This column is part of a feature series which focuses on a different Centre County family each week.
This column's focus is on BROWN. An effort has been made to identify all persons carrying that name in the 1890 U.S. Census, using the Centre County business directory which was formed from a preliminary review of that census before the larger set of 1890 U.S. Census records was destroyed by fire. (Sadly, the postal directory does not typically provide the ages of females, but it's the best record we've got).
Three books in the Pennsylvania Room of the Centre County Library in Bellefonte deal at some length with this family. They are Maribel Hildebrand's Climbing the Brown and Reed Family Tree and Related Branches (Tyrone, Pa., 1986); Dwight Miller's Historical Notes; the Pennsylvania and Ohio Barr-Brisbin-Brown-Clifford-Horner-McTeer-Miller- Moorhead-Osborn-Thompson Families, Extending over Thirteen Generations, 1600-1973 (Camp Hill,Pa., 1973); and, Robert Shannon's Matthew Brown: Ancestry and Descendants (Brooklyn, N.Y., 1900).
There are 92 different first-name entries for Brown in John Blair Linn's History of Centre and Clinton County (1883). In addition, there are many references to the Brown name in Beers' Commemorative Biographical Record of Central Pennsylvania (1898) with the following person (with an identifiable Centre County connection) having a separate profile: CLARK Brown (b. 1822, s/o Andrew and Sarah Clark).
The earliest Brown to appear in a U.S. census record for Centre County was a Thomas Brown, in 1800. According to the 1860 U.S. census conducted in Centre County, Brown was then the 9th most common name in the county. According to the 1998-99 Centre County Telephone Directory, Brown was the 4th most common name in the county. And, according to the 1990 U.S. Census, Brown was the 5th most common name in the United States.
And, now, your ancestors' BROWN neighbors in 1890:
In BELLEFONTE BOROUGH:
Charles F., 80--14 Pine Charles 35 Edward, merchant--6 West Bishop Annie Edward A., 34, merchant--2 West Bishop Mary Katie Edward 1 Edward J., 28, fireman--22 East Logan Maggie May Emanuel, prop, Fountain House--corner Bishop and Allegheny Rebecca T. Clayton 22 Jennie V. Helen--3 West Logan Mary J. Arthur Jr. 3 Anthony F. 10 mos. Henry, 26, laborer--12 Eat Logan Jane--208 East Howard Lizzie--30 East Logan Lizzie
In BENNER TOWNSHIP:John, 22, laborer--Bellefonte William, 16, laborer--Bellefonte
In BOGGS TOWNSHIP:Simon, 23, laborer--Milesburg Mary Rosie Anna
In COLLEGE TOWNSHIP:Charles R., 22, laborer--State College
In FERGUSON TOWNSHIP:Dora--Penna Furnace William H. 14 Sarah R. Samuel B. 6 Wilson D. 4 Benjamin H. Ira C., 37, lumberman--Penna Furnace Annie L. M--a James H. 11 Dorcas Nancy Sarah V. David M. 6 mos.
In GREGG TOWNSHIP:Emanuel, 54, laborer--Spring Mills Anna Julia A. Edward 9 George W. 14 Wallace B. 17 Lizzie J. Jerome 2 Nathaniel, 52, mason--Farmers Mills Annie Willis 26 Della C. Bessie Ralph H. 2 Rachael--Spring Mills William P. 38 Samuel M., 28, laborer--Spring Mills Etta A. Theodore F. 3 Mabel R. William G., 43, lumberman--Spring Mills Elizabeth A. Gertrude Edith V. Edward 11
In HAINES TOWNSHIP:Samuel, 78, retired--Aaronsburg Rebecca
In HALF-MOON TOWNSHIP:Jedokiah, 75, mail carrier--Loveville
In HARRIS TOWNSHIP:Benjamin F., 67, farmer--Boalsburg Elizabeth E. Mary H. Frank O. 18 Floy I. Bella M. Mabel C. Lloyd E., 29, farmer--Linden Hall Elizabeth Laura E. Sallie M. Baby 1 mo.
In HOWARD TOWNSHIP:George W., 41, laborer--Mt. Eagle Mary M. William H. 23 Elizabeth
In HUSTON TOWNSHIP:George M., 55, farmer--Martha Catharine Caton 19 Annie Minnie Benjamin 12 Albert 9 Eva
In LIBERTY TOWNSHIP:Benjamin, 28, laborer--Blanchard Sophia M. Frank, 42, laborer--Blanchard Susan C. Sarah B. Bertha M. Bert S. 8 Martha L. Philip B. 4 William F. 2
In MARION TOWNSHIP:Martha--Walker
In MILESBURG BOROUGH:Edward H., 27, fireman Annie C. Calvin E. 2 mos. Robert H., 33, puddler Anna John A. 11 Clarence 9 Homer 5 Estella William D., 35, laborer Esther E. John H. 9 Charles C. 7 William H. 4
In MILLHEIM BOROUGH:Henry, 52, blacksmith Elizabeth Luella Elbry E. 18 Theodore H. 16 Edward M.
In PHILIPSBURG BOROUGH:George W., 49, teamster--Pine Street Phoebe E. William B. 21 Elvia Isaac, 46, laborer--6th Street Jane Thomas E. 7 Catharine Joseph, 15--Pine Street Lizzie--3rd Street Louisa--Pine Street Willamina Stanfield 13 Lucy E.--12th Street Mary L.
In POTTER TOWNSHIP:Franklin B., 33, laborer--Tusseyville Mary A. James F. 3 John 6 mos. Joel C., 44, farmer--Tusseyville Mary J. Margaret Samuel E. Cora
In RUSH TOWNSHIP:John G., 56, laborer--Philipsburg Sophia Francis J. 14
In SNOW SHOE TOWNSHIP:Agnes--Peal Robert 17 Ellis T.--Moshannon John D., 27, laborer--Snow Shoe Sarah A. Mary A. Rachael C. Thomas D. 8 mos. William P., 31, cler--Snow Shoe Lydia L.
In SPRING TOWNSHIP:John, 37, laborer--Axemann Catharine M. Edward E. William W. 11 Lillie A. Maggie M. Harry O. 2 Gertie A.
In UNION TOWNSHIP:George, 44, laborer--Milesburg Annie S. Harry O. 16 Charles M. 7 Agnes V. Calvin E. 5 James F., 46, farmer--Fleming Agnes Ann Phoebe E. Nora A. James L. 11 George W. 9 Ira W. 5 Laura E.
In UNIONVILLE BOROUGH:James F., 50, contractor Sarah C. Elizabeth E.
In WALKER TOWNSHIP:Henry, 68, merchant--Hublersburg Julia A.