In the matter of the estate of SPENCER KELLOGG BROWN of Henderson, Jefferson Co., NY:
On 24 March 1864, ORVILLE C. BROWN, named in the will of Spencer Kellogg Brown, filed a petition to open probate on the estate.
Heirs/next of kin:
MARY BROWN, widow of the deceased Spencer Kellogg Brown, of full age and residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
SPENCER KELLOGG BROWN, son of the deceased, a minor and having no general guardian and residing with his mother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
On 24 March 1869, ORVILLE C. BROWN of Henderson filed his petition to open probate. He stated that Spencer Kellogg Brown of Henderson was a citizen of the United States and departed this life at Richmond, Virginia on 25 September 1863, being at the time a resident of Jefferson County, having previously duly made and executed his last will and testament; that said petitioner is one of the legatees named in the will which relates only to open the estate and is an unwritten or nuncupative will and was made by Spencer Kellogg Brown while in naval military service of the United States and in the action and actual employment in said service of the United States at the time of his death, that the only heir of said deceased is his son, SPENCER KELLOGG BROWN, a minor residing with his mother; that Mary Brown residing at Milwaukee in Wisconsin is of full age and is the widow of Spencer Kellogg Brown, deceased. Said petition set forth the substances of said will and the circumstances under which it was made and prays for the issuing of a citation to the proper persons requiring therein to appear in this court on a day to be fixed and attend the probate of said will. And thereupon said Surrogate duly issued a citation directed to said minor, Spencer Kellogg Brown and said widow, Mary Brown, constituting all the next of kin and heirs of the deceased, requesting them to appear in this court on the 26th day of April 1864 at ten o'clock in the forenoon and attend the probate of said will, and thereupon on said 26th day of April 1864, said Orville C. Brown appeared in this court before said Surrogate at the time specified and said citation thereupon Wm. W. Taggart, Esq., as then and there in open court duly appointed special guardian of said infant and duly appeared in said court in his behalf and on the motions of said applicant...said proceedings were duly adjourned from time to time until the 1st day of July 1864. And now upon the first day of July 1864, satisfactory evidence by affidavits having been before on said 26th day of April 1864, presented to said Surrogate of the...service of said citation, the said petitioner appears in court as special guardian likewise appears, and no one else appearing, the evidence of Orville Chester Brown and J. Harry Wyatt is taken whereby it satisfactorily appears that the said Spencer Kellogg Brown died on the 25th day of September 1863 at Camp Lee in Richmond, Virginia, executed by the Rebel authorities.
That while in the military and naval service of the United States previous or in September 25th 1863, said Spencer Kellogg Brown was a prisoner in the hands of the rebel authorities at Richmond, Virginia where he received a trial by Court Martial as an alleged spy and deserter and was condemned by said rebel authorities at Richmond, Virginia and sentenced to be executed on said September 25th 1863. That just before his execution and after he had received sentence of death, he made his last will and testament by sending a letter, dated Castle Thunder, Richmond, VA. September 23, 1863, directed to his father said Orville C. Brown, in which he said,
"I have but little business. Yourself or Uncle Cozens of St. Louis will please draw my pay from the government and invest it in United States Bonds for the present, the interest of which will be paid semi-annually unto my wife for the future disposal of the same you will hear through another channel, also by the same manner of my business in St. Louis. It will need but little care. But if you are not able to do it, please ask Mr. Cozzens of St. Louis to undertake it for me and to recompense himself."
That his language in above letter in which he states that his father would hear from him through another channel, has reference to a letter previously written by him while a prisoner as aforesaid, which is dated, Penitentiary, Jackson, Mississippi, January 24th 1863 an directed to his father in which he said:
"I take the opportunity to tell you in as few words and briefly as I can about my affairs, which from their ... will not trouble you much - will yourself or mother be kind enough to write to my wife address Mrs. Mary Kellogg, 128 South 6th Street, C. Elm St., St. Louis, Missouri, telling her of or sending her also my letter to you - will you also procure for her whatever the law allows (pension, bounty, etc). If it amounts to anything you will keep what pay is coming to me from August 1st 1862. And if not draw it for her. I wrote to you about this before, but fear you have not received it, but should you have done so, please follow the directions in this. My old claim against Government, I left with power of attorney to collect and in the hands of a lawyer, Mr.___Henry, whose office was then on Chestnut St., over Planters Saloon near 4th St., St. Louis - will Uncle please inquire for me, but do not trouble yourself over much. The amount of claim $175. But please do what you can for my poor wife and take all the necessary expenses from the pay. Anticipating death or capture. I left a letter with a friend, J. Harry Wyatt, Masters Mate, directing any possessions and trunk to be sent to the address of Levi Cozzens. But difficulty of transportation and uncertainty may have delayed it. Either he or you in his name or attorney will find all by writing addressing my friend as above and J. Lewis paymaster, U. S. Gunboat Essex, Mississippi River via New Orleans. You might if you see best delay sending for anything but accounts a copy of my appointment (left original papers in my room). Please pay on board Essex Dr. Rice $7. the gunner Mr. Long $1, 3d assistant Mr. Fletcher $3 and possibly $5 or so as my (the ward room) mess."
That at that time he was competent to make a will. Now therefore it is hereby ordered adjudged and decreed that the said testamentary words so attested and published in said letter by the said deceased are the same and hereby established as the last will and testament of the said deceased and as a good and valid unwritten will of personal estate.
Written my hand and seal of office this 1st day of July 1864. /s/ D. W. Bennett, Surrogate.
Jefferson Co., NY Wills, Vol. 9, pp. 402-404.
NOTE: In an affidavit by his father, O. C. Brown, his information about the death of his son was based on extracts from Richmond papers giving detailed accounts of his execution. He had seen two men who were in prison at the same time with him, who saw Spencer Kellogg Brown marched out to execution. When Spencer Kellogg Brown enlisted in the military, he did so under the name "Spencer Kellogg". His wife, Mary, received a pension after his death under that name.
In the book "Spencer Kellogg Brown: His Life in Kansas and His Death as a Spy, 1842-1863" written by Spencer Kellogg Brown, As Disclosed in his Diary, edited by George Gardner Smith, NY D. Appleton ∓ Co., MCMIII: 1903, on page 1, it is said that in Belleville, Jefferson Co., NY, in 1842 there was a house that belonged to Orville Chester Brown, and it was there that Spencer Kellogg Brown was born on 17 August 1842. Orville Brown was a storekeeper in Belleville. Spencer's ancestors were among the original settlers of Oneida County, NY and his great-grandfather moved from Concord, MA in 1792 and settled in Litchfield, Herkimer Co., NY. Philomela Allen Gould married Spencer's grandfather, Ephraim Brown; their son, Orville Chester Brown, son of Ephraim and Philomela, married in 1837 to Mary Ann Cozzens, daughter of Levi Cozzens. Mary Anne's mother, Pamelia, was the daughter of Ezra Hovey and the first white child born in New Hartford, Oneida County. See the estate/will of Ezra Hovey and Urania this site, parents of Pamelia Hovey Cozzens. The Cozzens family was from Providence, Rhode Island. While the family resided in Jefferson County, Orville Brown assisted fugitive slaves on their way to Canada.
In the 1850 census of Utica, Oneida Co., NY, in the household of LEVI COZYENS, age 63, b Rhode Island
Pamelia Cozyens, 59, b NY
Charles Cozyens, 18, b NY
Edward W. Cozyens, 13, b NY
Cornelia J. Brown, 11, b NY
ORVEL C. BROWN, 39, b NY
MARY ANN BROWN, 39, b NY
SPENCER K. BROWN, 8, b NY
JAMES BROWN, 6, b NY
FANNY BROWN 2, b NY
JANE BROWN, 0, b NY
ELIZA BROWN, 16, b Ireland
In the 1860 census of Ossawattomie, Lykins, Kansas Territory,:
ORVILLE C. BROWN 49, b NY
MARY A. BROWN, 48, b NY
CORNELIA G. BROWN, 21, b NY
SPENCER K. BROWN, 17, b NY
JAMES R. BROWN 16, b NY
FRANCES MURIEN BROWN, 11, b NY
FREDERICK O. BROWN 9, b NY
SEILA B. BROWN, 5, b MO
Spencer Kellogg Brown was a Union soldier serving in the United States Navy at the time of his capture. His status as an officer allowed him to move about the City of New Orleans and in so doing, he was recognized by a Southern soldier who promptly reported the facts to the Southern military authorities. He was then charged and transported to Richmond, Virginia but tried as a Southern soldier which resulted in the charges of deserter and spy. At the onset of his capture, his father tried valiantly to get help from Washington, D.C., to free his son and was assured by Major General Henry Halleck that Spencer would be freed. The end result of that assurance was the death of Spencer Kellogg Brown.
Information contributed by volunteer Marilyn Sapienza.
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