Before I examine the Browning vs. Beck case in any more detail, I should take the time to first introduce one of its major players -- Julia Ann Browning, the third child of Samuel Browning and Margaret Markee. This post, then, will be part of "The Browning Series," even though technically she's their third child and should wait for her time in the spotlight after her elder brother Elias. But ah well, the case I found in Ohio begs to be told.
(In case you're not aware, The Browning Series is the story of the thirteen children Samuel and Margaret Browning had between them and after Margaret's death, the two Samuel had with his second wife, a widow named Sarah Ann (Bell) Gaddis. I plan to feature each one of the fifteen children in a separate post and finally tie the family together with a discussion of their parents.)
Julia Ann Browning was born on 21 January 1820 in Cadiz Township in Harrison County, Ohio. By the time she was ten her family had moved to Moorefield Township, which is where they stayed until at least 1840 and where they were living at the time of her case against James Beck, the father of her illegitimate son, Washington. I won't go into any more details of this case right now, but will instead skip to the year 1843, when she marries for the first time.
Her choice for a husband was a man named John Hoy. I pause here for a moment to share a bit of what I know on the Hoy family. The Hoys became rather an important fixture in the lives of Samuel and Margaret. Two of their daughters -- Julia and Margaret -- married into the Hoy family. John's parents, Edward Hoy and his wife Elizabeth and their family (sons William, John, James, Thomas, Solomon, Joel, Joseph and Benjamin) immigrated to the United States from Elm, Cambridgeshire, England. On 17 August 1837 the Hoys landed in the New York harbor after setting sail on the Ship Superior from Liverpool.
John and Julia married on 21 May 1843 in Harrison County, Ohio. It took me a while to locate their marriage license because there was a mistake in the recording of it on the books. The Justice that married them -- John M. Brown -- made the error himself as he recorded it. He was so used to writing his own name that when he went to write their names he stopped halfway through Julia's, recording it as "Julia Ann Brown" instead of Browning. Only the body of the license shows that she was actually a Browning.
The couple lived in Harrison County for a few years but moved to Mill Township in Tuscarawas County by 1850, where they were living with Julia's younger sister Margaret, who'd recently married John's younger brother James. By that time they had three children -- William, Samuel and Josephine. I find it interesting that her son Washington is not living with her but is instead living with his grandparents. This seems to have been the case throughout his life. Actually, it seems to have been something Julia did a lot of.
I say this because sometime between 1851 and 1860 John and Julia moved to Crawford County, Illinois with the rest of the Brownings. It appears by all evidence that John Hoy had died by 1855, though, because he isn't found in the October 1855 Illinois state census and it appears Julia may have been one of the females aged aged 30 to 40 in Samuel Browning’s household in the state census that year. I've concluded from the rather scanty evidence that John Hoy had probably died by 1855. I haven't ever been able to locate his grave.
By 1860, Julia's married again -- she married James E. ‘Melton’ Legg, the son of Edward Legg and Anna White, in Crawford County on 7 June 1860. Though Julia and James Melton are enumerated with his five children from his previous marriage to Sarah Mills and with Julia’s nephew Elias Browning, her own surviving children from her marriage to John Hoy aren't with her! Instead, her two sons William and Samuel Hoy (her daughter Josephine had died) were shown in the household of her father and mother, Samuel and Margaret.
I can't help but wonder if she just chose a string of men who didn't want her brats in their houses, or if she made the choice to leave her children with her parents. Perhaps her parents thought she was flighty and irresponsible. Perhaps she was headstrong and stubborn and it was just easier for her to let them raise themselves. Or perhaps none of this is true and the censuses just caught them all during days where her kids were simply visiting. I don't know. I do know that Washington's tombstone doesn't say "Son of." It says, "Grandson of." That sounds to me like Samuel and Margaret did most of his raising.
Julia died in Crawford County on 28 October 1869. She's buried near the Browning family plot in the Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Montgomery Township in Crawford County, Illinois.
Coming up next, the case that probably shaped Julia's life more than she liked.....
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