John W. Brown and Bertha Estella Seeds Brown The TXGenWeb Project
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Crosby County Biography

In Remembrance of

John W. and Estella Brown Photo
Photo courtesy of Johanna Stobaugh Gray

Estella and John Brown
Rose Spray



John W. Brown was born January 31, 1893, in Wilbarger County, Texas, near Vernon. His parents were Jessie James Brown and Sofronia Alabama (Berry) Brown.

Bertha Estella Seeds was born September 28, 1893, in Indian Territory, near Terral, Oklahoma. Her parents were Owen Allen Seeds and Cener (Holcomb) Seeds.

John and Estella met as students in the Cash Valley School, Oklahoma. They married September 29, 1912, in the Methodist Parsonage in Faxon, Oklahoma. Attending the couple were Willie and Nola Wiley and Myrtle Brown. The wedding party, traveling by buggy, went by the O.A. Seeds home at 11:00 a.m., picked up Estella, and went on to Faxon where the couple married at 12:00 noon.

Estella always said she picked cotton for her dad on one day, married the next day and picked cotton for her father-in-law on the third day. On the day after the wedding, they went to town and bought a $1.50 trunk to be used to move Estella's belongings.

John rented 160 acres of cotton land from a dentist, Dr. Jenkins. The doctor sold John two horses on credit, and John borrowed money at the bank to make a crop. The crops were washed out and John had to work two years to pay back the money he owed.

At this point, the couple decided to move to Texas. They and the Brown in-laws moved in three covered wagons. Estella made the three wagon sheets on her $12.00 sewing machine - a gift from her father.

Soon after coming to Texas, John and Estella bought eighty acres of land in the Estacado Community and began a life of hard work to pay for the land. They became active members of the community, school, and the Baptist Church. As time went on, trying to meet the living expenses became difficult. They built a two room house in their yard for Grandma and Grandpa Brown to live in. At the same time, an orphaned nephew came to live with them. In search of additional income, the couple built a restaurant in Petersburg. They ran this one year and moved back to the farm.

Two years later, they moved back to Petersburg and put in a grocery store and meat market. At the same time, they owned a meat market in Lorenzo. Estella and hired help ran the stores and John bought cattle from farmers and ranchers and shipped the cattle by train to the Ft. Worth market. This was a good business until the "Depression" came. Because of the "Depression" and because John could not say "no" to customers who wanted groceries on credit, the Browns found themselves broke and in debt. It took the sale of everything they had to pay the indebtness. John sold it all, but Estella refused to sell the eighty acres. So the family moved back to Estacado.

The old farm house was in sad shape and there was no money for repairs, but John had taught the family to paint and paper. He added a bathroom, and with everyone working, things gradually began to look better.

He and his family did many types of work during the 1930's and 1940's. In his "meat market days", he had built a slaughter house. He now used it again. On Friday evenings, he would kill a beef and let it hang overnight. Very early Saturday morning, he cut the beef into family-size bits, and wrapped it in snow white fabric (kept snow white through the efforts of Estella who lost patience because he let the cloth get dirty). He would drive from neighbor to neighbor selling his beef. Happy was he when he could come back home with an empty car.

Other jobs which John did were to paint and paper houses and take his combine and truck with the wheat harvest as it began here and moved north. These were hard times for Estella because the farm, (which had increased in size) became her responsibility. At this time the windmill always broke down, the pigs always got out, and the cotton had to be hoed.

When rural electricity came, John and Hugh Baker wired most of the houses in the Estacado area.

The Browns were very civic-minded. They and their neighbors always helped care for the sick. They spent long hours sitting-up at night as well as helping work the crops of people who were having trouble. John served on the school board for years. He helped get the telephone lines through the Estacado area. He did the same thing for the electric lines and the gas lines for irrigation. Anytime money needed to be raised, he was called upon to do it.

Times in Estacado were fun times. One of the most memorable is the big community Christmas trees. Not to be forgotten were the big fish fries which took place when the playa lakes began to dry up. God always felt very near each summer as we attended the two week revivals which were held by both the Baptist and Methodist Church in the old tabernacle.

The family of John and Estella have many happy memories of life in Estacado.

To quote one daughter, "We all remember when: --Sena fell in the cess pool (dry) while she was chasing pigs. -- when Bobbie slid a bucket of red paint down the chicken house roof and the paint dumped into Sena's face. ---when Dad told us not to ride the work horses; Elmo, disobeying, was thrown off the horse right in front of Dad. ---when Sena got rich enough to buy Mother a washing machine. ---when Elmo won an "electric" gas light at the fair. ---when the chickens were stolen and Dad, with tongue in cheek, bought them back from the local problem boy. ---when Elmo, age 6, broke his arm and cursed so much Mother was embarrassed to call the doctor on the party line. ---when Dad built a car out of an Essix body, Ford motor, etc., etc., and we called it "Static". ---when Mother made many luscious pecan pies for the kin. ---when Elmo rode his horse under the clothes line and almost jerked off his head. ---when Sena made application for a job and Elmo lost the only nickel in the floor crack and the letter could not be mailed. ---when the adults of the community had 42 parties and the children slept on pallets until the games were over.

Four children were born to John and Estella Brown. Sena Brown was born in Cotton County, Oklahoma. She is a retired teacher. Elmo Brown was born in Estacado, on Swetnam place, September 3, 1917. He now lives and farms in the Estacado Community. On November 21, 1921 an infant baby died. Bobbie Jean Brown was born in Petersburg, June 7, 1929. She is a teacher in Stephenville, Texas. Estella Brown, age 90, is now confined to a nursing home in Lubbock. John W. Brown passed away in Lorenzo, November 16, 1956.

Written by Sena Brown
Source: Estacado, Cradle of Culture and Civilization on the Staked Plains of Texas, by John Cooper Jenkins ©1986

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Funeral services for John Wesley Brown, 63, longtime Estacado community farmer, were held Sunday at 3 p.m. in Estacado Baptist Church with Mr. Larry Young, pastor, officiating. Mr. Wayne Perry, Sudan minister, assisted.

Brown was stricken with a heart attack about 10 a.m. Friday in the waiting room of Dr. Robert Nobles office in Lorenzo. He suffered the fatal attack almost immediately after entering the doctor´s office.

He had been a resident of the South Plains for 41 years and of the Estacado community for 37 years.

Survivors include his wife; one son, Elmo, Amarillo; two daughters, Miss Sena Brown, Lubbock, and Mrs. James Bachus, Floydada; two brothers, Wylie Sacramento, Calif., and Pete, Duncan, Okla.; five sisters, Mrs. Willie Weakley, Duncan, Okla., Mrs. Jimmie Young, Long Beach, Calif., Mrs. Myrtle Talley, Hemet, Calif., Mrs. Bamie Cothran, Lubbock, and Mrs. Lois Hatchell, Lubbock; and three grandchildren, Sammie Ann Brown, Amarillo, Jody Bachus and Johnniemae Bachus, both of Floydada.

Pallbearers were Richard Kelsey, Henry James Martin, Tommy Fondren, Ford Greenhaw, Wilson Kittrell and Buster Bryant.

Burial was in Lorenzo Cemetery under direction of Carter Funeral Home.

Name of paper unknown, dated Nov. 18, 1956
Submitted by Johanna Stobaugh Gray

ESTACADO (Special) — Services for Estella Brown, 90, of Estacado will be at 10 a.m. Monday at Estacado Baptist Church with the Rev. Travis Ellis of Post officiating.

Burial will be in Lorenzo Cemetery under the direction of Carter-Adams Funeral Home of Ralls.

She died at 11:59 p.m. Friday in Methodist Hospital after a lengthy illness.

She was born in Indian Territory, Okla. and married John Wesley Brown in 1912. He preceded her in death in November 1956. She moved to the South Plains from Cotton County, Okla. in 1915.

She is survived by a son, Elmo of Estacado; two daughters, Sena of Lubbock and Bobbie Bachus of Stephenville, a sister, Mrs. Cleatus Naylor of Portales, NM; two grandchildren; and three great grandchildren.

Pallbearers will be Buster Bryant, Tommy Fondren, Henry J. Martin, Sam Kelsey, Wilson Kittrell and Charlie Lee Parr.

©Lubbock Avalanche Journal, June 21, 1984
Submitted by Johanna Stobaugh Gray

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