20 April 2012

The Brick Wall named Samuel Curtis Brown

Samuel Curtis Brown was born 3 Aug 1821 in Baltimore, Maryland. He supposedly died on 14 Jan 1900 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. He married Martha Gordon (b 1827 - d 1901). The couple is said to have had 9 children: Mary Catherine, Eliza Jane, Wilden Edgar, Ida L, Elias S, Levi, Sherman Lewis, Hattie Elizabeth, and Effie A Brown. (Jennie, Ida, Sherman, Hattie, and Effie have this couple stated on their death or birth records.)

I can't prove who Samuel's parents are. I don't have any records of his birth. I only find him in the US Census records for 1860, 1870, and 1880. Numerous researchers are working on him, but few have provided more substantial proof of him and his parental relations. I have potential parents of James and Catherine. But it could easily be Samuel and Kate. Again, without any proof, I can't figure this man's life out prior to the 1860 US Census.

It is proposed that Samuel and Martha were married in 15 Oct 1846 in Hocking County, Ohio. FamilySearch.org does not have the original record (perhaps it's coming soon?). All it has is a date that was supplied through member research.

However, it seems odd that Martha appears living at her family home in Groveport, Ohio in 1850 US Census. I can not find a Samuel or a Curtis Brown in Hocking or Franklin, Ohio. I probably should cast a wider net, but without knowing more about his parents or siblings, I have no way of knowing it's him when I finally find 'him'. It's really odd that a couple that is supposed to be married with two children is not listed together in a census and the wife is living with her parents (with no children that could be hers in the household).

In 1860, Samuel and Martha (Gordon) Brown are living in Groveport, Franklin, Ohio. They have three children Mary Catherine (b. 1848), Eliza Jane (b 1850) and Wilden Edgar (b 1857). Again it seems odd that Samuel and Martha are not together in the 1850 US Census with at least Mary Catherine and potentially Eliza Jane. Unless Samuel is married to someone else at this time....

A little about the city they lived in at this time period. Groveport, Ohio is close to the Ohio and Erie Canal in the southeast corner of Franklin County, Ohio. The opening of the Ohio Canal in 1831 was a boon to the settlements along its winding course. It was established in 1847 with 250 families who came primarily for land. The majority of people who came to Groveport were from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland and other states to the South and East.

In 1868 came the railroad. Samuel and Martha could still be in Groveport at this time or moved over to Hamilton. The first train passed through Groveport on July 16, 1868, and was the occasion for quite a celebration.

By 1870, Samuel and Martha are now living in Hamilton, Franklin, Ohio. Hamilton is about two miles west of Groveport, still in the southern part of Franklin County. Samuel is a farm laborer in Hamilton, (with a post office of Lockbourne, not sure if this has value).

Hamilton townships in Franklin County, Ohio was founded in 1807 in the "Congress lands". It is bounded on the north by Marion township, on the south by Pickaway county, and on the east by the Scioto river.

SIDE NOTE? 
They are neighbors to Ferdinand Brown, who is 57 and deaf. He has in his home a 61 year old Mary (perhaps hearing) and a 57 year-old Moses who is deaf. They seem to be siblings rather than any marital relation. Perhaps Ferdinand and Samuel are related? Ferdinand, Mary and Moses were born in Maryland. Samuel was born in Maryland. Samuel is 48. However, looking through the family tree this is all I can establish... Samuel's wife Martha has an aunt named Mary Ann Brown. Her husband is William Brown. William's siblings are Ferdinand, Mary, and Moses. One family tree has William, Ferdiand, Mary, Moses, and Samuel as siblings but there is no documentation of this effect. Could it be true? Could these relationships open up the wall to Samuel's parents and grand parents?

 In 1880, Samuel and Martha are living in Jefferson, Madison, Ohio. Samuel is a farmer. Madison county is the bordering county to Franklin. Jefferson is in the northeast corner of the county. In essence, they family hasn't really moved to far from where they originally started in 1850.

Jefferson, later known as West Jefferson, was on the National Road which went through Ohio. The National road brought many travels by horse and buggy or stage coach through the town. Thus, it attracted many settlers from the 1840s onward. However, when the railroad, with it's speedier trains, Jefferson received less travelers. By the late nineteenth century, many Jefferson residents began to move elsewhere, especially to Ohio's industrial cities. In 1880, Jefferson claimed a population of 720 people, approximately the same number of residents that the village boasted in 1834.

My guess is the family didn't stay in this dying town too long.


Unfortunately, there is no 1890 US Census, so who knows where this mobile family was in that year. And, Samuel dies in 1900 presumably in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. Unfortunately, the death needs to be researched further as only a person's recollection is the proof for this statement. And Martha died the following year.

So, how on earth do I sort this story out? How on earth do I figure out where Samuel is from and if the Maryland Browns who were his neighbors in 1870 were any sort of relation other than cousins a few times removed? Samuel, you're a brick wall and you're driving me crazy.

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