The Augustus Terry Brown Family
By June Boyer
Augustus Terry Brown was born in 1888 in Arkansas to Melissa (Walden) Brown & John Brown. Melissa died when he was 8 years old and he bummed with his father John riding the rails and had a very hard childhood.
He married Artie Mae Kistler in 1910. They lived a short while in Whitewright, Texas where the first child Geraldine Melissa was born. He moved to Davis, Oklahoma and later Madill where he owned a small telephone exchange. When business declined in the 1920’s he sold and went to work for Prairie Pipeline Company. After 26 months that Company folded due to the depression.
Augustus, his wife Artie, and his 5 children, Geraldine, Woodrow, Ora Mae, Dorothy, & Eugene, in the fall of 1929 went to West Texas to pull cotton. In February of 1930 they came to Russett. At that time Fred Chapman was bringing folks in from everywhere to work his land, he would give them a house to live in and loan them tools and a team of mules and they would share crop for him receiving ½ of the profit from the farm.
Mr. Gaylor Wolf , Fred's Forman, assigned a house for Augustus and his family to live in and when Augustus went to clean and fumigate the house as he always did before moving his family into a different place he discovered no windows or screens on the house and just bare walls in the house. He went to Fred Chapman and said I will not move my family into a house like that. Times were hard for everyone even Fred Chapman and he said he would buy the windows and screens and some building paper but Gus would have to do all the work.
Gus and all his family got to work, making the house livable. They worked very hard and finally moved into their home. Gus rented land, tools, and a team of mules and shared cropped for Chapman for one year. The family worked very hard and was very frugal and at the end of one year they purchased their own tools and team of mules but continued to rent land from Fred Chapman and live in his rent house and now he got to keep ¾ of the profit from his farming.
His oldest child Geraldine Melissa Brown had gone to the 10nth grade in Mannsville, which is as far as the school went at that time. When they moved to Russett she stayed home and helped around the house and farm because at that time Russett only went to the 10nth grade also. Geraldine met and Married Roland Cumbie December 22, 1930. More about this family is in the Cumbie History.
Woodrow, the second child of Augustus and Artie stayed out of school and helped Gus with the farm work. The land that Gus rented from Chapman joined the Russett School and one day Mr. McGibney, the Russett Principal, saw Woodrow plowing and wanted to know why he was not in school. Mr. McGibney spoke to Gus and talked him into letting Woodrow go back to school and Woodrow always was grateful to him for seeing he got to finish school and Woodrow later became a very successful person which he could not have done without his education.
Ora Mae Brown graduated one year ahead of Woodrow, even though Woodrow was older due to him missing school to work the farm, times were hard for everyone and many young men never got to finish school because they were needed at home to help make a living. Ora Mae was in the very first graduating class that Russett had a 12 year school. Ora married William Wesley Boyer, son of Jim Boyer and Annie (Ritchey) Boyer, more about them in the Boyer family Story.
The first house that Augustus and his family moved to which was owned by Fred Chapman was located by the Russett Church and in 1933 they moved to another house owned by Fred Chapman.
Fred Chapman did a lot for the community. Yes, he worked the people hard and paid them little but times were hard for everyone and he almost lost everything during the depression too and a lot of people would have starved during the depression had he not given them work and a place to live and an opportunity to make a living even if it was just a small wage. Fred is credited with keeping Russett School going for years because he moved big families in with a lot of kids to work the land and go to school. However, Fred felt he had earned the right to tell his people who was working for him how they should vote. One day when he approached Augustus Brown and was advising him on how he should vote. Gus and him had a falling out and Gus told him no one would ever tell him how to vote.
Gus moved his family to a little yellow house by the highway a mile from the Russett and Ravia line for school kids and he rented from a Doris Coffee. Gus' daughter Dorothy walked a mile to catch the Ravia School bus because she was still in the Russett school district. She could have caught the bus in front of their house to attend Russett but the decision was made and she walked the mile to catch the Ravia School bus and graduated from Ravia.
Later Augustus got a government loan and purchased a farm in the Fillmore and Coleman area. Their youngest son Gene went to Fillmore grade school and graduated from Coleman High and later Gene had a ranch and farm in the Coleman area and lived there until he died. Augustus in 1952 sold his farm and purchased a small grocery store and filling station in Regan, where he and Artie lived until Gus died in 1958 of a heart attack. Artie sold the place in Regan and moved to Madill where she lived until she died 1981. Augustus and Artie are both buried in Madill.
Ora Mae is the only surviving child at this time. Ora Mae lives in Tishomingo and is 91, she lives alone, drives her car, attends The First Baptist Church in Tishomingo, is an active member of the home demonstration Club which she has been a member of for over 60 years, and is active in the Happy Sunshiner's Club at Church, is on the committee for the Russett Banquet, and attends every reunion, she always reads a great poem at the Reunion and has for years, and still does alterations for most of the folks in Tishomingo. Ora Mae is a very active lady who keeps busy and in her spare time she reads.
In the following photo gallery click on the thumbnail photo to view it enlarged.