Emanuel Brown (1858-1906) and Anna Rosella Obry (1855-1928)

Emanuel Brown was born on August 11, 1858, in Darke County, Ohio. He was a son of Henry Brown and Elizabeth Leeper. Darke County is in southwestern Ohio, along the Indiana-Ohio border, about 75 miles north of Cincinnati.

For unknown reasons some neighbors raised Emanuel from an early age. Because the family who raised him was German, Emanuel did not learn to read or speak much English until he was in his teens. When the Browns moved from Darke County to Paulding County in northwestern Ohio soon after the Civil War, Emanuel and some of his brothers remained behind for a decade or more.

 Apparently the Browns were Catholics, as was the family who raised Emanuel. Eventually Emanuel decided to enter the priesthood and began his training. Perhaps he attended the St. Charles Seminary operated by the Society of the Precious Blood at nearby Carthagena, Ohio. German Catholic immigrants founded this school in 1861, but no record of students from the early years has survived.

In 1878, Emanuel's older brothers William and Robert married sisters Margaret and Mary Obry (or Aubry) at Sainte Famille (Holy Family) parish church in Frenchtown, Darke County, Ohio. Around this time, Emanuel fell in love with Margaret and Mary's sister Anna, who had been born on July 3, 1855 in Darke County. The three were daughters of Stephen Aubry and Mary Frances Grillot. Anna knew little English, since both of her parents were born in France and the family lived among other French immigrants.

As Emanuel and Anna made plans to marry, the parish priest objected due to the fact that Emanuel had begun his training as a priest. Unable to marry in the Catholic church, Emanuel and Anna had a Church of God minister perform the ceremony on November 25, 1879. Apparently the break with the Catholic church was a fairly bitter one (perhaps even involving an excommunication), as many other Browns and Obrys also left the Catholic church at this time or soon after. One indication that their families supported their decision to marry was the fact that Anna's brother John applied for the wedding license for them.

 Emanuel and Anna's daughter Frances Elizabeth Brown was born in 1880 in Darke County, but the family soon moved to Paulding County, where Emanuel's father lived. Emanuel's brothers who were married to Anna's sisters also moved to Paulding County around this time. Perhaps the families' break with the Catholic church had left many hard feelings in the community and led to the departure.

 Emanuel and Anna's daughter Emma was born in Paulding County in 1882 and then the family moved to Lucas County (near Toledo) around 1883. Three more children -- Clara, John, and William -- were born in Lucas County. Eventually the Browns moved back to Paulding County, where their last two children -- Earl and Gertrude -- were born. During this period various records give Emanuel's occupation as a mason or a plasterer.

 During the years in Paulding County, Emanuel and Anna lived along the Miami and Erie Canal in the southeastern part of the county, just north of Mandale. Emanuel's older brother Jesse also lived along the canal, several miles closer to Melrose. At this time the canal was in active use for transporting goods and passengers up to the Maumee River and then to Toledo.

 After two of their daughters married and moved to Manitou Beach, Michigan, Emanuel and Anna joined them around 1902. Emanuel continued in construction work, helping to build many of the new houses constructed at Manitou Beach in this era.

 Only about three years after moving to Michigan, Emanuel died in an accident in the woods near Manitou Beach. On January 31, 1906, he and his brother Arch were cutting down a tree. A squirrel jumping from the tree distracted their attention and the tree toppled against a small dead oak, which fell and hit Emanuel on the back of the head. He died an hour later.

 Anna lived on for many years, eventually moving to Hudson, Michigan. She died of acute indigestion on December 26, 1928.

Information on Descendants of Emanuel and Anna Brown

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