My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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NIXON GRADY BROWN. In collecting the pioneer history of Southern Ohio it is found that the Brown family, from whom sprang the subject of this notice, occupied a conspicuous place. They were people of steady habits, substantial and reliable, and uniformly stood well in the several communities where they located. He with whose name we introduce this sketch remains as one of their most honored representatives and during the later years of a useful and eventful life, is now living in quiet retirement at a pleasant home in Jamestown, of which he has been a resident since 1885.

From 1835 until 1885 Mr. Brown was a resident of Cedarville Township, Greene County, being located on Caesar’s Creek engaged in farming and stock-raising and also operated a sawmill. He improved a large tract of land, transforming it into a valuable and productive farm. The first advent of his father’s family here was in 1834. Prior to this, however, in 1832, Jacob Brown, leaving his native State of Virginia, visited Ohio, and after spending some time in looking the country over returned to the Old Dominion, and in the spring of 1834, not being able to abandon his idea of settling in the Buckeye State, came back and purchased two thousand acres of land, mostly unimproved and included in what is now Cedarville Township. He paid for this $8,000 in cash, which he had received for one hundred and sixty eight acres of improved land a few miles from the city of Leesburg, Loudoun County, Va. This purchase was formerly the property of the well-known Col. William Elsey.

In making the journey hither Jacob Brown traveled in true pioneer style, overland with teams, a four-horse wagon, a two-horse wagon and a carriage. The father rode on horseback and was accompanied by his four sons and four daughters, of whom Nixon G., our subject, was the youngest and is the only surviving son. The little band of emigrants made their way slowly over a thinly settled country, being sheltered at night usually under the roof of a primitive tavern, but frequently passing the night in their wagons and by their camp-fire. After a tedious journey of nearly four weeks, frequently over almost impassable roads, including Darby Plains, which was always dreaded by the travelers of those days, they arrived at their destination.

The father of our subject was a man weighing nearly two hundred and fifty pounds, and his ride on horseback proved particularly trying to him. Their location comprised a part of what is known as the Military Tract, and on the land thus taken up, only a few acres of which had been cleared, the father and sons at once set about the erection of a double log house in about the center of their possessions. This accomplished, they began to clear the land and till the soil. After years of arduous labor they found themselves the possessors of a comfortable home, with a large estate which was each year growing more valuable. Jacob Brown lived to see this large extent of land mostly under cultivation and embellished with good buildings. His children attained to mature years and some were married and settled in comfortable homes. The father departed this life January 22, 1860, when over eighty-four years old, having been born December 17, 1775.

Jacob Brown was born of Quaker parents and in the peaceable doctrines of this sect was reared and held to them during his entire life. He was married, December 14, 1800, in his native county, to Miss Judith Walters, who was born there August 8, 1781. She likewise was the daughter of Quaker parents and of English extraction. She proved in all respects the suitable partner of her husband, enduring patiently and cheerfully the hardships of pioneer life, was a devoted mother and reared her children in the way they should go. She passed away a few years prior to the decease of her husband, her death taking place May 27, 1856.

Of the eleven children born to the parents of our subject only two are living, Nixon G. and his sister, Mrs. Sarah J. Wilson, who lives in Springboro, Warren County, this State, and who is now seventy years old. Mr. Brown was born February 2, 1827, and was a lad of eight years when his parents came from the place where he was born, in Loudoun County, Va., to this State. He cannot remember the time when he spent his days in idleness, for all the children were required to make themselves useful as soon as large enough. He put his shoulder to the wheel in the clearing and cultivation of the large extent of land which his father purchased, and after reaching his majority became owner of three hundred and sixty-five acres. To this he gave his best efforts for years thereafter, cultivating the soil, putting up a fine set of buildings and effecting the improvements which have made it one of the most desirable estates in this part of the country. He still retains possession of this farm, which is now operated by his son-in-law and which affords him a handsome income.

The subject of this notice was married in Loudoun County, Va., May 12, 1853, to Miss Hannah P. Wilson. Mrs. Brown was born November 22, 1824, near Leesburg, Va., to William and Elizabeth (Nicholas) Wilson, who were residents the greater part of their lives in Loudoun County to which they had removed from Maryland. Mr. Wilson was a farmer by occupation and after his removal to Virginia located upon land from which he built up a good farm and there spent the remainder of his days, dying December 19, 1871, when seventy -seven years old. His wife, Elizabeth, passed away some years later, in May, 1874, at the age of seventy-six years. They were the parents of twelve children, four sons and eight daughters, most of whom lived to mature years, and five are yet surviving.

Mrs. Brown received careful training from pious parents, remaining with them until her marriage. Both she and her husband adhere loyally to the Quaker faith of their ancestors, although attending the churches of other denominations within their reach. Mr. Brown, politically, is a sound Republican. He was the first Vice President of the People’s Bank at Jamestown, of which he is now a Director and a large stockholder. Personally, he is a man of commanding presence with well-developed muscles, made so by healthy labor during youth and middle life, of which fact he has never been ashamed. He was never addicted to the use of intoxicating liquors or tobacco in any degree.

Mr. and Mrs. Brown are the parents of two children only, both daughters. Mary E. became the wife of Otis T. Wolford, and they reside on the old farm in Cedarville Township; Hattie married Dr. W. P. Madden, of Xenia. Mr. Brown retains in his possession his father’s old family Bible, which could scarcely be purchased at any price. He has also an illustrated handkerchief upon which is imprinted scenes in the life of Gen. Washington, which was given him by his aunt in Virginia, and which is many years older than himself.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

View additional Greene County, Ohio family biographies here: Greene County, Ohio Biographies

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