Nov 052019
 

“Am I not a Man and a Brother — Am I not a Woman and a Sister”
                               Anti-Slavery meeting poster 1863

Background – I have spent the last several years seeking information on my GGG-Grandfather Ellwood Brown and his involvement in the Underground Railroad, after reading his biography and discovering my GGG-Grandmother’s obituary, which mentioned them helping to run the movement, my interest was piqued and the research began.  After reaching out to historians and scavenging the Internet, I have been able to piece together, via old newspapers and books, his life’s story.  Ellwood is mentioned, on page 77,  of the book “History of the Underground Railroad in Chester and the Neighboring Counties of Pennsylvania.”

John Russell, Micah Whitson, Henry Carter, and Ellwood Brown are also mentioned as friends of the fugitive, whose assistance was always freely given.

Please keep in mind, the bulk of this information was published in the mid to late 19th  century and the language and nomenclatures are of that time.  (Note:  He apparently spelled his name both as Ellwood and Elwood) Following is his story:

Ellwood Brown was born December 27, 1808, in Harford County, Maryland to Josiah and Margaret Brown.  He was either the fourth, or fifth son born to them. His father died in 1812, leaving his widow Margaret and six children.  Josiah Brown’s accounts were entered into probate on June 9, 1812.   The probate documents state that Margaret, was a Quaker.  Margaret’s last appearance in probate court, concerning Josiah’s estate occurred on June 27, 1820.  The death of Josiah caused great hardship to his family, as this excerpt from Maryland Chancery Court shows:

S512-387

342: Thomas W. Bond vs. Margaret Brown, Joseph Brown, John Brown, Absalom Brown, Josiah Brown, Ellwood Brown, and Rachel Brown, HA.  Mortgage foreclosure on Knaves Misfortune, Harris Trust, Gibsons Ridge, Prestons Chance, Abotts Lot. Recorded (Chancery Record) 114, p. 705. (Note: The description in another Chancery record reads Abell’s Lot, not Abotts.)

It is assumed Margaret passed shortly after her last appearance in probate court.  However, she did instill within her children the beliefs of her faith and social justice, as the biography of Elwood’s older brother shows:

ABSALOM BROWN (deceased), died at his residence in Springvale, Columbia Co., Wis., March 23, 1880, 77 years old. He was born in Cecil Co., Md., Nov. 5, 1803, being the third son of Josiah and Margaret BROWN; six years after this, his father and finally crossed the Susquehanna River into Harford Co., Md., where he bought a large tract of land lying between Bellair and Abingdon, on the Baltimore road; his father sickened and died in a few days after he went there, leaving his mother and six children in a part of the country poisoned with slavery; care and hard work soon wore on his mother, and seven years after his father’s death, his mother died; Absalom was then put to the hatter’s trade, and being misused, he left there and went to Brown Co., Ohio, where he had relatives…(Source–The History of Columbia County Wisconsin, 1880)

The relatives in Ohio are not known and no information has been found on Josiah Jr., Joseph, or John Brown and there are some discrepancies in dates.  According to the obituaries of their sister Rachel, she was born in Cecil County, not Harford and she was born in 1811, which would mean Absalom was approximately eight years old and Ellwood would have been about three, when they arrived in Harford County.

According the his biography Ellwood was schooled at the Bel Air Academy, in Harford County but his time there was cut short, most likely due to the family financial problems, following the death of his father.  It appears that the family was forced to split and the children were sent to various relatives.  Ellwood was sent to live with an uncle, it is likely his sister Rachel was sent to the same family, in Little Britain, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Continue reading »

Sep 172016
 

Patriotism is one of the noblest and loftiest emotions of the heart, it should be along with our religion and our homes the first best thought.  Where would be today our happy homes, if it was not for this strong government, whose beneficent laws, like the all pervading sunlight, are above and around us everywhere?  Go where we will, all over this land, the same flag protects us.  Laws not made by tyrant hands, “but by the people, of the people, and for the people.”  Laws that if they ever perish, woe be to us in that day and hour…  We are not yet out of the breakers.  The astute leaders.. and the people they control; love the memory of their fallen institutions.  They believe they were born to rule, they care nothing for the semblance of a ruler, so they in reality rale, and will never rest until they have gained by the ballot what they have lost by the sword.

Emma Webster (Brown) Harlan, July 2, 1886

Emma Webster Brown

Emma Webster (Brown) Harlan - (ca. 1900) (Chester County Historical Society - Photo Archives)

Emma Webster (Brown) Harlan – (ca. 1900) (Chester County Historical Society – Photo Archives)

Emma Webster Brown was the first child and only daughter born to Elwood and Hannah (Webster) Brown, in Cecil County, Maryland, on April 8, 1832.  Emma’s mother, Hannah Webster, was a descendant of some of the earliest settlers in America, arriving in the 1600s.  There are documents indicating Emma’s mother was a direct descendant of William Webster, who came to America, from Scotland in 1685 and settled in Woodbridge, New Jersey.

The Webster family left New Jersey, due to the religious persecution of Quakers and first settled in Abington, Montgomery County, PA  prior to them eventually settling in Chester and Lancaster Counties, Pennsylvania.

Shortly after Emma’s birth, Elwood and Hannah returned to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where Emma’s seven brothers were born.  The family would remain in Pennsylvania until the late 1850s.

Marriage

On April 26, 1849, Emma married George Washington Harlan.  George was the 2nd child and son born to Jonathan and Elizabeth (Thompson) Harlan.  George was a 3x great-grandson of Michael Harland, one of Harland brothers who arrived at William Penn’s Colony at New Castle, Delaware in 1687.  The brothers, were Quakers who emigrated from England and Ireland to seek freedom from persecution for their religious beliefs.

Continue reading »

May 302016
 

American_Flag_-_Half_StaffBackground:  This is part of the Brown line that originated in Maryland and Pennsylvania. This family has ties to the Webster’s and Harlan’s of Lancaster County. 

This family line has many branches that continued their journey West, some as far as California.

The soldiers mentioned in this post are not the only family members who served, nor are they the only family members who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  I will continue to recognize and post about the heroes in my family, as information becomes available and time permits.

Sgt. Webster, Capt. Howard, Pvt. Francis Fell, Sgt. Wilmer and Capt. Albert Webster Brown

The names listed above are five brothers who stepped forward and served their country during the Civil War, of these five only Albert would live to old age.  This post is dedicated to their memory and to their sacrifices. Continue reading »