Wednesday, January 11, 2017

John and Peter

1872 Birds-eye view Columbus, Ohio (click to enlarge)
As we saw in the last post, John Brown and Ellen Burns were married at St. Patrick’s church in Columbus, Ohio on August 28, 1856.  John and his growing family are shown in the 1860 US
1860 US Census
(click to enlarge)
Census living in Perry Township, in Franklin County, Ohio.1  (See 1860 Census left.)  By this time, John and Ellen have three children, John E., Mary Ann, and Martha, all of whom were baptized at St. Patrick’s in Columbus.  (See copy of David Brown Letter below right.2)  Ellen’s mother, Julia Burns, was also living with them.  Perry
Section of David Brown Letter
(click to enlarge)
Township is located northwest of downtown Columbus, between the Olentangy and Scioto Rivers, and extends north to the Franklin – Delaware County line.  (See map of townships in Franklin County below.3)  In 1860, it was outside of the
Townships of Franklin Co.
(click to enlarge)
city limits so records of residents would not have been included in the Columbus City Directory.  There is a listing for a “John Brown” residing on Cleveland Ave between North Public Lane (Naughten Street) and Spring Street in the 1858-59 city directory.  This would have been just a couple of blocks from St. Patrick’s in the Irish section of town.  However, it is far from certain that this is the same family since Peter Burns is not listed separately in the directory, and these two families always lived in very close proximity. Could it be that Peter and John were living in the same household and only one name was recorded?

The 1860 US Census also shows Peter Burns and his family (his wife, Martha, sister of Ellen Brown, and two children, Julia, age 9, and Willie, age 7), living in a separate residence virtually next door
Southwest portion of Perry Twp.
(click to enlarge)
to John Brown.  Both men are identified as laborers.  Because neither of them owned land, it is difficult to exactly pinpoint them on a map.  However, other individuals enumerated within a couple of pages of them in the census do own land and can be identified on an 1872 map of Perry Township.4  (See Perry Township map left)  From this information we can identify an area in the southern most portion of Perry Township, bordering Franklin Township, where both John Brown and Peter Burns were living in 1860.   

The 1870 US Census finds both John Brown and Peter Burns living in Franklin Township, Franklin County, Ohio - a different location from the 1860 census.  (See 1870 Census below right.5)   The family must have been doing better financially since, at this time, both men are property owners.  Note that John and Ellen now have eight
1870 US Census
(click to enlarge)
children.  John Gray is a border.  Julia, the mother of Ellen and Martha, is living with Peter and Martha.  (The census suggests Julia’s last name is “Tracy” when the name is actually Julia Burns.  This can be verified later in the 1880 census.)  No children are listed with Peter and Martha.  Their oldest child, Julia, shown in the 1860 census, married John Murnane on October 1, 1869.  (Remember this surname.  We will see it again later.)  Julia died just four months later on February 26, 1870 of “intermitting fever” and is buried in Mr. Calvary Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.  Nothing more is known of their other child, Willie. 

The property for Peter Burns was relatively easy to find.  Family lore has always identified these two men, Peter and John, with the stone quarries on the near northwest side of Columbus, and is verified by the occupation column of the 1870 census.   Peter
Northeast section of Franklin Twp.
(click to enlarge)
Burns purchased approximately five acres along the Scioto River from Garrett Miller on July 8, 1869.7  The property, located on Dublin Road (following the Scioto River and on some old maps identified as “Stone Quarry Pike”) was the site of a former paper mill erected about 1839.8  It was used by Peter, and presumably John Brown, as a quarry and remained in the family until 1960. Statistics of the quarry industry created as documentation for the 1880 US Census, lists the property as an active quarry.9  An 1872 map of Franklin Township shows the location of the property. (See Franklin Township map above left) (See section of Table IV below.)   
Section of Table IV - 1880 US Census - Report on the Building Stones of the United  States  (click to enlarge)

The property for John Brown was more difficult to locate and, when found, led to further information about these families.  Because of the common name (John Brown), and because I was looking for property in Franklin Township near that of Peter Burns, I did not find the property until I had access to the estate file of John Brown from 187810 where the sale of real estate was ordered
1872 Map of Columbus showing location of
John Brown's city lots  (click to enlarge)
to settle debts of the estate
11.   The property is described as “lots seven and eight in original lot fifty-nine in William Phelan’s Mount Pleasant Addition in the city of Columbus, E. Sorins subdivision.”  A map of the area, (see left), shows the location.  The vacant lots were purchased for $160 by John Brown from Edward Sorin on August 8, 1864 and are located in Montgomery Township at the corner of Third Avenue and Sixth Street. 

On August 26, 1865, Peter Burns also purchased property from Edward Sorin.  He purchased lots eight, nine, ten and eleven in original lots twenty-eight, twenty-nine, and thirty also in William Phelan’s Mount Pleasant Addition for $400.12  These properties would have been in very close proximity to the lots purchased by John Brown just a year earlier.  I do not know whether the lots were purchased with the intent to build their homes there, or, whether they were intended as a business venture; perhaps both since each man purchased multiple lots.  Whatever the reason, Peter sold his city lots to Catharine Ryan on August 30, 1871 for a nice profit, receiving $1,400 for the property.13  By this time, Peter had purchased the quarry property (1869) and, according to the 1870 census (see above) was living at the quarry, probably with John Brown and his family.

On February 23, 1872, John and Ellen Burns took out a mortgage
1872 Mortgage - page 1
(click to enlarge)
on their city lots.14  They received $235 from Thomas Bergin due in one year from the date of the mortgage. (See Mortgage Deed left and right.)   We will probably never know why the loan was taken out.  It could have been for use in the quarry business, for general household expenses, or something
1872 Mortgage - page 2
(click to enlarge)
else.  We do know the mortgage was not paid, likely because of other events.  On January 22, 1873, just shortly before the mortgage was due, John and Ellen lost their youngest daughter, Julia, to “inflamation.”  Julia was just fourteen months old at the time of her death.15  John Brown purchased twelve graves in Mr. Calvary Cemetery on January 22, 1873 at a cost of $35.00.  Julia is buried in grave #1.  No stone marks her grave.16  

Trains provided an important function in the late 1800s and were the main source of transportation at the time even for short distances.  The Redfield & Logan’s Columbus & Indianapolis Central Railway Business Guide17 gives information for a train line (the Columbus Chicago and Indiana Central division of the Pan-Handle Railroad) running from the station on North High Street at Naughten Street going north and west to a flag station at “Scioto” four miles from the city near where the Brown and Burns families were living.  The track runs east of Dublin Road and crosses the Scioto River just north of Fifth Avenue and, actually could have been used in the quarry business.  The tracks still exist today.  (Refer to the earlier images of Franklin and Perry Townships for location of the tracks.)  Ease of transportation is probably the reason all of the children were baptized at St. Patrick’s.  It would have been a ten minute ride to downtown Columbus.   Remember St. Patrick’s is located just a few blocks east of the site of the train station on Naughten Street.

For whatever reason, perhaps it was to address the overdue
News article-Daily Dispatch
June 4, 1873
(click to enlarge)
mortgage, John Brown was in Columbus on June 3, 1873.  Often, locals were given a complimentary ride on the locomotive by the engineer.  This day, being denied a ride, John hopped the 6:18 train leaving Columbus bound for Piqua, Ohio riding on the bumper of a

freight car.  Because the family lived so close to the track, they must have heard the train
News article-Ohio State Journal
June 5, 1873
(click to enlarge)
coming and expected John home soon.  When the train slowed to cross the bridge over the Scioto River, John jumped from the train.  His foot slipped and he was thrown under the wheels of the train killing him instantly.18  Both the Daily Dispatch and the Ohio State Journal carried news of the gruesome accident.19  (See both articles along
with a current map of the area marking where the accident happened.)  A report of the accident was included in the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Railroads, and stated that, “June 3, 1873.  John Brown, Scioto; killed; stealing a ride, fell under train.  P.Egan, Coroner.”20   
Current map of the area from Google Earth.  Railway identified by red line.  Property of Peter Burns and where John Brown
was likely living is approximately the red roofed building below the "Dublin Rd" label.  Note the proximity of the property
to the accident site.  (Click to enlarge) 

In the next post, we will look at the aftermath of the accident and what happened to Ellen and the children.

This post was written with the able assistance of Marion.

1872 Birds-eye View of Columbus, Ohio.  Map used with permission of the The Columbus Metropolitan Library Image Collections.  Detailed map in high resolution allows view of specific Columbus locations in 1872.  The blue circle shows the train station.  The purple circle shows St. Patrick’s Church.  The red circle shows the city lots purchased by John Brown in 1864.  Zoom in to see details.  Street names have changed since the map was created.  They are listed in the 1874 edition of the Columbus City Directory.  Clinton is now Fourth St.; East is now Sixth St.; Eastern is now Fifth St.; Phelan is now Fourth St.    

1.       1860 U.S. Census, Perry Township, Franklin County, Ohio; Roll M653_962; Page 161; Image 327.  Available online at Family Search:

2.       Brown, David, Kewanee, IL 11 May 1943, Letter to Esther _________, Columbus, OH.  Verification of the baptisms at St. Patrick’s church, Columbus, Ohio, were obtained for all of the children through the Catholic Record Society, Diocese of Columbus, Columbus, OH - Mary Ann baptized 7 Nov 1858; Martha baptized 10 Mar 1860; James baptized 12 Mar 1862; Thomas baptized 7 May 1864; David baptized 10 Jan 1866; Ellen baptized 16 Oct 1869; Julia baptized 31 Nov 1871; Peter baptized 6 Dec 1873.  Note that records do not exist anywhere in the Columbus Diocese for John E, the oldest son, and William Henry, the seventh child.  Since this family made a special trip to St. Patrick’s for the other baptisms, like David Brown, I assume John and William were also baptized at St. Patrick’s and the event was just not recorded.

3.       Caldwell, J.A., 1872 Caldwell’s Atlas of Franklin Co. and the City of Columbus : from actual surveys, J.A. Caldwell & H.T. Gould, Columbus, Ohio, 1872.  All map images in this section are reproduced with permission from “The Columbus Metropolitan Library Image Collections” and are available online at:

4.       Ibid.

5.       1870 U.S. Census, Franklin Township, Franklin County, Ohio; Roll: B593_1200; Page 486B; Image 401757.  Available online at Family Search:

6.       "Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2014), John Murnane and Julia A.C. Burns, 01 Oct 1869; citing Franklin, Ohio, United States, reference p66; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,146.  Available online at:

"Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 December 2014), Julia Mumine, 27 Feb 1870; citing Death, Franklin Township, Franklin, Ohio, United States, source ID v 1 p 36, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,206.  Available online at:

Letter to the author from Catholic Cemeteries, Columbus, Ohio dated July 21, 2004. “John Murnane purchased 6 grave spaces in B, Cathedral Section, Lot 21.  These spaces were purchased February 27, 1870 at a cost of $17.50.  The grave spaces were transferred to Peter Burns (Peter Burns Stone Quarry) on February 20, 1892. . .  do show burials in all 6 grave spaces but no names are listed.”    (Image of Julia’s tombstone below.)
Tombstone of Julia Burns Murnane - Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio

7.       Franklin Co., OH, Deed Book, Volume 98, page 635.  Garrett and Catharine Miller to Peter Burns for $3,000 dated 8 Jul 1869.  The property consisted of two parcels.  The “paper mill” parcel was deeded to Garrett Miller by John Dorsey, et al on 25 Nov 1865 (1 acre 164 poles) (Deed Book Volume 85, page 542).  The larger parcel (3 27/100 acres) was deeded to Garrett Miller by Archibald Woods on 5 Jan 1864. (Deed Book Volume 78 page 354)  These are available online at:   

8.       Taylor, William Alexander, Centennial History of Columbus and Franklin County, Ohio, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, Volume 1, page 54.  Available online at: 

9.       Report on The Building Stones of the United States, and Statistics of the Quarry Industry for 1880, Table IV–Tables Indicating the Amount and Kinds of Rock Quarries in the Different States , page 82.  The report was created by the Department of the Interior as part of the documentation for the Tenth Census of the United States.   Available online at:  

10.   Franklin County, Ohio, probate case files, estate no. 010060, John Brown (1878), Notice of Sale, 2 Oct 1879, Probate Court, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio.

11.   Franklin County, OH, Deed Book 140, Page 491.  Sale of real estate from the estate of John Brown to Thomas Bergin, 3 Oct 1879.  William Phelan was a large land owner in Franklin County including the Mount Pleasant Addition in the north side of Columbus.  The property was divided into large lots and sold to individuals who further subdivided them into city lots.  Edward Sorin purchased many lots from Phelan.  A map is available online at the Columbus Metropolitan Library (1899 Baists Property Atlans of the City of Columbus -  [section 14]) that shows the lots purchased by “E. Sorin” which were further subdivided.  To identify the exact location of the city lots owned by John Brown, I followed sales of the property until it could be identified on a current tax map. In Columbus, numbered avenues run east and west; numbered streets run north and south.

12.   Franklin County, OH, Deed Book 85, Page 212.  Sale of real estate from Edward Sorin to Peter Burns for $400.00

13.   Franklin County, Ohio, Deed Book 106, page 107.  Sale of lots 8, 9, 10, and 11 in original lots twenty-eight, twenty-nine, and thirty from Peter Burns to Catharine Ryan for $1,400.

14.   Franklin County, Ohio, probate case files, op.cit.  Mortgage Deed dated 23 Feb 1872.

15.   "Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 December 2014), Jule Brown, 24 Jan 1873; citing Death, Franklin Township, Franklin, Ohio, United States, source ID v 1 p 63, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,206.

16.   Information from Catholic Cemeteries, Columbus, Ohio.  Few early records for the cemetery were kept.  Information is from a ledger available at the office of St. Joseph Cemetery, Lockbourne, Ohio.

18.   "Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 December 2014), John Brown, 03 Jan 1873; citing Death, Franklin Township, Franklin, Ohio, United States, source ID v 1 p 71, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,206.  Death Register shows death as January 3, 1873.  The date, from news clippings, is actually June 3, 1873.

19.   “KILLED BY THE CARS,” The Daily Dispatch, Columbus, Ohio, June 4, 1873, page 1

“Terrible Accident,” Daily Ohio State Journal, Columbus, Ohio, June 5, 1873, last page

 Seventh Annual Report of the Commissioner of Railroads and Telegraphs of Ohio for the year ending June 30th, Accidents to Persons in Ohio, page 436, Nevins & Myers, State Printers, Columbus, Ohio, 1874  Available online through Google books at:,+1873.+John+Brown,+Scioto:+killed;+stealing+a+ride,+fell+under+train&source=bl&ots=5ONQX-oqZ0&sig=E1nadEncgKaq1I8EbslTFZ6OWV4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjDtfKm9LDRAhWIi1QKHYlyAjwQ6AEIGjAA#v=onepage&q=June%203%2C%201873.%20John%20Brown%2C%20Scioto%3A%20killed%3B%20stealing%20a%20ride%2C%20fell%20under%20train&f=false

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