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b. 5/13/1861 - d. 5/5/1940
Leander Virgil Brown was born May 13, 1861 and was the youngest son of William Sanford and Nancy Dykes Brown. On August 12, 1883 he married Malvina Cornelison. Virgil Brown was a farmer and a lay-preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. A year prior to his death, Virgil Brown wrote a letter to posterity describing himself and his life which reads, in part, as follows:
I Virgil Brown was born on 13th of May 1861 the year the southern and federal war begun, and in Grundy Co., Tennessee on the Cumberland Mountain where the owls hoot and the wild cats scream. Turkeys, deer and black bear was chased by good fast running dogs, hounds and cur dogs. Over fifty years ago there was hundreds of wild animals in this mountainous country. We camped out sometimes under large rocks at might. We hunted and used single and double barrel shot guns well loaded we measured the powder and the shot and had our guns well loaded.
I shot and killed four deer at one shot and shot and killed four bear at three shots. I climbed up a small black gum bush from a bear that took after me and at another time I had to run from a large bear and climb a tree. Well, I climbed down because the bear soon died under the tree. Well, the number of bear I have killed was (all in a day) four. The number of deer fifty and the number of wild turkeys ws fifty and the number of grey foxes caught and killed was 108. The number of rattle snakes killed 250. I skinned 75 rattle snakes and dressed the hides for men and women's belts.
Virgil Brown was first licensed as an "Exhorter" or lay-preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South in 1897. Not much is known about the ministry of Virgil Brown except this interesting annecdote which came from Virgil's granddaugther, Margaret Brown Coppinger. Shortly before the Methodist Union in 1939 the bishop of the Tennessee Conference came to Grace Chapel in Beersheba Springs to urge the congregation to vote for the proposed union between the ME Church, South, the ME Church, North and the Methodist Protestant Church. At the conclusion of the bishop's remarks, Virgil stood up and responded, "I don't want to join with those northner Methodists!"
Virgil Brown concluded his letter to posterity with these words:
Virgil Brown is my name
And I am in America's Nation
And Heaven is my Expectation.
And when this you see, remember me
When I am in my grave, and all my bones are rotten
These few lines might tell my name when I am quite forgotten.
Virgil Brown died June 5, 1940. He and his wife are buried at Grace Chapel Methodist Church.
Older residence of Beersheba Springs remembered his love of flowers and singing. His sonorous voice could be heard as he walked from his log cabin on the "Backbone" to sell bouquets of colorful blossoms to the "summer people" from far-away places like New Orleans, Nashville and Savannah, who spent the hottest months at this once-prominent resort community, now a National Historic District.
- Nancy Agnes Brown (1884-1967)
- Henry Lee Brown (1885-1959)
- Maude Brown (1887-?)
- Susie Ella Brown (1889-?)
- Hassie Ethel Brown (1891-1909)
- Herman Talmadge Brown (1893-1937)
- William Daniel Brown (1895-1976)