Mary Ann Brown

Female 1851 - 1908  (57 years)


Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Mary Ann Brown  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
    Birth Abt 1848  Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Birth Abt 1849  Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
    Born 1 May 1851  Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 4
    Gender Female 
    Also Known As Mollie 
    Occupation Cattle Rancher, Butcher Shop in San Fernando 
    Died 26 Dec 1908  Los Angeles, California (Crocker St. Hosp.) Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 9
    Buried 29 Dec 1908  Hollywood, California (Hollywood Memorial) Find all individuals with events at this location  [10
    Person ID I1700  Bishir Family
    Last Modified 2 Nov 2018 

    Father George Brown,   b. Abt 1827, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1858, Lamar County, Texas, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 31 years) 
    Mother Sopia,   b. Abt 1823, Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F7649  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 George Balaam, Sr.,   b. 4 Dec 1805, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Nov 1896, Cambria, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 90 years) 
    Married 23 Dec 1869  Tulare Co., California Find all individuals with events at this location  [11
    Divorced 21 Oct 1871  Tulare Co., California Find all individuals with events at this location  [12
    Last Modified 5 Dec 2014 
    Family ID F632  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 John Harvey Lee,   b. 7 Aug 1841, Missouri Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Nov 1922, Los Angeles County Hospital, Los Angeles, California (County Hosp.) Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 81 years) 
    Married Bef 1871 
    Divorced Abt 1880 
    Notes 
    • Divorce
    Children 
    +1. Rose Lee,   b. 9 Oct 1871, Long Pine, California (or 10 Oct) Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Aug 1938  (Age 66 years)
    +2. Clara E. Lee,   b. 17 May 1873, Santa Ynez, California Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Dec 1943, Los Angeles, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)
    +3. Robert Edward Lee,   b. 20 Jun 1874, Visalia, California Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Aug 1948, Los Angeles, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 74 years)
    +4. Edward William Lee,   b. 20 Oct 1877, Santa Ynez, California Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 May 1951, San Fernando, California (1964 Lucas St.) Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years)
     5. Lucy Lee,   b. Abt Mar 1880,   d. Abt 1880
    Last Modified 19 Aug 2019 
    Family ID F901  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 3 Joseph Christopher Lee,   b. 1 Mar 1849, Oregon Territory Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Apr 1910, Los Angeles, California (Bellvue Hosp.) Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 61 years) 
    Married 13 Oct 1880  Salinus, California Find all individuals with events at this location  [13
    Children 
    +1. Amanda M. Lee,   b. 27 Feb 1882, Santa Ynez or Santa Maria, California Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Dec 1936, North Hollywood, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 54 years)
    +2. Carrie May Lee,   b. 17 May 1884, Santa Ynez, California Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Dec 1960, San Jose, California (at Betty's) Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 76 years)
    +3. Joseph "Joe" Lee,   b. 19 Jun 1886, Santa Ynez, California Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Apr 1931, Canoga Park, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 44 years)
    +4. George Fredrick Lee,   b. 23 Nov 1888, Calabasas, California Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Jan 1942, North Hollywood, Los Angeles Co., California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 53 years)
     5. Grace A. Lee,   b. 21 Jun 1890, Garvanza, Los Angeles Co., California Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Jul 1936, L.A. Co. General Hospital, Los Angeles Co., CA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 46 years)
    Last Modified 19 Aug 2019 
    Family ID F311  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • [George and Sopia Brown of Lamar Co, Texas are conjectural parents for Mary but are not yet proven. See below.]

      We don’t know very much about great-grandmother, Mary Ann “Molly” Lee. Family legend has it that Molly was found as a baby in Texas at the site of a burned out wagon train inside a wrecked wagon. Folks who ran a stage stop found her and the only thing they could find in the wagon had the name “Brown” on it, so they named her Mary Ann Brown. They raised her and she worked at the stage stop. One uncle of mine claimed that she ran off with the “Flying Lees” when the circus came to town. That’s quite a story and we may never know the truth.

      In 1869 Mary was first married in Tulare County to George Balaam, Sr., a 64 year-old British-born rancher who had traveled from Texas to California by wagon train in 1853. It appears she did not stay with him long, because by the mid-1870 census George is alone and she cannot be found. They were divorced in 1871 about the same time she had her first child in Lone Pine, Inyo County with John Harvey Lee.

      By 1880 Mary Ann Brown is separated from John Harvey Lee and soon to marry his younger brother, Joe Lee. She already had the first five of her ten children.

      Molly’s death certificate states that she came to California when she was four years old and that her father’s name was J. Brown. Since her husband was still living at the time of her death, we assume that he provided the information for that document; and it seems to me that if anyone knew about her family and her past it would have been John and Joe Lee.

      At various times, Joe and Molly Lee ran three ranches in Santa Ynez and later raised stock in Calabasas. In later years her son Fred, George Frederick Lee, was their agent. He would stay in downtown Los Angeles and facilitate the buying and selling of beef. We know about Fred Lee’s role in the family business because his daughter, Verna, had kept a letter written by Molly Lee to her son discussing the availability of stock. The letter was addressed to Fred Lee at a downtown Los Angeles post office in 1908. We have to remember that the distance between Calabasas and Los Angeles City seemed much greater back then, when travel was on horseback or by stage. Molly raised nine of her 10 children to adulthood. Only Lucy, her youngest with first husband John Lee, was lost in childhood.

      Great Grandma must have been a strong woman to withstand the hardships and challenges of her pioneering life. Her granddaughter, Thelma LaGier, claimed that Molly’s hair never turned completely gray. I think that’s rather symbolic of the fortitude of the tough, hardworking frontier-woman known as Molly Lee.

      Carley Bisher Worth, www.bishir.org/gen

      Research: Mary first married John Harvey Lee but later divorced him. She was living with his brother, Joseph C. Lee, in Castroville near Monterey, California in June of 1880 along with all her children and married him later that year. According to Thelma Thomas, Mary's hair never turned gray. She died of a pulmonary embolus.

      Mary's death certificate does not show her middle name. It shows her birth date as 1 May 1851. There is a Mary M. Brown listed in the 1870 census for Farmersville, Tulare Co., CA. It shows her as 16 years old (should be 19 to be our Mary Brown) and born in Texas. She is living with a 38 year old Joseph Brown, born in Kentucky. However, the 1880 census shows her as his wife - so it cannot be our Molly Brown. Could not find her in the census in 1870 in Tulare.

      A Mary Ann Brown is shown in the 1850 Red River Co., Texas census as a daughter of George Brown (age 23, born in Alabama). According to probate records in Lamar Co., Texas, George died in 1858 and his children were assigned to William Brown of Lamar Co. as guardian. Mary appears with William and his wife and children in the 1860 census. Autosomal tests for descendants of three of William’s daughters match our Mary Ann Brown’s descendants. Our working theory is that George and William were brothers. Based on additional circumstantial evidence, we think George, William, and another brother, Caleb, were sons of William R. Brown who was the 1st sheriff of Lamar County, Texas and who might have served in the Texas war of independance. This William Brown Sr. was born around 1781 in North Carolina. He was living with his son, Caleb, in 1850 in Lamar. We think William Brown Jr.’s son, Thomas, was living with Caleb’s family in the 1860 census. William Brown Jr.’s marriage record in 1836 in Alabama lists his father as “William Brown Sr.”.

      Another Brown family, that of William H. Brown and Elizabeth (Stowell) Brown left Lamar Co. in 1853 for Los Angeles in a wagon train. They had a daughter Mary as well who may have been raised by her grandmother Stowell who had remarried a Joseph Morrow in El Monte after the deaths of Mary’s parents. This Mary Brown is listed as “Mary H Brown” age 1 in 1850 in Lamar Co., Texas, and “Mary M. Morrow” age 8 when living with her grandmother and step-grandfather in El Monte, California in 1860. Two daugthers of the Brown family, Permelia Stark and Margaret McKenzie, ended up in Tulare Co., California. However, a matrilineal descendant of Elizabeth Stowell’s mother was tested for mtDNA and she does not match a matrilineal descendant of Mary Ann Brown (Carley Worth). So this family has been ruled out, unless they were adoptive parents of our Mary Ann Brown.

      Additional triangulated Autosomal DNA matches indicate that our Browns originally may have come from Blount Co., Alabama to Texas in the late 1830s. They were living in Wilkes Co., North Carolina in the late 1700s and early 1800s and in Pittsylvania, Virginia before that. However most of this is suggestive based on multiple DNA segment matches and needs more research.

  • Sources 
    1. [S243] Census 1880 Joseph C. Lee, (EF#169, SN#264, 5 Nov 1977).

    2. [S46] Interview with Betty Mendenhall Stierhoff and Marie Mendenhall Bisher, (EF#7, SN#7, 1 Jan 1977).

    3. [S117] Interview with Thelma (LaGier) Thomas at Barbara & Gene Davis's home, (EF#108, SN#140, 21 May 1977).

    4. [S542] Letter from Mike and Noreen Marshall with Family Group Sheets for Lees and death certificates, (EF#65, SN#121, 16 May 1977).

    5. [S100] Interview with Ray and Dessie Mendenhall with M & N M, (EF#62, SN#74, 9 Apr 1977).

    6. [S446] 1860 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004).

    7. [S514] 1880 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005).

    8. [S426] 1850 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005).

    9. [S656] Headstone Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, CA.

    10. [S221] Visit to Hollywood Memorial Park, Hollywood, CA, (EF#4, SN#4, 1 Jan 1977).

    11. [S1261] Tulare Co. Marriages 1852-1893 & 1893-1909.

    12. [S1540] Homer, Rodney Prestage, (Porterville, CA: R. P. Homer, 1975).

    13. [S804] Marriage record for Joseph C. Lee and Mary "Balam", (EF#170, SN#265, 7 Nov 1977).