843 OH, d. 2/23/1856 Shelby Co. IL
    SARAH BROWN (855) (1803-    )
      Sarah Brown, 4 in 1850, ?dau of Sarah Brown & Bryan Brown b. 1785/6. M. Rufus P. Ramey?

    ---------- Pix ----------

    Here are pictures of Elisha Brown and his second wife Hannah G. Ward, from Clark Brown. After that is a picture of Elisha Brown's older brother Joshua, for comparison, from Bobby Brown (who may have gotten it from Gay Jones) - Nira Beaschler now owns the chair he's sitting in. Then one of James K. Brown, grandson of Elisha and son of Samuel, from Earl Farthing. Then one of possible cousin Wm. H. Brown (see below).

    Elisha Hannah Goodson

    Joshua James K. Brown

    Wm. H. Brown

    ---------- The William S. Brown Line ----------

    Joshua Brown Family Bible

    Click here for some Bible pages from Steven Ruppright of the line of Joshua Brown, brother of Elisha. They contain evidence that the father of William Brown was James Brown, that William had middle initial S., and that William may have had brothers Thomas and Joseph.

    Joshua Brown Family

    Click here for some pix, including a big family reunion pic from about 1883, from Steven Ruppright of the line of Joshua Brown, and one picture from Bobby Brown.

    Joseph H. Brown Family

    Click here for a couple of family reunion pix from Bobby Brown.

    Ruth Hall Dower Renunciation

    Click here for a document containing evidence that James Brown was the father of William Brown.

    Line of Dr. Abraham Browne

    Click here for the line of Clark Gilbert Browne, son of Dr. Abraham Browne and grandson of Elisha. Contains the first real evidence, as far as I know, that William S. Brown came from Baltimore. Also names his wife as Harriet (not Ruth) Lane, and contains a good deal of other information including a family picture.

    Samuel Brown Family

    Click here for some pix from Earl E. Farthing of the line of James K. Brown, son of Samuel, son of Elisha. Click here for the descent of James K. Brown, also from Earl, with some info from Janet Misamore and Sue Shuck.

    Toby Town and Royalton, of Fairfield Co. OH

    Click here for a description of these places, right across the county line from where the Browns lived when they were in Pickaway Co. It came from the book "A Reminiscence Sung" by Fred V. Schultz.

    Hawk's Books

    Click here for a couple of e-mails on "Red Hawk A Native American Legend" and "Golden Hawk Goes To The Pow Wow" by Daniel J. Hawk Hoffman Sr. (AKA "Hawk With Seven Eyes").

    Lead Mine Fort

    Click here to see where William S. Brown spent his 8 months as a revolutionary.

    William S. Brown Gravestones

    Click here for some pictures of the burial site of William the Revolutionary.

    ---------- The Joshua Brown/Charlotte Morris Line ----------

    Kathy Wells' Site

    Click here for the website of Kathy Heaton Wells which contains a good deal of info about Browns in Huntingdon Co., especially on her Joshua Brown/Charlotte Morris page, where you can find a picture of their daughter Charlotte Brown who doesn't look much like an Indian. She also has some info on the Lancaster County Browns. Plus she found a Morris family with a daughter named Charlotte.

    Early Genealogical Record

    Click here for some e-mails from E. A. Brown on the line of Joshua Brown and Charlotte Morris, who are probably related to William S. Brown not too far back. Includes a family (Bible?) record from 1838.

    County Book Biographies

    Click here for a couple of sketches on the line of Caleb Brown. The name Corbin also shows up here.

    Caleb Brown Jr. Line

    Click here for some info kindly e-mailed by Jil Loewit on the line of Caleb Brown Jr. Includes a picture of Caleb Brown Jr.; 4 pages from a 27-page family genealogy booklet from 1924 which contains some info on Browns, Corbins, and Lanes; a picture of the Union Hotel in Everett, PA; and the recipe for Brown's Liniment which cured just about everything from sore throat to gout to frostbite.

    Joshua And Charlotte Gravesites

    Click here for their headstones and for a memorial stone for Joshua in the Old Baptist School Cemetery near Three Springs in Huntingdon Co.

    Richard Brown Line

    Click here for some info from Kathy Gilbert on the line of Richard Brown, son of Joshua and Charlotte. She also traces another Brown line all the way back to a Daniel Brown born about 1755 in England. Included are some immigration records; some info on Sarah Troxler, the Indian connection for this line; a handwritten family record by Tom E. Stull; and a Joshua/Charlotte descendancy chart.

    The Troxler Connection

    Click here for an article from the Valley Log kindly provided by Arnie McClure on the possible Indian ancestry of Richard Brown's wife Sarah Troxler, along with a description of the 1756 Fort McCord incident, in which Joshua Brown apparently drove the Indians out of that part of Pennsylvania.

    Joshua Brown b. 1760 or 1765?

    Click here for an attempt to straighten out a mixup between two different Joshuas.

    ---------- Miscellany ----------

    Maps of Pennsylvania

    Click here for maps of Huntingdon County and surrounding areas, including land owned by James and William Brown.

    Maps of Maryland

    Click here for maps of Carroll and Baltimore Counties, including Sykesville and Lawndale.

    Maps of Ohio

    Click here for maps of Pickaway, Franklin, and Hancock Counties, and Vanlue town.

    Line of William Brown b. 1815

    Click here for excerpts from an e-mail exchange I had with Robert D. Brown Jr. on the line of William Brown b. 1815 in Baltimore Co., with a glance at his brothers Ferdinand and Moses and maybe even his parents. He is in Shelby Co. IL in 1880, and in Franklin Co. OH in 1860. And there is a William Brown who fits his description in Willy Istvan's database below. The names Corbin and Lane also show up in this line. This family had a westward migration path much like some of the other Browns. Also contains some observations on the Hook-and-Eye Dutch etc.

    William H. Brown Line

    Click here for another Brown line which may have started out in Virginia.

    A Brown Family Tragedy

    Click here for a story about the first hanging in Huntingdon Co., PA.

    Age Calculator

    Try out my age calculator.

    ---------- Linx ----------

    Bobby Brown's genealogy site
    Lynn Sabin's great site has a probable link to us via Presachy Tiding Brown & Wm. Vanlue - see the Database tab
    Another great site by Diana Matthiesen has some info on Mary Brown, daughter of Wm. Brown and Ruth Lane
    Another great site, on the line of Bryan(t) Brown who m. one of Wm. S. Brown's daughters & went to the coal country
    Jil Loewit's Brown ancestry - her line from Joshua Brown of Cumberland Co. MD
    PA Land Office Records - Land patent index, 1781-1794. Has records of Brown land transactions; this page has an index of counties
    Huntingdon County Cemetery Transcriptions - the Old Baptist School Cemetery, the Cherry Grove Cemetery and others in Huntingdon County; there's even a Brown Cemetery
    Willy Istvan's Rootsweb Database - his Donaldson-McKown-Cushman-Brown Tree
    Google images of Trough Creek Valley, Aughwick Creek at Shirleysburg, and Tuscarora Creek in Franklin Co.

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