05 August 2012

Journey to the Past: The Mysterious Samuel L Brown


I closed the evening with my Aunt Shelley and Cousin Bonnie by reviewing some photos that Shelley has and discussing 'the other cousins'. Harry and Lewis had two other brothers. Eugene Curtis Brown who never had any children of his own, but did have a step-daughter. Samuel Leroy Brown, had moved to Missouri, and the family lost touch. 

I was also excited to share with these ladies about their  grandfather Sherman Lewis Brown who owned a auto repair shop with his sons Eugene and Samuel working there at different times. I had already created a post about this and was happy to share it briefly. 

When I told the ladies that Uncle Sam had two wives, they about flipped. They couldn't believe it. Well, here's what my research trail has turned up thus far. 

Samuel L Brown married Marietta Hicks on 18 Nov 1924. My mother, my aunt Shelley, and my 2nd cousin Betty insist that her name was Mary Jane. It's possible that Marietta has a middle name of Jane. It's possible that Marietta, wife of Samuel, preferred the name Mary Jane. I have yet to find a birth certificate for Marietta born on 16 Nov 1902 to Morris Hicks and Agatha Sun, according to the marriage certificate. I also don't have a death certificate for a Marietta or Mary Jane Brown at this time.

This side of the family believes that Samuel and Mary Jane had two children, a boy and a girl.

Here's where things start to go crazy. Samuel worked in Columbus, sometimes with his father, other times not, until 1929. After that year, I loose track of Samuel until his death in 1948. I can't find him or his wife Marry in the 1930 US Census in Ohio or Missouri. My family members knew that Samuel had moved to Missouri. In fact their is a funeral program that was sent to the family, but I wouldn't see this until later.

Samuel Brown had sent this photo
to Betty Brown and it mentions Sam and
Mary Jane living in Broofield, MO. No date.
A search of the Missouri State Archives produced a death certificate that identifies Samuel Leroi Brown, son of Sherman Brown and Emma Townsend. Get this, he was supposedly born in Terril, Texas. And, the informant is Annie Brown. Okay... two things jump out at me... Texas and Annie.

My aunt Bonnie says that Sherman and Emma (Eugene, Samuel, Harry, and Lewis' parents) went to Texas at some point and had 4 little girls that died there. I've found no proof that they were ever in Texas. However, the death certificate has a birth place of Texas? Hmmmm.... I want to say that perhaps this isn't the right person, but too many other factors line up.

Annie Brown... she's listed as the wife of Samuel on Find-A-Grave. They're both buried in the Grand View Burial Park in Hannibal, Missouri.The person who posted this information is of no relation to these individuals. She was only a voluntary contributor of the information.

When my aunt and her cousin heard there was possibly a second wife and that Samuel and this wife were buried in Missouri, they couldn't believe it. They want to know what happened to Mary Jane and why there was a second wife. I agree. I want to know the same thing. 

This is Bradley Lewis Brown,
born Oct 1945. Who is the mother?
Since Samuel died on 19 Dec 1948, he should appear in the 1940 US Census. That census should tell me where he is and who he's married to. My guess is that he's not with Marietta. It's possible that the children are Annie's and not Mary Jane's. If that's the case, then the picture we have Samuel's son Bradley Lewis Brown (b. 20 Oct 1945) might not be the believed Mary Jane. It might actually be Annie and her son. But the hair and smile look so similar to those confirmed pictures of Mary Jane. How in the heck will I solve this? 

Samuel gets more and more mysterious by the minute. It looks like I might have to find the children of my great-uncle Samuel. But how?

I have posted the birthdate of Bradley as in a later post you'll learn that he is no longer among the living. More on that later.

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