Henry's 1873 Diary · Nancy's 1873 Diary

Ambrose & Matilda Brown’s Home

On April 21, 1873, Henry “Hank” Brown wrote the following in his diary:  Cloudy and raw. We went down to Fathers to day. I took a negative of the house to day. 

Since the first picture shows the women sitting outside, and the last three pictures show leaves on the trees, it’s not clear which one, if any, is the one that Hank took on that “cloudy and raw” April day.

Hard to tell for sure, but I believe the women are (from left to right) Julia Allen, Nancy (Keith) Brown, and Matilda (Allen) Brown.

Note the three trees in front of the house. My grandmother mentions them in a letter which is quoted further down in this post.



On May 30, 1873 Nancy (Keith) Brown delivered twin boys as can be seen in her diary for that date:

May 30 – Our Little Boys Born May 30. 1873
Died May 30. 1873

She didn’t write again in her diary until June 22, when she wrote as follows:

Jun 22 – Very warm. Sprinkled a little about noon. This is the first I have tried to write since my little Babys was born. They were born May 30th, one about nine and the other about ten oclock in the evening. One was dead when born, the [other] lived a bout two hours. Hank has gone to Lyons, went yesterday, will not be home till tomorrow. I am lonesom to day with out him. If my babys had lived it would not be so bad but that was not to be.

Then on June 24, among other things, she wrote that: Hank and I went out to see our Babys grave to night. It was the first time I had seen it.

The twins were buried at the foot of a tree near the horse trough on Ambrose & Matilda Brown’s land.


Sometime after Ambrose’s death in 1880, Matilda sold the farm. At the time of her death E. E. Galusha owned it. It is not known how much after that or the circumstances under which the farm fell into disrepair but a letter from Granddaughter Lela (Brown) Mueller to Warren Atkins dated October 27, 1958, describes the condition of the home in later years: “From there we drove to Grandpa Browns old home, the road is closed there so we had to go back to Schram’s Hill and take the new road. There is no road leading to the old Cemetery so the younger ones went through brush etc. to go there. Our stones were down, it will soon be forgotten as there is no road. At the Brown farm the trees and shrubs are so dence, not much that I could identify except the three big maple trees and the old watering trough. The woods south of the new road were so beautiful. The land is rented for one dollar an acre to a man who raises flowers, I think he lives in the old Randall home, but all is so changed.”

Here is my grandmother, Lela (Brown) Mueller, in 1958 when we visited the land where the farmsteads originally were. She is standing at the horse trough which was “near the tree” where the twins, who were her brothers, were buried.

My mother and I visited the area again in 1990. The first picture is the horse trough and the second picture is the basement of Ambrose & Matilda’s farmhouse — all that was left of the house.


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