Smith County, Texas

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Monteville Beron Browning and Virginia Carolina Murphy


by Peggy Browning Brannon, great-granddaughter (through John Oscar Browning 1875-1954)


Monteville Beron BROWNING was born October 26, 1847 in Mississippi, the second child and first son of John G. BROWNING, Jr. and Elizabeth J. NICHOLAS. The family moved to Texas between the mid 1850s and 1860, including his parents, John G. and Elizabeth and his 9 siblings. Monteville married Virginia Carolina MURPHY on December 23, 1868 in Van Zandt Co., Texas. Virginia Carolina, the daughter of John MURPHY and Margaret McLERAN, was born September 6, 1850 in Fayettesville, North Carolina. On the 1870 census for Garden Valley, Smith Co., Texas, Monteville is listed as Boren and Virginia is listed as Jennie. The 1870 census also tells us that Monteville had real estate valued at $1,000.00 and personal property valued at $106.00.

The following information was provided by Sandra K. BROWNING Fite, great-granddaughter of Monteville Beron (through his son George Ernest BROWNING 1877-1922):

"The young family prospered and acquired additional farms, town lots, an interest in a general merchandise business, and a cotton gin. . . .

Their first child, Margaret, affectionately called Maggie, was named for her grandmother, Margaret McLeran Murphy. Margaret was born July 15, 1870 but died July 6, 1873. The second child was James Beron (by this time the spelling of this name had become set), born November 4, 1871. Then followed eight more children, including two sets of twins. One other child, Eugene, born September 16, 1885, died an infant June 10, 1887. . .

Monteville Bearion was accidentally killed after being caught in the machinery of the cotton gin on Dec. 1, 1896."

Sandra BROWNING Fite also provided the following information from a letter written on November 12, 1921 by Virginia Murphy BROWNING to Mary Arthur Conley BROWNING, wife of George Ernest BROWNING:

". . . mother of a large family to her daughter-in-law. . . Newcastle has had a big Union revival meeting. We had a great evangelists to do the preaching. They say there was over 300 converted and reclaimed. Our preacher Baptized 20 Wednesday night and has 10 or 12 to Baptize Sunday night and several joined who had already been Baptized and the other churches got lots of members too. Baptist, Methodist and Christians were the churches that were in the meeting and they all worked together harmoniously that you couldn't tell one from the other. The Evangelist said he had been holding meetings for 22 years and he never saw anything like this. It certainly has cleaned this little town up as nothing else ever done. Now I do wish all of my children could have been in this meeting.

Put your whole soul in caring for and training the children for the masters service. O the responsibility of parents. I've never seen it so plain as I have lately. . . O Arthur I want to warn you as I have been warning Earnest, if I had my life to live over again I'd live it quite differently and I'll regret to my dying day that I didn't live as close to God as it was my privilege and duty to do."

In 1914 Virginia Carolina BROWNING filed a Widow's Application for a Pension with the State of Texas. The application was filed Oct. 1, 1914 and pproved; pension allowed from Dec. 1, 1914. The Affidavit of Witnesses was signed by W. C. Head and G. F. Carter on Sept. 24, 1914, before County Judge of Smith County, Jesse F. Odom. Another Affidavit of Witnesses was signed by S. B. Tunnell and S. P. Veasey on Sept. 24, 1914, before County Judge Jesse F. Odom. Another Affidavit of Witnesses signed by W. T. Swain and R. M. Tunnell, swear that "We know that Monterville B. Browning served in the war between the States as private, from the fall of 1864 until the war closed.

He served in Capt. Wm. Gray's Company, and Jemison's Regiment." H. B. Matthews, State and County Assessor in Smith County certified that Mrs. V. C. Browning "is charged on the tax rolls of said county with a homestead of the value of $200.00 . . ."

Virginia Carolina BROWNING died January 25, 1929in Newcastle, Young County, Texas in the home of her daughter, Mrs. J. H. Arnold.

The children of Monteville and Virginia are:

  • 1. MARGARET BROWNING, b. July 15, 1870; d. July 06, 1873, Garden Valley, Smith Co., TX. Burial: 1873, Garden Valley Cemeter, Smith Co., TX.
  • 2. JAMES BERON BROWNING, b. November 04, 1871, TX; d. May 07, 1928; m. LILLIAN GERTRUDE GREEN, December 23, 1894, Smith Co., TX; b. June 1875, Alabama; d. 1912. Burial: 1928, Frankston Cemetery, Smith Co., TX
  • 3. JOHN OSCAR BROWNING, b. April 29, 1875, Garden Valley, Smith Co., TX.; d. October 01, 1954, Longview, Gregg Co., TX; m. HATTIE EVA THOMAS, February 07, 1897, Garden Valley, Smith Co., TX, recorded in Smith Co. Book 13, pg 203; b. February 25, 1878, Garden Valley, Smith Co., TX; d. March 19, 1952, Longview, Gregg Co., TX. Burial for John and Hattie: Winterfield Cemetery, Longview, Gregg Co.
  • 4. GEORGE ERNEST BROWNING, b. March 25, 1877, Edom, Van Zandt Co., TX; d. April 27, 1922, Garden Valley, Smith Co., TX; m. MARY ARTHUR CONLEY, September 23, 1900; b. June 15, 1879, Smith Co., TX; d. January 10, 1969, Garden Valley, Smith Co., TX.
  • Burial for George and Mary: Garden Valley Cemetery, Smith Co., TX
  • 5. STELLA ELIZABETH BROWNING, b. November 10, 1879, Garden Valley, Smith Co., TX; d. February 11, 1911, Bridgeport, TX; m. CHARLES WADE GABRIEL, December 06, 1897, Smith Co., TX.
  • 6. DAISY VIOLA BROWNING, b. December 23, 1882, Garden Valley, Smith Co., TX; m. J. HUGH ARNOLD, January 14, 1912.
  • 7. HORACE CLINTON BROWNING, b. December 23, 1882, Garden Valley, Smith Co., TX; d. October 16, 1958, Harris Co., TX; m. WAYNE ROBERTS, September 11, 1911, Bridgeport, TX; b. October 28, 1890; d. May 21, 1958.
  • 8. EUGENE BROWNING, b. September 16, 1885; d. June 10, 1887, Garden Valley, Smith Co., TX. Burial: Garden Valley Cemetery, Smith Co., TX.
  • 9. FRANCES "FANNIE" MURPHY BROWNING, b. September 11, 1888, TX; d. 1966; m. WILLIAM F. DURHAM, March 16, 1911.
  • 10. JOHN MURPHY BROWNING, b. September 11, 1888; d. July 1967, Long Beach, CA; m. KATHERYN MONICA MCGLINCHEY, September 16, 1922.

Sources include:

1. Certified copy of death certificate for son, John Oscar - John Oscar's death certificate shows father's name and place of birth as Montague Beron Browning, Miss. The death certificate also shows mother's name and place of birth as Virginia Carolina Murphy, NC. Informant on death certificate was Mrs. C. B. Huffman, granddaughter.

2. Online pension record, Smith Co., TX GenWeb site, 9/29/1999, Pension records show name as "Monterville."

3. Rowena Rucker, New Braunfels, TX,; response to query at FamilyHistory.Com.

4. Sandra Browning Fite (various letters, emails, family papers)

5. Widow's Application for a Pension, from Texas State Library and Archives Commission, received 11/10/1999.

6. Application for Mortuary Warrant (copy), signed Feb 6, 1929; received 11/10/1999 from Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

7. Cemetery Records Smith Co., TX, Vol. II Northwest Quarter, (The East Texas Gen. Soc., P.O.Box 6967, Tyler, TX 75711) Tyler Public Library.

8. Trip to Garden Valley Cemetery, Smith Co., TX (picture of tombstone), 10/10/99.

9. Smith Co. Marriages, Book 2, page 361; Book 13, page 203

10. Family Group Sheet compiled by Horace Noel Browning (Monteville's grandson) provided to me by his son, Thomas C. Browning

NOTE: Francis Marion Browning of the Browning Civil War letters is the half uncle of Monteville.

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