Mary M. Bowen was the youngest child of William Bowen and Rebecca Wesson. She was born on January 5, 1847 in Tennessee while her parents were enroute from Cleveland County, North Carolina to Itawamba County, Mississippi. In January 1866, Mary married Thomas Jefferson Brown, son of J. William and Sarah Brown. The 1880 census finds the couple living next to her parents, but by the turn of the century the couple had moved to Arkansas.
Itawamba County, Mississippi
5th Supervisors District
Living next to her parents, William and Rebecca Bowen
Thomas Brown 38 AL AL AL farmer
Mary Brown 33 TN VA AL
William Brown 13 MS
Sarah Brown 10 MS
George Brown 7 MS
James Brown 4 MS
Mary F. Brown 1 MS
St. Francis County, Arkansas
Thomas J Brown 56 AL AL AL farmer,born Dec 1843, married 35 yrs
Mary M Brown 53 TN VA NC, born Jan 1847, 7 children, 6 living
James D Brown 24 MS AL TN, born May 1876, farm laborer
Mary F Brown 20 20 MS AL TN, born June 1879
Lillie B Brown 16 16 MS AL TN, born Feb 1884
Clifford O Brown 13 MS AL TN, born Oct 1886
Summer M Blalock 48 GA GA GA, boarder with family, born Nov 1851, schoolteacher
A great-granddaughter of Thomas and Mary Brown shared this photograph of Mary Bowen Brown with me, and she indicated that her great-grandparents left Itawamba County in 1891, via a covered wagon train, for Caldwell, a small railroad town north of Forrest City in St. Francis County, Arkansas.
Records for Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Itawamba County show that Thomas Brown joined the church by letter in July 1870; he was an active member, serving as a delegate many times to association meetings (early records indicate that this church was originally Primitive Baptist). In 1883, T. J. Brown was appointed to talk to Bro. Mabe Roberts about some fighting, and was also appointed to serve as a delegate along with W. H. Bowen and J. Y. Bowen to a union meeting. Early records indicate that Mt. Pisgah was originally a Primitive Baptist church but adopted the beliefs of Missionary Baptists around the turn of the 20th century. Bowens, Bookouts, Webbs and Chamblees appear to be among the dominant families of the early Mt. Pisgah church.
When the family moved to Arkansas, Thomas and Mary Brown helped organize Caldwell Baptist Church of Christ ('Baptist Church of Christ' was a designation that usually meant Primitive Baptist or Hardshell Baptist beliefs). Their names are included on the church's first membership roll dated September 1900.
A huge thanks goes out to Mary Brown Spivey who shared this information about her ancestors and Itawamba County roots. Mary's great-grandmother, her namesake Mary, was my great-grandmother's (Queenie Victoria Clayton Davis) half-great aunt.