Categories: Pennsylvania Family Brick Walls.
Sarah E. (maiden name unknown) was first wife of Samuel S. Brown, a lumberman and, later, proprietor of the Duncan House in Milroy, Mifflin Co., Pennsylvania. She died at a young age, after bearing three children.
She may be the Sarah Martin of Lewistown (Mifflin County) who married Samuel Brown of Huntingdon County on 24 March 1870.
HELP NEEDED - if you are a descendent of Sarah, please consider taking an autosomal DNA test to help identify her origins.
Research goals: Find out Sarah's maiden name, parents' names and origins. Her confirmed mitochondrial DNA haplogroup is H5h.
The dates on Sarah's grave marker in Milroy’s Woodlawn Cemetery, closely match an all too brief death notice found in the Lewistown Gazette newspaper which gives the death date as 27 Aug. 1877 and Sarah’s age as 25 years and 16 days.
Because all three of her children died in Pennsylvania after 1906, Sarah's maiden name should have been included on their death certificates. Unfortunately, it is missing from the death certificates of her two daughters and erroneously listed as Studer on that of her son.
Erroneously, because Stuter was the maiden name of Samuel S. Brown’s second wife, Rebecca.
The error is understandable considering that Sarah's children were quite young when she died. Their stepmother, Rebecca, was probably the maternal figure they best remembered, especially since she was also the mother of their two half-siblings and Stuter was likely a name heard while growing up as being intimately connected to the family.
However, it wouldn’t be unusual to find a widower remarried to his deceased wife’s sister.
But research thus far has disproven connection to the Jacob and Theresa (née Miller) Studer/Stuter family - parents of Rebecca (née Stuter) Brown - or to any other Stuter family. Census records of their household in 1860 and 1870 show no daughter named Sarah, though there is an intriguing gap of several years between Rebecca and the next oldest child – a gap that would be a perfect fit for Sarah’s age.
Little else is known about the mysterious Sarah E. besides her birth and death dates.
She was likely from Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, but possibly from a neighboring county, like Mifflin, where she and Samuel moved shortly after marriage.
Unfortunately, records from the 19th century are hard to come by in this region.
The LDS Family History Library catalog has very few church records for Huntingdon County, and none for Lutheran or Brethren denominations, which would be the first place to check for a marriage register as they were the religious denominations of her husband's family.
The wedding would have occurred circa 1870.
According to the death certificate of son, Jefferson William Brown, Sarah's first-born was born in Aug. 1869 – which would indicate a marriage likely in late 1868. (note: Jefferson W. Brown's birth year was recorded as 1871 in most federal censuses)
But a marriage date of 1868 seems unlikely for two reasons... first, Sarah would have only been 16 years old in 1868, which seems a bit young. Also, Samuel is listed as still residing with his parents as a single man in the 1870 census.
The only substantial clue found thus far is an 1870 marriage notation for a Sarah Martin and Samuel Brown in a compilation of Mifflin County marriages. Whether this couple is indeed our ancestors remains to be proven.
Recent mitochondrial DNA testing by Sarah's matrilineal descendants suggest that rather than being of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) ancestry like her husband, she instead was likely of British or Dutch (Netherlands) ancestry. Matches to her haplogroup appear to trace their ancestry to New Jersey/New York and New England colonies in America's earliest years.
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