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17 August 2013

Surname Saturday: Could this be my Brown Brick Wall

Samuel Curtis Brown of Balitmore and Columbus
Samuel Curtis Brown
b 3 Aug 1821 in Baltimore, Maryland
d 14 Jan 1900 Columbus, Ohio
 I've written before how difficult it is to do genealogy with the surname Brown. My brick wall is Samuel Curtis Brown. He's a traditional looking gentleman from the 1800s, don't you think? Well, here's a research investigation that I've been mulling over for several years.

On 7 Nov 2006 Willy Istvan sent me the following message:

I am 99.9% sure that your Brown line is connected to a Brown line which my wife is connected to. I believe that your Samuel Curtis Brown is a sibling of a Brown family that two of my wife's "cousins" are descended from. I am attaching a Brown Descendant Report that I believe to be correct. Your Samuel is a perfect match, regarding his locations, with this other Brown family. Also, if you find Samuel Brown and Martha (Gordon) in the 1870 census in Hamilton, Franklin, OH, they are living next door to 3 of Samuel's siblings, Ferdinand, Moses and Mary.

Also, what source do you have for the father, of Samuel Curtis Brown, being James Brown? I had thought that his name was James Brown, but I wasn't positive. I knew his mother's name was Catherine, because she shows up in census records living with her children.

I keep bumping into this family and I've let this email sit in my inbox for many years. I crossed his path again last year. Yet, I can't jump fully into the belief that William Brown who married Mary Ann Fickle is a brother to Samuel Curtis Brown who married Martha Gordon (daughter of Mary Ann's sister Jane). Willy didn't include source citations for his information. And that makes me hesitant to say, I agree. Yet, he makes the following argument that I would love to accept.

I ran into your Samuel when I was researching the Fickle family. My Brown line is connected to the Fickle's as follows:

William Brown (born 22 Sep 1815) married Mary Ann Fickle (born 22 Feb 1820) on 7 Sep 1842.

Mary Ann Fickle had an older sister, seventeen years her senior, named Jane Fickle (born 6 Dec 1803).

I was researching Jane Fickle and found that she had married Charles Gordon.

I found that one of their daughters by the name of Martha Gordon, had married your Samuel Curtis Brown. Immediately I thought to myself, wow, this Samuel Brown could be related to my Browns.

My Browns were born in Baltimore County, MD. They moved to Perry County, OH, the birthplace of Martha Gordon. All of my Brown's then moved on to Hamilton or Columbus in Franklin County, OH. All of these locations matched your Samuel.

Then I did some research in census records. In finding Samuel and Martha in the 1870 census living in Hamilton, Franklin, OH, I found that their neighbors were Moses, Ferdinand and Mary Brown. These were all three known to me already and all three were in my database. My wife's Brown cousins have info on all three of these siblings of William Brown, and here they were, all three of them living next door to Samuel.

"U.S. Census Population Schedule, 1870" database, FamilySearch; (http:/ Hamilton, Franklin, Ohio,Lockbourne Post Office, Page 6, Household 38, Samuel Brown; NARA microfilm publication M593

"U.S. Census Population Schedule, 1870" database, FamilySearch; (http:/ Hamilton, Franklin, Ohio, Lockbourne Post Office, Page 7, Household 38, Samuel Brown; NARA microfilm publication M593

In the 1850 census, Moses, Ferdinand and Mary Brown are all living with Catharine Brown in Madison, Perry OH. Moses and Ferdinand are listed as deaf and it is most likely the reason neither of them were married. I assume that Mary stayed with her brothers to help take care of them.

Their brother William is also found in Madison, Perry, OH in the 1850 census with his wife Mary Ann (Fickle) Brown and 4 children. Living on one side of them is Joseph G. Fickle, father of Mary Ann and Jane Fickle. William's other neighbor is George Fickle, a brother of Mary Ann and Jane.

Have you ever been able to find Samuel in the 1850 census? I couldn't find him. I am almost positive that Samuel is the brother of my wife's Browns. There are just way too many coincidences. And the connection to the Fickle family is 100% for sure. Let me know what you think.

Again, the arguments are delightful. I would be very inclined to believe it but I hesitate. The number one reason is that I can't find Samuel in the 1850 US Census. And, other than being born in Maryland in 1821. I don't really know where he is until 1857.

I would LOVE to know how to determine what to do with this information.


  1. Yes, I would imagine that "Brown" is a pretty difficult surname to track-- kind of like "Smith" and "Clark", ha. Your ancestor is a fine-looking man, and yes, very traditionally 19th century.

    Here's hoping you find the evidence you need to either prove or disprove this possible connection!

    1. Thanks Karen. I appreciate the support. Someday the evidence will appear. Just trying to be patient.


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