Friday, July 10, 2015

Dear Grandmother Newton,
Another of your great great granddaughters, Flora Dunlap Long, wondered about the origin of the Brown in your daughter, Helen Brown Newton's name. We, of course, wish we could ask you. Barring that, I will share my supposition.

Mary "Molly" Elizabeth (Clarke) Newton
b. 24 January 1847 White Lake, Michigan
d. 29 January 1929 Salem, Oregon
I believe that our great grandmother, Helen Brown (Newton) Cone, was named for your first cousin, Helen Marcia Hart, daughter of your maternal Aunt, Mary Crosby (Hornell) Hart. Helen, because of her marriage to Frank A. Brown, would have been known as Helen Brown when your daughter was born October 1, 1870.

Helen Brown (Newton) Cone
b. 1 October 1870 White Lake, Michigan
d. 20 January 1950 Coulee Dam, Washington
Your mother, Lydia (Hornell) (Ford) Clarke, and Mary Crosby (Hornell) Hart were among the five known children born to George and Sarah (Thacher) Hornell. Their brothers, George Thompson Hornell, William Duncan Hornell and Hastings Hornell, all died before they were 30 leaving no known descendants. The sisters were close though separated by distance.

Lydia (Hornell) (Ford) Clarke
b. 4 November 1819 Hornellsville, New York
d. 1 February 1893 Worthington, Minnesota
Mary Crosby (Hornell) Hart
b. 4 April 1824 perhaps Hornellsville, New York
d. 10 November 1875 Cleveland, Ohio
As the oldest child of Albert and Mary Hart, Helen was very aware of what was happening when her father went to serve as a surgeon with the 41st Ohio Infantry. In less than six months, half of the regiment was killed or wounded at the Battle of Shiloh. The letters Albert wrote home must have been filled with the gruesome details. Today, we can read about Helen's feelings during courtship, her early marriage, her relationship with her mother and news from the Civil War as her diary was donated to the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College presumably by her brother, Albert Bushnell Hart, long time Professor of History at Harvard. I haven't yet read her entries but several authors have quoted from them in their own books.

Helen Marcia (Hart) (Brown) Wright
b. 28 September Clarksville, Pennsylvania
d. before Jul 1887 Hillsdale, Michigan
drawing form Hart, Albert Bushnell and Elizabeth Stevens.
The Romance of the Civil War. New York. Macmillan, 1914, p. 4.
She was used to epitomize the 'Northern Belle."
Helen married Frank A. Brown 17 November 1864 in Cleveland. Her father had completed his service with the 41st Ohio on November 9th but it is not known if he was home in time to give the bride away. She was widowed in 1867. I have not discovered the exact circumstances of the death of her husband but did find an item in the 15 November 1867 Cleveland Plain Dealer reporting on the shooting death of a Frank Brown in Nilea, Michigan. Perhaps, one of the cousins reading this blog will know the story of his death. 

So in 1870, it must have seemed natural to honor your cousin by naming your daughter for her. Sure wish you could tell me if my supposition is correct.


P. S.  Love that each of the women is this story is sporting the same center part hair style.

P.P. S. Helen Marcia Hart was not widowed long. She married Rev. Walter Eugene C. Wright
4 April 1872 in Cleveland, Ohio and they went on to have four children: Clara, Mary, Hornell and Albert.

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