This is my very favorite photo of my Papaw. He was so very fashionably dressed. I wish it was in color because he had very red hair and freckles. He had lost almost all of his hair before my time so I don't remember him having hair. He parted his hair along a terrible scar left from a dog bite. In this photo his left eye was still swollen from the dog bite. His mother may have had the picture made a few days after the dog bit him for fear he might die. The scar was always noticeable and he always had to tell me about the mad dog jumping on him and biting him. Every time he told the story the dog was bigger and meaner than the last time. I don't know if it was rabid or not but he survived without any complications. To hear him tell it he nearly died. He wore a hat most of the time to cover the scar, his bald head and fair complexion.
Papaw's father, Robert Brown, left the family when Papaw was very young. Probably not long after this picture was made. He was then the little man of the house. He never talked too much about his father's family but according to the 1880 Marion County census his parents were neighbors before the marriage. James W. Brown 56, Elizer Jane 51, Laura M.22, Tryphenia 18, Huston 16, Elizabeth 12, and Mary O. are two houses away from John M. Brown 50, Margret M. 45, Robert 20, Nancy 14, George H. 13, Ellen N. 11, John C. 9, Margret 7, James M. 5 William S. and Spencer Lee 2. I have not yet found the marriage or divorce record of Tryphenia and Robert.
Papaw and his mother, Tryphenia (Brown) Brown, lived with her sisters, Mary and Beth, for many years in Marion and Lamar county Alabama. The 1900 Lamar County Alabama Census shows him, age 9, living with his mother age 35 at the home of her brother, Huston Brown 33. Next door are his maternal grandparents, James W. Brown 76 and Liza J. (Liza Jane Thompson) 76 with their daughters Mary O. 29, Lizzie (Beth) Justice 31 wd., her sons, Jimmie 3 and Orland Justice 2. As a small child he shouldered his share of the work load and found odd jobs to help support his mother and her sisters. When he was in his early teens he went to Aberdeen MS and helped lay brick on some buildings on Commerce street. As he got a little older he worked at the sawmills around Detroit, Alabama. He was never afraid of hard work.
Now, you know that I am related to a lot of Browns in Alabama and the Hill Country of Mississippi even though Papaw was an only child. One time not long before his death I asked Papaw a lot of questions about his family and when I got to his great grand father he said, "Oh, he was just an old hermit that lived up in the hills of Alabama and he was never married as far as I know!" He knew that would get me busy looking for more information. I'm still looking, too.