Monday, May 27, 2019

The Circle Complete

In the last post we learned that Thomas Brown, youngest son of Timothy Brown and Hannah Kelly, served on several steam ships
Application to Washington Soldiers Home
showing previous military service
on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers during the Civil War from 1864 to 1865.  We also learned that Thomas lived in homes for disabled soldiers in Washington State from 1903 to 1916.  (See previous post - Full Circle)  An Application for Admission, the earliest document in Tom’s records of the Washington Soldiers’ Home and Colony (Soldier’s Home in Orting), shows that he served three separate tours of duty in three separate locations.  Thomas’ earliest service, already identified, was in the Navy during the Civil War.  Of the other two services, one was in the Cavalry, and the other in an Artillery unit1.  (See Orting application left.) 

Several events occurred in Chicago after Thomas’ Civil War service which likely prompted him to leave the area.   When Thomas returned to Chicago after the Civil War, he lived with various family members from 1866 to 1872, including at the family compound at 219 Jackson Street during the great fire of 1871.  (See previous post F I R E !)  After the fire, Thomas lived with his brother, James, at 116 Sherman Street – definitely in 1871 and 18722 and, perhaps, longer.  (See previous blog on Thomas’ brother, James, in From Chicago . . . )  James married on March 21, 1875, and, afterwards, lived with his wife, Louisa Primrose, and her family on Harrison Street, leaving Thomas on his own.  Perhaps, an even stronger reason to leave the Chicago area was the death of his brother-in-law, Thomas Roach earlier in the month on March 6, 1875.  (See previous blog Where are you Thomas Roche?) Thomas Roach was widowed in 1872 leaving him to care for his two young sons – James and George.  From the coroner’s report and news article at the time of Thomas Roach’s death, it is suggested that his mother-in-law, Hannah Brown, (the matriarch of this family), was also living with Thomas Roach to help care for the children.  The death of Thomas Roach likely prompted Hannah and the children to move to Saybrook, Illinois to live with her oldest son, Patrick Brown, and his family. Thomas Brown may have also moved to Saybrook at the same time. It would have been a very crowded house with Hannah and the two Roach children along with Patrick, his wife, Anna, and their nine children.  (See previous blog on Illinois Prairie Years)  

 On October 16, 1876, in St. Louis, Missouri, Thomas, (now age 29),
1876 Oath of Enlistment and Allegiance
(click to enlarge)
enlisted in the Third Regiment of Cavalry of the U.S. Army3.  He was assigned to “M” Troop.  He gave his age as 27 years and 5 months and was described as 5 feet 6 ¾ inches with grey eyes, brown hair, and light complexion.  He also listed several tattoos - a cross, a heart, and a flag4.  

The Third Cavalry had participated in the campaign of the Little Big Horn in the summer of 1876, although not in the actual battle where General George Armstrong Custer and the Seventh Cavalry met with their demise.  After that battle, the Third Cavalry set out to avenge the perpetrators of the “massacre.”  Because they set out without sufficient rations, the cavalrymen were forced to eat their horses, shoes, and anything else they could find.  This became known as the Horsemeat March5 which ended with the defeat of the Sioux at the Battle of Slim Buttes, South Dakota in early September, 1876 - before Tom enlisted.  However, this activity was widely published in news articles throughout the country and may have been the incentive for him to enlist in this specific cavalry unit.  After October 1876, the Third Cavalry patrolled the area of current day Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska to protect the settlers against cattle raids by natives who were restricted from hunting buffalo - their traditional food source.  There were also many “settlers” who had come looking for gold which was discovered on the Sioux Reservation in the Black Hills in 18746 causing more conflict when the government sought to regain lands located on the reservation.  Although there is no report of M Troop participating in specific skirmishes, they were kept busy patrolling the area. 

When his term expired, Private Thomas Brown was discharged on October 8, 1881 at Fort McKinney in northeastern Wyoming near present-day Buffalo, Wyoming.  His character was listed as “very good.”7  

1882 Enlistment
(click to enlarge)
By August 1, 1882, Thomas was in San Francisco, California where he again enlisted in the U.S. Army8, this time in Battery H of the First Regiment of Artillery9 at The Presidio10.  Tom’s physical description was much the same with the exception of an additional tattoo (an anchor) and stating that he weighed 160 lbs.  While the First Artillery was an illustrious regiment with a long history beginning before 1789, their stay in California was very uneventful and probably very boring for Tom after serving on the frontier during hostilities with the native peoples.  It was not long before Thomas was in trouble.   He was dishonorably discharged November 20, 188411.

Thomas stood for General Court Martial12 on November 14, 1884
Record of Court Martial
(click to enlarge)
for repeated offenses of drunkenness, missing parade duty and being absent without leave.  Between June 1883 and October 1884, Tom had been tried, convicted and sentenced by other Garrison Courts Martial and served time on ten different dates citing twelve offences.  The last offence, initiating the General Court Martial, was on November 6, 1884 when, as a battery cook, he was unable to perform his duty and another soldier needed to fill his place.  Without a Service Record for Tom, we cannot know if there were other warnings before the first
Court Martial continued
(click to enlarge)
Court Martial, but it can be assumed that the first instance of this behavior was before June 1883.  Tom was dishonorably discharged “forfeiting all pay and allowances . . .” and “. . . confined at hard labor . . .,”  at Alcatraz13 for a period of one year.  Tom admitted guilt to the charges but stated that the offences occurred around pay day and that he did the same as the other soldiers at the time.  He also provided a letter from Captain Deane Monahan of the 3rd Cavalry, his commanding officer during his tour of duty in Wyoming, stating he was a good soldier, performed his duties and was eligible to reenlist.  Tom’s final defense was that since he had already served time for the previous offences, he should not be made to serve again for the same crimes.  Tom’s sentence was commuted to four months. 

Thomas’ whereabouts for the next twenty years until he entered the Washington Soldiers Home is not known.  He may have stayed in the San Francisco area or moved elsewhere.  Numerous men by the name of Thomas Brown are shown in the city directories for San Francisco from 1884 until 1903 but it is impossible to state which, if any, is our Tom Brown; nor, are there records from Alcatraz from the time frame when Tom would have served his sentence.  Tom did leave the Washington Veterans Home on June 3, 1916.  No explanation was given concerning the reason he left.  From there he traveled to Illinois where he entered the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in
Civil War soldiers at Danville, Illinois
Danville, Illinois on June 23, 1916 - twenty days after leaving Washington.  

Little is known of Thomas’ stay at the Danville home14.  Of all the veteran homes in the country, we do not know why he picked that facility unless he felt it was close to family; but, it was a long time before he tried to make contact with them.   Available records show that he lived at the home for over four years - from June 23, 1916 until December 17, 1920 with an absence of about a month from June 25, 1920 to July 31, 1920.  We do know where he was during that month! 

Chet found a news article in the Bloomington, Illinois newspaper,
Click to enlarge
The Daily Pantagraph dated July 12, 1920 with the headline “TWO BROWNS IN A MUTUAL QUEST”.15   (See copy of news article right.)  It seems that Thomas visited Saybrook, Illinois in July looking for his brother Patrick.  (Remember from an earlier post, Illinois Prairie Years, that Patrick left the Saybrook area in the mid 1880s.)  The article states that Thomas “used to live in Saybrook”  giving some validity to the presumption that Thomas left Chicago with his mother, Hannah Brown, and the two Roach children at the time of the death of Thomas Roach to live with her Hannah's son and Thomas' brother, Patrick Brown.  Of course Patrick was deceased by 1920 - Patrick died in Nebraska in 1891 - and the quest was taken up by Patrick’s oldest son, Patrick Brown who was the nephew of Thomas Brown.  (See previous post on Homesteading)  No follow-up article was published to confirm whether or not they found one another.  It is probably a safe assumption to say that they did since a niece of Thomas, Mrs. Mary Ann Brown Cox of Bloomington, Illinois, was given as Thomas’ next of kin at the home in Sandusky where Thomas died in 1926.  (Mary Ann is the oldest daughter of the elder Patrick Brown and a sister of the Patrick Brown in the “mutual quest.”)

After Thomas’ visit to Bloomington, he returned to Danville for
Record from Danville Veterans Home
(click to enlarge)
about five months.  He left the Danville home on December 17, 192016, (see copy of home record left) and, as we saw in the last blog post, was admitted to the Old Soldiers and Sailors Home in Sandusky, Ohio two days later on December 19, 1920.  We do not know why Tom left Danville or why he chose Sandusky as his next destination.  Sandusky is not far from Cleveland; perhaps he was looking his brother, James, who had lived in the Cleveland area with his second wife and children. (See previous blog post on  . . . to Cleveland)   

Tom lived out the remainder of his life in Sandusky.  Of all the Brown children, Thomas was the most widely traveled seeing both the east and west coast of the country and many parts in between.  He also had the most contentious life having served in the military three separate times, and spending time in the infamous military prison at Alcatraz.  Tom had a problem with alcohol which may have resulted from different life events - from his early years in the slums of Chicago to the atrocities of the Indian wars, to boredom with sedentary military camp life in San Francisco.  There have also been recent studies suggesting that poor nutrition during the famine years resulted in epigenetic changes causing increased mental illness and alcoholism in the Irish population17.  Whatever the reason, Tom led a very different life than the rest of his siblings.

That ends the story of the original immigrants from Ireland.  During my research journey, I have gathered much information about the Brown family – some of it after the individual stories had already been told.  The next blogs will tell about additional data collected along the way.

1.       Application for Admission to the Washington Soldiers Home, Veterans Affairs, Department of, Orting Soldiers Home, Member Files, 1891-1987, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives,, accessed 1 May 2019.  Available online at:

2.       Chicago City Directories 1867 – 1875, available on and Fold3.

3.       Thomas Brown, Oath of Enlistment and Allegiance, Record of the Adjutant Generals Office, NARA, Washington, D.C., 12 Oct 1876, St. Louis, MO 

4.       Thomas may have received his tattoos while serving in the Navy during the Civil War.  His enlistment record of 1864 specifically stated that he had no distinguishing marks.  Enlistment Record of Thomas Brown, Weekly return of enlistments at Naval Rendezvous (“Enlistment Rendezvous”), Jan. 6, 1855-Aug 8, 1891, NARA Publication Number M1953, Roll 23.  Available online at 

5.       History of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Wikipedia  

Morton, Captain Charles, Third Regiment of Cavalry, Army of the US Historical Sketches of Staff and Line with Portraits of Generals-in-Chief, pp. 193 – 208. Available online at:

6.        Gold was discovered in 1874 in the Black Hills area of the Sioux Reservation.  Because of this, the United States demanded the Sioux cede the area back to the U.S.  The Sioux refused resulting in the Great Sioux War of 1876 of which the Battle of the Little Bighorn was a part.  Fort McKinney (Wyoming), Wikipedia,_on_the_Powder_River_(1877-1878)     

7.       Register of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914; National Archives Microfilm Publication M233, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780-1917; Record Group 94, NARA, Washington, D.C., v 72, p 189  Available online at at:

8.       Thomas Brown, Enlistment Paper, Record of the Adjutant Generals Office, NARA, Washington, D.C. , 1 Aug 1882, Presidio, San Francisco, CA

9.       Haskin, Major William L., First Regiment of Artillery, Army of the US Historical Sketches of Staff and Line with Portraits of Generals-in-Chief, pp. 301-11.  Available online at:  The 1st Artillery has a long history going back to, at least, March 1789, and was involved in all wars where the United States was engaged, and other military actions such as quelling the labor riots of 1877 in Pennsylvania.  They were stationed, primarily, on the east coast; however, during the 1880s, they were stationed in the San Francisco area including The Presidio and Fort Winfield Scott.  Those years were very uneventful and consisted primarily of garrison duty.

10.   The United States has had a presence at the Presidio, a military compound in San Francisco, since the 1840s, before California became a state providing protection for the settlers in the area.  At one time, the area consisted of roughly 1,440 acres and included Fort Winfield Scott and Fort Point.  It was transferred to the National Park Service in 1994.  Special History Study, Presidio of San Francisco, An Outline of Its Evolution as a U.S. Army Post, 1847-1990.  Available online at:

12.   Thomas Brown, Court Martial, Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Army), NARA, Washington, D.C., Record Group 153, case file # RR-694, November 1884

13.   Alcatraz was originally planned as an army defense site; however, because of its location in the middle of San Francisco Bay, it was a good location for a military prison.  Fort Point and the Presidio sent their prisoners to Alcatraz which was much more secure than their local garrison stockades.  The army prisoners labored as part of their punishment; some of them on work details at nearby military posts, others were confined to indoor tasks or confined to their cells.  In 1934 it became a maximum security facility housing difficult and dangerous felons.  Alcatraz ceased operations as a federal prison in 1963.;

14.   The soldier’s home at Danville is a Federal facility rather than a state facility like those in Washington State.  It was opened in 1898, and like other homes for veterans, it provided living quarters and meals, some entertainment, and some opportunity for employment.  There are several websites providing information about the Old Soldiers Home at Danville.;

15.   ”TWO BROWNS IN A MUTUAL QUEST,” Daily Pantagraph, Bloomington, Illinois, July 12, 1920, page 7.

16.   “United States National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 1:VZ3M-LQ5 : 12 March 2018), Thomas Brown, 1916; citing p. 15384, Danville, Illinois, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1749 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 93; FHL microfilm 1,548,871.  Records for the Danville veterans’ home are also kept at the Regional National Archives in Chicago.  The majority of the original case files for individuals were disposed of decades ago - only small samples of the records were kept.  The records for Thomas Brown were not among the records kept.

17.   Several articles have been written about the effects of poor nutrition during famine periods.   See one such article at:

Also see the YouTube lecture of Oonagh Walsh concerning the effects of the famine.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Full Circle

Old Soldiers and Sailors Home - Sandusky, Ohio

The last and youngest immigrant member of the Browne family was Thomas.  As stated in one of the earliest blog posts, (see Where in County Limerick) Thomas was the key to finding the
Death Certificate - Thomas Brown - 1926 Ohio
(click to enlarge)
family in County Limerick.  His death certificate1 gave the names of both of his parents – Timothy Brown and Hannah Kelly - crucial data for tracing the family in Ireland.  (See Death Certificate left)  Thomas died February 21, 1926, at the Old Soldiers and Sailors Home in Sandusky, Ohio of chronic cystitis2.  The informant, JC

Lee, of the home, gave Thomas’ date of birth as May 3, 1849 and his place of birth as Boston, Massachusetts. Thomas is buried in the cemetery on the grounds of the Veterans Home in Sandusky3.  (See tombstone right)

The Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky4 supplied additional information about Thomas.  When he was admitted to the home on December 19, 1920, Thomas was single giving his niece, Mrs. Mary Cox5, of Bloomington, Illinois, as his next of kin.  Thomas was admitted to the Home from Cincinnati, Ohio for “general disability” but was transferred to the hospital section of the home on March 21, 1924, two years before his death.  His date of birth was given as May 3, 1846, (different than that shown on the death certificate), and he had lived in Ohio for twenty-two years.  Although Thomas gave his occupation as a farmer, he did not own property and had no living family.   Records at the home (and in the death notice in the local newspaper – see footnotes6) identify several pieces of conflicting information including the year and place of his birth and his residence over the years.  In varying records, Thomas gave his year of birth as anywhere between 1845 and 1849.  In some records he stated that he was born in Boston while in other records he was born in Ireland.  We know from baptismal records in County Limerick, that Thomas was baptized May 6, 1847 at Patrickswell RC Church7 confirming his year of birth as 1847 in Ireland.  (See copy below).  Other conflicts will be addressed throughout the blog post.
Baptismal Record from Patrickswell RC Church (Luriga)   (Click to enlarge)

The records at the Home also included information about Thomas’ military service.  He enlisted in the Navy at Cincinnati on December 1, 1846 during the Civil War and was discharged February 2, 1865 in Cicero, Illinois (more conflicting information) as a “Captain in the Navy After Guard”8 when his enlistment term expired.  He received $50.00 a month from his government pension listed under number 1163678.  Using the pension number, I requested Thomas’ pension record from the National Archives in Washington, D.C.   It could not be located at NARA and they suggested that I contact the Veterans Administration – which I did.  It could not be located there either.  I have made many attempts to locate this record, but it remains “lost.”  However disappointing that is, there are a couple of records associated with Thomas’ service that are available – an Enlistment Record and a Service Card – which provide clues to his life.

The Enlistment Record9 (see copy below) shows that Thomas did indeed enlist in the U.S. Navy at Cincinnati, Ohio on January 28, 1864.  Thomas, described as 5 feet 7 inches tall with fair complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair, gave his occupation as tobacconist, (remember his older brother, James, was also associated with the tobacco business), and he listed his current residence as Illinois.  He also stated that he was born in Ireland and that he was 18 years old.  Since Thomas was baptized in 1847 (see Baptismal record above), he was actually 16 years old at the time of his enlistment.  This provides a plausible explanation of why he enlisted in Cincinnati rather than Chicago where he had been living with his mother and other family members.  Like many other young men who wanted to participate in the war, he likely ran away from home and lied about his age!  I would guess that his mother, Hannah, strongly objected to his underage enlistment.  Remember that Chicago was a railroad hub and there were trains going everywhere.  It would have been very easy to hop a train - Cincinnati was only a few hours away. 
Enlistment Record for Thomas Brown

The original copy I received of Thomas’ Service Card10 was so dark that it was barely readable.  (See copy below.)  I could make out the pension application and certificate numbers which helped confirm later records associated with Thomas.   I could also decipher the names of the ships that Thomas served on during the Civil War.  (I could not make out his additional service information and did not find that out until much later.)  Thomas served on the Avenger, the Clara Dolsen, the Grampus, and the Great Western – all side-wheel steamers either stationed on or patrolling the Ohio
Service Card - General Indexes to Pensions
and Mississippi Rivers11.   Without Thomas’ service records, it is difficult to identify specific dates when Thomas served on each ship.  When he enlisted, the Grampus was being used as a receiving ship located in Cincinnati.  It is also likely that he was on the Great Western when he was discharged.  Most of Thomas’ subsequent records show only his service on the Great Western.   (One other record shows both the Avenger and the Great Western.)  The Great Western was retired in March, 1865 at Cairo, Illinois. That is also the location and approximate date when Thomas’ enlistment expired.  (The records at the Veterans Home in Sandusky, Ohio state that he was discharged at Cicero, Illinois.  Other records identified later confirm Cairo as the correct location.)  

After the Civil War, Thomas returned to Chicago from 1867 to at least 187112 where he is shown in the Chicago Directories with the family.  After that, it was difficult to locate his whereabouts; so, I turned once again to the narrative of David Brown13.   (See clip of the David Brown letter below.)  David must have seen Thomas’ service and pension records since he identified various places that Thomas lived.  However, the next record that I could positively identify was information from a Veterans home in Washington State14.  The state of Washington maintains four homes for veterans.  Over a twelve year period, from 1903 to 1915, Thomas resided in two of them – Washington Soldiers’ Home and Colony and the Washington Veterans Home. 
David Brown Letter - (Click to enlarge)

The Washington Soldiers’ Home and Colony (Soldier’s Home in Orting) was dedicated in June 1891.  After reviewing many proposed sites, the home was located in the Puyallup Valley in Orting largely because of the transportation system and pleasant
Map of northwest Washington State showing
locations where Thomas lived
(click to enlarge)
atmosphere of the surrounding property; but, mostly because of the quantity and quality of available water.  The original plans 
called for a main building and ten cottages to house the men.  Residents began to occupy the home shortly after the dedication.  One of the disappointments for married men was that they had to leave their families behind.  To counteract this, a “Colony” was established where the veteran, with his family, would live within

the City of Orting but would be serviced by the Soldier’s Home.  Certain restrictions applied and the entire family needed to comply with all of the rules and regulations of the Home.  In 1892 there were 37 residents; by 1895 there were 99 residents; in 1897 there were 110 residents and by 1907 there were 385 men residing in a community planned for less than half that number.   Clearly an additional facility was needed15.  

In order to deal with the overcrowding and lack of provision for families, a second home, the Washington Veterans Home, was built near Port Orchard (Retsil) at Annapolis on Sinclair Inlet overlooking Puget Sound.  Besides the ease of access and proximity to large populations, and clean water, this site had the added advantage of “magnificent scenic views of mountains and water.”  The first two structures were cottages designed to accommodate eight couples each.  The next building completed was the “Washington Barracks” designed to house single men.  More cottages and barracks were soon added.  The Home was dedicated February 22, 1910.  At the end of the first day, 127 men and women were registered as residents; that number grew to 187 by the end of the year16.

Thomas first applied for admission17 to the home in Orting on November 19, 1903 where he was admitted on December 3.  At that time he stated that he had been living in Olympia, Washington for two years, was single, born in Boston on May 3, 1849 and that he was a “tobacconist.”  He did not know of any living relative and was suffering from “lumbago.”  Sometime before 1907, (no date
Discharge from Washington Soldiers Home
was given on the document), Thomas was asked to leave the home for infringement of house rules18.  (See copy of document left).  He gave his future address as Camp Douglas, Utah (known as Fort Douglas).  Fort Douglas is located near Salt Lake City where George Roach, a son of Thomas’ sister, Johanna Brown Roach, was living with his family.  (See previous blog post Children of Johanna and Thomas.)  Even though Thomas did not list living relatives in his application to the home, this does infer that he chose Utah because he knew George Roach was living there.  He certainly would have known George from his years in Chicago; however, there is no further indication that Thomas actually went to Utah.

Sometime during 1907, Thomas applied for a military pension.  A letter, from the Department of the Interior, dated September 27, 1907 addressed to Thomas at Three Lakes, Washington, stated that he was not eligible for a pension since he was not yet “sixty-two years of age.”  On December 9, 1907, Thomas applied for readmission to the home in Orting, now giving his year of birth as
1845 making him just sixty-two.  The application included a letter of apology for his misconduct where he promised to abide by the rules in the future.  Thomas was readmitted with a $12.00 pension on January 1, 190819.    

Probably because of the overcrowding at the Washington Soldiers
Thomas is likely shown in this photo as one of the
first residents of the Washington Veterans Home
Home in Orting, and in anticipation of the new Washington

Veterans Home (WVH – Port Orchard/Retsil) being opened, Thomas applied for admission to the new home on February 11, 1910 and was admitted on
1911 Apology letter from Thomas to
Board members of WVH
March 4 making him one of the first members of Washington Barracks.  (See picture above right.)  Tom must have gotten into trouble again because there was a second application for admission to the WVH in July, 1911 which included another letter of apology promising to comply with the rules20. (See copy left)  

Thomas bounced between the two homes in 1914 and again in 1915 not being able to "settle," and trying to find help for his alcohol addiction21.    He appears to have left the state in 1916.  We will follow him to his next destination; however, there is documentation in his initial application to the Washington Soldiers Home (Orting) that gives access to details of Tom’s life after his discharge from the Navy in 1865.  That is where we will go with the next blog post.

Court View South, Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator. Ohio Soldiers' & Sailors' Home, U.S. Route 250 at DeWitt Avenue, Sandusky, Erie County, OH. Erie County Ohio Sandusky, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph.

1.       Thomas Brown, Sandusky, Ohio, death certificate 8771 (1926), “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (, FHL microfilm 1,984,193

2.       The death register for the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Home shows that Thomas died of “nephritis.”  Both chronic cystitis and nephritis indicate kidney disease.  Veterans Home records, 1889-1995, Death records 1889-1995 Case histories (no. 21501-21741, Family Search, Film #2026852/007849168, Image 167 of 700.  Available online at

3.       Tombstone of Thomas Brown, Ohio Veterans Home Cemetery, Section E, Row 1, Marker 35.

4.       Personal email received February 19, 2008 from Ronald J. Beverick, MBA, Chief Information Officer, Ohio Veterans Home Agency.

5.       Mary Ann Cox is the oldest daughter of Patrick Brown and Ann Burns – Patrick being Thomas’ oldest brother.  She married James Cox in Illinois on January 13, 1881.  See blog post ". . . and he leaves a large family to mourn his death."  Not all information in the David Brown letter (see copy in text of the blog post) agrees with information that was uncovered while researching Thomas.  David Brown says that Thomas gave the name of a nephew, Patrick, from Cleveland, as his next of kin while residing at the Ohio Veterans Home.  That conflicts with information from the Home.  I have not found a Patrick Brown in Cleveland.  As we saw in the last blog post on Thomas’ older brother, James (" . . . to Cleveland"), the only immediate family members found living in Cleveland in 1920, were George and Raymond Brown, sons of James.

6.       The death notice for Thomas (see below) was found in a regular column about the Old Soldiers and Sailors Home (O.S. & S.) in The Register, Sandusky, Ohio, under news about neighboring communities.  The column contains information concerning what was happening at the home – about the inmates and their activities, the staff, and who was visiting.  The column appears to be quite “chatty,” and, hopefully, indicates a pleasant atmosphere.  “DEATH CLAIMS THOMAS BROWN,” The Register, Sandusky, Ohio, February 23, 1926, page 9 and February 24, 1926, page 9.

7.       Thomas Browne, Baptism, Lurriga: County of Limerick; Diocese of Limerick, Baptisms, March 1847 to Dec. 1847. National Library of Ireland, microfilm 02409/06, page 13.  Lurriga is also known as Patrickswell.  The record is very difficult to read.  The record is on line 637 for May 7, 1847 and reads, Thomas son of Thady Browne and Hannah Kelly.  Sponsors were Thomas Browne and Johanna Looney.

8.       The ranking of “Captain of the After Guard” is generally associated with sailing ships and was the leader of a group of sailors responsible for raising and lowering the aft sail.  Thomas served only on steamships, so it is difficult to understand the duties of Thomas on the steamship.  Other records show that he was an “ordinary seaman.” Remember that Thomas was quite young when he was in the Navy during the Civil War.   

10.   A Service Record of Thomas Brown, Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934, Washington, D.C., National Archives and Records Administration T288, Reel 57.  Available online at

11.   All four ships listed on Thomas’ Service Card were side-wheel steamships that worked the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.  Although the Clara Dolsen supported the recapture of Henderson, Kentucky in July 1862, of the four, only the Avenger saw enemy action on the Red River in April and May, 1864.  The Great Western was used to supply ammunition to various combat units.  She supported the Vicksburg campaign (1862-1863) in this capacity, but, this was before the dates that Thomas was in the Navy.  In July, 1864, she was sent to Cairo, Illinois to act as a receiving ship. The Avenger and the Great Western were roughly the same size at around 200 feet long and 400 tons.  The Clara Dolsen was by far the largest ship at nearly 270 feet long and 940 tons.  The Grampus was the smallest at 180 feet long and 230 tons.  Information on all four ships was retrieved using Wikipedia.

12.   The Chicago Directory for years 1872 through 1877 show a sailor named Thomas Brown living in close proximity to other family members.  Because of the common name, it is difficult to determine definitively whether this is the correct Thomas Brown or not.  Chicago City Directories are available online through

13.   Brown, David, Kewanee, IL., 11 May 1943.  Letter to Esther _______, Columbus, OH, page 9 and 10.   Information in the letter has been used to further research the Brown family.

14.   There is a record in the 1900 U.S. Census for Port Crescent, Clallam County, Washington for a Thomas Brown, day laborer, born May 1849 in Boston with parents born in Ireland who had been unemployed for five months.  At the same address is Charles S Morey, blacksmith, born June 1877 in Pennsylvania who had also been unemployed two months.  This may or may not be the same Thomas Brown.  This area is roughly 150 miles from Orting, Washington where the Orting Soldiers’ Home is located.  Census information is available online at  Year: 1900; Census Place: Port Crescent, Clallam, Washington; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 0015; FHL microfilm: 1241742

15.   A Comprehensive History of the Washington Soldiers’ Home and Colony 1891-1991; compiled in 1971 by Mrs. Murial Furney; edited in 1991 by Miriam Young and Donna Bogumill; Washington Veterans Home print shop.  Available online at:

16.   Washington Veterans Home 1910-1980, 70th Anniversary Historical Summary; edited and published by Donna Bogumill, 1980; Revised Edition 2005.  Available online at:

17.   Records for the Washington Soldiers’ Home and Colony and the Washington Veterans Home for the years 1903 to 1916 were obtained online from the Washington State Archives at in the “Military Category.”  Six folders are associated with Thomas’ tenure at the Washington Veteran Homes – numbers 43, 192, 525, 743, 982, and 2607.

18.   Op. cit., A Comprehensive History of the Washington Soldiers’ Home and Colony, page 10.  One of the problems associated with the home in Orting was its proximity to five licensed saloons within walking distance of the home.  “. . . these places were being frequented by the Home residents, with the proprietors not discouraging them.  Consequently the men very often returned back to the Home intoxicated and proceeded to disrupt the discipline already so difficult to sustain under the Home’s overcrowded condition.”

19.   Folder 982 containing two applications for admission to the home and various other documents, Veterans Affairs, Department of, Orting Soldiers Home, Member Files, 1891-1987, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives,, accessed 28 March 2019.

20.   Folder 192 containing various documents, Veterans Affairs, Department of, Retsil Veterans Home, Member Files, 1910-1977, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives,, accessed 28 March 2019.

21.   Op. cit. Folders 2607 from Orting and 743 from Retsil containing various documents.