ESTHER JONES ROPER BROWN 1811-1898
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3rd Wife of Captain James Brown:
Esther Jones Roper Brown
Born: January 17, 1811 at Lyman, Sportanburg, Surrey County, North Carolina
Esther Jones was the daughter of and Ester Fisher Jones. Born in Lyman, Sportanburg, Surrey County, North Carolina on the 17th of January 1811 [6 or 7 Jan 1814]. Esther's parents were wealthy owners of a large southern plantation and many black slaves. When her father died he willed one black slave to her and this slave could have been in her company when she moved to Nauvoo. He also willed one Parcel C to her.
Esther Jones had a sister, Nancy Jones born August 21, 1799 in Surry County, North Carolina. Nancy married (1793-1839) on October 14, 1816 in Surry. Nancy and Enos had eight children. Nancy died on January 8, 1830.
Esther married Robert Roper in Wayne County, Indiana in February 1836. They had one daughter, [Elizabeth Annie] born April 4, 1837 in Wythe County, Virginia. Robert Roper died sometime before May 1839, three years after their marriage. After Robert's death Esther learned the gospel from some missionaries and joined the Mormon Church then moved to Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois with her little daughter Annie.
Widowed Esther Jones Roper then married again to twice widowed on November 20, 1842., in the Nauvoo Temple, Hancock County, Illinois. The civil ceremony was performed by . Sealed for time and eternity to James Brown 10 Jan 1846 Nauvoo Temple (followed by a church temple divorce around 1875, after James was deceased in 1863). Esther Jones Brown had in her care four of James' youngest children from his marriage to Martha Stephens, four sons (Daniel Stephens Brown 1832-1850, James Morehead Brown 1834-1924, William Brown 1836-1904, and Benjamin F. Brown 1838-1863, as well as her own Annie Elizabeth Roper, now nearly ten years old.
Family lore explains that James and Martha’s youngest child, Moroni Brown 1840-1916, was raised by his father's two sisters, Mary Polly Brown [1789-1876] and Nancy Brown (Newbury Critchlow) [1792-1870]. We are told these sisters lived with James Brown's family in North Carolina and later in Illinois. When his father's family moved to Utah in 1848, eight-year-old Moroni did not make the journey with them. Though this is family history, it is interesting to note that Captain James Brown asks Abigail, in his , to “Give Moroni a sweet kiss for me”, as though he was in her care or close by.
Children of Captain James Brown and Esther Jones Roper Brown:
Born: 18 August 1843 at Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois
Twin - Child
Died: 19 August 1843 at South Augusta, Lee, Iowa
Born: 18 August 1843 at Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois
Twin - Child
Died: 19 August 1843 at South Augusta, Lee, Iowa
Born: 1844 at South Augusta, Lee County, Iowa
Died: 26 August 1845 at Westville, Prebble, Iowa
Mary Alice Brown
Born: 1846 at Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois
Died: 1865 in Utah
Born: 18 Marcg 1849 at Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
Married: James Leeach Dee on February 2, 1866
Died: 26 Oct 1893 at Ogden, Weber, Utah
In the Spring of 1846, James Brown with his family, who were living at Augusta, Lee County, Iowa, a village on the Skunk River, a few miles down the river from Nauvoo, from which, through the counsel of Joseph Smith, they moved to Nauvoo. James Brown had purchased a grist flour mill and was profitably operating it when word reached him that BrighamYoung was leading the Latter-day Saint across the plains to the Rocky Mountains. When James Brown got the message he sold his holdings in Augusta, outfitted his family, which at the time consisted of his third wife, Esther, and eight sons and one daughter belonging to the deceased , the youngest child being only six years old, all of whom Esther Jones Roper Brown was step-mothering, beside raising her own one little girl, Annie Roper, Esther gave birth to Mary Alice Brown in Nauvoo, Illinois on August 4, 1846. James Brown had married two other women in January of 1845 and February of 1846, respectively, who joined the family group. These women were (Tidwell) Wood Brown,and with eight children by her recently deceased first husband, Stephen Joseph Abbott.
Under the wise guidance of their husband, Captain James Brown, this large, intermixed, complex family group, united in faith, sailed down the Missouri River to Winter Quarters and camped for a short time at Kanesville. On the 16th of July 1846, James Brown married and on the same day was among the first volunteers to answer Brigham Young's request for recruits into the United States "Mormon" Battalion, needed to fight in the Mexican-American War. James Brown was commissioned a captain of Company "C". His new wife Mary McRee Black Brown, her young son , and James' two oldest sons from Mary Stephens, Alexander Brown and Jesse Stowell Brown, accompanied him.
This left the balance of the large family group at Winter Quarter with no husband to look out for them, and left , James's 22 year old son to shoulder the responsibility. While they had been well provided for with good travelling outfits, work and empolyment could not be obtained in this wilderness, and as a result their means dwindled until they were in very limited circumstance.
[ was the Proxy Clerk in Nauvoo who recorded Captain James Brown's sealings to his first two wives, then deceased, Martha Stephens and Susan Foutz, on January 10, 1846, Ester Jones acting proxy. Officiating, Brigham Young in presence of Heber Chase Kimball, Orson Hyde, and E. M. Green. --Nauvoo Marriages and Proxy Sealings, Lyndon W. Cook, page 56.]
From 16 July 1846, until the summer of 1849, that family, without a father's care, lived on the Great American Plains Wilderness, coming to Utah in the Isaac Haight wagon train, and arriving September 19, 1847. Esther and her family lived in Salt Lake City until 1849 when they were finally brought to Brownsville, later to be called Ogden, Weber County, Utah, by their Captain husband, James Brown.
Belva Moyle tells us that Captain Brown built Esther a home on what is now Grant Avenue between 23th and 25th Streets. This little home had dirt floor and roof. When the family moved south at the time of the threat Johnston's Army quartered in Ogden, the soldiers used her home as a stable.
Esther Jones Roper Brown presented the "Captain" with a daughter, on the 8th of March 1849, shortly after, this group of long suffering, patient people, as a family unit, reached Salt Lake City, on the final few miles toward their new homeland in Ogden.
Annie Elizabeth Roper married John Wesley Browning on October 26, 1854 in Ogden, Weber, Utah. John was the oldest son of Jonathan Browning and his first wife Elizabeth Stallcop Browning, John was born in Davidson,Tennessee on March 7, 1832 and died in Ogden on October 5, 1913. John and Annie had four sons and six daughters.
[John Wesley Browning's brother David Elias Browning (b. January 19, 1829 in Nashville) had married Charilla Abbott, daughter of (deceased) Stephen Abbott and Abigail Abbott [Capt. Brown's 5th wife], and step-daughter of Captain James Brown, on January 27, 1853 in Ogden, Weber, UT.]
John Wesley Browning and wife, Annie Elizabeth Roper Browning
After the death of Captain James Brown on September 30, 1863 at Ogden, Weber, Utah, Esther built an addition to the home of her daughter, Elizabeth Annie Roper Browning's home near 29th Street and Washington Avenue in Ogden. She kept open house in a home which was very neat, appropriately furnished, in the typical southern style, because she came from North Carolina. She had hot biscuits or hot cakes for breakfast. She was exceptionally, neatly dressed, and "cleanliness" was her watch word.
Her daughter, Mary Alice Brown, died on October 17, 1865 at Ogden. Elizabeth Annie Roper Browning died when her last two twins were born; one of the twins and the other children survived her and were all married and reared families. Then after Esther's daughter, Annie, died in 1873. Esther then went to live with her daughter, . In her later years, desiring to live apart from younsters, her step-son James Moorhead Brown, built her a small house near his own near 28th and 28th Stree on the west side of Washington Avenue where her many friends spent happy hours enjoying her Southern hospitality.
Esther Jones Roper Brown was sealed for time and eternity to Joseph Smith Jr (Samuel Harrison Bailey Smith proxy) on 11 Oct 1875 Endowment House, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Esther was apparently residing in Ogden in 1880 as "Esther Roper." (See Cook, Nauvoo Deaths and Marriages,102 for record of civil marriage.)
Grandma Roper Brown had a favorite friend whom she called "Frankie" -- Honorable Frank J. Cannon, United States Senator from Utah. "Frankie" and Grandma often wrote each other from Utah to Washington. She was granted Captain James Brown's "Widow's Pension" which had accumulated for many years and which her "Frankie" finally secured for her after long time work, so that she was financially independent in her later years and for which she sincerely loved Senator Frank J. Cannon.
Esther was very fond of her Brown relations. Mary Eliza Brown Critchlow, one of her husband's [and Mary McRee Black Brown's] daughters, lived near her and Esther spent many of her evenings at "Elya's" home. In the winter time Esther often took a flatiron, over to "Elya's" kitchen stove, spent a short time talking to "Elya" and then went home, taking the heated flat iron with her to put in her cold bed to warm it up before she retired for the night.
Small chair painted green with gilt trimmings. One of the first made in Ogden, Utah. Made by McGary brothers in 1865. Owned by Esther Roper Brown. Presented to D.U.P. by Phoebe Brown Snyder on August 21, 1912.--Heart Throbs of the West, Vol. 12, Page 358
Esther outlived her children but was survived by fifteen grandchildren, thirty great grandchildren and two great-great grandchldren. She was a widow for 35 years. Esther always remained true to the principles for which she had sacrificed her childhood family and friends. The Jones family disowned and disinherited her when she joined the Church.
On September 30th, 1898, the Aniversary of Captain James Brown's birth and death, and the Brown Family Reunion in Ogden, Utah, Esther accidentally broke her hip, was taken to Mary Eliza Brown Critchlow's home where she was affectionately cared for until she passed away --one of God's noblewomen-- on October 6, 1898.
Esther Jones Roper Brown
Ogden City Cemetery Grave Marker and Mormon Battalion Wife Medallion placed June 10, 2000
Third Avenue, Lot 6 Plat A
Belva Rawson Moyle shares the following Obituary from the Semi-Weekly Standard, 7 October 1898, Page 1:
Note that "Roper" is found as "Raper" in some instances. See explanation below.
"Grandma" Raper Dead.
Mrs. Esther Jones Raper, known all over Salt Lake and Ogden as "Grandma Raper" , died at her home, 2823 Washington Ave., the residence of W.F. Critchlow, at 2:30 this morning. Her death was caused by old age, she having reached the age of 84 years January last. She had several children, all of whom are dead, but she leaves several grandchildren and even great grandchildren to mourn her death with a host of friends. She was one of the first pioneers who came to Ogden and lived for a time in Fort Brigham. The place of holding the funeral is at the special request of Mrs. Raper Brown before her death. The funeral services for Esther were held at the Ogden Tabernacle and attended by a large number of family and friends.
Obituaries submitted courtesy of Belva Rawson Moyle
PAF - Archer files = Captain James Brown + (3) Esther Jones Roper
PAF - Archer files = Captain James Brown + (7) Phebe Abbott Brown > Orson Pratt Brown
Brown Book of Remembrance written by Harriett "Hattie" Critchlow Jenson and Louetta Brown Tanner prior to 1948. Louetta is the daughter of James Stephens Brown and Elizabeth Mary Clegg Brown.
[Bracketed], bold, corrections, and photos added by Lucy Brown Archer
Belva Moyle contributed the picture of John Wesley Browning and Ann Elizabeth Roper Browning.,which she received from Betseylee Browning (email@example.com) on February 1, 2005. The source of the photo is the "Isaac V. Carling Family History" compiled and edited by Elda P. Mortenson. FHL US/CAN Film 896746. (2-27-05).
See at www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hall/8701/carling.htm
Isaac Van Wagoner Carling was a son-in-law of Jonathan Browning
Carling: Elda P. Mortensen; 383 S. 1st E., Box 162, Ephraim, Utah 84627; Isaac V. Carling Family History, Vol. I; 1966, 637 pp.
Carling: Elda P. Mortensen; 383 S. 1st E., Box 162, Ephraim, Utah 84627; Isaac V. Carling Family History, Vol. 2; 1969, 521 pp.
Copyright 2001 www.OrsonPrattBrown.org
From "Five Hundred Wagons Stood Still Mormon Battalion Wives" 1999
By Shirley N. Maynes
Esther Jones was born on January 7, 1814 in Lyman, Sportanburg County, North Carolina. Esther was the widow of Robert Roper. After her husband’s death she married James Brown on November 20, 1842 in Nauvoo, Illinois. Perhaps they were acquainted with each other in North Carolina, the birthplace of James and Esther.
The Browns became parents of five children: August and Augusta; twins, born in 1843 and had died soon after their birth; Amasa born in 1844 and died in 1844 and Alice Brown born in 1846. All were born in Nauvoo, Illinois. The fifth child was born in Salt Lake City in 1849. Before the Browns left Nauvoo, they received their endowments in the temple on December 22, 1845.
James brought all of his families to Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1846. He had three wives at the time: Esther, Sarah and Abigail and their children. He also brought the children from his first wife, Martha Stephens Brown, who had died from complications of childbirth when her ninth child was born.
At Council Bluffs, James enlisted in the Mormon Battalion as Captain of Company "C". Before he left, on July 16, 1846, he married Mary McCree Black, a widow. Mary became one of the laundresses for the Battalion and took her small son, George David Black, with her. Esther was left behind with her daughter, Alice. She had become despondent over the deaths of her children and over the fact that James had left her on the prairie. In a letter written on August 6, 1847 to one of his wives, Abigail Smith Abbott Brown, James asks her to visit and care for Esther. He admonishes her to lift Esther’s spirit, for he relates: "She has surely been afflicted since I have left."
On June 17, 1847, Esther joined the Isaac Haight Company who left for the Salt Lake Valley. The journey across the plains took about three months before she arrived in the Valley on September 19, 1847. She remained in Salt Lake living in the "Old Fort" until James came back from California in November of 1847. Mary Black Brown left the Battalion and wintered in Pueblo. She came to the valley on July 29, 1847 and was also living in the "Old Fort" when she gave birth to a daughter in the same year.
Upon his arrival in Salt Lake, James Brown purchased, from Miles Goodyear, a large tract of land for the sum of $3,000.00. Of this amount, $1,950.00 was money from the pay of the men from the Mormon Battalion. One of the reasons James Brown had gone to California was that he was authorized by the men to collect their pay that they had earned while they were at Pueblo, Colorado. The purchase of the Goodyear Ranch was made upon the advice from the authorities of the Church. President Young had a definite plan for the colonization of Utah.
President Young sent scouts out to explore the surrounding area. John Brown was one of these scouts as he had accompanied Captain Brown west on his journey to California. John carried a report of Goodyear’s Fort on the Weber River, back to the Church authorities. Brigham Young gave instructions for Goodyear to be bought out. Not until Captain Brown returned with the battalion’s pay was there enough money in the colony to pay for the purchase of this land.
Before James Brown could purchase the Goodyear Fort, a treaty with Mexico had to be resolved. Edward Tullidge, an early Utah historian writes: "Miles Goodyear claimed a tract of land, which was a Mexican grant to him in 1841; commencing at the mouth of Weber Canyon and following the base of the mountain north to the Utah Hot Springs, thence west to the Salt Lake and thence east to the place of beginning. Goodyear had built a fort and few log cabins on the spot now occupied by the Union Pacific Freight Depot. This land was then Mexican Territory and was ceded to the United States by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in February 1848. This treaty having been executed, was of supreme importance to the Mormon Colonists as it was the only remaining Spanish title in this territory."
Eventually, Esther and her daughter, Alice, accompanied James to Weber Valley. This area was first called "Buenaventura" but was changed to "Brown’s Fort" and then later to "Brownsville." In 1861 it became "Ogden" named for Peter Skene Ogden. There were three other families who helped to colonize the area besides James Brown: Henry C. Shelton, Louis B. Myers, and George W. Thurnkill. Two of James’ sons from his first marriage, Alexander and Jesse, came with James to help settle the area. They had joined the Mormon Battalion and were with him on the long march to California.
Esther became involved in caring for a large household. The first year in the Brown’s Fort, the men planted acres of wheat, corn, turnips, cabbage, potatoes and a few watermelons from seeds that James had brought with him from California. Included in the land purchase were seventy-five cattle, seventy-five goats, twelve sheep and six horses.
During 1848, there was very little food left in the Salt Lake Valley due mainly to the cricket infestation. Until crops could be harvested, James Brown sent his son, Alexander, and others to Fort Hall to purchase flour for his family. The party brought back six hundred pounds. James kept two hundred-pounds for his family and sent four hundred pounds to Salt Lake for the starving Saints. The family milked twenty-five cows each day and from this supply of milk the women made cheese and butter. Much of the dairy products were sent to Salt Lake. In fact, the Brown family supplied the Saints with breadstuff, beef and dairy products that had come from the Brown’s Fort as the cricket infestation wasn’t nearly as bad in Oregon as it was further south. On March 18, 1849, Esther gave birth to a daughter she named Esther Ellen. Her daughter, Alice who had been born in Nauvoo, died in 1865 at age nineteen.
Before leaving for his mission, James was in the process of building a new twelve-room house. The house was a two story adobe with a long veranda running across the front of the house. When the house was completed his wives and family lived in it. It was located across from the Ogden Tabernacle.
James Dunn gives this description of life in a large extended family household: "James Brown was not only a polygamist, but everything around him was built on a polygamist plan. His barn was divided into separate apartments where each family could take care of their own cows. His yard were so arranged that each wife could have her own pigs and chickens to themselves., if they wished; or they could let them run together and divide up according to their own needs and wants, which was indeed the case in his family. His house was formed and designed to have each family in a separate part where they could live and be as independent of each other, if they wished to, as any single family could be. And all the improvements that he made, either indoors or out, were made after this plan. All shared alike in the supply of provisions according to the number in the family. A sack of sugar was divided into three parts and each got their quota. A beef was killed with the same object in view. If a dress was bought for one wife, the others got the same. Besides, he gave each family a weekly allowance to buy the hundred and one nic-nacks that are needed in every house; all were treated alike as far as measures and weights could divideand that was abundant as far as his limited means could go."
Esther Jones died on October 6, 1898 in Ogden. Weber, Utah.
PAF - Archer files = Captain James Brown + (3) Esther Jones.
Five Hundred Wagons Stood Still --Mormon Battalion Wives by Shirley N. Maynes, 1999.
Information obtained from a history written on James Brown by Gladys Brown White found at the Utah
Historical Society 300 Rio Grande Salt Lake City, Utah.
Letter sent to Abigail Abbott Brown from James Brown August 6, 1847 in possession of Lois E. Jones and Myron A. Abbott, Jr. James requesting Abigail to care for Esther Jones Brown Historical Records Survey at Ogden, Utah.
Heart Throbs of the West Daughters of Utah Pioneers Publication Daughters of Utah Pioneers Headquarters Salt Lake City Esther crossing the Plains Vol. 8 p. 420
Nauvoo Marriages Proxy Sealings 1843-1846, by Lyndon W. Cook. Published by Grandin Book Co. Esther Jones Roper at Page 58-59,
A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War by Sgt. Daniel Tyler Roster of Company C pp. 121-122 James Brown Traveling to California After His Arrival to Salt Lake on July 29, 1847 pp.311-316
Edward Tullidge Utah Historian "The Purchase of the Miles Goodyear Fort by Captain James Brown" Utah Historical Society 300 Rio Grande Salt Lake City, Utah.
Weber County Beehive History 14 p32 Utah Historical Society 300 Rio Grande Salt Lake City, Utah.
Janet Dixon The Plural Wife by James Dunn Tooele, Utah "Living in a Polygamist Household" p. 9
Family Group Sheet L.D.S. Family History Library The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.
http://www.columbiagypsy.net/enowin.htm Genealogy and biography of Enos and Nancy Jones Windsor.
Story about Captain James Brown in the Ogden Standard Examiner, 31 AUG 1970.
Nauvoo Marriages Proxy Sealing 1843-1846, gives Robert Roper as Esther Jones' first husband.
ROPER OR RAPER ? ? ?