Sunday, March 14, 2010
Grandpa and Grandma.....
Leroy Martin Brown married Mabel Zella Wheeler in July. 1913. They had three children, Marvin, Kenneth and Zella Marie Brown, my mother.
My Grandfather Leroy Brown was born in Illinois. I don't know the first name of his father as he died when Leroy was three years old. I know nothing about that side of the family other than the Great Grandfather Brown of mine who died, was married to a Rosella Mason. They had one other son besides Leroy. I have some documents to still figure out with this set of people and I think I do have the info, I just need to get it straightened out so I can understand it. It was all in my mother's things.
And no, this is not the person Jim Croce wrote about in his song "Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown." I will someday know the day Leroy was born as he is buried in the Macksburg, Iowa in the Moon Cemetery with my Grandmother. Leroy died in 1937.
My Grandmother, Mabel Zella Wheeler Brown was born in 1897. She was a sister to six brothers. I have a scant few pictures of her brothers, Weaver, Lee, Elga, Colis, Elva and one more unknown to me. I did know three of her brothers and their wives.
She was sixteen when she became married. They lived very poor lives moving from place to place. My mother said that she was at a different country school every year until she went into high school. In some ways I think maybe the rent was due and they had to move on. My Grandmother was the one that they called when babies were born. Mom said they would call on her and she would be gone sometime more than two weeks. She never got paid for it and it made things tough at home.
Her husband, my grandfather died in 1937 of TB, they would have been married 24 years. I don't know a lot about him but my brothers and I had a feeling that he was not a very successful man. From some of the stories, I know that he was a grave digger, but there must have other things that he worked at in his life. Some of his casual pictures makes me wonder if he was a gruff guy, or just plain need glasses.
I have a couple of cousins that do look like him and I believe his one son probably resembled him. Leroy is on the far right side of the group of fishermen.
Here is where the story gets more complicated. My great grandmother as I mentioned at the top was Rosella Mason Brown. She is the oldest woman in the picture in the front row. When her husband died, my great grandfather Brown, she then remarried to a man with the last name of Driver. She had five more children in that marriage.
In the picture above he, Mr. Driver, has already died as she is the only elder person in the photo. Under the second x from the left stands my grandma, Mabel Zella Brown Brooks. She remarried in 1943, the tall guy on the far right, Oscar Brooks. He was a widower with two children.
The guy leaning on the left is my mom's brother Kenneth, the guy with an x on the right in the back is her other brother Marvin, and in front of him is my Mom Zella.
So all those people in the picture are half cousins to my mom or their kids, all from my great grandma Driver. I haven't a clue who they all are.
My Grandmother Brown Brooks became a widower again in 1963. She cared for her second husband for twenty years out on a farm. He shared the farm with his one son. He had a stroke the last few years and she cared for him at home instead of putting him in a nursing home. After he died, she was left nothing from the farm as she was a step mom and the inheritance laws didn't defend wives back then. She got a thousand dollars from the family, bought herself a six hundred dollar house in Murray, Iowa. She died then in 1972 from cancer.
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