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 the first of three about Charles Otho Browning, the second child of Asbury Taylor Browning and Minerva Corderman.
Charles Otho was born on 6 April 1856 in Crawford County, Illinois. His mother was assisted at his birth by his aunt Matilda Corderman, who became a 'double aunt' of sorts to him when she became the wife of Charles' uncle John Wesley Francis Browning five months later. Upon the death of his father, Asbury Taylor Browning, Charles' mother Minerva pursued a minor's pension for Charles and his siblings. Her sister Matilda swore an affidavit stating she'd been present at his birth.
By 1859 the family had moved to Cumberland County, Illinois; by the time Charles lost his dad (1863, to smallpox) he was seven years old. Two years later he and his siblings were living next door to his aunt Matilda and his cousins Sarah Viola and Alice. I'm not sure how the two women were supporting themselves and their children but both were without their men -- Minerva because her husband was dead, and Matilda? Her husband (John) was either dead, had left her, or had went to serve in the war.
The years 1867-1873 were years of change in Charles' life. On 26 December 1867 his mother Minerva remarried and Matthew James Starbuck, a man who'd served alongside his father in the War, became his stepfather. Matthew and Minerva continued to live in Greenup Twn. in Cumberland County for a few years. Charles and his sisters Sarah and Emma were soon joined by at least one half brother, or maybe two. It's for certain Matthew and Minerva had one son, David Clinton Starbuck (born either on 23 September 1870 or 1871) but it's not as certain they had one other, Peter Starbuck, b. c1872-3. It's very possible that they did and the boy died along with his mother. Minerva passed away on 5 May 1873 and within two years Matthew remarried, this time to a much younger woman named Ellen Cook.
I don't know what happened to Charles and his siblings or where they were living in the years between their mother's death and 1877, the year that Charles' sister Sarah married Alfred Newton Criss. The following year, on 8 August 1878, Charles married Laura Belle Tritt, the daughter of Joseph Tritt and Sarah Snider. (You can see a picture of Laura c1900, shown above and to the left.) Charles and Laura were married in Jasper County, Illinois. Matthew Starbuck and his family, including David, moved to Benton County, Arkansas, but Charles and his siblings chose to stay in Illinois.
Charles and Laura traveled back and forth between Illinois, Nebraska and Kansas in the years after their marriage. They first settled in Jasper County and lived there for a few years (their son Frank Tritt Browning was born there on 23 October 1879) but had moved on to Shelton in Buffalo County, Nebraska by the time their daughter Tena May was born on 8 September 1884. They lost a daughter, Elna, there about the same time. By 1887 or thereabouts, when their last child (son Charles Otho Marion) was born, they were living in Marion County, Kansas.
I dont know for sure what Charles did for a living in that time period but I can hazard a decent guess. He was likely working for the railroad system in some way. The St. Louis and San Francisco Railway Company, commonly called the Frisco, had two main lines: St. Louis–Tulsa–Oklahoma City and Kansas City– Memphis–Birmingham. The junction of the two lines was in Springfield, Missouri, home to the company's main shops facility. While the Frisco didn't run in Buffalo County, Nebraska, by 1886 two others did: the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad through Garfield township and the Union-Pacific through Shelton. Both connected to Kansas City.
This is to become important to our story. Charles might've lived by the railroad....but he died by it, too. The conclusion, next time!
(Edited: because of a sudden illness in the family, my posting might be a bit haphazard the next couple days. Bear with me. Thanks.)