Friday, December 2, 2011

Genealogy Lessons Part Two

          There were so many interesting stories it was hard deciding where to start. Remember this was back in the early 1990s. The internet was really in its infancy and genealogy research usually had to be done the old fashioned way. I was also in my infancy as far as genealogy was concerned. I did know how to do research however.
          So I decided to try to prove my Grandfather Brown's connection to John Brown, the abolitionist. If he was a nephew, I had to find all of John Brown's siblings. Before I was through, I knew an awful lot about John Brown's family, but did not find any that could be the father of my Edwin. I also learned one of the cardinal rules of genealogy; Always start with the known and work back in time. I put the papers about "Uncle John who is mouldering in his grave" in my archives just in case someone discovers something new.
          I am going to quote the next paragraphs from the "Jackson Citizen Patriot" newspaper in 1952.
   "The Jackson octogenarian has had an eventful career. After he was graduated from the University of Michigan in 1880, he was taken by the governor of Michigan to see President James A. Garfield in Washington, and there Brown received the appointment of United States marshal, assigned to the states west of the Mississippi river. He held that post for 18 years and six months, working principally out of Denver, Colo. and Phoenix, Ariz. and in conjunction with the 16th United States cavalry.
    "He helped put down an oriental dope ring on the border between Canada and the United States, he saw outlaw gangs come and go in the Middle West, and he had met Col. William F. (Buffalo Bill) Cody many times. in fact, they belonged to the same Masonic lodge at Denver.
   "Once, Brown recalls,  he was shot at from ambush 35 miles from Reeder Fort, Wyo. His horse was killed and he was struck in the left leg, He doesn't know who fired upon him, or why."
            I had help from some of my cousins who attended U of M as they did a lot of looking and could find no record of our Grandpa attending the University. Then I finally found his family in the U S Census of 1880 and Edwin was 11 years old, a little young to be graduating and appointed a marshal. As for knowing Buffalo Bill, I called the Masons in Jackson, Detroit, and Denver and none of them had any records of Edwin Brown. Another cousin, who lived in Wyoming, called the Buffalo Bill museum and they checked their list of over 100 people who knew Buffalo Bill and were invited to the opening of the museum. No Edwin Brown on the list.
            As for being a U S Marshal, I went to the original records at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. I was directed down a long hall to an old elevator in which I rode to the seventh floor and walked down another hall to the office where they kept the records and reports of the U S Marshals. Thankfully they had an index, but no mention of Edwin Brown. The kindly man who was helping me, smiled and said,"Lots of men dreamed that they were U S Marshals".
            All I can say right now is my grandpa sure had a good imagination and must have been a good reader. Stay tuned to this blog. "You ain't heard nothin yet."


  1. We aren't related, even through your Grandpa Brown, but I'll be back to find out more. Fun stories and good lessons for all of us in genealogy!

  2. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"

  3. Welcome to the Genea Bloggers Community. I look forward to reading more about your family stories.

  4. It sounds like Grandpa liked to spin a good yarn.
    Keeps the grandkids smiling :-)
    Keep searching - a kernel of truth may have planted the tall tale.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

  5. Sounds like you've done some fun and interesting research - looking forward to your unfolding story!