Brown Pioneer Family

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A Sketch of My Life From Childhood
As she wrote at the Age of 82, January 1914
She died December 31, 1914
By Sarah P. (Brown) Carrel
Daughter of James and Nancy (Mead) Brown
Contributed by Nancy Shaner

In the spring of 1836 my father, James Brown and my mother started from St. Lawrence County, New York, with a team and his family of seven children. He came by team all the way. I remember that father got to Missouri but in time to turn back with the rest of the saints. I remember one night father saw a little log cabin by the roadside. He thought he would stay in that and not camp. As soon as the team stopped us children were out running around. We looked into a well and it was full of dead people. It scared us half to death. We ran and told father. He then hitched up his team and drove on further. That fright never left me entirely. Even to this day when I think of it, it makes chills run over me.

On the road there was a company of men and horses. They made father stop. They searched the wagon. There was a big crowd of saints crossed the Mississippi at Louisiana, MO and came to Pittsfield, ILL. Among them were Hugh Snively and family, Hugh Lytle and family, Thomas Edwards, Joseph Carlton, John Sweet, John Bear and James Brown. I remember the day father drove into Pittsfield. He stopped in front of the jail. Us children was all talking and mother told us if we didn't keep still the people would put us in jail.

The saints all located 4 miles east of Pittsfield on government land and built cabins all through the woods.

The next summer my mother died. Father had a hard time to support 7 children. He asked sister Carlton if she would take me to keep as she only had one child. I was 4 1/2 years older than hers. I was 6 1/2 when I went to live with sister Carlton after my mother died.

Sister Carlton lived in Ohio during the temple building. She said on Sunday when Joseph Smith was preaching in the temple a man walked halfway down the isle and then called out and asked Joseph if Kirtland money would pan in heaven. He no sooner said it when William B. Smith took him by the collar and pitched him down the steps and kicked him. He said he would teach him the butt end of Mormonism. The saint stayed a few years. They had a hard time to make a living.

Some wanted revenge and went back to Missouri and helped themselves to dry goods and to flour. This is true. I got some of the flour. They didn't get it honestly. I overheard some of them saying they wouldn't do so anymore.

When the saints located at Nauvoo, most of them moved up there. My father went too, James Brown and two of my youngest brothers. The older ones took care of themselves. That was the last time I ever saw my father and one brother. They died in Nauvoo. I don't remember the year. I stayed with sister Carlton. After a few years Joseph Carlton moved to Lima, ILL, stayed a year then went to Golden Point, a few miles south of Nauvoo. While there the great trouble in the church occurred.

Oh! When I think back how many times I escaped the tempter's snares. The people I lived with let me have my own way. I never forgot that over the fence was out. I felt that my father in heaven watched over me and I never feared anything. I trusted in Go for help. Afterwards when I would think of doing something and something would say to me "Don't you do it and tell me the right way to do".

After we moved to Golden Point I would walk to Nauvoo nearly every week we lived there. During the temple building (it) was under sheds and see (I saw) them dressing and making the oxen. I saw them at work from start to finish and all they did. I wrote my name inside by the door. I lived there 1844 when the prophet was killed. I walked to Nauvoo to see them. I will never forget the scene as they laid there and the trouble that followed. I remember hearing Joseph preach in the grove when so many Indians were there on Sunday. I was baptized in the fall of 1844 by Alexander Williams in the Mississippi River. I had to run away to be baptized. That was the last chance I ever had until the reorganization.

Oh, the sorrowful time afterwards. The mob from Warsaw would send word that they were coming and would kill everyone, women and children. The men had to stand guard. The women and children stayed alone. We would hear the drum from Warsaw then the crying all that had children would stay in one house. Those that didn't would take a pistol and go down by the river and stay all night under the cliffs. The mob would send word when they heard the drum then they were coming. They never came.

After a little while they commenced getting ready to go on their journey, getting spiritual wives and parching corn by the barrel to take on the road. Most all of sister Carlton's folks went.

The spring of 1846, one evening as I stood at the gate, Frederick Woodard came up where I stood and asked me if I would be his spiritual wife. I told him "No, I wouldn't". He had children older than me.

We started back to Pittsfield soon after that. I walked all the way, 100 miles. Just before we started my 3 brothers came to see me and that was the last time I saw them, for 30 years. I did not even hear from them. They wanted to know if I was still alive. So they started looking for me. They lived between Montrose and Fort Madison, IA. They went to where we used to live. They were told that they didn't know where we went but some of their folks had married some of Mrs. Carlton's folks and they were in Salt Lake and gave their address. They went back home and wrote there and soon got an answer. I had gone back to Pittsfield and was married but didn't know the name. They wrote to Mrs. Carlton and she gave the letter to me. They came down to see me. They wanted me to sell and move to Iowa. I didn't sell but rented for a term of years. I moved to Montrose and stayed 8 years. While there I had a chance to go to church. While there I was quite spiritual. I would always know when an elder would come to preach for us. One time just before elder H. C. Bronson came, I dreamed of seeing a man standing in a big apple tree full of apples, talking to a crowd of people. He would pick one and throw it at someone who would catch it. He came and quite a number joined the church.

My two sons Frank and Thomas were young men. I could tell them everywhere they went we always had good meetings.
Contributed by Nancy Shaner Great Great Grandaughter

James "Jimmy" Brown
He had more than his share of hardship and tragedy
Son of James and Nancy (Mead) Brown
This is a reprint from an earlier printing in the Ft Madison, Democrat Nov. 2, 1983

By the time Jimmy Brown came 'here to live with his brother on the old Rudicil farm - which later ' became the Fredericks farm and is now part of Fort Madison's West End - he was 14 years old and had more than his share of pioneer hardship and tragedy. This was in 1844.

His first experience of the hardships that pioneers face came when, he was seven-years-old and plodded on foot from New York State to Louisiana, Mo.

"We only had one wagon," he explained in later years. "It was jammed full of furniture and other stuff, with just barely room for Ma who was sickly and just couldn't walk. With her were my four little brothers and sisters who were too little to toddle fast enough to keep up with the oxen pulling our wagon.

"So I and my two older brothers walked alongside the wagon with Pa who carried a goad in one hand and his rifle in the other. We'd plod along all day and never see another human being, just open country and forest. The wagon would creak and bump along the road, such as it was, and a little worse if there wasn't any road. Pa would yell at the oxen and hardly ever talked. Inside the wagon the little tykes would cry and Ma would talk to them in a tired voice.

"Then maybe we'd come to a settler's cabin and the family would welcome us like we were long lost relatives. The womenfolk would help Ma down from the wagon, take one look at her and tell her to rest while they washed up the kids, and cooked a big feed. They'd wash our clothes, too.

"Pa would talk to the menfolks and ask about what lay ahead of us and how about the Indians. They'd say the Indians seemed pretty well whupped but we'd better keep an eye open, which was one reason why Pa carried the rifle. The other was to furnish us with fresh meat, wild turkey and such.

"Then once in a while, we'd come to a trading post which was just another log cabin owned by a man with a big black beard who wore a dirty buckskin and moccasins. Pa would buy a little coffee, sugar and salt maybe, and some powder and lead. He didn't buy much, he didn't have any money. Then he'd ask about the Indians again, and the trader would say they're pretty tame now after old Black Hawk got his comeuppance like that, but you'd better watch out."

The Brown family reached Louisiana, Mo. late that year, 1837, remained a few months, and then crossed the Mississippi back into Pike County, Ill.

Here a few months later Jimmy's mother gave up her losing battle to keep alive. After the funeral Jimmy';s dad couldn't bear Pike County and took the kids up into Hancock County not far from Carthage.

Jimmy stayed in Pike County with the James Lowe family for two years while his dad located a new place and built a cabin, then came home with the other children.

Tragedy struck again. Jimmy's father died the following year. The 'little children were scattered amongst other pioneer families who would take care of them, and Jimmy and his two older brothers were left to shift for themselves. Jimmy was 11 then.

He remained in Hancock County doing what he could until he was 14 then joined his brother David here in Fort Madison on the old Rucicil farm. Two years later he moved into Fort Madison and became an apprentice in P.B. Morey's cabinet shop. The Mexican War began soon after and with his guardian's consent he enlisted, fought under Gen. Scott in Mexico and was in Mexico City when the war ended.

In 1858 he married Anna Snively and bought a 200-acre farm near Montrose where they were living when the Civil War began. Enlisting again as a lieutenant in the Iowa Calvary, he was a captain when peace was signed. After that war he and Anna sold their farm and moved to Fort Madison where they spent their remaining years. They had no children.

Capt. James J. Brown, a prominent citizen and ex-soldier of Ft. Madison, died last Thursday. Capt. Brown was born in St. Lawrence County, New York, on 18 August 1830. He was 7 years old when he and his parents came here. There were six other children. He served in the Mexican and Civil Wars. He was a First Sergant in the Mexican War. He was a First Lieutenant in the Civil War. He is survived by his wife. In 1891 and part of 1892, he was a resident of Montrose.
Contributed by Nancy Shaner

John Brown
Son of James and Nancy (Mead) Brown

Mr. and Mrs. John Brown, celebrate their 50th at their home on Main St. Mrs. Brown was the former Eliza Bullard. They were married at her father's home in Ft. Madison, Iowa. Went to housekeeping in Jefferson Twp., a few miles above Montrose. Mr. Brown was born in St. Lawrence County near Ogdensburg, N.Y. in 1836. His mother died when he was two while they were living in Pittsfield, Illinois (1838). They then moved to Nauvoo, Illinois where he became an orphan at the death of his father (1842). He came to Iowa in 1843 and has lived in Lee County since. His wife was born in Morgan County, Illinois in 1833 and came to Lee County in 1836. They had six children, five of whom are still living. They are: Mrs. Letta Geese of Mt.Hamil, Mrs. Susie Campbell of Steamboat Rock, James T. Iowa Falls and Mrs. Nellie Cale of Rt.2, and Mrs. Mary Cadwell of Bellingham, Wa. She was unable to attend. A very nice article, including a picture of the family.
Montrose Journal 3 March 1910 - Contributed by Nancy Shaner

David Brown
Son of James and Nancy (Mead) Brown

David Brown, Born St. Lawrence County, NY about 1825 came to Illinois with his parents and 6 siblings. He married January 8, 1846 Martha Rudisill. David died Dallas City, IL February 23, 1856 and is buried at the Tull Cememtery. To this union were born two children, Helen and Edwin. Helen married a George Skyles and lived in Murdock, NE at the time of her father's death. Edwin had died August 28, 1909. His wife was Mary Doolittle. Edwin and Mary had sons Frank and John.

The parents of David were James Brown and Nancy Meads.

They were following the call of Mormon missionaries by going west. They got to Louisiana, MO as the members were being driven out of the state. The members divided into two groups, one going to Quincy, IL and the other to Pittsfield, IL. While in Pittsfield Nancy Meads Brown died. Son James went to live with the James Lowe family, sister Sarah went to live with the Carlton family. They are enumerated in the 1840 census at Pittsfield. IL. There is a girl enumerated with James and his family for 1840. Since this is not Sarah and older than her, he must have hired a girl to take care of the children and fix meals for them. After 1840 the father and other sons went to Nauvoo, IL . There James the father died in 1842. The only children to date that are known of the 7 are James, John, David and Sarah. The other 3 sons may have died young as their names have not been found in all of my research.
Contributed by Nancy Shaner