Jeff Harvey

Before we get started, I want to wish all of you a Happy New Year.

Before we continue with our look at what William Sanders II had to say in his book “A New River Heritage, Volume IV”, (McClain Publishing, 1994), I want to say thanks again to the people who have commented either face-to-face or via e-mail about the column. The compliments are welcome and I’ll do my best to address any specific questions you may have.

Sanders mentioned correspondence between the two later George Pearis Brown(s), the one from Texas and the one who retired to Clover Bottom, in which the older G.P. Brown shared newspaper clippings with his younger cousin, who shared some of it with Sanders.

In 1927, George P. Brown, a Texas lawyer, visited Clover Bottom where his father, John David Brown, was born. The visit saw him go to, among other places, the grave sites of the Clay children murdered by Shawnee raiders in August, 1783.

Note: Sanders, in another book, said that legend had the massacre occur in any one of three years, but the August, 1783 date is most supported by the historical evidence.

Also buried in that graveyard is Uncle George Pearis Brown’s first wife, Sarah “Sallie” P. Mahood Brown.

The party visiting Clover Bottom and the Clay Family Cemetery on the hill south of Clover Bottom included cousin Vick Winfrey, her nephew Winston A. Riffe, and grandson Frank Winfrey, along with 77-year-old William Calfee. Calfee showed them the former property owned by John David Brown, which he sold to John B. George. The old building still stood, albeit with one room torn away and a pot-rack removed.

“Will” Calfee was the nephew of Jack Calfee, in whose home John David Brown stayed in during an 1881 visit. The elder Calfee married the widow of the first G.P. Brown’s son, Jack, who was the brother of Vick Winfrey. The land deeded to George was first deeded by Captain (Colonel) George Pearis to his daughter, Rebecca, who married John D. Brown in 1811.

George was deeded the land, according to county records, by both John D. Brown and Rebecca C. Brown on August 20, 1844. George. P. Brown deduced that was the year his father left for Texas, via way of Missouri, arriving in Texas on December 18, 1845.

Jeff Harvey is a freelance reporter for the Princeton Times. Contact him at

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