Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Holbrook line: John Adam Brown, Jr.

Earlier I wrote about Adam's father, John Adam Brown who married Catherine Clapp in North Carolina and moved from there to Preble County, Ohio, where they both died.  Today is the day to write about his son, John Adam Brown, known as Adam, who was also a pioneer.  

Adam was born March 18, 1804 (probably a few days earlier, as this is his date of christening) in Guilford County, N.C.  When he was a toddler or very young boy, his parents moved to Preble County, Ohio, where they were very early settlers, and where they lived out their days on a farm. 

Adam married Phoebe Myers, daughter of Christopher Myers and Elizabeth Nation, on March 11, 1830 in Preble County.  The Myers family were also early settlers in the area, and Christopher was born in North Carolina also. It is unknown whether the two families knew each other from "way back", or whether it was coincidence that they arrived at the same place from the same general area of North Carolina.  At any rate, the two married. 

Shortly before the death of Adam Sr, Adam and Phoebe and son Christopher set off on their own.  They apparently traveled by themselves to the southern edge of what became Bloom Township, Cook County, Illinois.  They may have traveled to Elkhart County, Indiana, first, with Christopher and Phoebe Myers, and stayed there long enough to help them build their cabin and get some land cleared. Christopher and Phoebe stayed in Elkhart County, but Adam and Phoebe, along with son Christopher, moved on. 

When they came to Illinois in about 1833, the family settled on land at the intersection of the Vincennes Road and Sauk Road.  The Vincennes road was used by traders, merchants, and others traveling from the Vincennes area to the north, and the Sauk Road was primarily an Indian trail until others moving west started using it.  There surely must have been some interesting characters traveling on these roads! 

Adam went to work clearing land and building his home.  He first built a log cabin, but by 1838, when he purchased the land, he had built a "house" and planted an orchard.  He purchased land on all four corners of the intersection, which turned out to be the perfect place for an inn, which was apparently his next enterprise.  He evidently did rather well financially.  The 1850 census gives the value of his land as $4,800.  The state census in 1865 shows that he had livestock, grains, other products, and wool.  Possibly some of the other products included fruit from the orchard he had planted.  By 1870, he had real estate holdings worth $20,800 and his personal property was valued at $27,000.  It looks like this man was a hard worker, and his wife would have worked equally hard.

Adam is noted in the Cook County, Illinois History as having been a "Universalist" in religion, which was very different from the Lutheran upbringing of his childhood.  Universalists of the time generally believed that all would be eventually reconciled to God, thereby not acknowledging the Biblical doctrine of eternal damnation.  We don't know whether Phoebe shared these views, but since Fremont and Phoebe Holbrook were staunch Methodists, as were Phoebe Brown's parents, the Myers, it seems likely that Phoebe Brown may have gently led the children in another direction. 

Adam Brown died on March 3, 1893, in Will County, Illinois, where he had gone to live with family following the death of Phoebe on February 27, 1892. They are both buried in Crete Cemetery, Will County, very close to the lands they lived on for about 60 years.  The inn was carried on by family members until about 1906, and the intersection was known as Brown's Corners.

Their known children were Christopher, Lovina (first white child born in the township), Elizabeth, George, William, Sarah, Mary J, Phoebe, and Adam. 

The line of descent is:

Adam Brown-Phoebe Myers
Phoebe Myers-Fremont Holbrook
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Lois/Gladys/Ray/Howard Holbrook
children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren