Monday, January 13, 2014

Ivy R Mark Brown; My Grandma

Here is my paternal grandmother, Ivy R (Mark) Brown. She was the mother of 7 children & grandmother of 20. She loved flowers and collected milk glass vases & bowls.

Ivy Regina (Mark) Brown
8 June 1908 OH – 18 Sept 2003 NY
My Paternal Grandmother

Ivy was one of 7 children of Thomas K Mark & N Regina V Gruissy. Ivy was born in Medina Co., OH.[1] In 1910 her father was a farmer on a general farm. Her mother was the mother of 3 daughters. Ivy was the youngest.[2]

Ivy told me that she had many chores when she was a girl. "I had chores. When I was seven I took TB. I was supposed to stay out of doors as much as possible. I got the job of carrying in wood, carrying out ashes, feeding the chickens, anything to keep me outside. They gave me a tonic. I took gallons of it.  I really spent hours outdoors." Ivy told me about the one room school house where she shared a bench and a desk with another little girl. She was often ill with repeated sore throats and ear aches that cause her to miss many days of school.[3]

Ivy's Mom had a cousin who lived in Rittman whose daughter was having a baby and needed someone to help out. Since it was summer vacation and there was no school Ivy was sent to lend a hand. Roy J. Brown was a roomer at the boarding house where Ivy was helping out. He had traveled up from Mississippi by train in search of a job and had found a position as a wheel wright at the paper mill. That is how Ivy and her future husband met.[4]

On 2 August 1927 Ivy married Roy Jessie Brown, son of Jasper Pascal Brown & Rose Ella Brumfield.[5] They were married in the parlor of Ivy’s parents’ house. Nineteen year old Ivy wore a simple white dress but had no veil or flowers. A friend played the Wedding March on the piano while Ivy and Roy stood in the parlor and became husband and wife. Her mother, Regina, cooked a big dinner for the family to enjoy after the brief ceremony. After dinner Ivy and Roy went to his apartment in Rittman where they began their life together.[6]

My father, Delbert K Brown was born 27 July 1928 at their home on Grant Street in Rittman. He would be the oldest of seven children: Leo, Genevieve, Jeanette, Larry, Robert & William. The youngest child was born in NY, after the family had moved to Columbia Co., NY.

The 1930 U. S. Census shows Roy and Ivy Brown in Rittman, Ohio with one child, a son named Delbert. Roy was a “Mill Right.”[7]

During the Depression Ivy had a big garden to help feed her family. My grandmother told me, “You could buy a bushel basket of green beans for a dollar. And you could buy peaches for a dollar and tomatoes and things like that. I canned everything I could. Everybody was doing it so you couldn’t find any quart jars. You could find gallons if you were lucky. That’s what we did.” She also took boarders into their house. Ivy said, “I had eight boarders and three roomers and three little kids.” She explained that, “A boarder just eats there and a roomer just has a room there. Some of them had both and some of them just had one.” A boarder paid seven dollars a week to eat at her house. A roomer paid three dollars a week to sleep there.[8] My uncle, Leo Brown, said that some of the boarders were relatives. He said, “Some of them were Browns and other family members from Mississippi who came up to try and find work.” [9]

In 1941 Roy J. Brown moved his family to Columbia Co., NY where he worked for two mills. One was the Midvale Paper Mill in Rossman. In Midvale he was a master mechanic in charge of repairs for the entire paper mill with a staff of eight men. Leo Brown said his father “did some blacksmithing things working at the mills.” He was the operational manager. The other was a mill in Stockport, locally known as the String Mill.[10] 

1945 Ivy Mark Brown with her seven children

My memories of my Grandmother include visiting her house in Chatham. I remember Grandma cooking dinner for our family there. Once I spent the night. I had stayed with my maternal grandmother many times. We were often together. But this overnight with my paternal grandmother was a onetime event. I remember playing in the little front yard during that stay. I was very interested in the sidewalk that went by her house. That was not something we had at home. Inside her house, I explored a small closet off the living room. In the bottom of the closet I found old comic books. Grandma said they had once belonged to my father. They were Pogo Possum Comics from the 1940’s and they were funny.  I sat on the floor with the closet door open and read through those same comics my father had once enjoyed. My cousins remember learning about plants and working in our grandmother’s gardens.

An undated newspaper clipping from the Hudson Register Star gives an obituary for my grandmother.

 "Ivy R. Brown, Homemaker.  Kinderhook - Ivy R. Brown, 95, of Kinderhook, died Thursday, Sept. 18, 2003, in the Northern Dutchess Hospital, Rhinebeck. Born June 8, 1908 in Ohio, she was the daughter of the late Thomas K. and the late Nancy Regina Gruissy Mark and the wife of the late Roy J. Brown, who died in 1956.  Mrs. Brown was a homemaker. She moved to Rossman, in the area of Columbiaville, from Rittman, Ohio in 1941. Survivors include a daughter, Genevieve Wieland of Latham; four sons, Leo D. Brown of Stuyvesant Falls, Larry Brown of Livingston, Robert Brown of Valatie and William Brown of Kinderhook; two sisters, Wava Brown of Ohio and Viola Nothstein of Florida; several grandchildren; and great-grandchildren. Beside her parents and husband, she was also predeceased by a daughter, Jeanette Wager, a son, Delbert Brown; and two sisters, Isabell Esther Nee and Vera Ballard. There will be no calling hours. Funeral services will be at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are with the Raymond E. Bond Funeral Home, Route 9, Valatie."

Ivy, born in 1908, lived to see the new century, the new millennium. She lived from the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt to President George W. Bush. She went from the Ford Model T to cars that run on alternative fuels. She was born in a time when news was learned from listening to the radio to a time when computers and the internet gave that information. She lived through two World Wars. Three of her sons served in the military and came home safely. She outlived two of her children, Jeanette and Delbert. Ivy saw many changes in the world and in her family as she changed from a young woman to a mother of seven children, a grandmother of twenty children, and a great grandmother to more than thirty.

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This prompt comes from Amy Johnson Crow at her blog, No Story Too Small. She suggests we “write once a week about a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, a research problem — any that focuses on that one ancestor.” Thanks, Amy for the suggestion!

[1] Birth Record for Ivy Regina Mark, 8 June 1908, Volume 3, Record #115, Medina County Probate Court, Ohio.
[2] 1910 U. S. Census, Medina Co., Ohio; 7 May 1910; E. D. 144, Family #237; ; Federal Archives, Pittsfield, Mass., T1272 Roll M620 (Soundex) and T624 Roll 1205 (Report); NOTES: Thomas K. Mark and family in Westfield Twp. OH.
[3] Interview with Ivy Regina Mark Brow; conducted by Colleen G. Pasquale, September 1993, in Germantown, NY.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Marriage License & Certificate; 1927; State of Ohio, Medina County; 2534; NOTES: Roy J. Brown and Ivy R. Mark, Married on 2 Aug 1927.
[6] Interview with Ivy Regina Mark Brown; conducted by Colleen G. Pasquale, July 1994, in Germantown, NY.
[7] 1930 United States Census, Rittman, Wayne County, Ohio, Roll 1888, Page 28A. ED 23.  Roy J. Brown and family.
[8] “Interviews with Ivy R. (Mark) Brown”.
[9] “Interviews with Leo Dwight Brown”.
[10] “Interviews with Leo Dwight Brown”.

1 comment:

  1. I really like this post, especially how you summed up Ivy's lifespan and the events and changes she witnessed.


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