Family Stories

My grandmother, Miriam Kathleen Brown Harbaugh, began writing her life story in the mid-seventies. She wrote by hand on lined notebook paper with a blue ink pen. I am certain that my love of reading, stories, and the telling of stories via photography, came from my early years hearing Gram's stories, as well as my mother's stories as we pored over family photographs constructing her albums.

Here is how Gram begins her autobiography:

"Diane and Barbara have asked me on numerous occasions to write for them some of the interesting events that occurred in my life...both have seemed so earnest about this that today I thought, "Why not? I shall try."

"I am next to the youngest in a family of twelve, in fact there were fifteen all told, but two died in infancy and one, my brother Paul, at the age of four. My parents were David Columbus and Sarah Alice (Lumm) Brown. They lived on a small farm nestled in the mountain at Foxville, Frederick County, and close by the Mountain Methodist Church called Bethel. My parents, the two babies who died in infancy, Paul, and my older sister, Jenny, who died at the age of fifty, are buried there..."

Brown Family1.jpg

"A few years before I was born my father sold our little home in the mountain and moved to "this side of the mountain" to a village called Pondsville. This small settlement boasted a one room school, a grocery store and a church. I've forgotten of what denomination. There he rented a farm. There were at that time seven girls in the family: Bessie, Mary, Elizabeth, Fannie, Jenny, Marjorie and Alice. No boys! My father and mother, and the seven girls, worked hard to make this farm pay, and directly there was born, yes, a boy, who was named Orville. Then came two more boys, Reuben and Stanley, and lastly, myself and one more a girl who the older children named Margaret Evangeline, but who soon became Eva to everyone. I captured Miriam Kathleen, although I was told often by my sisters that there was quite a disturbance over whether I was to be Miriam Kathleen or Miriam Blanch."