Memories of Sharon Huffman

Sharon Huffman (c 2009)

[My first cousin, once removed, Sharon Marie (Larson) Huffman, recently passed away. Among her documents was one where she wrote of some of her memories regarding her grandparents, my great-grandparents Arthur Durwood and Mary Elizabeth (Manning) Brown. Many thanks to Tim and Julia for providing me a copy of Sharon’s memories and giving permission for me to present them here. I have done minimal editing of her writing.]

Grandpa Arthur and Grandma Mary Brown
My grandfather Arthur Brown was a young farmer in the hills of Sylvan Township, near Brainerd, Minnesota. He was born in 1868 and died in 1928. If I understand correctly, he was born in Lansing, Michigan. At the age of 21, he married Mary Elizabeth Manning. She was 14 years old. Together they had 12 children, two of which died in infancy.

Arthur Durrwood and
Mary Elizabeth (Manning) Brown

Grandpa died at the age of 60. Mom thinks that he had Cancer, but that they didn’t call it cancer in those days. She was only ten years old. We were never to know this grandfather.

Grandma Brown was born in Kentucky around 1876. Giving birth to 12 children back in those days left her with a lot of hard work. She was quite a woman. I have the most respect for her memory. I loved her so very much. This grandma became one of my very best friends.

My earliest memories of her are of her visiting us while we lived in Brainerd. But it was after we moved to Motley and I was a teenager that I truly came to appreciate her presence in my life.

Many times she would sit us down and tell us of her earlier years. She worked very hard to raise her family often. I don’t think it was easy. There were six boys, and four girls. She didn’t have modern conveniences and I’m sure there must have been tons of laundry, meals to cook, vegetables to raise, chickens to feed, and all kinds of other chores. Medical crisis were often handled by herself, as doctors were not as accessible as they are today. She told of her baby dying in her arms, scarlet fever among the children, and one son falling against the stove and injuring himself badly. Sons gone to war, coming home with Malaria, losing her wonderful husband at such a young age and her home to fire while she was with him as he was dying. She also told of bankers coming to try to foreclose on her land and people trying to take her children. She stood firm, shotgun in hand.

Grandma helped deliver babies back then and I think was present at the time of my birth in the house across the street from her own where my Aunt Nettie and Uncle Earl lived. This was in 1940.

Grandma had a little house of three rooms when I first remember going to her house. My Uncle Dick lived with her. He was still suffering the effects of Malaria and had a hard time getting around without a cane and sometimes two. She cared for him daily. She had a bedroom, kitchen, and living room. At one side of the living room was the bed and dresser for my uncle. They had no inside bathroom at that time and it was only a short time before I left Minnesota in 1973 that they had a toilet installed at one end of her bedroom. It was a crowded little house, and yet there was always room for company. It was also around that time that they changed the “pitcher” pump for a pressure pump. I don’t remember her ever having a hot water heater.

Grandma Brown & Uncle Dick Brown

Grandma and Uncle Dick raised a large vegetable garden every year. There wasn’t a weed in it. I’d see her out with the hand pushed cultivator cleaning the rows between the veggies. Most nights you could also hear the water being pumped through the garden hose to water the garden, after the pressure pump came into being. Then when harvest time would come she would can the vegetables, pickle most everything that could be pickled, and make jellies, relishes, chow chow, and also can fruits that they had picked and some they bought at the store. All of these things, plus potatoes, onions, squash, and melons, were stored in the little cellar under the kitchen. When he could, Uncle Dick would catch lots of fish, hunt deer, and raise chickens so they would have meat to add to their diet. My favorite Christmas gift from her would be a pint jar of wild plum butter.

Flowers were also a joy in her life. She would make little flowerbeds in the sand and coax many kinds of flowers into life. She took great pride in raising beautiful gladiolas, dahlias, pinks, pansies, and others. What a special day when you were presented with one of her prize flowers as a gift.

For many years, Grandma would bake her own bread. Her fingers were gnarled and sore from Arthritis, but she kneaded the bread dough anyway. I t was a great treat to have Grandma’s home made bread toasted with peanut butter on it. I t was only later in her life that I would encourage her to buy bread from the store so her hands wouldn’t hurt so badly.

Grandma always saw too it that we had something to eat if we went to her house. There were times when we came home from school at noon and there would be no lunch – No one home. We would go over to her house and she would fix us something and send us back to school. There were times when Mom would go to her for something to feed us kids. I regret the times when she would send something over in her canning jars, and we would not wash it but just put it out behind the house. Then she would have to come and get them and wash them up to save for next falls canning season.

Another thing my grandma did was make hand made quilts. She had a treadle sewing machine and did a lot of the stitching by hand. She made use of many old clothes. Instead of just throwing them away, she would put them in a quilt. I t was quite often that you would see a piece of your old dress in one of grandma’s quilts.

She would become upset when we would take them out in the yard and sun bathe. Not only because we were getting the quilts dirty, but that we were “half naked” in our bathing suits. How I wish I had one of them now. It would never be used outside on the grass. It is because of her being a Christian that I am today. She led us to Sunday school and taught us from the Bible. She not only talked being a Christian, but she lived what she talked. I have never met a person so trustworthy in my whole life. You could tell her something and it never went any further. She didn’t gossip at all. She would never take anything that didn’t belong to her either. When Mom lived in Mound, Minnesota, she would come to visit Grandma on the weekends. She would bring food to be used while there and occasionally there would be some left over. I t took a lot of talking for me to convince her that Mom wanted her to use up what was left over so it didn’t go to waste. She would say, “That belongs to your mother.”

The strength she had never ceased to amaze me. One time she had a headache and was laying on the couch. She took some liniment and was rubbing it on her forehead. Some ran down into her eye and started burning. Quietly she got up and went to the sink to wash it out. Never a peep out of her. We finally realized what had happened and helped her wash it out of her eye.

Not being able, as a young lady, to go to school she wasn’t well educated. She would send us to the store with her “shopping bag” and a “list” of things she needed. We would always chuckle as we tried to figure out what she needed. She wrote things as they sounded to her and that would sometimes be bred, mlk, egs, serel, and other staples. I n spite of not being educated she was a member of the Woman’s Relief Corp, the Assembly of God Church, and other organizations. She read her Bible as best she could, memorizing many verses and chapters.

Mary Brown

She truly loved each one of us kids. She became our source of comfort and security. She was always there for us. As I became older and would bring my own children to visit her, I acquired many memories. We would prepare a meal and then I would help her with the dishes. She would hold the dishpan in her lap and wash and I would dry and put away. The heat from the dishpan helped ease the pain in her legs and the hot water helped with her hands. After we would get everything put away, she and I would 
sit with a cup of tea and visit. How I loved those times of fellowship with her.

Grandma also loved my children very much. I t would tickle me when she would call my son Forrest so many different names trying to say it right. Sometimes he was Forrester, Foster, Foister, and then she might get it right. When he was just a baby, she thought he had fingers long enough to be a piano player some day. Tim, she called “the investigator.” She knew him quite well as he grew up loving to take things apart. Renee, her “pretty little girl” and Todd was the baby.

We never went to Grandma’s that she didn’t want us to spend the night. She said she would make a bed on the floor for
us. She didn’t want us to go home in the dark. That is one of the reasons that when my Uncle Dick said that we were coming too often, that it was too hard on grandma that it broke my heart. I don’t think she would have been happy knowing he had told me that. She loved having us come.

It was a sad day when we moved from Minnesota to Idaho and I had to say goodbye to my dear grandmother. I was visiting her and telling her how afraid I was to fly. I just knew that I would die in a plane crash. She reassured me, telling me I was going to be just fine She hugged me and told me she loved me, and that God did too and He would look out for me. I left her with a longing and sadness in my heart over leaving her behind. Years passed and we had moved to Alaska. She had moved from her little home to a nursing home. When I was able to come back to see her I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to see her again and feel her love. I t was not to be. My sister, Barbie, and I went to the nursing home and Barbie said to her, you remember Shari don’t you grandma? She said yes, and turned away from me, talking about Barbie picking a bouquet of flowers out of her Poinsettia plant. She was in another dimension. She didn’t know me anymore. It broke my heart.

I wasn’t able to come back for her funeral. She died on Mother’s Day in 1983. Gone to be with her heavenly father. The one she had served all of her life. Our loss was Heaven’s gain and I’m sure the angels welcomed her with open arms for she truly was one of them.

Mary Elizabeth and Arthur Durwood Brown

Children born to them were:


Clyde
Clarence
Richard
Arthur
Edward
Charles
Victoria
Cora
Delores
Nettie Mae

100 Years Ago – Arthur Durwood & Mary Elizabeth (Manning) BROWN



100 Years ago – Arthur Durwood Brown (1869-1928) & Mary
Elizabeth Manning (1876-1983)

Arthur Durwood & Mary Elizabeth Brown

One hundred years ago, Arthur Durwood Brown was renting a home with his wife, Mary Elizabeth Manning Brown in Merkel Township, Kidder County, North Dakota.

Their household contained six of their children; Victoria Cecelia, Cora Elsie, Clifford Durwood, Edward Lewis, Arthur Eugene, and the baby, Charles William, who had been born in July. Two of their boys, twenty-year-old Clyde Leroy and seventeen year old Clarence Arthur had already left home. Three of their children had already died. One child whose name is unknown was born and died before 1900. Two more children, Martin and Dorothy, died as infants from the measles sometime before 1910.

Location of land patent for 120 acres.
Arthur received a land patent for 120 acres N1/2-NW1/4 & SW1/4-NW1/4 – Section 34, Township 144 North Rang 72 West of the 5th Principal Meridian. The 45-year-old Arthur and his 38-year-old wife, Mary, must have been working that land. It is unclear if he was working someone else’s land as a “farm laborer” as well.

The big news of the day was that President Wilson was preparing to visit the Panama Canal. The Canal officially opened in August, however, Wilson was going to go by ship, the steamship New York to Colon and then shift to the Oregon to traverse the Canal.[1] In addition, the twelve Federal Reserve Banks opened their doors[2]. The Federal Reserve Banks would change the way America banks.



Wrigley’s was advertising its new, launched in 1914, Doublemint Gum, which had double the flavor and was double wrapped.

The International news of the day related mostly to the War. Blizzards were sweeping over Belgium and Northern France paralyzing the war effort there. Meanwhile, on the Eastern front, Cracow in Galicia (today Poland) was burning.

Mary’s parents both died when she was a child. Arthur’s parents had come to North Dakota in the 1880s but nothing is seen from them after 1885, so it is presumed they had died long before 1914.

Arthur’s siblings were:

Nettie May – Life and location unknown.
Charles D – Life unknown. Charles moved to Montana before 1891.
Mary – Life unknown. Mary had married a Clark and their location is unknown.
Almond (Ahmond) – Life unknown.
Clifford Gerome – Living in Tappen Township, Kidder County, North Dakota
William Henry – Life and location unknown.
Clyde Hewett – Died in a train accident.
Frederick – Dead – Unknown cause.
Ada –Ada married Benjamin Mayers (or Meyers) their life and location is unknown. 
Edward Warberton was married to Dertha Merkel and lived in Merkel Township, Kidder County, North Dakota, USA.

Mary’s sister Phoebe Jane’s first husband Clyde Hewett Brown (Arthur’s brother) died and Phoebe had remarried. She and her new husband, William Richmond, lived in Sylvan Township, Cass County, Minnesota. Arthur and Mary would locate to Sylvan Township a few years later. Mary’s half brother’s (Robert Manning) location is unknown.

The Browns were Methodists and probably attended church in Robinson, about eight miles away. Likewise, the children most likely attended school there.

The 1910 Census indicates that nearby Arthur and Mary Brown lived the Merkels. I wonder if Merkel Township was named after John Merkel. John Merkel was the head of the household and had seven of his children living with him. One of those seven was Dertha whose husband, Edd Brown (Arthur’s youngest brother) was a “hired hand.” Also living with them were five of Edd and Dertha’s children making for a 15 person household.[3]

Life was certainly tough out on the plains and with winter coming on preparations for the winter must have been completed.

Further Actions

In writing about Arthur and Mary’s life 100 years ago I realized how little I know about their siblings. Tracing their will be an important next step in understanding the life of Arthur & Mary.

  

[1] Bismarck
daily tribune. (Bismarck, Dakota [N.D.]), 17 Nov. 1914. Chronicling America:
Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
<http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85042242/1914-11-17/ed-1/seq-1/>
[2] Ibid.
[3] 1910 Census, Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com,
1910; Census Place: Merkel, Kidder, North
Dakota; Roll: T624_1142; Page: 4A; Enumeration
District: 0225; FHL microfilm: 1375155.

My DNA Projects – 1 October 2014

Where I am at with my various DNA Projects, October 1st, 2014.

Ancestry.Com

I was mightily disappointed when Ancestry quit support for their Y-DNA testing. I was surprised to see that my results and other information was still on Ancestry, but, of course, there were no new matches. 
My Y-DNA Lineage from Ancestry.Com
My plan to follow my closest DNA match from Ancestry up five generations and back down five generations didn’t yield any potential candidates for the “baby daddy.”  So, without any further Y-DNA matches possible through Ancestry it appears that further looking into that line is not going to be fruitful.

My Wife’s Y-DNA – Ancestry

My wife’s brother’s Ancestry Y-DNA test results are in the same state. No new matches because Ancestry has stopped supporting Y-DNA.  Another promising tool that has ended in a dead end.  
I definitely feel that I wasted some money with Ancestry on their Y-DNA tests.  As such, I will probably never recommend Ancestry DNA Testing of any kind because of my bad experience with due to their decision to stop support of  Y-DNA testing.  

Family Tree DNA

My haplogroup’s (R1b) migration from Family Tree DNA
My closest hit to my DNA (89% likelihood a common ancestor in 8 generations) still hasn’t answered. So, I emailed him again.  I did do a search for him on line and found a person with his name died a couple years ago.  Not looking good for the home team.  The email address for him in Family Tree DNA is pointing to another person, so it is still possible that I will be able to connect with a relative of his and possibly share information.  We will see. 
Again, no new connections on Family Tree DNA.
I did not do an  upgrade kit for my brother-in-law so there is nothing about any connections to him in Family Tree DNA.

My Friend T-Roy
I’ve been helping a friend, T-Roy, with his genealogy.  In particular his paternal side is lost.  We know precious little regarding his grandfather and nothing before that. A search for his great grandparents has yielded several potential candidates, however, none are clear.  I suggested that a Y-DNA test might help us find someone who is related and then be able to connect the dots from the potential candidates.  We’ll see.

My Autosomal Results

Ancestry.Com

There was a new “3rd” cousin identified on Ancestry.  Because Ancestry doesn’t tell you anything about the match I have no idea if the match is on my mother’s line or my unknown paternal line. The individual, who is now my closest atDNA match didn’t relate their DNA to a tree so I have no idea about potential surnames.  I emailed the individual and hopefully she will share her tree and other information. There were several other new matches, however, they were all 4th cousin and greater.  I looked at any family trees that they have and didn’t see anything of interest.

23 & Me

23 and Me has been my most
successful DNA testing company that I have used so far. There are several
reasons for that. First, and foremost, I had both my mother and my DNA Tests
submitted to 23 & Me. That is a big help in determining where matches come
from. My initial plan was to use the tests to be able to discriminate matches
from my unknown father’s side from my known mother’s side of the family.

My mother’s matches:

Looking at my mother’s matches,
the closest match (excluding me) is Ronald M. with 2.3% Shared and 11 segments
in common. I was able to contact the individual and after comparing trees,
found that my mother and Ronald are second cousins, once removed. They share common
ancestors with my mom’s great grandparents (Henry & Marian (Sanford)
Brown).
The next closest match to my
mother is Rick C. He and my mom share 1.61% and 10 segments. He responded to
some queries and we quickly determined his is a 1st cousin, twice
removed, from my mother. Their common ancestors are my mom’s grandparents
(Arthur D & Mary (Manning) Brown).
The 3rd closest match
is to M. C. this match was really great as it expanded our understand of a line
and broke through a “brick wall.” A review of M. C.’s tree yielded a surname
match on Blackhurst. Further investigation showed that M. C.’s ancestor, William
Stephen Blackhurst, had a sibling named Sarah who was born about the same date
as my mother’s grandmother. Another of the siblings and the father of William
and Sarah died in the same city, Albion, MI, that our Sarah lived. Further
correlation showed me that their William was, indeed, the sibling of our Sarah
and that through this connection we were able to extend the line back another
generation to our common ancestors, Stephen and Fanny (Taylor) Blackhurst. 
My Ancestry Composition per 23 and Me

My matches:

On my paternal side, matches to me and not my
mother, are much less interesting. The closest match is a male with whom I
share only four segments (.91%). I sent him an introduction but he hasn’t
responded. I’ve sent a few other individuals introductions and received no
responses from most of them. The few that have responded I have looked at their
trees, but haven’t found anything of particular interest. When less than 1%
matches, investing much time isn’t very helpful.

My Aunt:

I recently sent a DNA kit to my half aunt (my
mother’s half sister). In a phone call last week, she indicated that she
received the kit and registered it. She said she’d have it in the mail later in
the week. They take several weeks to process so that should be interesting. With
some luck, she will have received some different segment from my mother and we
can those differences to potentially find other relatives.

GEDMatch.Com

As I write this GEDMatch.com website is
down.  This free site has a lot of
potential and is the only place that I know if that allows you to submit your
DNA results from multiple sites.  It is
an unaffiliated, volunteer, website and is in need of donations to maintain its
operation.  If you use it, please donate
to them so they can keep the site in operation.
  
They give instructions on how to export your
autosomal DNA test results from Ancestry.ComFamily Tree DNA, and 23&Me and
you import the results into their system. Although their takes a while to process
your data and populate into their system, don’t complain about the speed.  Again, did I say donate? 

The X Chromosome

I’ve recently been hearing a lot about X
chromosome matching.  This has really
gotten me excited and rejuvenated regarding using DNA as a method to find
ancestors.
I’m looking forward to using the GEDMatch
system to look at the X chromosome matches for my mom and my aunt (when her
results are received).  Because one of
the X chromosomes comes  from the mother
and one from the father, having both my mother and her half sister’s X results
will yield a clear look at their father’s (Clifford) X marker.  My mother and my aunt should match the X
completely because the X chromosome is passed down from a person’s father
relatively unchanged.  Thus, by testing
two females with the same father we can basically jump a generation.  Their father, Clifford, received his X from
his mother, Mary Elizabeth Manning which is a mix of her parents, approximately
50% from each.  Mary received her two X
chromosomes from each parent so Clifford has a 50-50 chance to have received
his X from his grandfather (John William Manning) and 50-50 chance from his
grandmother (Eliza Fannin). His grandfather received his X from his great
grandmother (Minerva Tolliver Mannin). If, as family legend says, Minerva was full-blooded
Cherokee, Because Clifford whould have received about 50% of his X DNA from
Minerva, we should be able to see some markers that are in common with Cherokee
people if she was, in fact, Cherokee. The other great thing about this test is
that Clifford should have also received about 25% of his X from Eliza’s parents
both of whom are unknown. It certainly has the potential to open up a whole new
area of investigation.
Using the X isn’t as clearly defining as using
the Y chromosome but it clearly can yield more definitive results than the other
22 chromosomes typically do. I am very excited about pursuing this direction. One of the really cool things about your X Chromosome inheritance is that the potential surnames follow a really clear pattern. In my case the surnames of interest are:

Brown, 
Montran, 
Mannin(g), 
Barber, 
Fannin, 
Blackhurst, 
Toliver, 
Taylor, 
Cochron. 

Conclusion

DNA is a helpful tool. It has the potential to break down some brick walls, as it did for my Blackhurst tree. However, it is not likely to magically solve a problem or give answers to difficult questions.
There are a number of utilities that can help understand the matches I’ll look at them in a future blog posting. In the meantime, I’ll continue my searching in this area.

————Disclaimer ————-

Clifford and Luella (Bean) Brown

My mother and I received the results of our 23 & Me autosomal testing.  My mother’s closest match, according to 23 & Me, is a second-third cousin with whom she shares 2.30%, 11 segments.  I contacted the individual. We quickly determined that our common ancestors were Henry & Marion (Sanford) Brown and that our great-grandfathers were brothers.  Arthur and Clifford Brown.  It was very interesting to learn that my grandfather’s birth name was the same first name as her great-grandfather. Also, one of her g-grandfather’s children was named William Sanford Brown, clearly honoring Marion Sanford Brown’s family. It was also interesting to note that both brothers homesteaded land in Kidder County, North Dakota about the same time.  My g-grandfather left North Dakota and returned to Minnesota about 1917.  It appears that her g-grand father left North Dakota and returned to Minnesota between 1935 and 1940.  He then moved out to Eugene Oregon, about 1949, and remained there until his death in 1958.  She also sent a wonderful newspaper clipping from 1954 where her great-grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Clifford and Luella Brown with their 8 children
Date unknown (before 1954)

She also sent a wonderful photo of the family. I’ve extracted their faces and will be applying them to my Brown/Montran family tree on Ancestry.

It was great to add additional information regarding this line of Browns.

Arthur Eugene Brown

My mother sent a copy of the funeral card of her uncle, Arthur Eugene Brown. Of course that got me to thinking about him. I don’t recall meeting him, although I may have when I was young.  I have a photo of Arthur and his second wife Gertrude with my mother and my sister Glennis from the same year he died. 
Arthur was the 10th child of Arthur Durrwood and Mary Elizabeth (Manning) Brown. He was born 2 April 1909 (although the 1920 census says he was 8) in Williston, North Dakota. His death records and most other records indicate he was born in 1909.
He moved to Sylvan Township, Cass County, Minnesota about 1917.  His father died in 1928, when he was 19 years-old.  He lived on a farm near Brainerd, Minnesota in 1935 and married Gladys Grace Hoggarth at Zion Evangelical, in Brainerd, on 24 Sep 1938.
In 1939, the first of six boys was born; Art, Gladys, and the boys appear to have lived in Baxter, MN, which is a small town adjacent to Brainerd. 
On 7 Mar 1944, Art enlisted in the Army. 
Tragedy struck in 1968 when Gladys died. 
In 1980, Art married Gertrude Lillian Wilson and moved to Clearwater, Wright County, Minnesota. His mother died in 1983. 
Art died 20 Dec 1996. He was buried with his first wife at Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Brainerd, Minnesota.