The Roane TN marriage bonds and returns show that on 6 Feb 1819 James Brown took out a marriage bond with bondsman Allen Sneed to marry Betsey Hacker and that the marriage return was made on 7 Feb 1819, probably the wedding date. Allen Sneed was the husband of Betsey's sister Susan Hacker.
According to the Biographical Record of Jasper Co. Mo., "Elizabeth" (and Betsey is a nickname for Elizabeth) was named as "the seventh and youngest child" of Julius and Martha and "married William Brown and they had a son named John." While it is possible that James Brown had a second name of William, it is necessary to remember that the marriage bond is a primary source of information since the parties were present. The "Biography" is a secondary source that was published 100 years later. Based on the "primary source," I will stick with the primary evidence that James was his name.
James Brown appeared in the Morgan County Surveyors records in 1821 and 1826, concerning in 1821 a 10-acres piece of land on "the south fork of Yellow Creek....including the house and improvements where James Brown now lives..." and in 1826 for 90 acres "around his 10 acres survey...." The sworn chain carriers (SCC) for the 1826 survey were Claiborne J. Brown, relationship currently unknown, and JOHN HACKER, the son of Joseph Hacker, James Brown's brother-in-law. This is significant because chain carriers were normally relatives of the person having the property surveyed, or occasionally neighbors. With a Hacker as SCC, I feel confident that this is "our" James Brown.
In the 1830 Morgan Co., TN, the first existing Tennessee census, there are two James Browns in Morgan County. One is a man of 30 under 40 and the other 20 under 30. The man who is 20 under 30 has 1 child under 5 and a woman 15 under 20 in his household. I believe that this information lets this younger man out of the running - the woman would have been born between 1811 - 1815, far too young to have been Betsey Hacker who married in 1819.
Dialing in on the older man, he has an older woman 30 under 40 in his household, and there are 6 younger males and 3 younger females. Also interesting is the fact that the older man has a John Feagins as neighbor. This is another HACKER tie. In September 1818, Joseph Hacker sold 75 acres of to John Feagins in an area of Roane County very close to the new Morgan County line. The Tennessee Legislature passed an act providing for the organization of Morgan County in 1817, but the first county court term was not held until January, 1818.
1830 Morgan TN CensusJames Brown head of household
2 males thru 4 years, 2 males 5-9 years, 0, 2 males 15-19, 0, 1 male 30 under 40
1 female under 5, 1 female 5-9 years, 1 female 10-14, 0,0, 1 female 30 under <40
Where Did They Go?
With the common names of James and Elizabeth "Betsey" Brown, finding more evidence of this family has been challenging.
Some Longacre and Howell researchers believe that a James and Elizabeth Brown found in the 1850 Meigs census are Elizabeth "Betsey" Hacker and her spouse James Brown. In 1908, a Margaret Susanna Brown Howell b. Aug. 1823 in TN died in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, California. She had married Benjamin Franklin Howell (b. Roane in 1820) on 4 April 1841. Her death certificate, which I have not seen, supposedly was filled out by her son-in-law and indicated that her parents were James Brown and Jane Hacker from Meigs, TN.
A death certificate is not a primary source since the person in question is deceased; so we are dealing with second-hand knowledge, and the name Jane could be wrong or be a second name. I know of no Jane Hacker from this time period in this area of Tennessee, so it could be Betsey and her husband. However, with the difference in names (Betsey/Jane) and the fact that Elizabeth is listed as being born in South Carolina (not in Tennessee as Betsey likely was), more evidence is needed.
To further muddy the waters, both the 1880 and 1900 census listings for Margaret S. Brown Howell indicate that Margaret's parents were both born in Tennessee. We know that Betsey Hacker was probably born in Tennessee, but are these even the same people found in the 1850 census? Again, more evidence is needed.
The older Brown family found in 1830 Morgan is gone from Morgan by 1840. In 1840 Monroe, a James Brown and older woman with children that are almost an exact match for the 1830 Morgan bunch, allowing for a couple of older children marriages. The older couple are listed as 50 under 60, which dovetails with the age shown both by the Morgan couple in the 1830 census and by the Meigs couple in the 1850 census. Still, this is not positive proof either.
1850 Meigs TN United States Federal CensusHead of house: James Brown
Estimated birth year: abt 1789
Birth Place: South Carolina
Elizabeth Brown 61, SC
Hanah Brown 21, TN
Jackson Brown 20, TN
Joseph J Brown 5, TN
I have been unsuccessful in tracing this James and Elizabeth Brown beyond the 1850 census, if indeed this is the right couple and Betsey Hacker. As to the children shown in this census, it seems likely that Joseph might be a grandchild or other relation due to Elizabeth's age. I have not been successful in tracing any of these children either, which might yield further clues.
If anyone has more information on the Brown-Hacker family, I would love to collaborate. Please contact me.
©Alexis Hacker Scholz 2002-2011.
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