Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Elias Brown, Esq.

Photo by Brian Zoldak, 2016, used with permission
Elias Brown, Esq (link to larger photo)

Moving on to the second Brown plot, side-by-side with the last, we find the same arrangements of a monument with headstones surrounding it. But, in this case, the monument has all four sides of carved plaques with the name and full dates of those buried here.

Information about Elias Brown, Esq's (1786-1861) life came from Wheeler's History of Stonington and from the Burrows Genealogy (p. 1107) referenced earlier. Elias Brown, Esq. was a graduate of Brown University and then he was a lawyer and a member of the New London bar. (It states that his father, also named Elias Brown (1745-1806) was a ship builder and owner of ships.)

Elias Brown, Esq.'s profession also included being the President of Mystic Bank, chartered in 1833. This bank known as the (granite) Stone House was on 175 acres of land inherited from his father-in-law, Enoch Burrows. Years later, this building became the "Counting House" at the Mystic Seaport. I remember this building from a visit there!

Elias and his family lived in two houses that he built, which are described in the Burrows genealogy. It is suggested that the design was influenced by his travels. The older one was made of pink and gray granite. (Well, this is granite in my blood!)

Elias's wife, Mary Louisa Burrows (1798-1868) produced many children but sadly, many died young. Elias and Mary Louisa were married in May 1816 in Mystic, CT. For a time, this family lived in Brooklyn, NY where they both died. This is another prominent Mystic family that returned to be buried in Elm Grove Cemetery.

Lineage (from Burrows genealogy)

  • Mary Louisa Burrows (Enoch, Rev. Silas, Amos, John, John, Robert)
  • Elias Brown, Esq (Elias, Capt. John, John, John and Edward)


From this research, I have determined that this is NOT one of my "direct lines" of Brown, but a related family nonetheless.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Frederic Denison


Photo by Brian Zoldak, 2016, used with permission
Photo by Brian Zoldak, 2016, used with permission


There are many men buried in this cemetery (Elm Grove Cemetery, Mystic, CT) that are named Fredric Denison but the rest of them are buried in the Denison plot and not within the circle of this "Brown" plot. I call this Brown Plot 1.

Fortunately, this Frederic Denison is identified on the back of this headstone as the son of Isaac Wheeler Denison and his wife Eunice B. (Eunice Eldridge BURROWS) He was already in my family tree because he is my first cousin 3x removed. The Burrows genealogy lists both his upline Denison and Burrows lineage. 

Frederic went into business with his father in the mercantile business in Mystic, named I.W. Denison. Isaac Wheeler Denison was the brother of my 2nd great grandmother, Eliza Fish Denison, wife of Dudley W. Stewart. 

It was great to read that Frederic took over the business in Mystic when his father died in 1895 and that he was an incorporator and trustee of Groton Savings Bank.

Frederic died in 1935. My great grandparents and grandparents knew this couple.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Mary Fanny Brown

Photo by Brian Zoldak, 2016, used with permission

Photo by Brian Zoldak, 2016, used with permission

Mary Fanny Brown Denison

Mary Fanny Brown, was the daughter of Elias Billings Brown and his wife Eliza Avery. As custom dictates, she is buried with a headstone that gives her married name, except that her first, middle and maiden name are listed in their initial form. The back side of her headstone lists her as Frederick Denison's wife but not as a daughter of Elias and Eliza.  This is because she was a married woman.

Mary Fanny married Frederic Denison (my first cousin, 3x removed) on 8 Mar 1882. This date is the same in the Burrows and the Denison genealogies. She was 25.

In the 1880census, she is living in with her parents and is listed with the common occupation of "at home" which means she is not in school or employed.  Her brothers, E. Everett and Charles are living there and are both employed.  This family had a live in female twenty year old named servant. Elias and his son work in the insurance agency business.

In 1900, Mary Fanny and her husband have one child together, Eliza Frances Denison which was the reason that I wanted to be sure that this child (as Eliza F. Denison) was NOT my ancestor.

I don't have an exact date of death for Mary Fanny Brown Denison, just a year. She was 76 years old at death.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday; Headstone Style

Photo by Brian Zoldak, 2016, used with permission

Photo by Brian Zoldak, 2016, used with permission
Headstone Style

In this plot, all of the headstones are the same style. The top of each headstone has the person's name and just the  years of birth and death. This is Stephen Avery Brown's headstone.

The back side of the headstone shows the relationship to the parents (whose names appear on the large "rock" monument) or in the case of a married couple, husband or wife "of". 

The top is very exposed to the weather and is hard to read but unless the stone sinks into the ground or is damaged by grass mowing, the back side is quite readable. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Eliza A. Avery



Photo by Brian Zoldak, 2016, used with permission

Eliza A. AVERY
wife of Elias Billings Brown
 The Burrows Genealogy lists her lineage as Eliza (Stephen, Elder Park, Ebenezer, Lt. James, James, Christopher AVERY)

Eliza was born 23 March 1821 to Stephen Avery and Fanny Barnes. She married on 10 May 1838 and died 20 Feb 1893.

She and Elias had five children:  Stephen Avery Brown (1841-1918), Kate Brown (1844-1920), Elias Everett Brown (1849-1913), Mary Fanny Brown (1856-1932) and Charles Brown (1859-1901). Their headstones list the years of their birth and death. 

Kate and Charles died unmarried. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Elias Billing Brown's Life

Photo by Brian Zoldak, 2016, used with permission

Elias Billings Brown's Life



EBB (also called Billings) lived an interesting life and it is sad that the headstones in this Brown plot are so hard to read. I decided not to try to enhance them (which is time consuming)  so instead I looked at what is posted at Find a Grave, which is how non- genealogists and genealogists look for gravestones. I found this entry with a photograph taken by Joanna Case.

The plot that I identified as Brown Plot One is plot 12-498. In huge cemeteries it is handy to know this and I like that people are adding the plot numbers to Find-A-Grave memorials. 

The first document that I located that was not a vital record or census page, it was a Passport for him with a description of this wealthy and prominent Mystic native. 

On 16 Nov 1857 at age 40 in Brooklyn, New York, EBB was six feet tall, had blue eyes a Roman nose, a medium mouth, a round chin, light complexion and brown hair. On 1 July 1863 he registered for the draft for the Civil War also in Brooklyn New York. 

Elias Billings Brown was the son of Elias Brown, Esq. and his wife Mary Louisa Burrows. He was one of nine children.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Elias Billings Brown Monument

Photo by Brian Zoldak, 2016, used with permission

Photo by Brian Zoldak, 2016, used with permission

This is the Elias Billings Brown monument with the simple birth and death dates of he and his wife, Eliza Avery.

Elias Billings Brown was the son of Elias Brown and his wife Mary Louisa Burrows. The Burrows genealogy (which is only at Ancestry.com) was published in 1975 and on the back side of this title page gives the author's address. I easily found an obituary for him and he passed away on 17 Dec 1993.

 It is typewritten and contains dates of death for some persons that I can't verify as yet.



Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Eliza Frances Denison

Tombstone Tuesday: Eliza Frances Denison
wife of John A. Schoonover


Photo by Brian Zoldak, 2016, used with permission

Before I asked Brian Zoldak if he had photographed these "Brown" gravestones, I had a heart-stopping moment when I looked at some research done a long time ago about my 2nd great grandmother, Eliza Fish Denison. The researcher made an understandable error because she couldn't find my Eliza in the 1850 census living with her parents and siblings. 


From my notes, I remembered that it was because she was living with another family, relatives of her mother, Levina Fish, wife of Isaac Denison. Tracing women with the name Eliza and Denison became a challenge for a few days just to be sure that I had the correct women with the right family. It had to be done. When it was complete, I was sure my previous research was fine. That's always good.

THIS Eliza Frances Denison was my 2nd cousin, 2x removed. She was born 22 April 1884, the daughter of Frederic DENISON (1856-1935) and his wife Mary Fanny BROWN (1856-1932). She did not marry John until she was 34 in 1918. My 2nd great grandmother was 22 and that was considered "spinster" except that my 2nd great grandfather was an established businessman at the age of 33. 

Eliza Frances Denison died at the age of 94 sometime in 1978.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: John A. Schoonover

John A. Schoonover
1866-1961
Photo by Brian Zoldak, 2016, used with permission

Information at Find a Grave
I am going to write these first two blog posts out of order of the two Brown plots because this married couple is the reason that I went seeking these gravestone in the first place. When I read that John A. Schoonover was a pall bearer at my maternal uncle's funeral, I did not know who he was.

I asked my friend Jane Preston (since she used to live in Mystic) if she knew of him and she told me that this couple was very active in the Denison Society. Since I own the 1963 edition of the complied Descendants of George Denison, I started at the pages in the beginning of the book where the officers and board of trustees are written and sure enough, there is his name.

John was not my direct descendant but his wife was my 2nd cousin 2x removed. This couple was childless. John was a stock broker and a member of the Congregational Church.

It was nice of him to be available to be a pallbearer at my uncle's funeral. It must have been an awful day. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Brown Plot 2

Photo by Brian Zoldak, 2016, used with permission

Brown Plot 2

Next "door" to the first Brown plot is this second one with the same arrangements of headstones and monument. Note the stone step leading into the entrance for viewing of the headstones and for moving new burials into the enclosure. It may have been added because of the erosion of the ground. It looks newer than it should.

This monument not only lists the patriarchal father and his wife, the sides are carved with the names of their children that are buried here.  Unlike the other Brown plot, this one doesn't have anything carved on the entrance posts, so viewers (and photographers) must enter the plot to examine each burial. 

In the background is the stone building is the Elm Grove Chapel. It has been renovated so that it provided an alternative for a graveside service. The history of this large cemetery is available in a document on the Web site. Since I have grandparents and several generations back, I have put this document in my family history papers. 

It is advisable to read the Web page for your own family's cemetery. It may be online. Sometimes information is available at the Town or City Hall, or it may be recorded on Find a Grave.

Elm Grove Cemetery at Find a Grave

I will be using the information at Find a Grave along with other sources for this Brown Project. Some of the headstones are identified with a plot number. Joanna Case has been photographing the whole cemetery with the permission of the cemetery board of trustees and the cemetery superintendent.