With this post I continue what I call "The Browning Series." Samuel and Margaret Browning had thirteen children between them and after Margaret's death, Samuel chose to take a widow named Sarah Ann (Bell) Gaddis as his second wife. The two of them had two more children together. My plan has been feature each one of the fifteen children in a separate post and finally tie the family together with a discussion of their parents.
This post is about Sarah Ann Browning, the only child of Samuel and Margaret's that died before she was able to marry and have children. She was their eighth child.
Sarah Ann was born on 29 January 1830 in Moorefield Township in Harrison County, Ohio. She was just six years old when her oldest sister Julia became involved with James Beck, the man that Julia and her father Samuel later sued in court for child support and Trespass on the Case. Though almost nothing is known of her early life, she lived in the township of her birth until at least 1840 and perhaps even as late as 1849.
By 1850 Sarah Ann had moved to Washington Township and lived there until she accompanied her parents and most of her other siblings to Crawford County, Illinois around 1851. Only her sister Rachel (who stayed behind in Harrison County with her husband John Coleman McConnell) remained in Ohio. Sarah and her parents settled in Oblong Township in Crawford County on 300 acres of land that her father Samuel had purchased from William and Elizabeth Bowman.
By the time she moved to Crawford County, Sarah Ann was in her early 20's and hadn't married like the rest of her siblings. It's hard to postulate why this is so and my imagination can't help but run wild, thinking up reasons for why she didn't. She may have had a suitor or two that just didn't work out. She may have well been on her way to becoming the "maiden aunt" or "spinster daughter" who took care of elderly parents, the one almost every family seemed to have. Sarah may have been a sickly child or young woman, or been crippled with some disease or deformity that predisposed her to resign herself to a spinsterly life (like another of my aunts did, who most likely had scoliosis because she had a hump from the time she was a young girl). We'll never know, of course, but it's fun to wonder!
Sarah Ann wasn't to be in Crawford County long. She became ill during the summer of 1854 along with at least one of her relatives, her nephew Washington. As yellow fever epidemics were rampant throughout the years 1852 through 1855, Sarah might have had the disease. She died on 1 July 1854 and was buried in the Browning plot in the Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Montgomery Township, Crawford County, Illinois.
Though Sarah's life was a short one she appeared well-remembered in the Browning family. Five of her siblings named one of their daughters Sarah. Whether this was in her honor or not is speculation. I would like to think it was so.
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