George H. BROWN was born on 11 March 1872 to Orilla C. SCHUCHARD and John R. BROWN. His mother passed away between 1872-1878. George resided in Columbus, Pope County, Illinois, in 1880 with his father, stepmother Maggie RUBLE, and half-brother John R. His father John R. passed away on 30 October 1884 at the age of 41. George married Anna Mary BARNES in 1894 when he was 22 years old. They had one child during their marriage. Their daughter Anna Idell was born on 2 March 1898 in Paducah, Kentucky, where the family resided in 1900 nad 1910. George lived in Carbondale, Illinois, in 1920. He died on 24 June 1929 in Detroit, Michigan, at the age of 57, and was buried in Carbondale, Illinois.
This is how I identified George H. Brown
Written on the back of the photograph was the only information I had to identify the young man featured today. Since many of the actors in this mystery series (a.k.a. people who have been featured in Florence’s collection) were from Pope County, Illinois, I took the chance and searched for George Brown with a brother named John in Pope County in all collections on Ancestry. The top result was for George H. Brown b. abt. 1872 in Illinois, living in Columbus, Pope County, Illinois.
Only the persons highlighted in the image above were shown in the indexed household. They were not the only persons living in the same household as the Brown family. The head of household was a hotel keeper and dry goods merchant. A half brother of the head of household was also living with the family. The importance of looking at the images and following other persons in the household was seen as I continued the search.
It would appear that George H. age 8 and John T. age 2 were the sons of John R. Brown age 37 and his wife Maggie age 23. But wait, Maggie would have been 15 years old at the time of George’s birth. Is she his mother or not?
- I searched for George’s father in previous census listings. Since John T. Baldwin was listed as a half brother I used this information to narrow the search. This led to all census listings for John Baldwin from 1860 to 1930, his marriage to Ida Ellis who was seen on the same 1880 census listing, and his death record. George’s father was with John Baldwin in 1860. It is not possible to tell if the head of household was his stepfather or if the woman listed next was his mother as relationships are not given.
- I searched for George’s brother John T. Brown who turned out to be John R. Brown. He married Allie Steagall about 1902 and had several of her sisters in his household in 1910. One of the sisters was the widow of John Jay Hardin Hodge, a brother of Anna Mae Hodge. This looked promising. A connection to another person in Florence’s collection. John’s SS application (index) showed his parents were John R. Brown and Maggie Ruble.
- I searched for more information on Maggie Ruble Brown. A marriage record for John R. Brown and Maggie Ruble showed they married 1877 in Pope County, Illinois. This meant George Brown was most likely not a child of this marriage. John appears to have died and Maggie married William J. Reeves in 1894. By 1900 Maggie was once again widowed per the 1900 census. Her occupation was “Post Master” and boarding with her was Samuel L. ROYALTY. Another connection to the collection as Sam was Florence’s father.
- The fact that Maggie Ruble Brown was a postmaster led to the appointments of U.S. Postmasters database. This showed John R. Brown was appointed postmaster of Wool on 30 April 1872, his half-brother John T. Baldwin on 15 December 1884, and his wife/widow Maggie Brown on 2 Jan 1885. On 27 August 1892 Wool became Brownfield and Maggie Brown was still postmaster.
- Maggie Ruble Brown Reeves married Dr. Thomas Jefferson Rich about 1903 and lived in Anna, Union County, Illinois, in 1910 through 1940. She died in Anna in 1948.
I found information on George’s father, stepmother, half-brother, and uncle but what about George. Since the family lived in Wool, later known as Brownfield, I added this to the search criteria for George H. BROWN b. abt. 1872 in Brownfield.
This added a death certificate to the top matching records. The death record led to the Find A Grave memorial of George H. BROWN, his wife Anna Mary and his daughter Anna Idell. The daughter’s Find A Grave page included this statement, “Next to her parents, G. H. Brown and Annie Brown. Besides her mother, she was also survived by her grandmother, Mrs. Rich of Anna, and an uncle John R. Brown of Benton.” This backed up the information I found while researching the family group and confirmed George H. BROWN was the right person even though his birth information on Find A Grave did not match the death certificate.
George’s mother was seen as Orilla Schuchard in the household of John V. Schuchard and Catherine Young of Golconda in Pope County, Illinois. She married John R. Brown on 1 June 1868 in Pope County.
George H. BROWN’s only grandchild did not have children. His stepmother Maggie RUBLE married three times and had only one son, John R. BROWN who did not have children. There are no descendants to confirm the sad looking young man in the photograph above was George H. BROWN of Brownfield. Close in age to Florence born in 1868, she may have known George BROWN as the young boy who was orphaned at the age of 12 and lived with the postmaster, who was his stepmother, and his half-brother. Am I grasping at straws or do you think I’ve identified this young man correctly?
More about this collection, how it came to be in my possession,
and links to previous posts in the series can be found here.
© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.