Researching the Brown and Parker/Wallace Family

Updated: 20 Nov 2013

Some of the first records I started collecting were family group sheets, neatly and carefully filled out by my Grandmother Reita Geraldine BISHOP. She had the clearest and most beautiful handwriting. She was also a family record/story keeper. She was born in 1912 in rural Kansas and she remembered lots of information about family events and facts from an early age.

She carefully filled in family group sheets for me in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. She was the person I relied on to get me started on her BISHOP family ancestry. She also had a sister who was a family historian, Faye (BISHOP) DRAKE, who compiled and edited, A History of One Branch of the Bishop Family, c 1997, Orange Park, Florida. These were my first working records of the BROWN and WALLACE family.

Here are a few areas which need clarifying:
#1 It appears that Mary Ellen Wallace’s real maiden name was Parker, probably from a prior marriage of her mother’s before marrying John Wallace. She ends up using WALLACE as her maiden name and that is where some confusion has arisen. It is possible that she was adopted into the family from someone completely unrelated. I haven’t got that far in the research yet to know.

#2 The birth record for William Henry Brown has not been found and I still need documentation of his parents and birth. I can only be sure of one census record as of today and that is the 1880 census.

There is a lot of research still to be done on this family, so I am going to start working it out here, first of all re-reading all that my grandmother wrote and then what her sister Faye wrote in her book. The I will make a timeline of what they thought to be true and then search for records to verify or disprove a fact and see where that takes me.

My grandmother’s best knowledge of this family at the time she filled out the form in early 1980’s or late 1970’s.:
“William Henry BROWN was born 1826 in Scrubgrass, Venango County, Pennsylvania. He married Mary Ellen WALLACE, 17 March 1857 in Monroe or Cadiz, Green County, Wisconsin. He died 28 Feb 1885 in Pardee, Atchinson, Kansas. He was buried “Northeast Pardee or the Township (not a town) corner Kansas.”

His father was Leander Brown and his mother was Sarah.

Mary Ellen WALLACE was born 1834 in Illinois. She died 21 May 1906 in Atchinson County, Kansas. Her father was Wallace.

Children of William Henry BROWN and Mary Ellen WALLACE:

  1. Clara Celeste BROWN b. 17 Jul 1860; d. 24 Oct 1905 (Grandmother to Reita)
  2. William E. Brown b. 1862; d. and buried in Redlands, San Bernardino, CA; m. Herma CARR
  3. Charles G. Brown “LeRoy” b 5 Jul 1872; buried  in Cummings, Kansas; m. Etta SANDERS
  4. Charlotte Brown “Lottie” b. 28 Apr 1876; bur. in Pardee, Atchinson, KS; m. Walter ARTHUR
  5. Mary Elizabeth Brown “Mayme” b. 27 Mar 1880; bur. in Topeka, Kansas; m. Joe ARTHUR (brother to Walter above)
  6. Harry E. Brown b. 18 May 1882; d. in Fontana, California; m. Bertha SCHWARTZFEGER
  7. Alta Malinda Brown b. 12 Jun 1884; still living about 1968; m. Tom RYAN
  8. ?? Molly Brown (Aunt Molly) attended my mom when I was born (not sure if of the family); m. Levi Gravenor “Uncle Lev”

Grandma wrote, “My Aunt Jennie, Dad’s sister, the only one left of that family lives in Salina. Several years ago she visited the Archives in Washington D. C. and came upon a copy of a letter written by (Aunt) Molly Gravenor [written] many many years before that. [No one] In our generation and even my Aunt cannot verify if Molly was of the Brown family.” – from Reita Geraldine (BISHOP) PEPPER

The following is from, A History of One Branch of the Bishop Family, compiled and edited by Faye (Bishop) Drake, pages 16-19:


The William Henry BROWN Story

     William Henry BROWN was born in 1826 or 1827 in Scrubgrass Township, Venango County, Pennsylvania. He was married to Mary Ellen PARKER/WALLACE in the village of Cadiz, Green County, Wisconsin, on March 17, 1857, by Matthew Hackworth, Justice of the Peace, in the presence of Leander Brown and Mrs. Sarah BROWN, possibly his father (or a brother) and his mother.
Mary Ellen (PARKER/WALLACE) BROWN was listed on the 1860 Census for Clarno, Green County, Wisconsin, as having married William Henry BROWN, when she was 17 years of age. The Browns were shown as residing next door to the John Wallace family at that time.
William Henry enlisted in the army on September 9, 1864, for a three-year tour of duty, but was discharged three and a half months later, after having been wounded in action. A portion of his left arm was shot off by a “minie” ball or musket ball, while he was loading a gun in the skirmish line, in the Battle on Hutchins Run, Ft. Sampson, near Petersburg, Virginia, on October 27-28, 1864. At the time, his rank was Private Brown, Company H, 38th Regiment of Wisconsin. He was discharged, December 22, 1864, from Lincoln General Hospital, Washington, D. C., with a Surgical Certificate of Disability. (Editor’s note: The “minie” ball, an elongated or conical bullet, with a pointed nose to lesson air resistance, was developed by Captain Minie, French army officer/inventor.)
At the time of William Henry Brown’s discharge, he was 38 years of age, stood six feet one inch tall, had dark complexion, blue eyes, and dark auburn hair. He had not told his wife, Mary Ellen, about the loss of his arm, before returning home. It was quite a shock to her. Clara Celesta (BROWN) BISHOP, daughter of William Henry and Mary Ellen, was four years old at the time he returned, and remembered that Mary Ellen did not recognize her husband when he knocked on the door, possibly because of his failing health.
While in the service, he contracted tuberculosis and was never in good health again. Due to the loss of his arm, he couldn’t return to farming, so he became a marshal in the court system of Monroe, Green County, Wisconsin.
William Henry Brown filed a claim for a pension for his Civil War service time. He was notified February 18, 1865, that he was to receive a pension of $8.00 per month, retroactive to the date of his discharge in December, 1864. His address, at that time, was listed as Monroe, Wisconsin.

To be continued…


Tell me what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s