Robert Jarvis Brown Family Page
Submitted by Martha Thompson
Robert Jarvis Brown was born on May 14, 1876 at Mineral Point, Washington County, Missouri to Alexander Donathan Brown and Rachel Sophia Boas Brown.

he family came to Texas in a covered wagon in 1880 and settled in the Belknap Community in Young County where they owned and operated a general merchandise store and A.D. Brown served as Postmaster.  A year later, Rachel Sophia passed away, leaving her husband with a 5 year-old child.

A.D. Brown later remarried and stories are told that she was abusive to Robert; so at the age of 15, he left home and traveled to Bellevue, Clay County, Texas where he was engaged in general merchandise business with Sid Webb.
Robert attended the former Trinity University in Waxahachie, Ellis County, Texas and the Metropolitan Business College in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas.  He was a successful cattleman for 25 years.  During this time he met and married Martha Elizabeth Thurmond of Rhome, Wise County, Texas on December 5, 1905; they lived on their ranch in Bellevue, Texas.

In 1910 they moved to Henrietta, Clay County, Texas where he served as President of the Henrietta School Boards of Education when the Junior High School building was erected  in 1928.  He also served as President of the Henrietta Chamber of Commerce as well as owned and operated a Gulf Service station in Henrietta for a number of years after the cattle business failed during the Great Depression Era.  He was also a member of the Clay County Historical Survey Committee, the West Side Baptist Church in Wichita Falls, Wichita County, Texas and served as treasurer of the Jobe Sunday School Class at the church for many years.

Robert Jarvis Brown, a pioneer resident of Clay County, passed away on Wednesday, May 9, 1973 in a Wichita Falls nursing home at the age of 96.  The Rev. L.J. (Scotty) Newton, Pastor of West Side Baptist Church, conducted the service.  Burial was in the Bellevue Cemetery, placed next to his wife, Martha.  Pallbearers included:  Edgar Brody, William Burnside, Bryant Edwards, David Greer, Pete Moore and Dan Slagle.  Honary Pallbearers were the members of the Jobe Sunday School Class.

Robert's advice to young married couples was to:  "Never put all your eggs in one basket".

Martha Elizabeth Thurmond was born in the Fairview Community near Rhome, Wise County, Texas on December 18, 1880 to John Faver Thurmond and Amanda Merrifield Thurmond.  She grew up on the farm where she was born.  There is a story that when she was an infant, a tornado hit the farmhouse where she was sleeping in her crib and was carried into a cornfiled, crib and all.  The other members of the family had all come in from the field where they were working and had headed to the root cellar.  Each had thought the other had gotten Martha out of the house; she survived the incident unharmed.

Martha attended and graduated from Decater Baptist College.  On December 5, 1905, she married Robert Jarvis Brown, a rancher from Bellevue, in the Thurmond home north of Rhome.  They resided outside of Bellevue until 1910 when they moved to Henrietta.

Martha was very active in community affairs as a member of the First Baptist Church, the Henrietta Garden Club, the Unity Club, the Woman's Forum of Wichita Falls, the Delphian and served on the Henrietta School Board.  During World War I, Martha assisted by making badges for the soldiers.

Martha loved to garden and raised Irises in her large backyard.  She experimented with crossbreeding the plants and it is told that she created the first truly white Iris.  She loved butterflies, especially the Monarch; you could often see her chasing them with a large butterfly net.  But her favorite thing by far was entertaining.  Martha hosted many parties in their home and played lots of Bridge and Canasta
     Martha and Robert Brown had three children:  Don, born March 2, 1901 on the ranch; Earle (later named Rachel Earle), born June 20, 1911; and Robert Jarvis, Jr., (Bob) born October 17, 1917 in Henrietta.

Martha Elizabeth Thurmond Brown passed away on Sunday, February 12, 1961, in the farmhouse where she had been born and married while attending funeral services of her sister-in-law, Mrs. Forrest Thurmond of Fort Worth.  Funeral services were held at the First Baptist Church in Henrietta on Monday, February 13, at 2 P.M. and conducted by Rev. Kenneth Cantrell, Pastor.  Interment was in the Bellevue Cemetery in the Brown Family Plot under the direction of the Hawkins Funeral Home.  Pallbearers were:  David A. Greer, Macon Boddy, A.V. Slagle, Bryant Edwards, Ham Douglas, Frank Bunting, Myers Barker, Jim Hill, Gordon Shamburger, Clyde King and William Burnside.  She was survived by her husband of 56 years, Robert Jarvis Brown; two sons, Don Brown of Fort Worth and Robert J. Brown, Jr. of Wichita Falls; one daughter, Rachel Shaffer of Wichita Falls; one brother, Joe Thurmond of Rhome and six grandchildren, several nieces and nephews.


     Mrs. Robert Jarvis Brown presented the following to the Museum at Decatur Baptist College from which she graduated as Tribute to her Mother, Amanda Merriefield Thurmond and her Grandmother, Elizabeth A. Thurmond.  This is quoted from a style show script:

          "The dress Mrs. Oheim is modeling is a calico dress copied from a plaid silk worn by
           Mrs. R.J. Brown's mother in the 1870's.  The taffeta cape is an original belonging to
           Mrs. Brown's grandmother, Mrs. Elizabeth A. Thurmond of Newman, Georgia.  The
           cape and handmade fringe was made by Mrs. Thurmond's personal maid, a slave girl
           called Clarie, whom Mrs. Thurmond had taught to do fine sewing and needle work in
           the 1800's.  Most of Clarie's fine sewing was done when the four Thurmond daughters
           attended the Fayetteville Female Academy - the school where Margaret Mitchell's
           famous character, Scarlett in 'Gone with the Wind' went to school".

The beaded net made to wear over the "waterfall", a coiffure term to describe a style of hair dressing, was made by Katherine Greenwood Thurmond in 1960; Mrs. Brown's aunt.

Photo's the Robert Jarvis & Martha E. Thurmond Brown Family
Photo's submitted by Martha Shaffer Thompson

R.J. & Martha Brown's children:
Don, Rachel & Bob (R.J.,Jr.)

The Brown Family ca. 1925 at Pioneer Days.

Shaffer - Brown
December 26, 1931

     Thomas D. Shaffer, formerly of Dallas and Miss Rachel Brown, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R.J. Brown of Henrietta, Texas were united in marriage in a simple home wedding at the Brown residence at 2:30 Saturday afternoon.  Rev. Paul J. Merrill was the officating minister, using the ring ceremony.  Jimmie Burge and Miss Charlotte Ratliff of Ranger were the attendants.  Out of town guests were Mr. and Mrs. L.T. Potter of Dallas.  The bride wore a gold crepe dress with accessories of brown.  Mr. and Mrs. Shaffer left for Dallas immediately after the ceremony, but they will be at home after a short visit with his people in Dallas.
     The bride was reared in Henrietta, is a graduate of our high school and a talented violinist.  After finishing here she attendeed Baylor University for two years and for the past year and a half has been a member of the faculty of Henrietta public schools.  She is very popular among a large circle of friends.  Mr. Sahffer holds a responsible position with the Lone Star Gas Company.

From the Henrietta Newspaper
Submitted by Martha Thompson



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