Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Brown Cemetery

On Sunday, my cousin Joyce Jones and I visited the grave of our great-grandparents—William Daniel Brown and Julia Franklin Forbes Brown. It was the first time I'd seen their graves, located in a small cemetery on Bluewater Drive in the Scruggs area of Franklin County. Joyce had spent the afternoon putting fall flowers on family graves, and she planned to decorate these, too.

Joyce's family had put some markers in the cemetery, so Will's grave was easy to find.

William Daniel Brown was the son of Dock Landon Brown (in some records, he's called Doctor Louden Brown) and Landonia Cobb English Brown. Dock Brown's parents were William Daniel Brown Jr. and Martha Joyce Snider Brown. Landonia was the daughter of William English—a son of George Lewis English—and Elizabeth Richardson.) 

Here is a picture of Will Brown when he was an old man; the child on his lap is Cecil Brown:

Behind his grave was a grave marked "Infant Son" and the graves of three of his four wives. 

His fourth wife (Betty Elizabeth Parker Smoot) had divorced him, so we were pretty sure that none of the graves along the back edge of the cemetery were hers. His first wife was Katie Starkey, whom he married on January 11, 1877, when she was 15. She didn't live long, and her daughter Laura lived only 11 months. His second wife—my great-grandmother—was Julia Franklin Forbes (daughter of Green Berry Forbes and Mary Wright). Will married her on Dec. 30, 1879, when she was 21.  She died on April 5, 1887. His third wife was Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Kessler. All three wives' graves were originally marked with field stones. Now small stones with "Brown's wife" identifies them.

It made sense to think that Julia's grave was the middle one. In the picture below, it's the one in the foreground.

It's to the right in this picture:

Here's a closer view:

Will and Julia had three daughters—Sallie Lee (my grandmother, born Nov. 9, 1880), Bertha May (born 1882) , and Cora March (Joyce's grandmother, born 1884). 

Here's Sallie and Cora:


Cora March Brown Saunders died in childbirth in 1911; her daughter Laura (Joyce's mother) was raised by Sallie Lee Brown Smith, whose new-born son—William Everette Smith—had died earlier in 1911.

Adjacent to the Brown Cemetery was the old English Cemetery where some other Saunders are buried.

Here are the graves of Parmenas English and his second wife, Tabitha Musgrove. Parmenas is the brother of William English, who was Landonia's father and Will Brown's uncle. So Parmenas is Will Brown's great-uncle.

After we left the cemetery, Joyce showed me where some of the Brown farmland used to be. Some is under Smith Mountain Lake, but some is owned by various Brown descendants. The name of the road was certainly fitting:

Before long we came to where the Brown land is.

This old house, which was moved up the hill before the lake flooded the area, might be where William Brown lived. You can see the lake behind it.

Part of the house has been repaired.

Not far from the old house is what's left of an old barn. Would this have been Will Brown's? I don't know. 

Visiting family-related sites made for an interesting afternoon. 

Rest in peace, Will Brown—and all your wives and children.


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Blogger CountryDew said...

It is always good to visit the past. You just never know what you will find there.

7:45 AM  

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