Charles Brown Papers
Ms. Collection no. 246
Not a great deal is known about the life of Charles Brown. We do know that as of the recording of the 1875 Kansas State Census, he was forty-two years old, which determines that he would have been born in either 1833 or 1834. It is known that he and his brothers and sisters were born in England to Robert and Frances (Tiplady) Brown. The family immigrated to the United States in 1850, settling in Clinton, Iowa. Robert Brown died in 1858, and Frances brought the family to Kansas two years later.
Charles had four brothers, all of whom served in the Union Army during the Civil War; Charles was a first lieutenant in Company C of the 10th Kansas Infantry.
It was during the war years from 1863 to nearly the time of her death in 1864 that Frances wrote the letters now in this collection.
In her first two letters, Frances briefly mentioned William Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence (giving no specific insights) and otherwise giving a few details of news of the lives of friends and family in Coffey County, Kansas.
After Charles Brown’s return from the war, he married Isabel (Hinde) Brown when he was thirty-three. He and his wife settled down to a life of farming in Pottawatomie Township in Coffey County, as is attested and verified by the second series in this collection: a diary which bespeaks almost exclusively of the daily work routine of his farm.
This collection consists of photocopies of original materials in the possession of Elaine L. Dopp of Glasco, Kansas, who loaned the collection to the Kansas State Historical Society for the purpose of photocopying, arranging and describing the collection for public use.
This collection is organized into two series: Series 1 contains photocopies and typed transcriptions of seven letters written by Frances (Tiplady) Brown to her son, Charles Brown, from August 1863 to January 1864, only a few days prior to her death.
Frances Brown’s letters to Charles usually contained consistent subject matter. Following her uniform salutation to “My own dear boy” she usually followed with a complaint of not receiving letters from Charles and that she had had “no letter to answer,” but continued to write in hopes of receiving mail from him. In her first two letters she mentioned the Quantrill raid on Lawrence which took place in August of 1863. Unfortunately for the history scholar, Mrs. Brown did not go into detail concerning Quantrill’s famous sack of the city. Most of the subject matter of her writing pertains to illnesses suffered by family and friends (she barely mentioned her own illness and died just a few days after her writing her last letter). Frances also wrote about weddings of friends and family members (and also suggested that Charles should want to get married when he returned from the war). To a lesser extent Frances wrote about crops, harvests, the weather, and the army recruiting efforts of Charles’ brother Alfred.
The second series is a photocopy of Charles Brown’s diary. Beginning in 1871 he recorded agricultural work activities on his farm in Coffey County, Kansas. Of particular interest is a census (apparently recorded by Brown himself) of the “Adults of Pottawatomie Tp.” This privately generated record is an important supplement to the state and federal census records.
|Collection Guide - Folder 1|
|Letters from Frances Brown to Charles Brown - Folder 2|
|1863 Aug. 27|
|1863 Sep. 6|
|1863 Sep. 13|
|1863 Sep. 27|
|1863 Oct. 11|
|1863 Dec. 30|
|1864 Jan. 27|
|Diary - Folder 3|
|1871 - 1876|
The Charles Brown Papers were loaned to the Kansas State Historical Society by Elaine L. Dopp in 1989 for photocopying so the copies could be arranged and described and made available to the public.
Citations referring to this collection should include Charles Brown Papers, Library and Archives Division, Kansas State Historical Society.
The Kansas State Historical Society does not own literary property rights to this collection.