I've learned much more about the Brownings than I could have hoped to learn by taking the time to research and analyze the Browning v. Beck cases brought up by Samuel and Julia Ann.
Far and away, the most important aspect of both cases are the statements made by Samuel and Julia Ann. To my knowledge, Samuel Browning never left a will. I've looked for his will in Crawford County and the surrounding counties (Shelby County was the county he and his second wife were residing in at the time of his death and the county his youngest daughter's daughter said he died in) with no luck. Since I've been able to find no will I considered he might have died intestate, so of course I've also looked into probate records. Nothing. In birth he seems to have hatched and in death he seems to have simply faded away. It's frustrating...
The legal statement he made for this case then, is very important to me. Considering my lack of any other written documentation, this statement is the best proof I have that Samuel was Julia Ann's father. I have implied sources like census records and the statement "dau of S&M Browning" on Julia Ann's tombstone, but this document states their relationship clearly.
Julia's statement, taken side by side with Samuel's, demonstrates another important familial link. Julia states that she was with her sister Rachel. One could infer from this -- and I do -- that Rachel is also Samuel's daughter. Couple this with Rachel's appearance on census records with Samuel and Margaret and I have a fairly good circumstantial case for saying that Rachel is also a daughter of Samuel Browning and Margaret Markee.
There are other relationships that these two statements help to bolster by contributing that extra layer of circumstance. Rachel's son John Wesley McConnell is found in the 1870 census of Noble County, Indiana as a farmhand in the household of Isaac F. and Susannah Crago. Susannah's maiden name was Browning and this couple had been married in Crawford County, Illinois, where the Brownings had moved in the early 1850's. To all appearances, the fact that one of Rachel's sons was living in Isaac and Susannah's household certainly shores up the idea that Susannah (Browning) Crago was another of Samuel and Margaret's daughters.
Additionally, a young girl named Emma Hoy spent some time in Harrison County in 1870, visiting (or living for a time) with Rachel's family. Emma was the daughter of James Hoy and Margaret Browning. James and Margaret were found in the 1850 census of Tuscarawas Co., OH, living with Julia Ann and her husband, James Hoy's brother John Hoy. To find James and Margaret Hoy's daughter Emma staying with Rachel and her family is another circumstance that lends credence to the idea that Margaret, wife of James Hoy, is yet another of Samuel and Margaret's daughters.
I'm sure there are more hidden gems to this case that I have yet to discover. It's funny how one seemingly small thread of information can transform into a long and winding one weaving many different aspects of a family together. Finding these threads is one of the deepest sorts of pleasures of genealogy.
20 minutes ago