Category Archives: George and Esther Brown

The Brown Families of Hastings County, Ontario

Sign Post entering Hastings County on the Trans Hwy

Sign Post entering Hastings County on the Trans Hwy

On this blog I have shared some information about the Browns who settled in Hastings County, Ontario.  I have focused on George Brown because he was my line.  I then shared about his son Richard Brown who married Emma Ward and moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

George and Esther Brown migrated from Hastings County to Lambton County and then onto Lapeer County in Michigan and died there.  I traveled to these locations in the Fall of 2014 and shared about those visits in this blog.  They had at least 10 children and I only come down from one line: Richard the 8th child.  There is quite a bit more to share on other collateral lines and it is truly a Canadian Story.

A brother, Henry Brown also migrated to Lambton County, Ontario and settled there.  He and his family are buried in Oil Springs which is south of Petrolia.  I have shared about Henry and Margaret (Orr) Brown’s family and featured their tombstones on this blog.  I feel that I have covered Henry Brown and his life pretty well.

I have not really shared about the families of the other two brothers that we know about out of the 11 children that are supposed to have been born to William and Elsie/Alice Brown.  I have shared the burial information about William Brown in past posts.

Hastings County Views

Hastings County Views

The two other brothers are Thomas and Phillip Brown, who settled in Hastings County and stayed there are buried there in the St. Thomas Anglican Church Cemetery (destroyed) and Stirling Cemetery.  I have placed memorials and tombstones when possible on Find A Grave at both Stirling Cemetery and the Saint Thomas Anglican Church Cemetery in Belleville.

Thomas Brown married Mary Johnston lived and stayed in Hastings County.  They had four children.  After Thomas died in 1848 Mary remarried to Thomas Vance and had four more children.

North of Stirling

North of Stirling

Phillip Brown also stayed in Hastings County marrying Margaret McMurray. They had about 10 children.

I cannot claim credit for all this research because my cousin Bob a descendant of one of George and Esther’s children and sister to my Richard by the name of Matilda Jane Brown was his inspiration for digging and finding these Browns. I would not have had the patience and I am so very grateful he has been very kind and shared his research with me and given me permission to share.  I have taken it and expanded it and added in other researchers.  Bob did this all by correspondence and I have found evidence of his paper trail as I made my way across Ontario.

It has not been easy, the surname of Brown can be very difficult to research because of the use of repeated first names like: Thomas.  Hopefully I have cleaned up the confusion and found enough information that further research can be done by descendants.  The loss of earlier records has also made the process difficult.

I do want to encourage that you take what has been shared and revisit it and double check it.  I am also willing to make changes and updates so if you think I have not quite gotten the information correct please contact me via the comments and let’s make it right.

Ontario Wanderings: Peterborough & Trent University

It was time to bust out of Toronto and head for Peterborough.  The Anglican Diocese of Toronto suggested that I look at the St. John Anglican Church Recorders which were very old and they might have what I am looking for. There were microfilms at the Trent University Archives in Peterborough and I decided that was easier and on my way then trying to figure out how to get down into downtown Toronto.

There is also the Trent Valley Archives and the Kawartha Ancestral Research Association in Peterborough.  I decided that I could probably do the University and the Trent Valley and still make it to Belleville.  It was pushing it but I was game.

Well it took forever to get out of Toronto.  I was on Steeples for miles till it turned in to Hwy 4.  Then I continued to follow it out till I got to Hwy 115 and turned north to Peterborough.  Hwy 115 is a nice two lane highway and it was a relief to not have someone right on my bumper.

The highway took me around the town of Peterborough so I had to backtrack on Lansdowne still I found my way to Waters Street and that took me the St. John’s Anglican Church.

St. John's Church Plaque

St. John’s Church Plaque

St. John's Church Petersborough

St. John’s Church Peterborough

St. John's Church in Petersborough

St. John’s Church in Peterborough

From there I headed up Waters to the Trent University and found the Bata Library on the western side way in the back area by the bookstore.  You enter the western side of the campus and follow the road an keep going a good mile before you find the rest of the campus.  It is very spread out.

Bata Library, Trent University

Bata Library, Trent University

Be careful, you are required to pay and display your parking ticket.  Once again it double charged me. Grrrr….

The Archives are in the basement of the Bata Library.

Archives at the Bata Library Tren University

Archives at the Bata Library Tren University

When I entered the archive room I told the archivist that my name and they knew nothing about my visit. They were amiable and helpful.  They had me sign some forms and handed me the St. John Anglican microfilms.  I was to go upstairs to the Media Room and read them there where they had the microfilm reader.

St. John's Church Records

St. John’s Church Records


The Media room was on the 2nd floor well past the reference desk on the other side of the dark green wall.  The microfilm readers are behind the big microfilm cabinets in the corner next to the copy machines in bright light with a really uncomfortable chair.

I started with reel number 1 and studied the entries.  I had to use my magnifying glass because they were the black on white writing.  Sad to say I did not find Richard’s baptismal record nor did I find any Brown surnames.  Richard is my great grandfather on my mother’s mother’s side. So based on that information my theory that 2nd great grandfather George Brown had been there in Petersborough was probably not correct.

Since I did not find a baptismal record for Richard Brown my great grandfather in the St. John Anglican Records I decided not to go to the Trent Valley Archives because they would charge me $25.00 for researching and I didn’t really think I would find anything of use?

Once I had spent time scrolling through the church records I returned them to the Archives room before their lunch break from 12:30 to 1 pm.  I then stopped for a sandwich at the coffee stand in the library and headed back to my car.

My next stop was Marmora where I had been before and it is on Hwy 7 or the Trans Canadian Highway. Once there I would head south to Stirling.  I would be back in familiar territory Hastings County.

Note:  I have misspelled Peterborough and hopefully I have fixed it all.

Michigan Wanderings: Fox Farm Cemetery

I left the town of Lapeer at about 3 pm and it took a while to get to the Fox Farm Cemetery. I went east on Genesse for about 12 miles and then turned north from Imlay on Hwy 53 for another 12 miles.  So that is a little over 22 miles to Brooks Road in Burnside one way.  The point is that George and Esther Brown lived on the northeast corner of Lapeer County in Burnside Twp. and it is not that close to Lapeer.  I am wondering if I shouldn’t study neighboring counties for information on them – Sanilac and St. Clair.

Brooks Road came up on my GPS and I turned onto a semi gravel paved road.  I could see the cemetery to the south in the distance but had no idea of how I was going to get to it.  I found a green road (grassy road) cut into the field along a fence.  It had been raining so I was a little concerned about getting stuck but I did good.  This is on private property so please be respectful.  Someone is taking care of it and that is good news.

Fox Farm Cemetery Road

Fox Farm Cemetery Road

It was cold and I had to put my new jacket on over the one I had to get warm and I didn’t know where my gloves were.  I proceeded to take photos but my hands were suffering.

Overview of Fox Farm Cemetery

Overview of Fox Farm Cemetery

Much to my dismay someone had spray painted at least three of the tombstones on the east row.


I have informed Mr. Hart about this situation, I hope he can make sure it is stopped.

A defaced Tombstone

A defaced Tombstone

I found George and Esther Brown’s tombstone on the west side of the cemetery. Someone had repaired it for I have seen very bad photos of it in the past where it was in the ground and almost covered?

George & Esther Brown's Tombstone

George & Esther Brown’s Tombstone

Me with George & Esther's Tombstone

Me with George & Esther’s Tombstone

Yes, I am cold as you can see.  George and Esther are my 2nd great grandparents on my mother’s mother’s side.  There are more Browns in this cemetery but it was too cold and they were difficult to read.  More about this cemetery in a future post.

Michigan Wanderings: Lapeer County, Ontario

After crossing the border I got on I-69 west to Lapeer.  There was lots of construction going on around Port Huron and it was a little confusing.  It was overcast and a few sprinkles but not bad.  Looking ahead to the horizon there were these rather nasty clouds and I worried that I was heading for another storm but it was going to be okay.

I-69 was a good road and I made good time.  I was reading the road signs as usual and it said 60 mph.  I paused, and then realized no more kilometers.  I was back in the USA!  I put my Canadian money away for safe keeping and pulled out the dollars.

My goal was the Lapeer County Heritage Museum and the Lapeer County Genealogical Research Centre but first I needed to print out some of my booklets which take up too much room in the luggage and are too heavy for the airplane.

I have been peppering all of Ontario and Quebec with my condensed version of my blogs the Boardmans and Browns and The Man Who Lived Airplanes.  I also add some descendency charts and other materials in the back of the booklet.  I give copies to various archives and explain what it is about.  I also add a pamphlet of my other blogs to explain what I am doing.

When you travel and try to find services it can be a challenge but I spied an Office Depot on the corner after I had taken a drive up Main Street.  So I turned in.  I tried the self-serve copiers but ran into trouble so the sales lady assisted and she couldn’t figure out what was going on with the copier. I ended up having them print out my 3 copies.  Meanwhile, I talk to the salesman about my misbehaving mouse and he said it could be a number of things like it needs knew drivers…hmmmm?.

After my copies were done I punched them and put them into the booklet covers.  I decided to just buy a new wireless mouse.  I had a bad feeling about my current mouse.   As it turned out the old one died that day and so I immediately installed the new one and what a difference. HA!

Lapeer Historical & Lapeeer Genealogical Society

Lapeer Historical & Lapeer Genealogical Society

These two organizations are in the one building on the north corner of W. Nepessing St. and Mason.  There is a small parking lot on the east side.

Mr. Hart greeted me and knew who I was.  He showed me the room that was set aside for the genealogical society and as usual it is always small.  He told me that he was the President and this was his creation being the founding father of the society.  He also mentioned that they had more records that they could not fit into the little room.  He was very proud of this society.  He has a right to it was excellent.

One of the former Presidents and volunteers was there to assist me and she was very good. I wanted to know where the Fox Farm Cemetery was so I would not be wandering all of Lapeer County in search of it.  So they both helped me to figure out its location.

Someone has spent a great deal of time indexing the newspapers of the area and it is amazing.  The volunteer and I spent the time trying to find George and Esther Brown. There were a lot of references to Esther and the guardianship which I have featured here on this blog in past posts.  George was more elusive and again we found a two line obituary notice for him stating that Mr. Brown died.  It didn’t even mention his first name. Sigh!

We studied atlas’ and more.  It was a good day of research.  I thanked them both, gave a little contribution to cover my copies and more and said goodbye.  They had my booklet so I was happy.

Time for lunch. I thought it would be fun to eat at a cafe on the main area of their downtown and found another Sam’s –Sam’s Coney Island?

Nepssing Street in Lapeer

W. Nepessing Street in Lapeer

It was still early enough for me to head for the Fox Farm Cemetery.  My lodging at the Best Western on Western Ave off of the Main street south of Genesse’s Street could wait.