Arthur Durwood Brown (1869-1928)

Brown Line
By – Don Taylor

52 Ancestors - Week 41
No Story Too Small

Sometimes you have an ancestor for whom you know there are a lot more stories about them. Arthur Durwood Brown was such a man. There are several of Arthur’s grandchildren still alive. I hope that some of them contact me with additional stories and information about Arthur and his life. He was a remarkable man, a pioneer who settled in some of the most isolated places in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Ancestor Sketch – Arthur Durwood Brown (1869-1928)

Arthur Durwood Brown was born on 5 December 1869 in Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan. He was the second child of eleven children born to Henry and Marion Sanford Brown. There are many conflicting records regarding Arthur’s birth year. The 1920 Census indicates he was 56 years old and thus born in 1863. On the other end of the spectrum, the 1900 Census says he was born in December of 1870.[1] His death certificate and his grave marker both indicate he was born in 1868. I am quite certain that he was born in December of 1869 because of the 1870 Census that clearly indicates that he was seven months old when the census was taken on 2 August of 1870.[2]

Photo Crop of Arthur Durwood Brown
Arthur Durwood Brown

He grew up in Saline, which is a small community about ten miles south of Ann Arbor. It was on the Detroit, Hillsdale, & Indiana Railroad line that came to Saline in 1970. About 1883, when Arthur was 14 years old, the entire family migrated west to Jamestown, North Dakota. Arthur’s youngest brother, Edward, was born in North Dakota in January 1884.[3]

Jamestown was an up and coming new town. It was founded in 1872 and incorporated as a city in 1883.[4] It is not clear to me how or where he and Mary Elizabeth Manning met nor where they were married, but all records indicate they married on 19 Oct 1892. Arthur would have been 22 years old and Mary just 16.

Photo of Arthur Durwood Brown in a hat.
Arthur Durwood Brown

Either before he moved to Minnesota or shortly after the marriage they moved to Minnesota. In either event, they established residence in Sylvan Township, Cass County, Minnesota and had their first child, Clyde Leroy, in February 1884. By June 1896, they had moved back to North Dakota where Victoria was born. Moreover, by 1897, when Clarence was born, they returned to Minnesota. The 1900 Census reports that the young couple lost a child[5]. Based upon the four-year gap in children, the child probably was born and died between 1899 and 1900 in Minnesota. We do not know the child’s name or sex.

Based upon the birthplaces of the children, the family seemed to move back and forth between North Dakota and Minnesota many times.

Name
Year
Location
Clyde
1894
Minnesota
Victoria
1896
North Dakota
Clarence
1897
Minnesota
Cora
1901
Minnesota
Clifford/Richard
1903
North Dakota
Edward
1908
North Dakota
Arthur
1909
North Dakota
Charles
1914
North Dakota
Delores
1917
Minnesota
Nettie
1921
Minnesota
Children whose birthplace was unknown were omitted.

Clifford, my grandfather, was born in 1903 in Kidder County, North Dakota. Martin was born sometime between 1904 and 1906 and Dorothy was born between 1905 and 1907. Sadly, Arthur’s two youngest children at that time, Martin and Dorothy, died from measles sometime before 1910.

In 1909, Arthur received a Land Patent for 120 acres in Merkel, Kidder County, North Dakota. It was for the N1/2-NW1/4 and the SW1/4-NW1/4 – Section 34, Township 144 North Range 72. It is interesting to note that Arthur’s brother Edward married Dertha Merkel. Today, Merkel township has a population of 39 people scattered over nearly 60 square miles of land.[6]

In 1917, he returned to Minnesota where Arthur received a land patent for 160 acres in Township 138 N, Range 029W, Section 7, NE1/4-Nw1/4, N1/2-NE1/4, SE1/4-NE1/4. (Modern GPS 46.7911918, -94.4073918 is NW Corner of L shaped property.) Today this is a very rural area of Backus in Cass County.

Arthur’s two oldest boys served in World War 1. Clyde went into the Army, went to France, where he met his wife Yvonne and returned from the Great War with his new bride. Clarence went into the Navy and served aboard the USS Shawmut, a mine layer that operated in the North Sea during much of World War I.[7] The 47-year-old Arthur didn’t serve in The Great War staying in Minnesota; his daughter, Delores was born in 1917. His last child, Nettie, was born in 1921[8] a year after his first grandchild, Marie (Clyde’s daughter), was born.[9]

Marker - Arthur Durwood Brown
Marker:  ARTHUR D. BROWN 1868 FATHER 1928 (Photo by Mark Matson)

Arthur died on 27 August 1928, at the Walker Hospital, Walker, Cass Co., Minnesota of carcinoma of the liver.[10] He was 58 years old. He was buried at Gull River Cemetery, in Pillager, Cass County, Minnesota.[11]

On FamilySearch.Org, Arthur is person #934W-2TJ.

Further Actions:

  • Coordinate with relatives what I have for accuracy.
  • Find out if there are any stories regarding how and where Arthur and Mary met.

List of Greats

Arthur Durwood Brown
Henry Brown
Benjamin Brown

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Bus

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Footnotes

[1] 1900 Census, Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, 1900; Census Place: Township 136, Crow Wing, Minnesota; Roll: 761; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0069; FHL microfilm: 1240761.

[2] 1870 Census, Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, 1870; Census Place: Saline, Washtenaw, Michigan; Roll: M593_708; Page: 316A; Image: 86; Family History Library Film: 552207. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1870usfedcen&h=27532996&indiv=try.

[3] 1885 Census – Dakota Territory, NDSU Archives, Page 44-018. Brown, W. H., et al. http://library.ndsu.edu/db/census/family?ed=44-018-10.

[4] Wikipedia — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamestown,_North_Dakota

[5] 1900 Census, Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, 1900; Census Place: Township 136, Crow Wing, Minnesota; Roll: 761; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0069; FHL microfilm: 1240761.

[6] City-Data.Com — http://www.city-data.com/township/Merkel-Kidder-ND.html

[7] Wikipedia — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Oglala_(CM-4)

[8] E-Mail from Les Crider – 2001-01-13, Art & Mary Brown & Children & parents info.

[9] Find a Grave, digital images (http://www.findagrave.com), Marie F Brown – Memorial 79865796.

[10] Minnesota, Division of Vital Statistics, Certificate of Death, Arthur D Brown.; Minnesota Historical Society.

[11] Find a Grave, digital images (http://www.findagrave.com), Arthur D Brown – Memorial # 87334615.

John Montran (c. 1874-bef.1911)

52 Ancestors # 14 – John Montran (c1874-bef. 1911)

John Montran is the most mysterious of my ancestors.  My grandmother, Madonna, never spoke of him and I didn’t have the where-with-all to ask her about him before she passed over. I didn’t know his first name until I received a copy of Donna’s application for a Social Security number.

When Madonna was married in 1911, she listed her father as Robert Montran and indicated that he was deceased. So, I’m not really certain if his name was John Robert or Robert John.

When Madonna’s mother married Max Fisher in 1897, she indicated her name as Ida B Montran Barber and she had been married one time before although reading the entry, the clerk may have written Montrani or possibly Montram.
Assuming that Ida married Montran before Madonna was born, Ida and John were probably married in 1892. I also assume that John was a contemporary of Ida, that is to say about the same age, that would put his birth about 1874.
In 1900, Madonna’s step-father was Max Fisher. He was identified as having been born in Wisconsin and Madonna’s father is identified as having been born in Michigan. In 1910, Madonna’s father was again identified as having been born in Michigan. Because her stepfather at that time, Jos Holdsworth, was born in New York, I am fairly sure that John Montran was born in Michigan.  However, the 1920 Census indicates that Madonna’s father was born in Pennsylvania. Madonna was on the road with the show “Chin Chin” at the time so the information was probably given by her grandmother, Sarah Barber, who may or may not have known for certain Madonna’s father’s birthplace.   Madonna was out of the country for the 1930 census so that census adds nothing additional.In searching a bit more for John Montran, I found that he was father of bride for “Mae Donna Montran” who was married on 24 Nov 1915 to Thomas Valentine Rooney in Waltham, MA.  This was a completely unknown marriage. It is interesting to note that it indicates that this was the first marriage for both. I guess Madonna was thinking it was her first US marriage or else she forgot about her 1911 marriage to Chester Fenyvessey in Canada.

John Montran

Born about 1874, probably in Michigan (possibly Pennsylvania).
Married Ida Barber about 1892, probably in Michigan.
Died before 1911, probably before 1897.

Further Research

Montran is an uncommon surname; so, when I do find something about Montran I get excited to investigate more. For example, in the 1920 San Francisco city directory indicates that a Maude Montran was living there and Maude was the widow of John F Montran. I didn’t find Maude in any earlier city directories or elsewhere.  I certainly can do much more research in this area.  As more and more birth, marriage, and death records, as well as newspapers come on-line I hope to find more about John Montran.

Sources

1900 Census, Ancestry.com, 1900; Manistee Ward 6, Manistee, Michigan; Roll: T623_728; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 36.
1910 Census, Ancestry.com, 1910; Detroit Ward 7, Wayne, Michigan;
Roll: T624_683; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0106; FHL microfilm: 1374696. Holdsworth, Ida – Head,
1920 Census, Ancestry.com, Manhattan Assembly District 13, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1209; Page: 24A; Sarah Barber Head
Form SS-5 – Application for an account number.  Donna Montran Kees
Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928, Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com.
Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915 (Massachusetts, State Archives, Boston), Family Search, FHL microfilm 2411236, p 650 no 312. https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N4XD-X3L.
R.L. Polk & Co., City Directory – San Francisco – 1920 (San Francisco, H.S. Crocker Co, 1920), Internet Archives, Page 1157.

Bio – Ida Mae Barber (1874-1953)

Brown-Montran-Barber

Ancestor #11 – Ida Mae (Barber) Montran Fisher Holdsworth Knight (1874-1953)

When I decided to look at Ida Mae’s life, I realized that my source work regarding Ida Mae was woefully inadequate.  Most of the work I did regarding Ida Mae was done several years ago, and I wasn’t as good about creating source records that were complete and stood on their own. Some of the source citations were entirely in my Family Tree Maker for Mac and were corrupted during various upgrades (FTM 4 Mac 2 to FTM 4 Mac 3 was particularly painful).

I decided to redo everything regarding Ida, that is to say, pull together my physical copies/printouts, look through my computer for relevant files, confirm sources in FTM & Ancestry and build new source citations and documents.

One thing I did realize in this process is that when you attach media to a source, FTM allows you to link to existing media or to copy the media into FTM.  I was inconsistent in my approach.  I did both.  I found that over the years where I linked to existing files the linkage was often broken. I know that copying it into FTM duplicates the file and my “duplicate file finder” will spit out long lists of duplicates, but, it will be worth doing so in the future.

After I cleaned up my sources for Ida, I did some new research and found several items regarding Ida’s early marriages.

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Bio – Ida Mae Barber (1874-1953)

Ida Mae Barber was born on March 24, 1874, in Michigan, the first of two daughters of Franklin (Frank) and Sarah Blackhurst Barber.
Albion College, founded in 1835, 
would have been an influence on
 young Ida’s upbringing.

She grew up in Albion, Calhoun County, Michigan, which is a small town about 100 miles west of Detroit which is the home to Albion College. In the 1880 Census, she is six years old living with her parents and her younger sister Eva.

I believe that sometime in 1892 Ida married John Montran.  John is identified by name several times and when Ida marries the second time she indicates that she had been married before and that her name was Ida Barber Montrani.  The “Montrani” name is new in my research (I had always looked for Montran and Montram previously) so, it gives me a new area of research.) I had long believed that Ida had Madonna out of wedlock, but now I suspect that she did marry John.

Ida’s daughter, Madonna, was born 20 Feb 1893.

Ida married her second husband, Max E. Fisher on 21 May 1897 in Detroit Michigan. Fred E. DeGaw, J. P. performed the wedding; Frederick Mullau and Herman Schcontt, both of Detroit were the witnesses. According to the marriage register, Ida was from Albion and Max was from Detroit so, their marrying in Detroit makes sense.

Oddly enough, the 1900 Census shows Max, Ida, and Madonna Fisher living at 374 Third Street. Manistee, Michigan.  I say “oddly” because Manistee is on the opposite side of the state from Detroit; it’s on the coast of Lake Michigan. Google Maps does not have street views of Manistee, so I can’t tell if where they lived is still there.  Also, Google Maps doesn’t indicate the address in Manistee but rather that 374 Third Street is across Manistee Lake in East Lake.

Photo by C Hanchey via Flickr - Some rights reserved.
The former Essex County Courthouse, built in 1855. This is where Ida & Joseph would have been married.

Her husband, Max, apparently died because Ida married Jos (Joseph) A Holdsworth in Essex, Ontario, Canada on 16 Aug 1904.  Essex is a small town about 20 miles across the river from Detroit. The marriage information indicates that Holdsworth was from Minneapolis.  The record shows Ida as a “ditto” for where she lived, so it may be that she spent some time in Minneapolis before they were married. The record also indicates that she was a widow.  (I’d like to find a death record for Max to confirm that.) Ida divorced Holdsworth before the 1910 census was taken in April.  In the 1910 census, Ida was the head of the household with 17-year-old daughter Madonna and her 62-year-old mother Sarah Barber living with her.  It appears that Ida wasn’t working, but Madonna was a saleswoman at a dry goods store.  Living with them was a “boarder,” Harvey Knight. They lived at 418 Clay Ave, near Russell Street.  Detroit renumbered many of its streets a few years later, so it is difficult to determine if the building they lived in is still there.  Most likely not, The intersection of where Clay and Russell would meet is now taken by the Chrysler Freeway (I75).

Ida and Harvey Watson Knight were married on 27 Aug 1910 in Detroit.  It is interesting to note that the marriage performed by Justice Fred E DeGaw, the same person who performed her marriage to Max Fisher. Frank G Schilling and Winnifred Andrews both of Detroit as witnesses.

Ida & Harvey moved to a new home at 628 Lawndale in 1914.  I assume that they built the house and were the first owners.

Harvey Milton Knight died at ten months from mercury dichloride.

Ida and Harvey’s only child together, Harvey Milton Knight, was born on 20 November 1915.  Sadly, Harvey Milton died at ten months of age from accidental poisoning of mercury dichloride. Oral history indicated that Milton died from getting poison from under the sink and ingesting it. His story is a reminder that children need to be protected from access to dangerous chemicals.

In 1917, Ida’s only sibling, sister Eva, died from
tuberculosis.  Eva was married to Adelbert
Goff and lived in Farmington, MI.  Ida’s
grandchildren recall visiting an “Uncle Del” when they went to Walled Lake in the 1930s and 1940s.  Farmington would have been about a half-mile off the highway to Walled Lake.  Both of Ida’s grandchildren assumed that “Uncle Del” was just a friend that was called “Uncle.”  I believe A-DEL-bert was “Uncle Del” as location, names, and oral history all fit.

In 1918, Harvey registered for the draft.  That document shows still living at 628 Lawndale.

The 1920 census finds Ida and Harvey living along at the Lawndale house.  Daughter Madonna is on the road in the vaudeville comedy show “Chin Chin.” However, Madonna is listed in the Census living in an apartment in New York with her widowed grandmother, Sarah.

1456 Lawndale Today – Screenshot courtesy Google Maps

In February of 1923, Madonna, now “Donna” registers a song with Variety.  In that registration, she indicates her address as 1456 Lawndale. I was at first confused by that as it is unusual for people to move eight blocks up the street, particularly from a new (only nine years old at that time) home. A comparison of neighbors showed that the Knights had the same neighbors in the 1920 and the 1930 censuses. Without a doubt, they didn’t move; rather the street was renumbered to fit a larger system sometime between 1920 and 1923.

In 1930, the 47-year-old Ida was still living at 1456 Lawndale with her husband, Harvey. Ida and Harvey remained in that house until Harvey’s death in May of 1942.  The 68-year-old Ida would have been left alone, except that her 14-year-old grandson came to live with her and help out.

Knight Marker – Harvey & Ida (Milton is on right side) Photo by Don Taylor

Ida died of an acute coronary thrombosis at her home of nearly 40 years on 13 Oct 1953.  She was buried with her husband Harvey Watson Knight and her son Harvey Milton in Plot 154, Oak Ridge Section, Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit.

Because this is my mother’s mother’s mother I carry Ida’s as well as her mother, Sarah Blackhurst, and her mother, Fanny Taylor’s Mitochondrial DNA.  My sister’s daughter is the only person who will carry their mtDNA (Haplogroup T2b) on to future generations.

       [Disclaimer]

Areas for New Research

  • Search for Montrani instead of Montran in the usual places.
  • Research what may have been at 374 Third Street, Manistee.
  • Research actual date for street renumbering in Detroit.

Sources:

  • Ancestry.Com – Census Records 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930,
    & 1940.
  • Ancestry.Com – World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,
  • Ancestry.Com – Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928 – Jos
    A Holdsworth – Ida Fisher.
  • Ancestry.Com – Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928
  • Family Search – Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925 – Harvey Knight
  • Family Search – Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925 – Max E Fisher
  • Michigan, Department Of Heath, Certificate of Death, Ida Mae
    Knight. Wayne County, Michigan, Detroit. (Personal copy in my possession)
  • Social Security Application – Donna Montran Kees, Form SS-5  (Personal copy of document)

(Originally published 18 March 2014.)

page formatting updated
12 May 2019