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The road to the Sesquicentennial: Brown farmland moves to the next generation

Lead Summary
Steve Roush-
Ladies and gentlemen, my great-great-great-grandfather Joshua Brown, the patriarch of the Brown-Roush Ohio Sesquicentennial Farm owned by Ken and Judy Roush of Highland County, passed away 152 years ago at the age of 59.

Last time, we talked about the last will and testament Joshua Brown penned less than a week before his death in April of 1867. He had indicated his apparent desire to keep his farm mostly intact until least 1872, and it appears that came to pass.

On Jan. 23, 1872 – exactly 101 years before I was born, by the way – the Brown siblings and their wives sold 52 acres of land north of the railroad to William Elgar Brown, a fellow sibling, for the sum of $600.

William Elgar Brown, who we mentioned earlier was born June 9, 1845, was a Civil War veteran and served time in a Confederate Army prison camp. According to Civil War veterans, he joined the Ohio Volunteer Artillery, 24th Battery, one day after his 18th birthday. I am almost positive his middle name, Elgar, was given to him because his great-grandmother Susannah Brown’s maiden name was Elgar, or maybe because his paternal uncle’s first name was Elgar.

On Dec. 22, 1867, right before Christmas, William Elgar Brown married Anna Elizabeth Bennett. He would have been 22 at the time, and she would have recently turned 21.

Five years later, William Elgar Brown would buy the 52 acres of his late father’s property with the money going to Jonah Britton and Rachel Brown Britton, George W. Barrere and Arminda “Jennie” Brown, Joel Brown and Martha E. Brown, James Brown, Marion Britton and Susan Brown Britton, Sarah Amanda Brown (my great-great-grandmother), Mary Brown (my 3rd great-aunt and step-great-great-grandmother), and John Carey Brown.

William Elgar and Anna would have seven children together, Jasper Bennett Brown, born in 1870; William Elgar Brown Jr., born in 1875; Anna Blanche Brown, born in 1882; Alphonso Hart Brown, born in 1884; Britton Parnell Brown, born in 1886; John Carey Brown, born in 1888; and Bernice Lucille Brown, born in 1891.

I assume Alphonso Hart Brown was named after Hillsboro’s own Alphonso Hart (1830-1910), who was a U.S. representative, in the Ohio State Senate, and the 11th lieutenant governor of Ohio. The politician and attorney Alphonso Hart would cross paths with the Brown family a few years after Alphonso Hart Brown was born, but we’ll get to that another time.

I further assume that Britton Parnell Brown was named after the Britton brothers who married the Brown sisters, but Britton Parnell would end up going by Parnell, and I think there’s a reason for that, too, but we’ll get to that another time.

And it wouldn’t be a stretch to believe that John Carey Brown was named after his uncle, John Carey Brown.

William Elgar Brown built a two-story farmhouse and large barn on the 52-acre property that stood more than a century. I can’t remember exactly when Dad tore what my siblings and I called “the haunted house” down, but I remember going through it many a time when I was a youngster.

Let’s pause for now, and we’ll continue next time.

Steve Roush is vice chairman of the Highland County Historical Society Board of Trustees, a vice president of an international media company and a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press. He can be reached by email at

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