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 a widow named Sarah Ann (Bell) Gaddis for his second wife. The two of them had two more children together. My plan has been to 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 Asbury Taylor Browning, the ninth child of Samuel Browning and Margaret Markee. Asbury was born around the year 1831 in Harrison County, Ohio. Asbury lived with his family until at least the age of sixteen. I've never been able to locate him on the 1850 census.
There is some evidence to suggest that in his youth he may have visited relatives in Licking County, Ohio. Asbury's wife, Minerva Corderman, stated in her Civil War widow’s pension application that she “always knew him since he was a small boy.” As a child, Minerva had lived in Licking County. There were Browning families in Licking County as well (one of the Licking county Brownings, Van Browning, later also moved to Crawford County IL) so there is some circumstantial evidence to argue that these Brownings may have been some relation to Asbury’s father, Samuel.
Taylor, as he was commonly known, moved to Crawford County with the rest of his family around the year 1851. He married Minerva Corderman in Robinson on 23 May 1852. Minerva was the daughter of David Corderman and Sarah Viola Barron and was born in 1837 in Ohio. For more information on the Corderman family, please go here to get the scoop. That was the research that my cousin Pat (descendant of John Wesley Browning and Matilda Corderman, who were Taylor's brother and Minerva's sister) worked on.
Taylor and Minerva lived in Crawford County after they were first married and Minerva gave birth there to Olen Barron Browning on 21 Sept 1853. On 6 Apr 1856, when their second child (son Charles Otho) was born, Minerva’s sister Matilda (who married Taylor’s brother John Wesley Francis Browning) was their assistant midwife. Five months later, in September 1856, their son Olen died. The little boy was buried next to his paternal grandmother Margaret (Markee) Browning in the Wilkin Cemetery in Licking Township, Crawford County. The couple's third child, Manerva, was born in November of 1858.
Sometime between the time of Olen’s death in 1856 and the birth of their fourth child, Sarah Viola, on 2 August 1859, Taylor and Minerva moved from Crawford County to Cumberland County, Illinois. They originally settled in Prairie City. Prairie City was a small community that was located in Sumpter Township and was later renamed Toledo. By 1 March 1860 (when their daughter Manerva died) however, the couple were living in the town of Pleasantville in present-day Woodbury Township. Pleasantville was a small community annexed to the west of the town of Jewett and today no longer exists in the county. The road that presently goes south out of Jewett was the dividing line between Jewett and Pleasantville. Taylor and Minerva lived there next door to Minerva’s parents and may have moved to the township to be closer to the Corderman family. Taylor made his living as a carpenter.
In mid-April of 1861 the Civil War began. At the end of May the first Union casualty, Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth, became a martyr to the cause when he was killed by the owner of an inn after tearing down a Confederate flag it was flying. The slogan “Remember Ellsworth” was popular in the North throughout the war and his death roused many a Northern man to enlist.
Likely Taylor was one of these men. He enrolled in the service of the Union and became a private in Company A, 5th Regt. Illinois Cavalry Volunteers. He enlisted in Prairie City, Illinois on 31 August 1861. Taylor is described in the company’s Muster And Descriptive Rolls as 5’10” with blue eyes, sandy hair, and a sandy complexion.
Taylor was stationed in Camp Butler IL until Feb 1862 and must have had at least one furlough back to visit Minerva as their fifth and last child, Emma Ellsworth, was born on 29 Sept 1862. The attending physician at Emma’s birth was Dr. John W. Lee. I feel fairly certain Taylor was honoring Elmer Ellsworth's memory and his strong feelings about the war by giving his daughter Emma the middle name of Ellsworth.
Taylor’s regiment served at the beginning of the war in and around Helena in Phillips County, Arkansas, and it was there that he came down with smallpox. His records state that he became ill on the 1st of April and died – accounts differ – on either the 19th or 20th of April, 1863. While both the company’s descriptive rolls and the adjutant general’s report state his death occurred on the 20th, his sergeant stated that it had occurred on the 19th. To me it seems most likely that Taylor had died on the 19th and his death went unreported until the following day. His burial location is unknown.
I don't know whether the entire family had moved from Pleasantville back into the Prairie City area at the time of Taylor’s enlistment in mid-1861, but certainly by the latter half of 1863 Minerva and her children had become residents. Minerva pursued a widow’s and a minor’s pension and claimed at the time of her pursuit that she was a resident of Prairie City. She received both pensions and was paid $14 a month until her last child, Emma, had reached the age of sixteen.
By July of 1865 Minerva and her children moved again and lived next door to her sister Matilda in Sumpter Township. I don't know how long Minerva remained near her sister but she remained in the county for the next couple of years before she married Matthew James Starbuck, the son of William Starbuck and Mary S. Hester, on 26 December 1867. Matthew was born on 11 April 1830 in Stokes County, NC and had served in Taylor’s company, Company A, 5th Regt. Illinois Cavalry Volunteers. He was first married to Jane Fulp, the daughter of Franklin Fulp, around the year 1848. Before Jane’s death in Cumberland County on 11 August 1866 the couple had nine children.
After their marriage Minerva, Matthew and the children moved to Greenup Township in Cumberland County. She filed for guardianship of her children with Asbury on 25 February 1868 under her married name, Minerva Starbuck, and her petition was granted on 29 June 1868. Minerva and Matthew may have one child that died around the year 1869 but they definitely had at least one known child, a son, David Clinton Starbuck, on 23 Sept 1871.
Minerva died in Cumberland County, Illinois on 7 May 1873. She may have been a victim of the national influenza outbreaks of the years 1873-1875. Her burial location is unknown. After her death Matthew and David moved to Benton Co., AR. Matthew died 18 May 1902 and was buried in the Gamble Cemetery in Centerton, Benton Co AR.
For more about Asbury & Minerva's family:
1) Sarah Viola Browning and Emma Ellsworth Browning, their daughters
2) Charles Otho Browning, their only surviving son
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