William Harvey Brown Papers

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Collection Title: William Harvey Brown Papers

Collection Number: 138

Dates of Collection: 1821-1921

Box Numbers: 1-3

Repositiory: Chester County Historical Society

Project Archivist: Natalie Whitted

Biography:

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Biography: 

William Harvey Brown was born October 6, 1827 in Downingtown, Chester County, Pennsylvania to William Harvey and Lydia P. Brown. In 1830 his parents moved to Pughtown, where his father was postmaster for several years. Wm. Harvey had at least two brothers, George and Yardley, and perhaps other siblings.

 

Brown lived on a farm, presumably his parents’, in Pughtown until April 1852 when he accepted a position as superintendent clerk with the West Chester Railroad. He left that position in January 1853 to work in civil engineering, assisting in locating the Pine Grove and Cornwall Railroad running from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, PA. He then became a clerk with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, stationed at Harrisburg from June 1853 to April 15, 1861, when he left the Railroad to join the war effort.

 

Brown was commissioned May 14, 1861 as a captain in the 14th Infantry of the Regular Army. He fought with the Army of the Potomac in many major battles of the Civil War, including Manassas, Antietam, and Gettysburg, and served with his regiment in New York City during the draft riots of 1863. He married Sarah, daughter of W.W. Rutherford of Harrisburg, on September 29, 1863. Brown was ordered to Rochester, New York in February 1864, where he worked as a recruiter until February 1865.

 

Wm. Harvey and Sarah’s child, Harvey, was born in February 1865 and Sarah died soon after on February 16. Brown’s father died in March 1865, apparently at West Chester. Brown’s son Harvey, aged 4 months, died June 25, 1865 at Harrisburg.

 

In July 1868, Brown married Rebecca Townsend, daughter of Washington Townsend of West Chester. They had three children: a daughter, Bertha, who was born in Tucson in 1869 and died a few months later; a son Ethelbert, born December 12, 1870; and a son George H., who died March 10, 1887 at the age of four years.

 

Following the Civil War, Brown continued to serve in the army. He was promoted several times, twice for service during the war, then transferred to the 32nd Infantry in 1869, then to the 21st Infantry. He was promoted and transferred to the 18th Infantry in 1871, then promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the 1st Infantry in 1880, the position he held until his death in March 1883. He served in several locations following the Civil War, including:

 

1865 – Richmond, Virginia

1866 – San Francisco and Wilmington, California

1866 – Camp Bowie, Arizona Territory

1866-1868 – Camp Wallen, Arizona Territory

1869-1871 – Tucson and Camp Verde, ArizonaTerritory

1871 – Pala Mission, California

1871-1872 – Chester, South Carolina

1872-1876 – Atlanta, Georgia

1876 – Louisville, Kentucky

1876 – Washington, D.C.

1877 – Columbia and Greenville, South Carolina

1877 – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (labor riots)

1877-1878 – Newport, Kentucky

1878-1879 – Atlanta, Georgia

1879-1880 – Fort Assinaboine, Montana

1881-1882 – Fort Davis, Texas

1882 – Fort Grant, Arizona

 

Notable service included that in ArizonaTerritory with American Indians, and in South Carolina, where Brown was involved in the trials of several accused members of the Ku Klux Klan, including at least two murder trials.

 

Brown’s family apparently accompanied him to all of his military posts except the last at Fort Grant, Arizona Territory. Brown elected to send them home to West Chester instead. He fell ill and was granted leave to return to West Chester himself in December 1882. Brown died March 16, 1883 and was buried in OaklandCemetery.

 

Rebecca Townsend Brown lived with her son Ethelbert in Ithaca, New York, where he was a student at CornellUniversity, following her husband and younger son’s deaths. She died March 18, 1890 in West Chester.

 

Sources: Chester Co. Historical Society newspaper clippings files, Wm. Harvey Brown Papers.

Collection Scope:

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Collection Scope: 

This collection consists of legal and financial documents of William Harvey Brown and his parents, family history notes concerning the Brown family, Brown’s business correspondence while working for the Pennsylvania Railroad, personal correspondence between Brown and his family (primarily during his service in the Civil War), Brown’s military business correspondence throughout his career, and military records from his more significant duties.

Collection Arrangement:

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Collection Arrangement: 

The collection is arranged into five series: Family Papers, Pennsylvania Railroad Correspondence, Military Correspondence, Additional Correspondence, and Military Records. Each of these is arranged chronologically, with the exception of Family Papers, which is arranged chronologically within subject (Family History, Family Correspondence, etc.). 

Related Material:

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Collection Contents:

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Collection Contents: 

Series Title: Family Papers

 

Dates: n.d. – 1890

Quantity: 13 folders

Arrangement: chronological within subject

 

Contents Description: Includes family history notes; legal documents; William Harvey Brown’s will (W.H.B.’s father); letters between W. H. B. and family during Civil War; letters from Rebecca Townsend Brown from Arizona Territory; receipts and lists of investments; W.H.B.’s account book; sketches , papers, and sketchbooks of Ethelbert W. Brown.

 

Box 1

 

Folder 1 n.d. – 1890 (7 items)

Undated and dated family history/genealogical notes; photocopy of William Harvey Brown’s certificate of militia membership(W.H.B.’s father); thank you note to William Harvey Brown family for use of a lecture room (1848); note from S.D. Ingram to Mr. Townsend concerning either W.H.B. or his father (1879); certificate concerning Rebecca Townsend Brown’s will (1890).

 

Folder 2 1865 – 1878 (4 items)

Will of William Harvey Brown (W.H.B.’s father) (1865); receipt from Addison May, executor of Brown’s estate (1866); certificate of sale for burial plot in Oakland Cemetery to Lydia Brown (1867); account of Addison May, trustee of Lydia Brown, widow of William H. Brown, under Brown’s will  (1878).

 

Folder 3 1851 – 1852 (2 items)

Letter to W.H.B. from his brother George (1851); letter to W.H.B. from his father (1852).

 

Folder 4 1857 – 1860, 1868 (5 items)

Letters from W.H.B. to his family. Includes letter telling family of his marriage to Rebecca Townsend in July 1868 and their travels in New York following the marriage.

 

Folder 5 1861 – June 1862 (9 items)

Letters from W.H.B. to family during Civil War military service. Include descriptions of living conditions and many battles/skirmishes.

 

Folder 6 July – Dec. 1862 (10 items)

Letters from W.H.B. to family during Civil War military service. Include descriptions of living conditions and many battles/skirmishes.

 

Folder 7 March – Aug. 1863 (12 items)

Letters from W.H.B. to family during Civil War military service. Include descriptions of living conditions and many battles/skirmishes.

 

 

Folder 8 Oct. 1863 – Feb. 1864 (5 items)

Letters from W.H.B. to family during Civil War military service. Include descriptions of living conditions and many battles/skirmishes.

 

Folder 9 1869 (6 items)

Letters from Rebecca Townsend Brown in ArizonaTerritory to family and friends in West Chester, PA. Several published in American Republican.

 

Folder 10 n.d. – 1864 (7 items)

“Harvey’s list of investments” (n.d.); receipts for school tuition (1850 – 1856) for various Brown children; “Conditions of sale of the personal property of William H. Brown” (1864).

 

Folder 11 1865 – 1881 (1 item)

Account book of W.H.B., personal and family accounts.

 

Box 2

 

Folder 12 ca. 1882 – 1901 (5 items)

Untitled sketches marked “EWB,” “age 12” and “age 14,” respectively; hotel receipts from Paris to M. Brown (1900 – 1901); program from memorial service for President McKinley, marked “EWBrown” (Sept. 1901).

 

Folder 13 ca. 1908 – 1921 (2 items)

Art sketchbooks of Ethelbert W. Brown. Both volumes include sketches of artwork/landscape/architecture and commentary. All in pencil; fragile and easily smudged. Smaller book covers Sept. 1914 – March 1915 and treats non-U.S., especially Egyptian and Greek, art and landscape. Larger book covers ca. 1908 – 1921, works seen in museums, shows, and sales, many in the New York area. Also includes newspaper clippings regarding area art shows.

 

Series Title: Pennsylvania Railroad Correspondence

 

Dates: 1853 – 1860

Quantity: 1 folder

Arrangement: chronological

 

Contents Description: Letters between W.H.B. and Pennsylvania Railroad officials.

 

Folder 14 1853 – 1860 (17 items)

Letters between W.H.B. and various Pennsylvania Railroad officials, mainly concerning W.H.B.’s search for a different position with the Railroad.

 

Series Title: Military Correspondence

 

Dates: 1862 – 1883

Quantity: 18 folders

Arrangement: chronological

 

Contents Description: Letters, memos, telegrams, reports, maps between W.H.B. and military and governmental officials.

 

Folder 15 1862 – 1863 (7 items)

Military correspondence (letters, memos, reports) between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during Civil War.

 

Folder 16 n.d. [1866], June – Dec. 1866 (8 items)

Military correspondence (letters, memos, reports, maps) between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during his tenure in ArizonaTerritory among American Indians.

 

Folder 17 Jan. – May 1867 (8 items)

Military correspondence (letters, memos, reports, including a few newspaper clippings) between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during his tenure in ArizonaTerritory among American Indians.

 

Folder 18 June – Dec. 1867 (12 items)

Military correspondence (letters, memos, reports, maps) between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during his tenure in ArizonaTerritory among American Indians.

 

Folder 19 1868 – 1870 (11 items)

Military correspondence (letters, memos, reports, maps) between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during his tenure in ArizonaTerritory among American Indians.

 

Folder 20 n.d. – 1871 (14 items)

Telegrams between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during his tenure in Chester, South Carolina working on KKK trials. Includes one note originally filed on spike with telegrams.

 

Folder 21 Jan. – March 1872 (11 items)

Telegrams between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during his tenure in Chester, South Carolina working on KKK trials.

 

Folder 22 April 1872 (17 items)

Telegrams between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during his tenure in Chester, South Carolina working on KKK trials. Includes one note originally filed on spike with telegrams.

 

Folder 23 May – Aug. 1872 (15 items)

Telegrams between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during his tenure in Chester, South Carolina working on KKK trials. Includes envelope in which telegrams were found.

 

Folder 24 n.d. [1871] – Dec. 6, 1871 (14 items)

Military correspondence (letters, memos, reports) between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during his tenure in Chester, South Carolina working on KKK trials.

 

Folder 25 Dec. 30, 1871 – Feb. 1872 (14 items)

Military correspondence (letters, memos, reports) between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during his tenure in Chester, South Carolina working on KKK trials.

 

Folder 26 March 1872 (13 items)

Military correspondence (letters, memos, reports) between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during his tenure in Chester, South Carolina working on KKK trials.

 

Folder 27April – May 1872 (16 items)

Military correspondence (letters, memos, reports) between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during his tenure in Chester, South Carolina working on KKK trials.

 

Box 3

 

Folder 28 June 1872 (9 items)

Military correspondence (letters, memos, reports) between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during his tenure in Chester, South Carolina working on KKK trials.

 

Folder 29 July – Sept. 1872 (10 items)

Military correspondence (letters, memos, reports) between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during his tenure in Chester, South Carolina working on KKK trials.

 

Folder 30 1871 – 1872 (1 item – pp.42-150)

Letterbook, letters between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during his tenure in Chester, South Carolina working on KKK trials. Fragile; some illegible.

 

Folder 31 1874, 1876, 1878 (7 items)

Military correspondence (letters, memos, reports) between W.H.B. and other military/government officials during his tenure in Atlanta, Georgia. Includes one letter from Jonathan Cross, Republican gubernatorial candidate in Atlanta,1876.

 

Folder 32 1880 – 1883 (13 items)

Envelope and letters from merchant in Mobile, Alabama concerning cigar sales and shipping to W.H.B. while at Fort Assinaboine, Montana (1880); letter from a former soldier who served under W.H.B. at Fort Wallen, Arizona Territory requesting favors (1882); military report certifying Brown’s sickness and need of leave (2 copies, Nov. 1882); letter from military expressing regret at W.H.B.’s death (3 copies) and 1 envelope addressed to “Mrs. Col. W. Harvey Brown, Westchester” (1883).

 

Series Title: Additional Correspondence

 

Dates: n.d. – 1857

Quantity: 2 folders

Arrangement: chronological

 

Contents Description: Calling card and envelope; notes to W.H.B.; “mystery” letter concerning W.H.B.

 

Folder 33 n.d. (3 items)

Calling card and envelope from “Mr. & Mrs. John W. Brown,” “Mace A. Wilson” printed at lower left of card, “Walnut St.Harrisburg” printed at lower right, envelope addressed to “Col. W. Harvey Brown”; note to W.H. Brown signed J. Pollock; note marked “Phila. Aug. 30th” to “W.H.B.” signed “H.J.L.”

 

Folder 34 Jan. 1857 (1 item)

“Mystery” letter signed A.G. Curtain (governor of PA 1861 – 1867) concerning W.H.B.   

 

Series Title: Military Records

 

Dates: 1861 – 1872

Quantity: 6 folders

Arrangement: chronological

 

Contents Description: Complete manuscript history of W.H.B.’s military career; newspaper clippings; sketches; lists of prisoners, accused, and cases in South Carolina KKK trials, volume of statements made by informants/witnesses/accusers in KKK trials.

 

Folder 35 1861 – 1882 (1 item – 18 double sheets; ca. 63 pp.)

Very compete manuscript history of W.H.B.’s military career, including notes on family (marriages, children’s births, deaths); unsigned but appears to have been written by W.H.B. himself.

 

Folder 36 1864 (3 items)

Newspaper clippings, in English and German, concerning W.H.B.’s recruiting efforts in Rochester, New York. Fragile; photocopies included.

 

Folder 37 Dec. 1869 (2 items)

Sketches of Headquarters, Camp Verde, Arizona Territory – “Hall – Northern End” and “Hall – Southern End.” Artist not identified. Fragile; some breakage.

 

Folder 38 Aug. – Sept. 1871, 1872, 1875 (1 item)

Newspaper clippings concerning the “Indian trouble” W.H.B. was called to help bring into check at Pala Mission, California in Aug. – Sept. 1871. Also includes later commentary (1872, 1875).

 

Folder 39 1871 – 1872 (4 items)

Lists of prisoners, accused, and cases in KKK trials in Chester, South Carolina; statements made by the accused before Col. W.H. Brown.

 

Folder 40 1871 – 1872 (1 item)

Volume of statements made by informants/witnesses/accusers in KKK trials in Chester, South Carolina.

Made Possible By: 
This project made possible by a grant from IMLS Museums for America 2004 – 2006.