Out On The Mudline

Former Student Provided Important Family History

By W. P. Sissell

The Browers

It has been a number of years ago, shortly after I started writing these stories for Ed and Betty, I told a part of the story of how I happened to be a Mississippian.  A short time afterwards I happened to run into cousin Luella Fair.  

Without hesitation she asked, “Now that you’ve got the Sissells to Mississippi when are you going to bring the Brower family.”  If you wonder, our mothers were first cousins.  In the conversation she told me that she had a photo of  “the” John Brower, but had loaned it to a gentleman from somewhere in Texas and lost it.  

Harry, her husband, and I later seriously discussed making a trip to have a chat with that  – did I say gentleman?  We just didn’t get around to that trip.

Five Generations

When I bring John Brower’s  name up on my computer’s genealogy program the number five appears, signifying the fifth generation.  John Brower was  born in 1799 near Liberty, Randolph County, North Carolina.  John and wife, Elizabeth, left North Carolina in 1839 for Franklin, Tennessee and then came to Yalobusha County Mississippi and bought Section 4, Township 25, Range 7E in 1850.  The westward migration in search of new land was on all along the eastern seashore of this new land.  My great-great grandfather John Brower had gone as far west as he desired.

John’s eighth child was Noah Webster Brower, my great grandfather. Noah was born October 20, 1844 in Pine Valley, Yalobusha County.  Noah married Sara Jane Porter October 6, 1867.   Both are buried in Brower’s Chapel Cemetery.

Noah and Sara’s first child was my grandfather, William Webster Brower born in 1869.  He married Nina Earl (Rowena) Parks, daughter of Lucy Polk Carr Parks and Robert Plumer Parks. They had three children, Lucile, Sarah and Nolen.  Webb is buried alongside his father, Noah, in Brower’s Chapel Cemetery.  Nina Earl is buried alongside her sister, Mamie, in the Coffeeville Cemetery. Their daughter Sarah (Miss Sadie) was my mother.  

A Face From the Past

At the beginning of a semester in my teaching tenure at Northwest Community College, a young woman showed up in my lab class who had a striking resemblance to a tin-type picture that  was in our collection of family pictures.  When I called the roll – we did this for the first few meetings with computer cards which, in addition to the name, had the student’s address. The student with the striking resemblance turned out to be Jodi Grass, and the address was  Coffeeville, home of many Browers.  Later, when I asked if she happened to be a connected to the Browers her answer was, “My Mother was a Brower.”  Later in the semester she brought her mother for a visit.   This lady was shocked when she found out that I knew very little about my mother’s folks.  

About the only ones I knew were my mother’s brother who lived in New Orleans and her Aunt Mamie Wilbourn whom my mother visited quite often.   Mrs. Grass promised to enlighten me on the history of the Browers.  I am indebted to Mrs. Grass who so generously supplied me with all kinds of Brower history.   

Thanks for the many encouragements.  Our wish for you is a great week.  You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Hwy  6 Batesville, MS  38606, wsissell@bellsouth.net, or 662-563-9879.

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