(For other posts on Thomas and Sarah Ann (Huls) Browning, look at my sidebar. They're listed in the Browning Series, Part 1c!)
I've often wondered why Thomas and Sarah went on to move to CA from Indianapolis, Marion Co., IN, in the early years of the 1900's when both of them were in their 60's. My hypothesis has been for some time that it was primarily to follow their son Ralph and his family. But why Ralph? A chronology of the events of their lives in the years between 1893 and 1917 can explain why by giving a much better picture than a few words do. It's all pretty tragic really.
11 Apr 1893 - Thomas and Sarah are living in Robinson, Crawford Co IL -- Sarah's mother Amanda Martha (O'Kennedy/O'Kenneday) Huls dies in their home.
Fall 1894 -- Thomas and Sarah attend the GAR annual meeting in Oblong, Crawford Co., IL, and witness what I will call "The Eaton Affair." (For more about this affair, please scroll down to the end of the entry!)
Spring 1895 -- Thomas is embroiled in the aftermath of the Eaton Affair's trial and his reputation in the GAR is shaky.
9 Nov 1896 -- Thomas and Sarah's daughter Iona Lee dies of tuberculosis in Robinson and is buried in the Robinson Old Cemetery there.
1897 -- Thomas and Sarah's son Thomas Clifford resides at 82 E. Vermont St., Indianapolis, Marion Co., IN. His occupation is listed as "bookkeeper Govt B and L Institute."
Dec 1897 -- Thomas and Sarah's daughter Leola marries Herschel Paramore in Marion Co., IN.
1899 -- Thomas and Sarah living at 444 1/2 Massachusetts Ave., Marion Co., IL. Daughter Alta Mearl and sons Thomas Clifford and Ralph Herbert are living with them. Ralph was a clerk for Parry Mfg Co. and Clifford was a messenger for the Governor of State. Thomas N. was an insurance agent and an Adjutant of Encampment #80 of the Union Veteran Legion. (The Union Veteran Legion was an organization of Union veterans of the Civil War founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1884. Its membership was open only to those who had served in the Union forces for at least two years and those who had been wounded.)
Dec 1899 -- Thomas and Sarah's son Thomas Clifford dies in San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX (where he had moved a couple months previously for his health) of tuberculosis and is buried in the Crown Hill Cemetery.
27 Jun 1900 -- Thomas and Sarah's son Ralph H. marries Josephine Schwartz in Indianapolis, Marion Co., IN.
10 Oct 1900 -- Thomas and Sarah's daughter Leola dies of tuberculosis in Indianapolis, Marion Co., IN and is buried in the Crown Hill Cemetery.
1901 -- Thomas (an insurance agent) and Sarah reside at 317 Magnolia bldg in Indianapolis. Son Ralph H., a clerk, resides at 2047 Alvord St.
17 Apr 1901 -- Thomas and Sarah's first grandchild, Russell N. Browning, is born in Marion Co., IN.
8 Dec 1901 -- Thomas and Sarah's daughter-in-law Josephine dies in Indianapolis, Marion Co., IN, and is buried in the Crown Hill Cemetery there.
1902 -- Thomas (an insurance agent) and Sarah reside at 222 Eden Pl. in Indianapolis, Marion Co., IN. Ralph, a clerk, lives at 2047 Alvord St.
1904 -- Thomas (an insurance agent) and Sarah reside at 38 Eastern Ave., Indianapolis. Son Ralph, a travel agent for Parry Mnfg Co., also resides at the same address.
1906 -- Thomas (an elevator operator) and Sarah reside at 234 E. St Joseph., Indianapolis. Son Ralph H., a clerk, resides at the same address.
1 April 1906 -- Thomas and Sarah's son Ralph H. marries Lida C. King (or perhaps CARTER) in Marion Co., IN. (Lida was 28 at the time of this marriage. One of the surnames us her maiden name, the other a possible first marriage.)
1908 -- Thomas N. Browning (and daughter Mearl Browning) shown as registered Republican voters in San Diego Co., CA. Both show residence at 3437 A Street.
Apr 1910 -- Thomas and Sarah live on 3340 Wilcox St in Indianapolis, Marion Co., IN.
23 Apr 1910 -- Ralph, wife Lida and son Russell reside at 1356 6th St. in San Diego Co., CA, where Ralph is an agent in the US Forestry Bureau. (http://www.foresthistory.org/ASPNET/Publications/first_century/sec2.htm)
12 Apr 1912 -- Sarah Ann (Huls) Browning dies and is buried at the Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego, San Diego Co., CA.
c1916 -- Thomas, now a widower, and his daughter Alta Mearl move to 4125 Stockton Ave. in San Diego, CA.
13 Jan 1917 -- Thomas Newton Browning dies and is buried at the Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego, San Diego Co., CA.
In 1896 Thomas and Sarah lost one daughter. They then moved from Robinson, Crawford Co., IL to Marion Co., IN between the years 1897-1899. In 1899 they lost one son, in 1900 they lost another daughter and in 1901, a daughter-in-law. Of their seven children, two died as infants and another three before the age of 30. By 1901 only two of their children were still alive. Of these two, their only surviving son (and father of their only grandchild at the time) decided to move to CA. Is it any surprise that they followed him?
And now the "Eaton Affair":
In the course of my correspondence with Sharon (Bailey) Brown (T.N. Browning's g-g-granddaughter) I have come across a typed copy of a speech that Thomas Newton Browning wrote and gave to the officers and members of Henry Longenecker Post 171 of the G.A.R. at a regular meeting of the order on or about 27 May 1895. (As an aside, Thomas assisted with the formation of Oblong in April 1883; he was one of the JP's assigned by County Judge Jacob C. Olwin to canvas the returns of the vote to form the village of Oblong.) At the time of this 1895 speech Thomas was noted as the Commander of the post.
The speech is in response to an event that occurred at the annual reunion of the Crawford County Veteran Association in Oblong in the fall of 1894. Thomas and his wife Sarah Ann (Huls) Browning were witnesses to the event and had apparently testified to the same during a trial. The members of his order were very against him and the speech was in his defense about his version of the event that he had testified to at trial.
Culled from the speech, this is what is known:
A fight occurred between three old soldier police and another man by the name of Dave Eaton. The result of this altercation was that one of the old soldiers was killed (last name McDonald) and another slightly wounded (perhaps by the last name of Mock?), both shot by Eaton. Eaton had first been attacked by clubs before attempting to shoot.
7 hours ago