Monday, October 14, 2013

Christopher Columbus ... Brown

C.C. Brown in about 1925 with his second wife
Dayse and daughter Dorothy
When my great-great-great-grandparents William and Amanda Brown had their second son in February 1862, they were influenced enough by what they knew of history to name their child after the infamous explorer Christopher Columbus.

My great-great-grandfather Christopher Columbus Brown was born on February 8, 1862 on his parents’ farm on McAdoo Creek in Montgomery County, Tennessee. This farm was in a rural area southeast of the city of Clarksville. Both of his parents came from relatively humble origins and were of Scottish and German heritage.

Although he was named after the explorer, he rarely went by his name. As a youth, he went by the name Columbus but as an adult was either called “Lum” or “C.C.” He attended a local school as a child and afterwards began working on the family tobacco farm. Although Columbus had relatively simple origins, he quickly availed himself and became quite successful. Eventually he went into a tobacco business with his father and brothers called Brown Bros. Later, he joined with a man named James Adams and operated a tobacco factory under the firm Adams and Brown.

C.C.'s first wife Georgia Current (my great-great-grandmother)
Columbus quickly gained financial success from his tobacco farming. He continued to enlarge his tobacco farming enterprise and became a large landowner in Montgomery County. Eventually, he turned his success to the financial industry. In about 1903, he helped to found the First Trust and Savings Bank of Clarksville and served as its vice president for about 35 years.
C.C. Brown's house in Clarksville, TN that he purchased in 1902 and that
burned down in 1927.

Even though he had attained financial success and was quite wealthy, Columbus did much for his community. Many people remembered that he was very kind and generous to the local poor; often buying groceries for them or paying their rent. One year he apparently financed several hundred poor farm families who could not get assistance anywhere else. He was apparently a jovial man who had a good sense of humor and was often known to tease people.

In 1894, Columbus married a young woman from the city of Clarksville named Georgia Current. They apparently had a happy marriage and he was devoted to her. Together, they had three children: Pauline, Irl and Newell (my great-grandfather). Sadly, Georgia died in 1910 from a short bout with pneumonia, leaving three teenage children. Then in 1914, he remarried to Dayse Dalton, by whom he had one more child: Dorothy.

C.C. and his family first lived on a farmhouse in Montgomery County. Then in 1901, they decided to leave Tennessee and moved to Duarte, California (near Los Angeles). For whatever reason, they did not like California and returned to Tennessee the following year. In 1902, C.C. purchased a beautiful plantation home near Clarksville where he lived with his family. Sadly, the house burned to the ground in 1927 while he and his wife and daughter were eating breakfast. After this, they rebuilt a house on the same location where the family continued to live. That house – at 1410 Golf Club Lane in Clarksville – is today part of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

C.C. was still living in the house when in early October 1938, he suffered a stroke and fell in his bathroom, receiving a wound to the head. He never recovered and died on October 10, 1938 at the age of 76.

C.C. Brown, his granddaughter Bettye Brown (my grandmother) and his wife
Dayse in about 1935