Consanguinity: (kŏn'săng-gwĭn'ĭtē) , relationship by blood, whether linear or collateral.

Primarily concentrating on my Browning family from Harrison County, Ohio (and their subsequent move to Crawford County, Illinois) but I've got Plymell, Crago, Eagleton, Garrard, McConnell, Nichols, Swan, Nevitt, Huls, Markee, Depperman, Papstein/Popstein and Hamilton in there too. And that's just the beginning......

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - John Wesley Francis Browning's "Folly" in the Scientific American, 1864

This must have a few words of explanation, hence the 'almost' in the title.

John Wesley Francis Browning, the son of Samuel Browning and Margaret Markee, was -- according to one of his two entries in the 1860 census (Pleasantville Twn. in Cumberland Co., IL on 12 Jul 1860 and Pleasant Grove Twn, in Coles Co., IL on 17 Sept 1860) -- an engineer. 

According to my cousin Pat -- John's descendent -- John Wes Browning had built his 'machine' somewhere on property that he and his wife lived on in Cumberland Co. before they moved to Coles Co. and some took to calling it "Browning's Folly" because it never worked. 

If it didn't, perhaps he spent countless hours working diligently and perfecting his invention so that it would.  He was certainly proud of his efforts at any rate, as he had beautiful vellum patent papers drawn up with all his diagrams and he made sure to apply for a patent, filing the application in Mattoon.  The patent, number #44594, was dated 11 October 1864. 

The Scientific American published a small blurb in its magazine about his invention.  It is shown here.

This blurb, and the patent papers, are all that is left of John Wesley Francis Browning.  He seems to disappear sometime soon thereafter.  His wife Matilda is back in Cumberland Co., IL in 1867 but there is no trace of John.  She was living next door to her parents in 1870 -- still no John.

His daughter Sarah Viola 'Kate' Browning apparently had a falling out with her mother and took a picture of John, and his vellum patent papers, with her when she ran away to Terre Haute, IN in the early 1880's.

John is a mystery to me still.    You can read more about him and his family if you follow this link.

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