Hello gang, My name is Rick Gray. I have a major roadblock in my Brown family line that I am hoping you might be able to help me with.
My great-great-grandfather was Charles Brown, supposedly born in Kentucky, he believe in Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky. He was not sure of his age and listed it variously as 1847, 1852, and 1859.
He told his children and grandchildren that his parents were Billy Brown and Betty Wysinger. He was not sure of the spelling on her last name. He remembered that Billy was a minister and his mother he called a doctor. We wonder if it could have been midwife or something of that sort.
He stated that he thought they were born in North Carolina for Billy and South Carolina for Betty. He had one brother named Frank that we believe was older than him. He never really said for sure.
He thinks they could have lived in Virginia at one time also. He did not know what denomination that Billy was a minister for.
When he was about 5 or 6 years old he was orphaned. We do not know if that meant both his parents died at the same time or one previously and the last one died at that time. He told his daughter he went to live with his aunt and uncle. (She is gone now and did not write in her journal whether it was a relative of his mother's or fathers)
His aunt was very abusive to him and at age 9 he ran away from home. One of the grandsons still living thinks that he remembered him saying that his brother Frank ran away with him, but in my great-aunts diary it does not indicate that.
He spent the next couple of years up and down the Mississippi River working for steamboats. My great-aunt wrote that he talked alot about Cairo, Illinois as well. We do not know what the connection was.
At some point he ended up in Tennessee. I find him at age 15 on the 1870 Census working as a farmhand (can't remember the city right now). He told his daughter this family took him in and cared for him.
In 1880 he is listed as 21 years old and living in Maury County, Tennessee where he made his home for many years. In 1882 he married the former Matilda Ann Bell and they built a home in the Mt. Joy community of Maury County, Tenn. They had several children: Sherman, Lon, Crittendon, Willis, Seth, Bessie and Maude. After Matilda Ann died, he married Rebecca Ann Cavender and had 3 more kids: Jewel, Jay, and Jack.
Another clue may be the Bell family. He told his daughter that his parents were friends with the parents of Matilda Ann Bell either in the Carolinas or the Virginias and that they might have went to Kentucky together. He remembered her parents from when he was a child. In my research of the Bell family I have not found them in Kentucky as of yet. They do list on Census records that her parents were born in North Carolina and South Carolina, but all the children that were born to her parents, William H. and Elizabeth Bell, were born in Tennessee. In a history book on Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee in Maury County, Tenn., there is a listing that the Bell family came to Maury County from South Carolina around 1800. My William H. was born in about 1805 in South Carolina. These Bell's settled in the same area I find my Bell family in 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. So I feel South Carolina may be a key.
I am checking from every aspect of this line that I can - South Carolina, North Carolina, Bell, Brown, Wysinger, Tennessee and Kentucky - hoping that it will strike a hit with something or somebody.
This has been a major roadblock for me for years. Any help you might give would be greatly appreciated.
My Direct Lines: Gray, Kennedy, LeMay, Brown, Cotton, Thomason, Rich, Lindsey, Chapman, Milligan, Henderson, Ray, Bell, Douglas, Basham, Reams, Boshers, Mitchell, Neely, Wysinger, Duke, Johnson, Cates, Dixon, Winslow, Renfro, Ussery, Pinicuff, Williams, Hudson, O'Daniel, Robertson, Martin.
"So Many Relatives, So Little Time"