Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
In last week’s column we looked at the life of Harmon and Sarah Clonginger Brown who were in Union County until where they lived became Towns County in 1856. They had a large family of twelve, eleven of whom grew to adulthood and married. Two of his sons became ordained Baptist ministers. These two, John Monroe and Smith Loransey, will be the focus of today’s Brown story.
Firstborn of Harmon and Sarah Brown, John Monroe Brown, was born July 31, 1838 and lived until March 8, 1932. On December 23, 1856 he married Emmaline Garrett (01-27-1840 – 03-27-1927). Her parents were H. Posie and Louisa Hogan Garrett.
The six children born to John Monroe Brown and Emmaline Garrett Brown were:
Sarah (07-29-1858) married Julius Tipton;
Haseltine (10-19-1860) never married;
Lucinda (02-16-1863) married Washington Pierce;
George Sherman (1866) married Sarah Alice Berry;
Zoa (02-27-1869) married Fidell Davis;
Julia (07-13-1872) married Levi Reed; and
Martha Elizabeth (07-25-1875).
Just when John Monroe Brown was ordained to the gospel ministry is not known to this writer, nor the churches he served. But when the Civil War came, John Monroe enlisted in 1862 as a private. While in Kentucky he developed a serious case of rheumatism and spent time in Chango Hospital. He was sent back to Georgia and at Tunnel Hill, Georgia got typhoid fever. He was in a hospital there until he was sent home on January 3, 1863 to recover further. He had a relapse of the fever in 1863 and was hospitalized at Catoosa Springs. When able, he was sent home again in March of 1863. After the spring and summer at home, he reenlisted with the North Carolina 6th Infantry Regiment in November, 1863. He was captured in battle and sent to prison at Fort Delaware. Following the end of the war, he was released from prison in May of 1865. He returned to his home, farmed, and preached, probably without much pay for his ministerial services unless it was a small amount of offerings taken, a little for weddings performed, and payment in grain or other farm products.
Smith Loransey Brown (01-20-1850 – 05-16-1923), the sixth child of Harmon and Sarah Clonginger Brown, was also an ordained Baptist minister. That two of their children, the first-born and the sixth-born, became ministers, speaks well of the home and religious training Harmon and Sarah provided for their children. The date of Smith’s ordination to the gospel ministry is not known by this writer. He married Mary Elizabeth Souther (07-07-1853 – 01-11-1929) in 1870. He most likely met Mary Elizabeth as he went to preach at the country church she attended near her home.
Mary Elizabeth Souther was the oldest child of John Combs Hayes Souther and Nancy Collins Souther. Her marriage to the Rev. Smith Loransey Brown brought together two stalwart pioneer families.
Maybe the young preacher was attracted to Mary Elizabeth by her clear, strong voice as a singer. In the days before hymn books were available to all in the congregation, the song leader would “line out” the words and the congregation would sing. It is said that Mary’s strong voice stood out above the others in a harmonizing alto. Mary Elizabeth was supportive of her husband’s ministry and would ride with him to his church charges for Saturday and Sunday meetings, every Sunday for them, but only once a month to the churches as they made their rounds to his charges. Their home was near her parents on the north side of Town Creek in Choestoe District. There they farmed and went out to his churches on weekends.
The Rev. Smith Loransey Brown and Mary Elizabeth Souther Brown had nine children: John Brown (09-28-1871) married Lillie Woodring; Sarah Brown (02-18-1875) married Benson Hudson; James A. Brown (08-29-1877) died young; Joseph L. Brown (07-27-1879) married Ida Logan; Daniel Brown (07-02-1881) married Fannie Turner; Arvil Brown (04-03-1884) married Mary Nix; Ellen Brown (07-08-1886) married Joseph Johnson; Henry Brown (04-20-1891) married Myrtle Collesta Thomaston; and Mary Evelyn Brown (12-21-1895) married Avery Woodring.
At their deaths, the Rev. Smith Loransey Brown and his beloved wife, Mary Elizabeth Souther Brown, were interred at the New Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery, Choestoe. Rev. Brown had been pastor of that church. Mary’s grandfather, John Souther, had given land for the church and cemetery. Smith and Mary Brown’s eighth child, Henry Brown, became a Baptist minister, and served many churches in Union and Towns Counties, including First Baptist Church, Blairsville.
Jones; published Nov. 19, 2009 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.