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NO HEADSTONE FOR MAMIE BROWN
Thursday June 2, 1983


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Pix #1 - This is the Hoening's living room, located directly above the entrance and reception room of the Underwood offices.

Pix #2 - This stairway leads from the front entrance to the Hoening's apartment and the hallway to which all rooms are connected. The bannister is all that is left of the once open stairway in the house.

Pix #3 - The bathroom, still equipped with the original fixtures, are in fine appearance and working condition.

Pix #4 - Mamie Brown

Pix #5 - The original radiators remain in the house

Pix #6 - The above letter, written to W.C. Brown from President McKinley, reads: "I beg to tender you a place on my staff as aid de camp". "There is, as you doubtless know, no pay or emolument connected with the position, but should you care to accept I shall be pleased".

Now we come to the saddest and last part of the three-part story about the Brown family.

In the first of this series of articles, I said, "...one of the daughters of this famous family spent her last years in rented rooms in Fostoria".

That daughter, Mamie, also known as Mary, was born 1869. She died March 24, 1954, while living in the home of Florence Stein, at the corner of South Countyline and West Crocker Streets, where she had resided for about 14 years.

Mamie was the last survivor of the Brown family. Her brother Wilbur Charles, residing in New York City, died sometime between the late 1930's and the early 1940's. The actual time is not known. He died in Tampa, Florida, where he had a winter residence. He was buried in New York.

Mamie's brother had made arrangements with Carl Smith, a local businessman, living at Union and Tiffin streets, to look after his sister's affairs.

FLORENCE STEIN REMEMBERS

After leaving the family home at 243 W. Tiffin St., Mamie had a room with a family in town, but it was not a satisfactory arrangement and she moved to the Davis Hotel. There she dell and suffered a fractured leg, so she left the hotel because her room was on the second floor. It was then that she went to live with Mrs. Stein, who recalls much about her.

One of her recollections is about the last days of Mamie's residence in the family home. She said in the Depression days, when money was scarce and Mamie was nearly destitute, neighbors missed her about the premises. They forced their way into the house and found her near death in the basement. It was at about that time that Carl Smith became overseer of her affairs.

Mrs. Stein reports that Mamie, in her younger years, was a very beautiful lady and had a fine singing voice. She was a member of the Presbyterian church choir. She told me that after Mamie came to live with her she often heard music which she thought was coming from somewhere in the neighborhood, but soon larned that it was Mamie singing to herself in a subdued voice.

On one occasion when there was a big party and ball, Mamie and William McKinley led the grand march, according to Mrs. Stein. She said it may have been when McKinley was seeking the Ohio governorship and delivered a campaign speech from the Brown's front porch.

Mrs. Stein cherishes a broach given to her by Mamie, and a fancy petite buttonhook, used then for buttoning ladies shoes.

When Mamie dies, Mrs. Stein said, her niece Eileen Brown, daughter of Wilbur Charles and wife, came to Fostoria to arrange burial. Wilbur Charles' wife was part of a wealthy tobacco company family from the south.

ENJOYED VISITING WITH COOKS

Mrs. Richard Cook's family and her mother, Mrs. John Danner, were good friends of Mamie and usually had her with them on the holidays and birthdays. Mrs. Cook said they treated Mamie as part of their family and she looked forward to being with them.

Since Mamie's only income in her later years was a small government pension, Mrs. Cook said she sometimes sold some of her personal effects to help meet expenses. Mrs. Cook has a set of silverware which she purchased from her at that time.

Needlepoint must have been one of Mamie's skills, from which she earned some extra money. Mrs. Stein reports that Mamie did a complete set of needlepoint for dining room chairs for H.H. Geary, Sr., West Tiffin Street.

At Fountain Cemetery this author discovered the Brown family burial plot where father, mother and two daughters rest, all with headstones, except Mamie. It seems ironic that there should be a six-foot high marker of the Brown family, but no headstone for Mamie, the last to die.

OTHER RESIDENTS AT 243 W. TIFFIN STREET

Since the Brown family discontinued ownership of the house at 243 W. Tiffin Street, there have been three owners of the old house and nine residents.

The owners were Charles Campbell; his wife at his death; and now Winston Underwood. Campbell became the owner in 1936 and Underwood in 1979.

Charles Campbell was well-known in Fostoria. He managed the Ohio Power office here.

Those who resided there have been Charles Campbell, Stanley A. Mattison, Edna G. Crocker, Mrs. Charles Campbell, Wayne C. Davis, Donald L. Conley, Florence Adams, Brad Bomer and currently Mrs. and Mrs. Terry Hoening.

After the Browns, the house was generally a two-family house.

MCKINLEY'S NOTE TO W.C. BROWN

In the secondd installment of the Brown house article, I wrote of a note to W.C. Brown from McKinley, when he was running for governor of Ohio. Because of lack of space, the note was omitted. It is with today's article.

Evidently, accepting the job with no pay was worth it later. W.C. Brown later went to Washington as an advisor to McKinley when he became president and was associated with McKinley's brother in many financial and industrial ventures.

BROWN FAMILY PHOTO FOUND AT LIBRARY

The photo of Mamie Brown, used with today's article, was taken from a larger group picture, taken in the Biles Studio, on the second floor of a building opposite the Alcott Block here in Fostoria.

Mrs. Stein and I can account for six of the 11 people in the picture...they are Mr. and Mrs. Owen T. Brown, Mr. and Mrs. W.C. Brown, Annie and Mamie Brown.

END OF SERIES

The photo may have been taken when Mamie was in her late 30's. Since Wilbur Charles is in the photo, sitting next to one presumed to be his wife, it may have been taken at the time of their wedding, and the others in the photo may be his wife's family.

The old photo was made available by Kaubisch Memorial Public Library. It was donated with none of the people in the photo identified.

 

 

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