14 August 2012

Journey to the Past: More With Cousin Betty and Samuel Brown


When Betty said she had a few things for me, she wasn't kidding. She had done some digging and had found funeral cards, obituaries, a family history printing, photos, wedding certificates, and more. Another gold mine! Would I get it all scanned before I had to leave? Betty was so excited to share what she had. She had more stories to share. I learned about more spotted sheep in the family. Very tragic stuff. 


A sampling of the information Cousin Betty found for me about her family.

The funniest thing was the story of her mother. Arlene had pancreatic cancer. Generally this disease is uncommon in women and a result of heavy drinking and smoking. Betty said her mother never smoked or drank. When Arlene had insisted that she had done neither, the doctor had wouldn't believe her. Arlene was so fed up that the doctor didn't believe her that she had some fun. Apparently Arlene wasn't the happiest sort of soul, so the comical element was greatly heightened. Arlene dressed in a funny dress, borrowed a bottle of alcohol and a cigarette and had her daughter Betty snap a host of pictures. Arlene really got into the fun and began doing all sorts of funny poses and faces. 

My aunt Shelley laughed until she nearly split her gut. Arlene had never shared this side of her personality to Shelley's family and it was quite the treat. I promised my cousin that the photographs would stay in the family out of respect. However, the story of a person fed up with doctors insisting that she did something she hadn't rings true to me. I don't drink or smoke and I'd feel the same way. “Oh, really doctor? You don't believe me? Well, I'll show you.” That's the attitude Arlene had and the one I can fully understand. So funny.

Aside from discussing Betty's family, I also shared that I believe that Samuel Leroy Brown's son Bradley Lewis Brown had died. I had done some digging and had hoped to find Bradley and his sister. If I found them, I'd try to find out about their family to see if the mystery could be cleared up. Betty and Shelley were greatly saddened to learn of his passing. They insisted I need to seek out his sister. I shall, in due time.

In Bradley's obituary, all the facts I had about him lined up except a few. First, it's supposed that Bradley was born in Louisiana and not Ohio or Missouri. Additionally, his mother is listed as Anne Tompkins Brown (the second wife of Samuel). So, the picture we have could very well be Anne and not Mary Jane (or Marietta). In reviewing the birth dates of Bradley and his sister, it would fit better with a scenario that Samuel married Annie around 1940 and then had two children before he died in 1948. The mystery continues! So, what happened to Marietta Hicks Brown and what is the story of Anne Tompkins. Could Samuel have been a bit of a ladies man during his work as a traveling salesman? Is that story true? Hmmmm..... it seems I really must find the cousin now.

This is another installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.

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