Early Settlers of Union
Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
on the Harmon Brown Family of Union/Towns Counties
(part 3 in series)
As Part 1 and Part 2 of this
Series indicates, the Browns were a major part of the population of
County, and, because of the location where some of them lived when
was formed from Union in 1856, several of the Brown families became
of the new Towns County without moving from their home.
This fact can be confusing when tracing
Today we focus on the family of Harmon
Brown (July 2, 1816 – 1904), born in South Carolina to Henry and Rachel
Harmon Brown. Harmon, who was given his
name, was the first-born of this couple in 1816. His
known siblings were Romulus A. Brown who
married Elizabeth Corn; Mariah Jane who married Henry H. Burch; Martha
married Joseph Stephens; and Elliott who married Alex Caldwell.
The Brown family moved from South Carolina to Buncombe County, North Carolina.
Harmon was a young man, he set out on his own to become independent. He went to Tennessee, to the area since called
There, between two fledgling towns, Ducktown
and Isabella, where copper (first mistaken for gold) had been found in
1843. Harmon Brown bought land in that
vicinity, but evidently did not mine for copper. After
marrying about 1837 a young lady he met
there, Sarah Clonginger (b. 9/1/1820-?),
whose parents were Jack Rhine Clonginger and Elizabeth Hancock Clemmer,
sold his land in Tennessee
and headed for Union County,
Georgia. Later, he heard about the copper available on
farm and went back to investigate, but the sale of land had been
he could not buy it back.
They bought property in Union
that then became Towns
in 1856, in what was known as the “Fodder Creek” area. The Harmon Brown
was recorded in the Union
County census in
1840 and 1850, with his family growing from five in number in 1840 to
1850. By 1860, the family was listed in
County census. Living in the same neighborhood that his
brother Harmon lived was Romulus A. Brown, his wife Elizabeth, and
Harmon Brown became a prominent citizen.
His land holdings in 1860 were evaluated at $3,000, several
acres. The Browns were Baptists by
religious persuasion, and several of the Brown offspring from various
families became ordained Baptist ministers.
In fact, Harmon and Sarah’s first-born, John Monroe Brown (b.
1838 in Union County, GA, died March 8, 1932) who married Emmaline
Union County on Dec. 23, 1856, was ordained to the gospel ministry. The Brown family was also gifted in music and
enjoyed playing and singing the “shaped note” Fa-Sol-La method. They had a place dedicated to worship in the
cove where they lived, and the place is still sometimes known as
County was founded
August 5, 1843. Rachel Harmon Brown, Harmon’s mother, was
living in his household and she became member number 23 at Old Union. His sister, Martha, also was among the first
members, as was his sister-in-law, the wife of the Rev. John Monroe
Emmaline, who joined in 1892.
Harmon and Sarah Clonginger Brown had
a large family of twelve children. They
are as follows:
John Monroe Brown (1838-1932) married Emmaline Garrett.
Alfred E. Brown (1840-?) married Mary Malinda Allen.
Jacob Washington Brown (1843-1865) lost his life in the Civil
George Elisha Brown (1845-1929) married Mary Ann Woodring.
Jeremiah Jackson Brown (1847-1915) married Sarah G. Kendall.
(6) Smith Loransey Brown (1850-1915)
married Mary Elizabeth Souther.
William Clayton Brown (1852-1930) married Rebecca Roberson.
Rachel Elizabeth Brown (1854-1946) married Enos Plott.
James LaFayette Brown (1856-1945) married Margaret Elizabeth
Samuel Young Brown (1859-?) married Narcissa Nichols.
(11) Martha Clementine Brown
(1860-1933) married John Padgett Souther.
Joseph H. Brown (1863-1865).
With a large family of twelve
eleven of whom grew to adulthood, and ten of these having married,
Sarah Clonginger Brown’s family increased to a sizeable descendancy.
Before the days of public education,
Harmon Brown, wishing to have his children learn the rudiments of
writing and arithmetic, helped to fund and establish a subscription
school at Macedonia
taught by a Miss Pitchford.
Sarah Brown’s Bible passed on to one
of her many grandchildren, reveals her precise Victorian script as she
carefully penned in the names of her twelve children.
Brown and his beloved wife Sarah Clonginger Brown were laid to rest at
the Mt. Ivey Cemetery
on Sunnyside in Towns
County. At last account, their graves were
unmarked. Maybe some of their
descendants will investigate finding the graves and erecting a marked
The Harmon Brown story in The Heritage of Union County
(1994), p. 84; in Hearthstones
of Home (Towns County History, 1983), p. 23; and GED Brown
Jones; published Nov. 12, 2009 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian.
She may be reached at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org;
phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708
Updated November 16,
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