IIJOHNATHAN BROWNING - 1805-1879
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Orson Pratt Brown's Father's Two Step-daughters' father-in-law
Jonathan (Johnathan) Browning was born on a Tuesday, October 22, 1805 at Bushby Fork, Gallatin, Sumner, Tennessee, son of Edmund Lloyd Browning and Sarah Allen Browning. He married Elizabeth Stallcop (Stalcup) on November 9, 1826 at Bledsoe Creek, Tennessee.
The Browning name has been synonymous with creative gunsmithing for generations. From the repeating rifle to the automatic rifle and the MM. Aircraft cannon, the Browning Arms Company has distinguished itself in armaments for nearly 120 years. The family tradition of creating exceptional firearms began with Johnathan Browning, the inventor of a repeating rifle.1 Family records and surviving guns evidence his unique gift as an inventive gunsmith.
Johnathan Browning was born on October 22, 1805 and reared in rural Brushy Fork, Tennessee, in the early nineteenth century, amid scattered, nearly starving farmers.2 Observing his father's struggle to reap a harvest from the rocky hillside led him to conclude he never wanted to be a farmer. But what else could he do? Brushy Fork was a community in name only and lacked even a school house and a church. Employment opportunities were few and a career other than farming seemed impossible.
However, in his early teens a challenging opportunity presented
itself when a neighbor discarded an unusable flintlock rifle. Even
though the gun was missing parts and the lock was broken, Jonathan
offered to work for one week for the neighbor in exchange for the
discarded rifle. He later claimed that week was the only
enthusiastic farming he ever did. Jonathan took the gun home and
made the missing parts, repaired it, and then sold it to the
neighbor for four dollars.3
As word spread of his mechanical ability he was invited to be an apprentice to a blacksmith. During the next few years he learned the fundamentals of hand-forging, welding, brazing, tempering, and soldering. By age 19, six feet, well-muscled Jonathan thought himself a competent gun maker, even though he had never met a gunsmith. However, his confidence waned when he saw a rifle made by a real gunsmith stamped ``Samuel Parker-Nashville.''4 Anxious to learn from a master craftsman, he borrowed his father's horse, rode thirty miles to Nashville, and convinced Mr. Parker to apprentice him without pay. After three months of apprenticeship the former tinkerer Johnathan Browning had mastered the trade.
When Mr. Parker offered a partnership in his business, Jonathan refused, as he envisioned himself a successful gunsmith in Brushy Fork with his own shop. He returned home to the rural countryside, married his sweetheart Elizabeth Stalcup (Stallcop) on November 9, 1826 at Bledsoe Creek, TN, and began a successful gun business.5 His success in Tennessee ended when reports circulated in the community of limitless land, free for the taking in frontier Illinois.6 One by one his customers and then family members joined the westward migration to Illinois; and finally 28 year old Jonathan closed his shop, loaded two wagons and moved his supplies and family about 400 miles to Quincy, Illinois.
Quincy, favorably located on the Mississippi River, was a small
but flourishing abolitionist frontier town in 1834. Newcomers were
heartily welcomed and the Brownings from Tennessee quickly made new
friends and acquaintances who were anxious to barter for the talents
of the young gunsmith. His shop was an immediate success and he
delighted in repairing lock, stock, and barrel. However, he wanted
more from his business. He wanted to create new firearms.
Living at the time when flintlock guns were being eclipsed by the
invention of the percussion cap and pre-loaded paper cartridges,
Jonathan believed a multi-shot gun was possible and went to work to
make his dream a reality. Although confined to a small shop, using
his forge, anvil, vise, foot lathe, and hand tools that littered his
bench, he invented a simple, practical repeating rifle and a
six-shot repeater. Today these guns are a curio, but in the 1830s
their continuous fire was unequaled by any contemporary gun found
along the frontier of Illinois.7
The repeating rifle had a number of ingenious features that
became the trademark of Browning firearms. The most notable features
were simplicity and operating ease. The rifle's five-shot magazine
had a rectangular iron bar with holes fitted to accommodate the hand
loads. The bar slid through an aperture at the breech and was
manually operated, permitting loading in advance for five
comparatively fast shots. The six-shot repeater operated by loading
the powder and ball into the cylinder and placing a cap onto each
nipple. The rifle was cocked by drawing back the hammer and then
manually rotating the cylinder after each shot.
These inventions brought considerable local fame to Browning and
orders for many guns.8 As Jonathan was energetic, his business
thrived as he personally customized each lock, stock, and barrel for
the buyers. Although the lands and grooves were cleanly cut and the
locks worked smoothly, hammer marks from his hours of pounding can
still be seen on the rifles he made. These guns show his partiality
to the octagon gun barrel. It is estimated that each gun took
Jonathan two weeks to create from start to finish. He worked hour
after hour to make just one gun and then bartered or sold it for a
mere twenty-four dollars.
Nevertheless, the repeating rifle and six-shot repeater brought
him instant local prominence. Jonathan enjoyed moving in the social
circles of Quincy and having his opinion valued on almost any
subject. He was elected by his constituents to the office of justice
of the peace and relished being called Judge Browning. This
position put him in contact with young lawyers, including Abraham
Lincoln, who stayed overnight at his home on at least two
On one occasion Lincoln said, Judge, somebody told me that a
youngster in the neighborhood broke his arm yesterday and you set
it. Do you fix anything that breaks--plow, gun, bone? Jonathan
laughed and nodded. It's a fine life you're leading here, Judge,
mending anything that breaks. Looks funny at first glimpse to see a
man welding a broken gun part for a farmer one day and the next day
setting a bone for the farmer's son. Jonathan replied, Bonesetting's
a lot easier. Nature does most of that welding. But if it's two
pieces of iron, you've got to blow up the forge and pound. Nature
won't help with that."9
His position as judge also brought him into contact with exiled
Mormons who were daily arriving in Quincy in the winter of 1839 from
Missouri. These exiles had been subjected to an Extermination Order
issued by the Missouri governor stating that The Mormons must be
treated as enemies and must be exterminated or driven from the
state.10 Curious about Mormonism and his Mormon neighbors who were
settling 43 miles north of Quincy in the dismal swamp they called
Nauvoo, Jonathan boarded a steamboat to venture up river.
His meeting of the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith led to his
conversion to Mormonism. The reputation he had enjoyed in Quincy
took a dramatic turn for the worse when news reached the community
that Johnathan Browning was now a Mormon. Neighbors shunned the
judge and his family, who felt ostracized by those they had once
called friends. Seeking happiness with friends in his new faith,
Johnathan sold his gun shop and home in Quincy and moved to Nauvoo.
He purchased a half-lot on the east side of Main Street, where he
and his family, including his wife and nine children, lived in a
two-room log cabin until their brick house was built.11
During his six years of residence in Nauvoo, Johnathan was the
famed gunsmith of Main Street. He made one rifle after another for
his customers, always experimenting with improving mechanisms for
the firearms. However, the most unique feature of his Nauvoo guns
was an engraved plate on the stock reading ``Holiness to the Lord -
Our Preservation''12 Acquiring one of these valued antique guns
today would be a great treasure for any collector.
When friction ignited between the Mormons and their near neighbors in 1846, Jonathan did not react by loading his gun and retaliating. Instead, he and his family followed the counsel of Brigham Young and fled from Nauvoo, willingly abandoning their property without recompense. He merely closed his shop and took his tools with him across the Mississippi River. He trekked through marshy loess hills of Iowa with other Mormon refugees, enduring the pains and sufferings of the wintry days and the chilling nights. Yet he did not turn back to Illinois. He forged on to the Missouri River and settled temporarily in Council Bluffs.
When the Mormon Battalion was being mustered at Council Bluffs
during their trek west into the United States Army in 1846 to fight
in the War with Mexico, Jonathan wanted to volunteer and lined up
with his friend James Brown and the other recruits. Brigham Young
took him by the arm and led him aside, saying, ``Brother Johnathan,
we need you here.''13 Brigham wanted him to stay behind in Iowa to
make and repair the guns necessary for the migrating pioneers.
Jonathan's advertisement in the local Frontier Guardian newspaper
read: ``Improved Fire-arms revolving rifles and pistols ; also slide
guns, from 5 to 25 shooters. All on an improved plan.''14 It is
estimated that he made 400 guns.
Children of Johnathan Browning and Elizabeth
Johnathan Browning and Elizabeth Stalcup Browning were living in
District Number 21, Pottawattamie, Iowa on 30 August 1850. It is
believed that Johnathan Browning married a second wife, Polly
Rippy, sometime after 1830 or later. There is little information
to substantiate this marriage. It was not until 1852 that Johnathan
was invited by Mormon Church leaders to continue his journey to the
West. He left his gunsmithing in Iowa and trekked to the Rocky
Mountains as a captain of one of the pioneering companies. He
arrived in the Salt Lake Valley with six wagons and nearly six
hundred dollars cash, carefully hidden beneath a false bottom in a
flour barrel. With that money he was able to start his business
ventures again and was soon considered a prosperous Mormon.
Jonathan Browning married a third wife, Elizabeth Caroline
Clark at respective ages of 48 and 37 on Friday, 17 March 1854 in Ogden, Weber, Utah. (The Pioneer, Feb 1953, Vol. 5, No. 3, Page 17 identifies this wife as Elizabeth B. Cook.)
Children of Johnathan Browning and Elizabeth
Johnathan, at the age of 52, married a fourth wife, Sarah Ann
Emmett on Monday, 29 March 1858 in Ogden, Weber, Utah.
Children of Johnathan Browning and Sarah Ann
Johnathan settled with his family in Ogden, Utah, where he once again opened a gunsmith shop. He had a shop on the east side of Washington Boulevard between 24th and 25th streets. As a resident of Ogden, Jonathan Browning soon became a leading citizen, being elected to Ogden City Council, served as probate judge of Weber County, was a member of the Utah Legislature and in the ecclesiastical sphere he was Bishop's counselor, a member of the Weber Stake High Council, and president of the High Priest's Quorum. Browning sharpened plows, shoed horses, set wagon tires, and repaired guns, and he also made some of the first nails, fire tongs, fire shovels, pokers, horseshoes, hoes, shovels, and grubbing hoes used in Weber County. In addition he developed the first iron-roller molasses mill made in Ogden. Unfortunately, he never made another gun. His famous son John Moses Browning, credited with over 120 patents for firearms, worked with his father in the gunshop.15 He said, ``We ridiculed some of the guns we fixed, and I damned some of them when Pappy wasn't near, but it never occurred to us to make better ones. He was too old, and I was too young. ``Died of weariness,'' his son John said. ``He had worked so hard that, finally tired out, he went to sleep and didn't wake up.''16 Johnathan Browning died on the 21 June 1879 at Ogden, Weber, Utah.
With the death of Jonathan, his son John Moses Browning became the head of the family's gunsmithing business, and with his brothers - Matthew Browning, Jonathan Edmund Browning, Thomas Samuel Browning, William Browning, and George Browning - established in 1872 the Browning Brothers Company with its shop and retail store in Ogden.
For nearly one hundred years the contributions of Johnathan
Browning were extolled in family circles, and a few of his
innovative guns were displayed in the Browning Armory. In the 1970s
his descendants decided to acknowledge his life and contributions in
a more public manner. Knowing that old Nauvoo was being restored to
its 1840 grandeur and that thousands of tourists were enjoying the
free demonstrations given by volunteer brick makers, blacksmiths,
potter, wheelwrights, and other craftsman, they decided to finance
the authentic restoration of Johnathan Browning's Nauvoo home and
The two-story brick structure was restored to its original 1840s
architectural design. Even the block house that he and his family
first lived in was restored in historic detail with rope beds,
barrels, and candles. Most visitors believe that the Browning
reconstruction is one of the finest additions to Old Nauvoo. Inside
the brick structure are a number of guns made by Jonathan and four
generations of his posterity. The visitor can view the slide or
harmonica gun, the forerunner of the repeating rifle, and a 44
caliber pistol, just to name a few. Replica forge, bellows, tools
and equipment like those used by Browning to fashion guns are also
displayed. Live demonstrations of rifling a gun barrel, using the
forge, the hammering process, and heat-treating a rod are highlights
in each presentation.
The Browning organization began as early as Jonathan Browning's
arrival in Utah and the establishment of his gun shop in Ogden in
1852. With the death of Jonathan, his son John Moses Browning became
the head of the family's gunsmithing business, and with his brothers
- Matthew Browning, Jonathan Edmund Browning, Thomas Samuel
Browning, William Browning, and George Browning - established in
1872 the Browning Brothers Company with its shop and retail store in
Browning Brothers manufactured guns in Ogden and produced 600
Browning single-shot rifles before the company turned over the
patent to the Winchester Arms Company. From that time on, the
company contracted with other arms manufacturing companies to
produce its weapons. These companies included, in addition to
Winchester Arms, the Colt Arms Manufacturing Company, the Fabrique
Nationale of Belgium, the Remington Arms Company, and Savage Arms
Company. All used numerous Browning patents, and it is not generally
known that many of the guns produced by these companies were
invented by John Moses Browning. The business known as the Browning
Arms Company was officially organized in Ogden, Utah, under that
name in 1927, a year after its most famous namesake, John Moses
Two of Jonathan and Elizabeth Stalcup Brownings sons married two
of Captain James Browns step-daughters:
David Elias Browning
Children of Charilla Abbott and David Elias Browning:
2. David Elias Browning Jr.
3. Stephen Abiel Browning
4. Jonathan Abbott Browning
5. James Smith Browning
6. Wesley Myron Browning
7. Arbarilla Fastday Browning
8. Abigail Elizabeth Browning
David Elias Browning died on December 14, 1901 at Ogden, Weber, Utah. Charilla was 71 years old.
The following was researched and submitted by Belva Rawson Moyle:
Son of Johnathan Browning Sr. and Elizabeth Stalcup > John Wesley Browning Sr.
John Wesley Browning and Annie Elizabeth Roper Browning
In May 2001 Belva Rawson Moyle participated in the Ogden City Cemetery tour giving a brief history of Esther Jones Roper Brown. Because of this event I have become acquainted with Betseylee Browning of Mt. Green, Utah whose husband is a descendent of Jonathan Browning. She has been very helpful in giving me information on the Browning family. Belva also met Donna & Grant McGill (1290 - 6th St. Ogden) Donna is a granddaughter of Iola Browning Blackman. She has given me her pedigree chart. Belva met Bob Wilson (835 E. 1875 So. Bountiful, Utah 84010) Bob brought his mother to visit Belva at the Family History Library. His mother is Florence Browning Wilson of North Ogden. She is the daughter of Ray Browning - son of John W. Browning Jr. Florence also let me copy the sampler she has that was made by Esther Jones Roper Brown. It has Browning genealogy on the back of the frame.
John Wesley Browning's wife - Ann Elizabeth Roper Browning
Headstone of Ann Elizabeth Roper Browning in the Ogden City Cemetery is on 3rd Ave - one grave east of her mother - states Browning Ann E. Roper Apr 4, 1837 - Sept 24, 1873 and John Wesley Mar 7, 1832 - Oct 5, 1913. Also on the headstone it says Ellen May & Reuben Jacob buried on mother's grave.
On the card file of pioneers crossing the plains ( Church Emmigration) one card list: POPER (Roper) Ann Elizabeth (10) Utah Pioneer of 1847. Member of Capt. Daniel Spencer's Hundred (2nd Fifty) which arrived in G.S.L. Valley Sept. 19, 1847. Q.H. June 21, 1847, p.12) P.420 of the DUP "They Came ín'47" lists First Ten - Isaac Haight, Capt. Brown, Esther age 33, born 7 Jan
09 Mar 2005
Nov 5, 2000 Weber County 1870 census page 7 lists: Browning, J. Wesley 38 Clerk in store
This census was 3 years before Ann Elizabeth died in 1873. She apparently had twins in that time period. Her headstone says that Ellen May and Reuben Jacob are buried in Mother's grave.
The Ogden City cemetery records also Reuben Jacob Browning died Sep 14, 1873 and Ellen May Nov 5, 1873. Ellen May would still have been alive when her mother did on the 24 Sep 1873. Thus the 7 surviving children listed in the obituary. In "The Ogden Junction " Friday, Nov. 7, 1873 it is recorded on page 3 " DIED In this city, on the 4th, Ellen May, daughter of J. W. and Anna Elizabeth Browning, aged one month and twenty days." (See below)
In the obituary for John Wesley Browning it lists the surviving children by married name. This is listed under John Wesley Browning's personal information.
CHILD 1 - John Wesley Browning
The headstone of John W. Browning and Hannah S. R Browning lists the names of two infant sons: Fred E. 1902 and John A. 1884.
John W. and Hannah Browning are both buried in the same lot with John"s father and mother in the Ogden City Cemetery on 3rd Ave.
CHILD 2 - Ann Elizabeth Browning Info from Dale Browning Dec. 2000 Ann Elizabeth had two husbands: Howell Evans abt 1874. They had 3 children Ann, Thomas and Henry. Husband #2 Lee H. George.
CHILD 3 - Hester Alice Browning
12/28/2000 Belva checked Leavitt's Chapel of the Flowers Cemetery 36th St. in Ogden. Hester Browning Huggins and her husband are buried in Block 8, lot 30 3 & 4. Hester's sister Iola Browning Blackman and her husband B. G.Blackman are also buried near them in Block 8 Lot 32 1&2.
Hester and L. N. Huggins had 6 children
09 Mar 2005
Family Group Record
Page 5 of 5
'Husband John Wesley Browning
Ann Elizabeth Roper
Notes: Emma Huggins Kenney Aug. 22, 1879 - Jul 7, 1964 dau of Hester and Lyman Huggins is also buried in the plot with her parents and the Blackmans.
CHILD 4 - Rosabel Browning
Rosabel and William F. Downey had 4 children
The Weber County 1880 census lists Rosa B. Browning age 19 living with her sister Annie E. Evans and husband Howell Evans and three children.
Rosabel's death date has not been verified. In 1913 at the time of her father's death she was living in Kemmerer, Wyoming.
CHILD 5 - Iola Browning
Iola was married a first time to Albert Swigert and they had no children. She and her second husband, B. G. Blackman had 4 children.
Iola was born BIC. Also a sealing to Parents was done 25 Sep 76 in the Provo Temple.
Donna Hansen McGill, a granddaughter of Iola, told Belva in 2001 that Iola was about 10 years old when her mother, Ann Elizabeth Roper Browning died and she lived some of the time with her grandmother Esther Jones Roper Brown. Check Weber County 1880 Census
CHILD - James Browning b. 1867 in Ogden, Utah.
CHILD 9 - Ellen May Browning Twin
Ellen May was buried in her mother's grave with her twin brother in the Ogden City Cemetery. Avenue 3. Her mother Ann Elizabeth Browning died 24 Sep 1873.
John Moses Browning
John Moses Browning was born in Ogden, Weber, Utah on January 23
John Moses Browning has been called "the greatest firearms inventor the world has ever known." His first patent was granted on 7 October 1879. He is credited with 128 gun patents, and some fifty million sports and military weapons were manufactured from those patents during the forty-seven years he was an active inventor. Among his most famous guns produced were the 45-caliber pistol; the 1895 Colt Peacemaker machine gun; the Browning automatic rifle; a variety of 30- and 50-caliber machine guns used in World War II; and the Browning Automatic-5 shotgun first made in 1902 and still produced today.
October 1869 John assembled a slide rifle out of spare parts for
his brother's birthday.
March 20, 1882 Patent application was filed on a bolt-action
repeating rifle with a tubular magazine.
July 25, 1882 U. S. Patent No. 261,667 was granted to the bolt
September 13, 1882 Patent file on lever action, exposed hammer,
tubular magazine rifle.
Spring 1883 Mr. T.G. Bennett, Vice President and General Manager
of Winchester Repeating Arms Company, comes to Ogden, Utah Territory
and forms an alliance that is to last nineteen years and is to
change the course of firearms development. As part of the
transaction, the Single Shot is sold to Winchester and Mr. Bennet is
assured of first rights on a new repeater. The Single Shot becomes
the Winchester Model 1885.
May 26, 1884 Patent filed on lever action repeating rifle that
employed sliding vertical locks.
October 1884 Patent No. 306,577 was granted on the new repeater
and John, together with his brother Matt, Free Travel Infoed to New
Haven to deliver what was to become the famous Winchester Model
February 16, 1886 Patent No. 336,287 was granted on a lever action repeating shotgun. Known as the Winchester Model 1887, it was the first successful repeating shotgun.
March 28, 1887 John Moses Browning leaves for Georgia to spend two years as a Mormon missionary.
December 13, 1887 Patent was filed on a 22 caliber pump action
repeating rifle. It has been called "the most popular 22 caliber
pump action rifle ever made." Patent No. 385,238 was granted on June
26, 1888. First marketed as the Winchester Model 1890.
Fall 1889 Began development of the first models that were
designed to employ the expanding gases behind the bullet to operate
August 3, 1891 Patents filed on two separate automatic
November 7, 1892 Filed first patents on the Colt Model 1895
Automatic Machine Gun. Earned the name "Browning Peacemaker" during
the Spanish-American War.
January 19, 1894 Filed patent on what would become the Winchester
Model 1894, the first repeating-action sporting rifle to handle
smokeless powder cartridges. This rifle is ascribed by many to be
the most popular high-powered rifle ever built.
January 1902 In a disagreement about the public acceptability of the autoloading shotgun, John Browning severed his nineteen year relationship with T.G. Bennett of Winchester.
January 8, 1902 An appointment was made to show the new shotgun
to Mr. Marcellus Hartley of Remington. This meeting was canceled by
Mr. Hartley's untimely death that afternoon.
February 1902 With his autoloading shotgun securely tucked under
his arm, John Browning embarked on his first ocean voyage. He would
offer the new shotgun to Fabrique Nationale.
March 24, 1902 A contract was signed granting F.N. exclusive
world rights to manufacture and the sell the autoloading
November 26, 1926 John Moses Browning died of heart failure at
September 1927 J.M. and M.S. Browning Company was incorporated in Ogden, Utah with the Browning Arms Company as a subsidiary. The business known as the Browning Arms Company was officially organized a year after its most famous namesake, John Moses Browning, died.
1951 J.M. & M.S. Browning Company liquidated and Browning
Arms Company became an importer with wholesale functions.
January 1, 1955 A newly created Browning Industries accepted the
import functions previously held by J.M. and M.S. Browning Company.
Browning Arms Company became the parent company.
1964 Browning Corporate Headquarters relocated to Route 1,
1968 St. Louis sales operation relocated to Morgan, Utah.
Warehouse/parts and service moved to Arnold, Missouri.
In 1977 the Fabrique Nationale of Belgium and Miroku purchased
90% of the Browning Company after a seventy-nine-year business
association. The Browning Company still maintains its world
headquarters in Mountain Green, Utah - located sixteen miles up the
Weber River from the city of Ogden, where the Browning Museum at
Ogden Union Station can be found. The company employs about 210
people at its Utah headquarters, which also includes research and
some light manufacturing operations. Manufacturing is done in
various factories in Belgium, Portugal, Italy, Japan, and Utah. Its
sporting catalogs include rifles, shotguns, pistols, knives, fishing
rods and reels, outdoor clothing, and golf equipment. In 1989 the
company's sales volume in North America alone was in excess of one
hundred million dollars.
1978 Browning enters the company's Centennial year. To
commemorate this event, five limited Centennial editions were
prepared. They included a Superposed Continental Over/Under Shotgun
and Over/Under rifle combination; a Centennial edition of the
Jonathan Browning Mountain Rifle, a replica of the Winchester Model
1892 called the Centennial Browning 92; a chromed version of the 9mm
Hi-Power, and a special set of folding knives.
Browning Brothers manufactured guns in Ogden and produced 600 Browning single-shot rifles before the company turned over the patent to the Winchester Arms Company. From that time on, the company contracted with other arms manufacturing companies to produce its weapons. These companies included, in addition to Winchester Arms, the Colt Arms Manufacturing Company, the Fabrique Nationale of Belgium, the Remington Arms Company, and Savage Arms Company. All used numerous Browning patents, and it is not generally known that many of the guns produced by these companies were invented by John Browning.
Val A. Browning (1895-1994), was an industrialist and
philanthropist, contributed greatly to the economic and social
development of Utah. His grandfather, Johnathan Browning, opened a
gun shop in Ogden in 1851 and his father, John Moses Browning,
established the Browning Arms Company in 1898 and eventually
invented and patented many munitions innovations.
Asenath, often called Sena, was born in Adams county, Illinois. She was the sixth child of twelve and the first to be born after the family left Tennessee. Her parents were Jonathan Browning and Elizabeth Skullcap Browning. She was too young to understand what was happening when the Mormon refugees poured into her hometown of Quince as they fled Missouri. She remembered a time when the Prophet Joseph Smith came to her fathers house when she was still small. He picked her up and said, "Whose pretty little girl is this?"
Her brothers would ride the Smith horses to and from the Browning's blacksmith shop to be shod. Asenath was baptized in Nauvoo 1 May 1844. Sena remembered seeing Joseph and Hyrum Smith bid their families goodbye and ride away as they departed for Carthage. She went with her family to view the remains of the martyrs but was frightened when she saw Hyrum's face. Her father lifted her up and carried her through. She met many people of note in Illinois including Orson Hyde, Parley and Orson Pratt, Heber C. Kimball, and Abraham Lincoln.
When the Brownings were asked to remain in Nauvoo to aid the rest of the Saints in their departure, Sena cried. Brigham Young is said to have heard of Sena's and the others fears and promised them none would come to any harm by remaining and none of the children would want for bread. This promise was fulfilled in many ways. They left Nauvoo with an armed, screaming mob at their heels but none were hurt. Sena's family then settled in Kanesville (Council Bluffs), Iowa, where she attended school with Isaac Van Wagoner Carling. The Brownings and Carlings were with the second to last group to leave Council Bluffs in the Henry Miller company on 30 October 1852.
Sena and Isaac continued to be friends during this journey but were parted when the Carlings settled in Provo and the Brownings in Ogden, quite a distance by wagon. Sena worked as a dressmaker as a young woman. Some letters she exchanged with Isaac have survived:
Dear Miss A. E. Browning, Provo, May 7, 1853
As I have not had the opertunity of seeing you or scarcely hearin from you I imbrace this opertunity of writing to you a line or two tho not upon the subject of future happiness at present (Notwith-standing a happy life is verry desirable) but mearly to let you know I havn't forgotten you as I don't wish to cast a way any of my old Friends or neighbor, aspecialy old school mates (as we once was).
. . . but they say that of the young people in Ogden are married off and their names changed so that it is difficult finding them. I started to come over and pay you a visit and see what was going on among the inhabitants of the Northern settlements but on account of the high water I had to postpone it until another day.
Tho at first did not succeed. I must try try again. I would be pleased to have a line from you, as your mails has generally but few letters to carry it would be doing them a kindness and me also, if you write tell me some of the new names as the boys has not as yet. And among the rest tell me if your name has changed likewise. I hope you will not be displeased at me being so inquisitive. As I am only enquiring after the welfare of the (Sisters) as we know that is a natural consequence.
I must draw my scroll to a close in hope you will overlook all my noncense and take me as I mean not as I say. As this is the first I will try and do better next time.
From your affectionate friend and well wisher.
Provo City, June the 19th, 1853
Dear Asenath; I again take up my pen to write you a few lines. I received your letter of the sixteenth and was very happy to hear from you and when reflecting upon the past I don't wonder at your being surprised at my last letter tho I did not write anything as it were concerning a subject which has long been resting with great weight upon my mind, but as yet never have been able to do justice to so important a cause therefor I have thought much and said nothing concerning it until now and never until this moment could I think myself worthy to make you an offer of my hand and heart. If this should be agreeable to your mind I hope you will pardon me asking you the privilage to adress your beloved parents upon this subject.
If you should consent to my proposal you may rest assured that nothing shall be with held on my part which is calculated to make you happy and comfortable. I hope you will not think I mean to flatter you for this is not my intention but hope you will give this a due consideration and give me an answer as soon as possible that I may be satisfied until I can obtain means whereby I may accomplish my desire. I hope you will excuse my bad writing, I have so much business to do for the public that I can scarcely get time to write for myself at all.
Having said so much I will patiently await your answer which I hope and trust will be favorable.
With this I remain your affectionate friend and lover.
Dear Isaac Ogden Dec. 26, 1853
I take up my pen to write a few lines not noing whether you got my last letter or not as I did not no at that time that you was going away from Provo. Permit me to ask you whether you got it or not. I understand that you was sent on a mission to preach to the Indians. I should be pleased if you would come down this winter to see us if you write I want you write when you think you can come down if you pleas. I will add no more at present.
I am yours &c
Asenath E. Browning
My Dear Asenath Fillmore City Nov 3rd '54
It is with much pleasure that I can again say that I have the oppertunity of writing to you and informing of the present state of affairs here in little Fillmore. I recieved a letter from you the last week and was happy to learn that you was well and in good spirits. I can say for myself that I enjoy a good degree of health at pressent tho I have had for sometime the mountain fever which caused me for a time to be unable to be of much service in the laboring line of business. I have no news of importance to write to you at present. If I had been able to travel I should have calculated to of been on the way to Ogden by this time but circumstances would not permit me to do so, but as I am again on the track I shall endeaver to leave Fillmore for Ogden city on Monday next if nothing happens and will try to make the trip as quick as posable as it is late in the season and the weather is getting cold.
Having no more news to write I will close. I hope you will excuse my pencil and rough manner of writing as my ink is dried up and it is too late to mend it. I expect I have already writen more than you can read therefore I will write no more at present as I hope to see you soon.
Yours with sincere respect
Isaac V. Carling
Isaac and Sena were married in Ogden 17 November 1854 and were Endowed and sealed together in the Endowment House 12 October 1855 at Salt Lake City. The young family lived in Ogden for a few years before moving to Fillmore. The 1856 Territorial Census lists Isaac and Asenath in both Weber and Millard counties.
After putting the children to bed Saturdays she spent the night washing and mending so they would be neat for the Sabbath. There was sometimes still mending left to be done in the morning anyway. Sena is described as "sickly" but her children relate proudly that she often fasted before fast meeting anyway. Sena and her husband were not openly affectionate with the children. They believed too much praise led to vanity. However, the children felt loved. They were taught to be honest and do their best and let nothing compromise their principles.
My mother, Asenath Elizabeth Browning Carling, Than whom there was no purer, more devoted and faithful mother, always setting good examples to her children and all who knew or associated with her. No deception or dishonesty here, no taking advantage of anyone to get gain, I think that she came as near living the "Golden Rule" as any mortal could do, and in my life I am trying to live my life in a way that will reflect the good examples and training which they gave me while they lived.
[On August 27, 1857 Isaac took a plural wife, Miriam Elizabeth Hobson, daughter of Jesse Hobson and Catherine Doughtery Hobson. Elizabeth had four children: John Henry Carling, Ellen Alvira Carling, Lydia May Carling, and Jesse Hobson Carling born June 3, 1869, died April 6, 1925 in Idaho.]
My mother's health being poor, so that she was unable to do much beside the necessary work of caring for her children, her health broke under the burden of caring for my father's other family of children after their mother died on June 22, 1869, there were four of them, and my mother being about to be confined at the time, and father's wife who had died left a baby boy only six weeks old weighing only three pounds. Father hired Aunt Caroline Dutson to take care of this tiny baby until mother was able to care for him. When her own baby my sister Phebe, was two months old, she took the little motherless mite of a boy, (my half-brother Jesse) to her own bosom, and cared for him as her own. The three other children of Aunt Miriams were taken by my mother as soon as their mother had died and they all fared the same as her own children, of whom there were eight. And they all remained with us until they were married. I remember one day after I was married, I went home to see the folks, and Mother and Mother and I while we were alone were talking about the family, and how she had done her part by us all, and I said to her, well Mother you always loved Aunt Miriam's children just the same as you did us, did you not? to which she replied that she always tried to treat them just the same as she did her own, but that she could not feel just the same towards them. This was a surprise to me, because I had never seen her make any difference in her treatment of us. One of Aunt Miriam's girls, Lydia May, was about nine months older than me, and we were so nearly the same size and my mother always dressed us alike, and my father called us his twins, we knew no difference in which belonged to Mother, and she had the reputation of being an exceptionally good stepmother. This shows her splendid character.
I could not refrain from writing telling you my children of these splendid characteristics of my parents, for you have not known much about them. One more thing about them, and then I think it will suffice. They were both splendid singers, tho bashful, never sang in public. Father was a violinist, and used to play for dances. Mother played the accordion.(1)
My mothers own family of 8 girls, and Aunt Miriams 4, 2 boys, and 2 girls, made a family of 12 children for mother to care for, 2 very young babies in the number. her oldest, a girl of 13 years, this was certainly a big undertaking, of course as time passed the older girls became more helpful, but before she had what help she needed, her strength was exhausted, and her health failed and she never regained her health, but she struggled on, did her job. And being a prayerful woman, our heavenly father helped her thru it all.(2)
Our parents moved to Orderville about the month of May 1875 for the purpose of living in the united order, as the people there seemed to be making a greater success of living it than attempted to live this cooperation, and they had failed, and had gone back to the old way of living. Our parents felt that to live and practice this order of living would be a better way to live, and raise their children, and so they sold the home in Fillmore and cast their lot with the Orderville people. Turned in all their property to the association, excepting the personal property, and all members of the family who were old enough to work, were soon given their work to do, and were soon absorbed in the hive of industry, where all were united in the work for all.(3)
When the Carlings embraced the principles of the United Order they loaded three wagons with children and belongings and moved to Orderville. There they took an active part in the community. Asenath had been ill and was unable to leave her home for Relief Society presidency meeting so Isaac gathered the other ladies, including Eliza R. Snow, and brought them to her by wagon. During the height of the Order they worked diligently toward its success. When the Order began to fail they continued to have faith in those values and did not move elsewhere as many others did.
Sena loved artistic things. She was a petite woman. Sena believed a home was not complete without children, good books, flowers and music. She was described as "high minded" and could not abide anyone swearing or using vulgar language.
As I remember, her two most outstanding characteristics were, Honesty and Truth, She hated dishonesty, and hypocricacy more than anything else in the world.
And I think that she was as pure in morals as even the angels in heaven or as pure as it is possible for a person to be. I never knew of her telling an untruth neither by word nor deed.
She was quiet and unassuming, kind and charitable, you know that it takes an unusually good and sensible a woman to make a good step-mother. She was one of the best.
God bless her forever.
And now, let us her posterity honor her good name, and follow in her footsteps good examples which if heeded will lead to much good, usefulness and happiness I thank my Heavenly Father for such a Mother and may we each of her descendants do as well. May our heavenly Father help us all to do all the good we can, and no harm.(4)
CARLING - On Jan. 3, 1899 at Orderville, Utah, after a sleep of 68 hours. Asenath Elizabeth, wife of Isaac V. Carling, and daughter of Jonathon and Elizabeth Browning. She was born Nov. 17, 1835 in Hancock Co., Illinois. She was the mother of twelve children and one hundred grandchildren.(5)
1. Family History, by Martha Jane Carling Webb Porter, Logan, Utah, 20 Jun 1932
2. Martha Jane Carling Webb Porter, Logan, Utah, 15 Jun 1943
3. Family History, by Martha Jane Carling Webb Porter, Logan, Utah, 20 Jun 1932
4. Memories of My Dear Mother, by Martha Jane Carling Webb Porter
5. Deseret News, 20 January 1899, 99:2
© Copyright 1997 Elaine Johnson. Descendants of this person may copy this history for their own use and the use of their families. http://www.ida.net/users/elaine/asenath.htm
PAF - Archer files = Johnathan Browning + Elizabeth Stalcup > David Elias Browning + Charilla Abbott > daughter of Stephen Joseph Abbott + Abigail Smith > Phebe Abigail Abbott + Captain James Brown > Orson Pratt Brown
AF - Archer files = Johnathan Browning + Elizabeth Stalcup > John Wesley Browning Sr. + Annie Elizabeth Roper > daughter of Robert Roper + Esther Jones; Captain James Brown married the widow (3)Esther Jones Roper, later he married + (Phebe Abigail Abbott > Orson Pratt Brown
Belva Rawson Moyle researched and submitted the portion indicated.
Johnathan and Elizabeth were living in Ogden, Weber, Utah on 3 July 1860; value of real estate was $200.
Curt Gentry, John M. Browning: American Gunmaker (1964); Richard C. Roberts and Richard W. Sadler, "Browning Company" in Ogden: Junction City (1985).
Numbered footnotes are from "Johnathan Browning,
Mormon Gunsmith" by Susan Easton Black
Additions, photos by Lucy Brown Archer
Copyright 2001 www.OrsonPrattBrown.org