Monday, December 3, 2018

. . . to Cleveland

In the last post (From Chicago . . .) we followed James F. Brown in Chicago from his teenage years to his mid-thirties, where he
Chicago marriage record of James Brown & Louise Primrose
(click to enlarge)
worked in the tobacco industry and lived with or near relatives.  On March 21, 1875, James and Louise Primrose were married by Rev. Horatio N. Powers of St John’s Episcopal Church on Ashland Ave in Chicago1. (See copy of marriage record left)  Their son, Milton, was born in 1875 and on August 23, 1878, a daughter, Sophia, was born2. 
Chicago birth record Sophia Brown
(click to enlarge)
(See copy of birth record for Sophia right)  The 1880 US Census shows that James, “single,” was living separately in a Chicago hotel at 155 West Madison3.  On February 19, 1881, at his place of employment, the
Summons in Chancery - February 19, 1881
(click to enlarge)
Spaulding & Merrick Tobacco Works, James was served a summons to appear in court on the first Monday of March4 in a divorce petition brought by Louise.  (See copy of Summons left)  In March 1881, just six years after they were married, Louise was granted a “Decree for Divorce on Default5.”  James may have actually left Chicago before the divorce was final which is why he was not at the trial. 

From 1881 until his death in 1899, James resided in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.   Assuming he must have known someone in that location, I have searched records for family and friends without any success; so, it is not known why James chose to relocate in Cleveland.  There were tobacco manufacturers in the city at the time so he could have, and did, find work in the tobacco industry in Cleveland.  On December 7, 1881, James, age 36, and Fannie McDowell, age 21, were married by Rev. Robert Mott in Cleveland6.  (See copy of marriage record below) 
Cleveland marriage record James F Brown and Fannie McDowell

Frances (Fannie) McDowell was the oldest child of George
McDowell and Margaret Dingman.  She was born March 18, 1860 in Brooklyn, New York7.  Frances had three siblings; Mary Jane, Emma, and John Henry.   The 1880 US Census for Cleveland shows Fannie, Emma, and John living with their widowed mother, Margaret McDowell on the Filbert extension8 on the east side of Cleveland.  The women in this family were listed as seamstresses. John was listed as a “cigar maker” suggesting that Fannie may have met her future husband through her brother.  

Four children were born to James and Frances McDowell Brown in Cleveland: Jennie (also known as Fannie or Jenette Frances) born June 19,
Cleveland 1898 - Cleveland Public Library Digital Collection
(click to enlarge)
1883; George A., born May 28, 1886; Florence D., born November 12, 1888; and Raymond, born January 22, 18929.  On August 6, 1885, James purchased a house for $1,400 from Charles and Frances Miller located on Herald Street in Cleveland10.  (See map of Cleveland) James was to live in this home until his death from vascular heart disease on May 27, 1899, at age 5411.  

In January 1894 Fannie filed for a divorce from James.  The divorce was finalized on June 22, 1895 citing extreme cruelty12.  Just as with the Chicago divorce, we learn additional details of James’ life.  Although the name of his employer is not identified in the file, James earned $15 a week working as a tobacco dresser/cutter; and, although I could not identify a specific property, information in the file indicates there was also an additional rental property, and loans made to several individuals, suggesting, perhaps, at least, some affluence.  Fannie was granted alimony of $5 a week to a total of $600 to pay expenses for herself and the children.  James took out a mortgage on the Herald Street property on June 19, 1895 to pay the amount of alimony in full13.  Fannie was married two more times – to George Ratcliff on September 15, 1896 in Cuyahoga County14, and, to Orin Vaughn on May 15, 1912 in Portage County, Ohio15.  Both marriages ended in divorce16.   

 When James died in 189917, Fannie was named executrix of the estate (no will has been found) which consisted of the Herald
Street home and a $2,000 life insurance policy with the Knights of Maccabees issued December 23, 1896.  William Woltman18, was named guardian of the minor children – Jennie Frances, George,
Florence and Raymond who was just seven years old when his father died.  Probate records from May 29, 1899, identify the four
minor children of James and Frances as having a one fifth interest in the estate. The records also show that Joseph M. Brown, “son of
the decedent Jas. F. Brown by his first wife,” petitioned the courts to pay him one fifth interest of the estate19. The petition was received in Cleveland on July 31, 1900.  No mention was made of Sophia, daughter of James’ first marriage with Louise Primrose. (See copy of petition from Joseph M. Brown below right)
Letter requesting portion of estate
(click to enlarge)

In September, 1912, a petition was made by William Woltman, guardian of the children, to order the sale of the Herald street property to settle debts.  Five children were named – George, Florence, Jennie Richards, Raymond, and “Milton J. Brown.”  An attempt was made at that time to locate Milton Brown to notify him of the sale by posting a notice in The Daily Legal News on October 8, 1912 for a hearing to be held October 12, 1912 20.  (See copy of Legal Notice below)  The notice identified Milton J. Brown, sometimes known as Joseph
Legal Notice posted October 1912
(click to enlarge)
M. Brown and Milton Brown whose last known address was 2429 Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. Given the dates, this hardly would have been time for Milton to travel to Cleveland even if he had received advance notice of the sale.  This is the last known reference, or any documented evidence, of the eldest son of James Brown.  Of the other four children, two died young.  James’ son, George, died March 26, 1926 in Cleveland of heart disease leaving a wife and one year old daughter.  Raymond never married and died in the Cleveland area on April 15, 1936 of cancer.  Florence married Richard Cullen in New York.  They had one daughter.  Florence died in 1966.  Jennie Francis married John Richards in 1903, and died in Elyria, Ohio in 1949.  Jennie and John had three children. 

James was buried in Harvard Grove Cemetery in Cleveland.   (See copy of death record.)   No tombstone marks his grave; however,
1899 Death Record for James F. Brown
(click to enlarge)
Find-a-Grave21 indicated Civil War Service for James with the 150th Ohio Voluntary Infantry.  I thought, perhaps, James had kept in contact with someone from his service unit and this was the reason James moved to Cleveland.  However, when I searched various records for this person, I found the information was attached to the wrong soldier. (See footnotes22)  Indeed, I found no documented evidence that James served during the Civil War even though there is one Navy record where a “James Brown” was serving on the same ship, (The Great Western), as his younger brother, Thomas Brown.  (See footnotes23)  Because military records from that era are, in general, so complete, I was hoping to find a file that contained a physical description for James.  The only description for James was found in the record from his first divorce in Chicago, where Mr. Gottschalk, solicitor for James’ first wife, Louise Primrose, made a derogatory statement that James had “red hair” indicating some sort of quick temper.       

I do intend to follow-up on possible military records for James; however, it is time to look to the youngest of the original immigrants, Thomas Brown, who will be the subject of the next blog.  

1.       "Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920," database, FamilySearch( : 10 March 2018), James Brown and Louise Primrose, 21 Mar 1875; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,030,091.  The marriage record shows James as 28 and Louise as 19.  James’ calculated age would be a little older, nearer age 30.  Information about minister, Horatio Powers, from page 60 of the 1874-5 Lakeside Annual Directory, Chicago, Illinois.

2.       Illinois, Cook County, Birth Certificates, 1871-1940  Note the birth certificate shows the name of the father as John F Brown; however, the mother’s name, Louise Primrose, the father’s occupation, tobacconist, and place of residence is the correct information for this family.  The date of birth for Milton is derived from information contained in the divorce records for James and Louise – see previous blog.

3.       Year: 1880; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 192; Page: 264A; Enumeration District: 094. 

4.        Cook County, Illinois, Superior Court, Chancery, divorce file S-78106 (1881), Louise Brown v. James F. Brown, Circuit Court of Cook County. Summons in Chancery

5.       Ibid.  Decree for Divorce on Default.  Note: a “default decree” indicates the defendant, (in this case James Brown), did not file a response to the request for divorce.

6.       "Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013," database with images, FamilySearch( : 8 December 2017), James F. Brown and Fannie Mcdowell, 07 Dec 1881; citing Cuyahoga, Ohio, United States, reference v 24 p 503; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 877,921. 

7.       "Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953," database with images, FamilySearch( : 9 March 2018), Frances Brown, 16 Jan 1947; citing , reference certificate; FHL microfilm 2,372,967.

8.       "United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch( : 13 September 2017), John Mc Dowell in household of Margrett Mc Dowell, Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio, United States; citing enumeration district ED 46, sheet 106C, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 1008; FHL microfilm 1,255,008.

9.       "Ohio Births and Christenings, 1821-1962," database, FamilySearch( : 11 February 2018), Fannie Brown, 19 Jun 1883; citing Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio, reference v 5 p 317; FHL microfilm 877,903.
"Ohio Births and Christenings, 1821-1962," database, FamilySearch( : 11 February 2018), Geo. A. Brown, 28 May 1886; citing Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio, reference p156; FHL microfilm 877,904.
"Ohio Births and Christenings, 1821-1962," database, FamilySearch( : 11 February 2018), Florence D. Brown, 12 Nov 1888; citing Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio, reference p88; FHL microfilm 877,904.
"Ohio Births and Christenings, 1821-1962," database, FamilySearch( : 11 February 2018), Brown, 22 Jan 1892; citing Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio, reference p 97; FHL microfilm 1,986,515.

10.   Cuyahoga Co., OH, Deed Book 388, pages 88 and 89.  Charles G. and Frances A. Miller to James Brown sub lot four in Savage and Wagners allotment of a part of original lot No. 330 Newburgh Township on Maple Grove Street.  The street name (and house number) was changed several times.  The street was also called Grove Street, Herald Street when the property was purchased, and is now known as East 75th Street.  No buildings exist on this property today.

11.    "Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001," database with images, FamilySearch( : 11 March 2018), James F. Brown, 27 May 1899; citing Death, Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio, United States, source ID cn 43470, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 879,247.

"Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001," database with images, FamilySearch( : 9 March 2018), James F. Brown, 27 May 1899; citing Death, Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio, United States, source ID p 458, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 1,977,438.  

12.   Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Common Pleas Court, Divorce Case 48626 (1894), Frances Brown v. James Brown. Various documents. Divorce finalized 22 Jun 1895.

13.   Cuyahoga Co., OH, Deed Book 606, page 158.  Frances Brown deeds property on Herald Street to James Brown for $600.

14.   "Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013," database with images, FamilySearch( : 10 February 2018), George Ratcliff and Fannie Brown, 15 Sep 1896; citing Cuyahoga, Ohio, United States, reference cn12410; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 877,931.

15.   "Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013," database with images, FamilySearch( : 10 February 2018), Orin M. Vaughn and Frances J. Brown, 15 May 1912; citing Portage, Ohio, United States, reference 387; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 891,366.

16.   Cuyahoga Co., OH, Common Pleas Court, Divorce Case 88718 (1904), Frances Ratcliff v. George Ratcliff.  Final Decree.  Divorce finalized 22 Oct 1908.

Cuyahoga Co., OH, Common Pleas Court, Divorce Case 155634, Frances Vaughn v. Orin Vaughn.  Final Decree.  Divorce finalized 22 DEC 1917.

17.   Records for settling the estate, appointment of guardianship and sale of property were found in various documents in multiple files in the Cuyahoga County Court system.  See case files 17542, 20968, 20972, and 61946.  No exact inventory was found in any of the files.

18.   "Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953," database with images, FamilySearch( : 8 March 2018), Mary Jane Woltman, 04 Sep 1934; citing Cleve Hts, Cuyahoga, Ohio, reference fn 53226; FHL microfilm 1,993,041.  The death certificate for Mary Jane Woltman, who died September 4, 1935 shows the names of her parents as George McDowell and Margaret Dingman identifying her as a sister of Frances McDowell Brown.  The death certificate also gives the name of her husband as William Woltman, the person named as guardian for the minor children of James F. Brown. 

19.   The letter from the attorney of Joseph M Brown, C A Judson (see image above), identifies him as being the son of James F. Brown by his first marriage.  The letter was found in the Guardianship case, 20972, in the Cuyahoga County court system.  The letter has a “received” date stamped July 31, 1900.  The guardianship papers were dated May 29, 1899, more than a year prior to the application of Joseph M Brown being received; yet, the guardianship papers specifically state that the four children of James F. and Fannie Brown had a one fifth interest in the estate. Assuming the Cleveland family knew of the existence of a son from a previous marriage, did they attempt to contact Joseph M. Brown when James died?  Calvin A Judson is listed as an attorney practicing in Cuyahoga County in the 1899 version of the city directory for Cleveland.  This raises a question of whether Joseph M. Brown traveled to Cleveland to pursue his portion of his father’s estate or if he corresponded with the attorney to further his case.  There is no specific information in any of the case files for James F. Brown to indicate whether or not Joseph M Brown received his share of the estate.

20.   The “Legal Notice” (see image above) published in the October 5th and 8th 1912 issues of The Daily Legal News was found in file 61946, Petition to Sell Real Estate folder.    There is also a “Precipe” [receipt] for mailing a copy of the notice to Joseph Milton/Milton Joseph at his last known address dated October 5, 1912.  There is no indication of a reply from Joseph Milton/Milton Joseph Brown.  As indicated in the previous blog, (link to blog) Joseph Milton/Milton Joseph Brown was not found in Chicago after 1904.  The property was sold to Louis and Terez Bertok on October 18, 1912 for $650.  Cuyahoga Co., OH, Deed Book, Volume 1423, Page 432.

21.   Find-a-Grave Memorial ID16329041 

22.   The source of the Find-a-Grave notation of James’ Civil War service came from the Ohio, Soldiers Grave Registration Cards.  The database was created by the Ohio History Connection (Ohio Historical Society) in Columbus, Ohio and can be found at Ancestry and Fold3.  The card (see below) shows the correct burial information (except for the middle initial), but the “Service Record” at the bottom of the card is incorrect.  Reviewing the reference for the roster of soldiers shown on the card, only one man by the name of James Brown served in Company G of the 150th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  Cards identifying soldiers with Civil War pensions are also available at Fold3.  Using that information, I found that the James Brown serving in Company G of the Ohio 150th Infantry shows application and certificate numbers “1135567” and “1005263.”  There is also a file for a widow – “723531” and “504425.”  This raised several questions about the pension for the soldier and which wife received the subsequent benefits.  On a recent trip to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., I had an opportunity to review this pension file.  This pension belongs to James A. Brown who died in July 1900 in Canton, Stark County, Ohio.  Reference to his Civil War military unit is shown on the back of the “Health Department Return of a Death” record issued in Stark County, Ohio at the time of his death.  This James was married only once to Ellen Herrick - the widow who received the benefits for James A. after his death.  This obviously is not our James F. Brown.  There is also a Grave Registration Card for James A. Brown showing all of the correct information.  I am attempting to have the records corrected, but, this may take awhile to complete. 

23.   While reviewing pension records for “James Brown,” I ran across a record for a James Brown who served on the “Great Western.” This coincidentally is the same ship where James’ younger brother, Thomas Brown, served during the Civil War.  (We will see more information about Thomas and his service in the next blog.)  The card is available on Ancestry in the Civil War Pension Index database.  An application number is also given on this card which proved to be a number for a “disapproved” pension.  (This information is also available on Ancestry in the U.S. Navy Pensions Index, 1861-1910.)  While at the National Archives, I looked at this pension information which proved to consist of one document identifying that there was a file started. (This database is also available on Fold3 in the database for Civil War – Navy Suvivors’ Originals [Disapproved].)  One of the staff members at the Archive pointed out that the card referenced a unit for the U.S. C. Inf. – US Colored Infantry – and suggested this was not the person I was trying to find.  The Archives was getting ready to close and I was not able to return the next day so I abandoned my search at that time.  I am still intrigued by this reference and intend to try to find other information about this soldier including enlistment records and where he was originally located.

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