Isaac Jones homestead (1837-1851) Calloway County, KY

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Brown (Braun) Family of Rowan & Surry County, NC...Part 2

Jacob "The Wagonmaker" Brown's farm in
Washington County, TN as viewed from the
location of the family cemetery.

As I mentioned at the end of my last post, Jacob Brown spent the later half of the 1790's selling off his numerous land holdings in Rowan County in preparation for his eventual relocation to Washington County, TN. The first of these transactions occurred on December 8, 1795, when Jacob sold 282 acres of his land along the Middle Fork of Crane Creek to a man named Michael Kline for the amount of 285 pounds. Six months later on June 24, 1796, Jacob Brown sells his remaining 110 acres of land along Crane Creek. This transaction included his actual residence and was purchased by a young lawyer named Montfort Stokes who had been serving as a clerk with the North Carolina General Assembly. Eventually he would go on to become a U.S. Senator representing the state of North Carolina from 1816-1823. During his time serving in the U.S. Senate, he would eventually relocate to Wilkes County, NC where he would be elected as a representative to the North Carolina General Assembly from 1826-1827 and then to the North Carolina House of Commons from 1829-1830. Following this, Montfort Stokes would become the 25th Governor of North Carolina, serving from 1830-1832 before resigning to become the head of President Andrew Jackson's Federal Indian Commission. One final note on Montfort Stokes is that he is one of the Freemasons listed as a member of the Old Cone Lodge in Salisbury as early as 1793, the same lodge as I believe Isaac Jones was a member of  four years later.

So now with only still owning his lot in Salisbury and the 20 acres adjacent to the area, Jacob Brown decides to pack up and relocate to northeastern Tennessee. An interesting side note to this is the fact that Tennessee had just become a state 3 weeks prior to Jacob selling his farm in Rowan County to Montfort Stokes. Despite this, Jacob's destination of Washington County had a long history of settlement, having been founded in 1777 and originally a county in the state of North Carolina. In fact Jonesborough, the Washington County seat, is considered today as being the oldest town in the state of Tennessee. During the 1780's, Washington County had also been part of the failed attempt at becoming the fourteenth state of the United States known as the state of Franklin, named after Benjamin Franklin. Upon his arrival in the summer of 1796, Jacob Brown would choose to settle along a branch of the Little Limestone Creek, just a mile or two east of the modern-day community of Telford which at the time was known as Millwood.

Brown Branch of the Little Limestone
which runs along the property of Jacob Brown.

Jacob Brown made his first land purchase in Washington County on July 19, 1796, purchasing two separate pieces of land totaling 235 acres from John Rimeal (Rymel). By December 24 of that same year, Jacob began parceling his land out to some of his children, selling 80 acres to his son David and 24 1/4 acres to his oldest son Jacob. It's generally believed that Jacob Brown Sr.'s three oldest sons: Jacob Jr., George, and Abraham; had preceded their father in relocating to Washington County, TN by as much as six years. Almost a year after relocating to Washington County, Jacob finds a buyer for his town lot and adjoining land back in Salisbury, NC; selling them both to Lewis Beard for a total of "25 pounds current money" on July 12, 1797.

View looking east over the lower portion of Jacob
Brown's farm in Washington County, TN.
(McCarty Branch in the middle of picture)

On November 4, 1799, Jacob sells 12 acres of his farm to a man named Aaron Coppick for the sum of $40.  A year later on November 21, 1800, Jacob parts with another 50 acres of his farm which he sells to a man named John Murr (Muir) for the amount of $250. What is interesting about this second deed is that it is witnessed by Jacob's son John Brown, who having chose to remain behind in North Carolina, must have been in the area at the time on a visit. There is one final deed dated August 20, 1806 showing a Jacob Brown "waggonmaker" selling 2 1/2 acres of land to a woman named Barbary (Barbara) Overholster (Overholt) for the amount of $50. Despite showing "waggonmaker", I believe that this Jacob Brown was actually the son because he signs with his mark on the deed which isn't consistent with the elder Jacob always signing with a signature. Revolutionary War pension documents for Jacob Brown Jr. indicate that he also practiced the trade of wagon making, making it even more likely that the deed mentioned involved Jacob Jr. and not his father.

 Lower portion of Jacob Brown's farm looking east.
(McCarty Branch in the middle of picture)

Looking northeast over Jacob Brown's farm.
(the family cemetery is at the top of the hill to the left)

The 1800 sale of land to Aaron Coppick would mark the final appearance of Jacob "The Wagonmaker" Brown as a direct participant in any other deeds in the county. His next mention in a deed would come after his death sometime prior to September 24, 1808, when on this day his son-in-law Adam Sliger who had married Jacob's daughter Catherine, his son Abraham Brown, and his daughter Margaret (Brown) Starns sell their interest in Jacob's estate to their brother David. Roughly eight months later on May 9, 1808, Jacob's children Jacob Jr. and Phillip along with a man named William Bayles who was "acting as an agent" for Jacob's son Solomon and his daughter Mary's husband Henry Salts, when they too sell their interest in their father's estate to their brother David. The fact that William Bayles is "acting as an agent" would imply that Solomon Brown and Henry Salts had already sold their interest in the estate to him. Two years later on December 20, 1811, Jacob's son John sells his interest in his father's estate to Henry Salts who in turn sells it to David Brown the following month on January 10, 1812. The final mention of Jacob Brown's estate is found in a deed dated December 9, 1819 written to show the passing of interest held in his estate by his daughter Mary (Polly) Salts and her husband Henry to her brother David. Despite the deed being written up between these two parties, the deed goes on to state that the couple had already sold their interest to William Bayles which was also referenced in the earlier 1808 deed. Of his eleven children, the only two of which no mention concerning his estate is made are his sons George and Conrad. While not mentioned as a direct participant, George Brown does act as a witness for the 1808 and 1809 deeds concerning Jacob's estate. The only mention connecting Conrad to Jacob Brown is his acting as a witness on the 1799 sale of land by Jacob Brown to Aaron Coppick, and as a witness on a 1796 Washington County deed between John Roark and Jacob's son David Brown. Even more interesting is the lack of mention of Jacob's wife Elizabeth in any documents concerning his estate. When one looks at the fact that on every deed prior to 1789 in which Jacob is selling land she is found as a cosigner and never again following that, I would wonder if she had actually died prior to 1789 and never made the trip to Tennessee.

With that being said, based on deeds and marriage records the children of Jacob "The Wagonmaker" Brown and Elizabeth Goettgen are: Jacob (1752-NC), George (1755-NC), Abraham (1756-NC), Margaret (1758-NC), David (1759-NC), Phillip (1760-NC), John (1762-NC), Conrad (1768-NC), Mary "Polly" (1774-NC), Catherine (1775-NC), and Solomon (1779-NC).

Location of the Jacob "The Wagonmaker" Brown
family cemetery.

Upon Jacob's death, he was laid to rest in the family cemetery on top of a hill overlooking his property. Today there are no visible signs of the cemetery whatsoever. Back in 1986, a Washington County man named James Thomas Dykes had found Jacob's tombstone among the scattered markers in the cemetery and removed it for safekeeping. The marker is inscribed only with "Jacob Brown died 1807" and a picture of it can be viewed in the book "The Ancestors and Descendants of Abraham (Braun) Brown, the miller; The Ancestors and Descendants of Jacob (Braun) Brown, the wagonmaker" compiled and edited by John Burgess Fisher, Dorothy Brown Koller, and Margaret Brown Anderson. The section of the book pertaining to Jacob Brown, as well as the photo of Jacob's grave, are credited to Leo J. Brown, M.D. I was able to locate the cemetery based on another photo taken from it's location by Leo J. Brown back in 1986 and the help of the current owner who happens to be a Brown. The sole remnants of the cemetery are two granite marker bases and one unmarked piece of a marker, which have been moved to the side of the barn in the picture for safekeeping by the current property owner. He had recalled there being a few others at the base of the tree but I saw no signs of them. It may be that they are now buried under the knee-high grass topped with a nice layer of poison ivy that surrounds the base of the tree.

Special thanks goes out to Billy Harris who put me in touch with the current landowner, and to the current landowner Hooter Brown and his son Mike for being so friendly and granting me access to the property!

And an extra special thanks goes out to Ginger Jilton the Washington County Register of Deeds for being so kind as to allow me the special privilege of photographing the original deed books which are no longer accessible to the general public due to excessive damage and wear. Mrs. Jilton and her staff have instead gone to great effort and taken on the task of indexing and professionally scanning all the deeds from 1783-1924, which can be accessed via computer at the courthouse and also via the internet.



1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this great story. I'm a historian of Grants Pass, a small city in Oregon, and couldn't believe how similar all the real estate transactions you describe were to the ones here 150 years later! What led me to your web site was my research on Josiah Brown of Wake County, who I believe to be my ancestor through his daughter Winifred. My subject Josiah had land grants totaling 550 acres in Wake County and, although I found where he had paid someone to fight in his place in the Revolution for 3 months, I thought he must have fought himself to merit so much land. I found a Josiah Brown had fought in the war in a militia company for Rowan County, which led me here. My Josiah would have been born about 1753. He married Esther Pearson of Wake County. He had 2 sons and 5 daughters and died in 1798. I've traced all the Browns in Wake County in the 1790 and 1800 censuses, and none of them seem to lead to him. Interestingly, one of the daughters or grand-daughters of Pearson Brown married a Roark in Tennessee. I look forward to reading more of your blog.
    Martha Arman Murphy