Brown Family (Scottsbluff, Neb.) [RG5381.AM]


RG5381.AM:  Brown Family (Scottsbluff, Neb.)

Papers:  1895-1925, mostly 1895-1901

Gering, Scottsbluff and Morrill, Scotts Bluff County, Neb.:  Farm family

Size:  0.1 cu.ft.


Olmstead Bishop Brown was born March 30, 1855. His family was descended from Moses Simmons, a Pilgrim who landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621. His wife, Cartha G. Marker Brown, was born in Springville, Wisconsin, June 10, 1861. She traced her family genealogy back four generations to an Irish ancestor. Olmstead, called “O.B.” or “Bish,” and Cartha were married December 14, 1881, and lived on a farm near Gering, Nebraska, where he raised grain and livestock while Cartha produced butter and eggs for sale. Later they lived in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and Seattle, Washington. Cartha’s last letters, which do not mention her husband specifically, were written from Morrill, Nebraska, in 1925.


The Brown family collection consists of genealogical information and correspondence arranged in two Series: 1) Genealogical Material; and 2) Correspondence, 1895-1925.

The printed materials and letters of Series 1 trace O.B. Brown’s family, the Simmonses, back to 1621 and his wife Cartha Brown’s family, the McDowells, back four generations.

Series 2 contains correspondence from family and friends of the Browns. Interesting details of daily life in western Nebraska in the late nineteenth century appear in the letters of O.B. Brown to his brother Ernest John Brown of Osceola, Nebraska, and particularly in Cartha’s letters to Ernest’s second wife, May Helen Macken (“Mamie”) Brown. In the earliest letters constant references to prices dramatize the pioneers’ struggle to make a living. Within a few years they feel that their efforts are being rewarded: they are able to buy a separator for milk, and their life generally becomes somewhat easier.

The last letters, written between 1919 and 1925, describe social events: a family wedding in Seattle and a Scottsbluff flower show.


Series 1 – Genealogical Materials


    1. Simmons (Brown) family

    1. McDowell (Marker) family

      McDowell (Marker) family genealogical chart (see OB125)

Series 2 – Correspondence, 1895-1925

    1. Letters from O.B. and Cartha Brown to his brother and sister-in-law, Ernest John and May Helen Macken Brown, 1895-1901

    1. Letter from Cartha Brown to her niece Lillian, 1919

    1. Letters from Cartha Brown to her daughter, Hattie May, 1924-1925



Brown, Cartha (Cartha G. Marker), 1861-

Brown, O.B. (Olmstead Bishop), 1855-

Brown family

Frontier and pioneer life — Nebraska — Scotts Bluff County


Homesteading — Nebraska

Marker family

McDowell family

Simmons family


BQ/kfk   12-17-2002

Revised TMM   11-03-2009

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Marker Monday: Easter Blizzard of 1873

Marker Monday: Easter Blizzard of 1873

She Didn’t Know She Was a Statue

She Didn’t Know She Was a Statue

Neligh Mill at 150

Neligh Mill at 150

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast.

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.