Submitted by:
Greg Young

Hiram Brown was born in Georgia in 1799, and his wife was named Rebecca, who was born in 1800 in Georgia. He is listed in the 1840 Heard County, Georgia census, one of only two Browns in the old Georgia Military District 702-Houston. The Browns are found again in 1850 in the southwestern part of Heard County, next to the Alabama state line. The dwelling next to theirs in the census record housed most of their children, including Thomas Brown. He was already married, though his wife, Priscilla Ann Hill Brown, was living with her parents (William and Mary Talley Hill) and her first born son, William. Hiram was a mechanic, and perhaps lived with his wife in a room at his shop, while the children lived in the adjoining family home.

Hiram and Rebecca Brown are buried in a small family plot in a thicket west of the road, just south of O'Neal's Crossroads in Heard County. The Hills are buried in Old Western Cemetery near Glenn, Georgia (William, 11/22/1800 - 11/11/1881, and Mary [Talley], 1807 - 3/27/1888), which is out Tower Road.

Thomas and Priscilla moved to Randolph County, Alabama, in the mid-1850's, and built a house near the current Clay County line at Ophelia on Highway 48. The house is gone, but the homeplace is recognizable from the road leading to Harris Dam. Thomas was a carpenter, and built many houses in the area. According to his great-grandson, Thurron Young, he built the "Billy Brown House" for Isaac Young, who raised his family here before leaving the place to his daughter, Elsavada, and her husband, Billy (Thomas' son). He built Ike Young's smaller second home further west on Fox Creek. I have pictures made in the late 1960's, just weeks after it was torn down. Thomas and Ann's children were:

Thomas Brown also ran a tannery and a wool factory. Aunt Ruth Young Bagley remembered that shepherds from as far away as Florida came to have their sheep sheared and the wool processed at Brown's Factory. Ruth says he made shoes for the CSA, but that Confederate soldiers, angry he wasn't fighting, made off with him during the war. This was her version of how he came to "leave home."

However, this excerpt from Marilyn Davis Barefield's book, Historical Records of Randolph County, Alabama 1832-1900, is found on page 64. It is from a series of articles by J.M.K. Guinn which appeared in the "Randolph Toiler," from 1894 through 1896, and indicates Thomas Brown was still in the community well after the close of the war:

County Commissioners, 1872 - W.H. Culpepper, W.H. Osborn, W.D. Lovvorn, and T.N. Brown.

Thomas N. Brown lived near Clay county line, in the Ike Young or Dingler settlement, Fox Creek beat. He was a tenderfooted Republican and a good easy, clever kind of fellow; a man of good sense, sound judgement, honest intentions, with little energy. He had a noble, pleasant and amiable wife. She couldn't have been otherwise since she was a sister of John, Dick, George and Bud Hill and Mesdame Moses and Dock Hardy. Tom resigned shortly after his election and was living when last heard from.

Unfortunately, Ruth's story isn't entirely true, as Thomas was listed in the 1870 census, and was a Randolph County Commissioner in 1872. Thomas reportedly fathered a child in the Shinbone community (McCormick), then fled to Texas where he lived the rest of his life.

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Copyright 2001 Greg Young