WALTER ALFRED BROWN
June 2, 1884 - March 10, 1982
Walter, as he was called by all of his friends and all that knew him, was born in Pledger, Matagorda County, Texas, on June 2, 1884. Walter lived in Pledger until 1896 when he moved to Sugar Valley, Texas, with his parents. He attended school in Wharton, Texas. He grew up on his father's sugar plantation and learned the secret of successful sugar and syrup making from his father.
Some of his memories were told to his daughter, Margery May Brown Noster and son, Jack Odell Brown.
The first Post Office in Pledger was one and one-half miles west of Pledger on the Wharton and Matagorda county line. The Post Office was operated by Dr. J. W. Brown. Alfred Brown had a drug store and cotton gin. These Browns were no relation. Alfred married a Miss Pledger.
He recalled a small settlement on the banks of Caney and a railroad that was called Podo. This was about five miles south of Pledger. The settlement got its name from one of Mr. Duncan's slaves. He was a tall, heavily built man with shiny black skin and red eyes. He wore very little clothing and went barefoot year round. His name was Podo and that was the only word he could speak. Mr. Duncan had quite a large acreage and a large white house with lots of red roses; a store; quarters for the slaves; and a cattle pen on the railroad so cattle could be shipped. There was also both a white and a slave cemetery on the plantation.
He recalled a colored family that lived in Ashwood and had a farm of fifty acres on or near Linnville Creek. Walter called it the "briar patch" because there were so many briar berries. The family's name was Cockrell. He said, "Jim Cockrell had the best and sweetest watermelons and sweet potatoes any place around." They used to hunt bear in the thicket. Jim's wife was a school teacher at the Mount Olive Baptist Church.
He said Mr. Chastun, a near neighbor, had the coldest well water.
The first post office between Pledger and Hardeman, near Van Vleck, was Ashwood Post Office, opened and operated out of J. Fisher Smith's store by Mrs. Anton (Mittie) D. Hansen from September 21, 1910 until May 9, 1916. Walter would catch a ride on the freight train going to Wharton and drop off at Ashwood for the mail, then he would walk back to Sugar Valley. Sometimes a blue norther or a downpour would catch him before he got back home.
He recalled the John Rugeley plantation on Caney Creek behind their place near Ashwood and two little Rugeley girls who were born there and a Dr. Rugeley who gave him a pill one time when he had a toothache.
Walter's father built a small 20 x 30 building for a store. The lumber was shipped from Palacios, Texas, and cost $250.00. The store was operated by Walter and his brother, Theodore "Dozier."
Van Vleck was growing at this time. It boasted a drug store, meat market, pool hall, hotel, barber shop and a lumber yard.
On March 4, 1917, Walter was married to Miss Reba Whiddon, daughter of Mr. Robert L. and Mrs. Margery (McDade) Whiddon, formerly of Alabama. They were married in Chappell Hill, Texas in Washington County. They had five children.
George Robert Brown (September 17, 1918 -
February 29, 1984) was buried in Van Vleck Roselawn Cemetery. George
Robert married Miss Edna Lou Poole in June, 1940. They had two sons,
George R. Brown, Jr. "Bob" and James C. Brown "Jimmy." Both reside
in Bay City, Texas. George R. served in the Army
Margery May Brown married A. Woodrow Noster October 9, 1939. They have two sons, Robert William Noster and Ronny Jay Noster.
Thomas Theodore Brown (August 21, 1924 - January 27, 1995) remained single. He joined in partnership with Ernest and Marguerite Reiman ranching at Sargent, Texas after service in the army during World War Two.
Walter Alfred Brown, Jr. (June 2, 1928 - August 16, 1982) was buried in Van Vleck Roselawn Cemetery. "W. A." was born on his father's birthday, therefore given the junior. Walter Alfred Brown, Jr. "W. A." married Miss Reba Anderson in 1949. They had two sons, Gayle Wayne Brown and Allen Lane Brown, both live in Sugar Valley at the home place. He worked for George R. Brown Lease Service, Inc.
Jack Odell Brown married Miss Marilyn Barlow February 17, 1961. They have one daughter, Sharilyn Brown Ross. Jack Odell lives in Sugar Valley at the home place. He served in the Army during the Korean War for two years with eighteen months of duty in Berlin, Germany. Jack has now worked for George R. Brown Lease Service, Inc. for thirty-five years.
Mrs. Reba Whiddon Brown preceded her husband, Walter A. Brown in death (June 30, 1891 - August 16, 1960) and was buried in Van Vleck Roselawn Cemetery.
Walter's parents settled in Sugar Valley in
1896, where he lived until his death on March 10, 1982, at the age
of ninety-eight. Keenly devoted to his family, Mr. Brown found his
principal interest centered around his family, home and farm. He was
our dear Van Vleck school bus drive for years.
Area businessman, local rancher and contractor George Robert Brown,
Sr. of Sugar Valley died in Wharton today.
In addition to his business interests, he was a civic leader. He was past president of the Bay City Lions Club, Bay City Chamber of Commerce and the Bay City Country Club.
Copyright 2006 -
Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
Jan. 11, 2006
Jan. 11, 2006