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RG5381.AM:  Brown Family (Scottsbluff, Neb.)

Papers:  1895-1925, mostly 1895-1901

Gering, Scottsbluff and Morrill, Scotts Bluff County, Neb.:  Farm family

Size:  0.1 cu.ft.


Olmstead Bishop Brown was born March 30, 1855. His family was descended from Moses Simmons, a Pilgrim who landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621. His wife, Cartha G. Marker Brown, was born in Springville, Wisconsin, June 10, 1861. She traced her family genealogy back four generations to an Irish ancestor. Olmstead, called “O.B.” or “Bish,” and Cartha were married December 14, 1881, and lived on a farm near Gering, Nebraska, where he raised grain and livestock while Cartha produced butter and eggs for sale. Later they lived in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and Seattle, Washington. Cartha’s last letters, which do not mention her husband specifically, were written from Morrill, Nebraska, in 1925.


The Brown family collection consists of genealogical information and correspondence arranged in two Series: 1) Genealogical Material; and 2) Correspondence, 1895-1925.

The printed materials and letters of Series 1 trace O.B. Brown’s family, the Simmonses, back to 1621 and his wife Cartha Brown’s family, the McDowells, back four generations.

Series 2 contains correspondence from family and friends of the Browns. Interesting details of daily life in western Nebraska in the late nineteenth century appear in the letters of O.B. Brown to his brother Ernest John Brown of Osceola, Nebraska, and particularly in Cartha’s letters to Ernest’s second wife, May Helen Macken (“Mamie”) Brown. In the earliest letters constant references to prices dramatize the pioneers’ struggle to make a living. Within a few years they feel that their efforts are being rewarded: they are able to buy a separator for milk, and their life generally becomes somewhat easier.

The last letters, written between 1919 and 1925, describe social events: a family wedding in Seattle and a Scottsbluff flower show.


Series 1 – Genealogical Materials


  1. Simmons (Brown) family

  2. McDowell (Marker) family

    McDowell (Marker) family genealogical chart (see OB125)

Series 2 – Correspondence, 1895-1925

  1. Letters from O.B. and Cartha Brown to his brother and sister-in-law, Ernest John and May Helen Macken Brown, 1895-1901

  2. Letter from Cartha Brown to her niece Lillian, 1919

  3. Letters from Cartha Brown to her daughter, Hattie May, 1924-1925



Brown, Cartha (Cartha G. Marker), 1861-

Brown, O.B. (Olmstead Bishop), 1855-

Brown family

Frontier and pioneer life — Nebraska — Scotts Bluff County


Homesteading — Nebraska

Marker family

McDowell family

Simmons family


BQ/kfk   12-17-2002

Revised TMM   11-03-2009