Collection Title: Sympathy Letters to Rebecca Townsend Brown

Collection Number: 113

Dates of Collection: 1887

Box Numbers: 1

RepositoryChester County Historical Society


Letters from friends and family to Rebecca (Townsend) Brown of Chester County (PA) in regards to the death of her four year old son, George H. Brown who died on March 10, 1887 of “diptheritic membrane croup.”  George H. Brown’s father was Col. William Harvey Brown who served with merit in the Civil War and later served on the western frontier where he contracted the illness that took his life in 1883.  Col. Brown married Rebecca Townsend, daughter of Washington Townsend (1813-1894), in 1868.  George was the second of two sons.


“Death of Col. William Henry Brown,” Daily Local News, March 12, 1883. Clippings file, CCHS.

Death notice, George H. Brown, Daily Local News, March 11, 1887. Clippings file, CCHS.

Death notice, Mrs. Rebecca T. Brown, Daily Local News, March 19, 1890. Clippings file, CCHS .

Collections Scope:

Sympathy letters from friends and relatives in Chester County and also from outside the region including New York City and Philadelphia.  Letters from Col. and Mrs. Brown’s military friends include notes from Fort Monroe, Fort Leavenworth, Fort Hays, Fort Riley, etc.  A few letters come from California. Most authors write of the deceased evoking either memories they had of him or evoke religious imagery.  A few relate their own personal loss with the plight of Mrs. Brown.  Others relay the possibility of future social visits. 

Collection Arrangement:

Folders contents are arranged alphabetically by the surname of the author, if a surname is not provided they are arranged by first name or title.

Related Material:

For additional related material, please ask for the Diary of Rebecca (Townsend) Brown in the archives. Additionally, Chester County Historical Society has assorted letters of Rebecca (Townsend) Brown. Please see the manuscripts card catalog for more information on Rebecca (Townsend) Brown.

Collections Contents:

Folder 1

19 letters, March-April 1887









“Aunt Rebecca”

“Aunt S.”

“Cousin Martha”

“Uncle Edward [Hoopes]”

Achelis, Mira

Anderson, Ella C.D.

Arnold, Gertrude

Bates, Margaret

Baird, Mary

Booth, Mary

Black, Elizabeth

Bradford, Emily

Folder 2

22 letters, March-April 1887


Bradford, Mary H.

Brooke, Esther

Brooke, Mary C.

Butler, L.M.

Caldwell, Ellen M.

Cohen, Emilie Gibbons

Dalcous, [illegible]

Darlington, Hettie B.

Defoe, Anne R.

Downing, Jane P.

Ellicott, Addn.

Ely, Foster

Fairlamb [?], Mary N.

Falck [?], Mary B.

Garritt, Mary Hickman

Gibbons, Bessie

Gibson [?], Clara M.

Hartshorne, Alice H.

Hemphill, Mary Sharp

Hodges, Harry C.

Hoyt, Fannie B.

Folder 3

25 letters, March-April 1887

James, Louise S.

Kunkel, E.C.

L[illegible], P.S.

Logan, Jenny H.

Miller, Minnie

Mills, J[illegible]

Morris, Sybill

Peters, Richard, Jr.

Pinkerton, J.D.

Potter, Elizabeth F.

Rothrock, Mary May (2 pages)

S[illegible], [illegible]

Sharpless, S.J.

Smith, A.K.

Smith, Josie

Smyth, M.P.

Townsend, Mary T.

Townsend, Sallie E.M.

Watson, Anne

Watson, Nellie D.

Wolfe, Mary R.

Wood, Janet