Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower



Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Nov 08

Betrayal and Murder: The Turbulent Life of Senator Arthur Brown

Posted on November 8, 2019 at 8:41 AM by Elise Kelly

In last week’s blog post, we reported on the events of our Halloween program, Spooky Tales from the Greene County Archives. The post featured Harold Igo’s ghostly story “The Senator Walks at Midnight.” Today and next week, we would like to present and distinguish between the facts and fictions of this mysterious account of Senator Brown.

According to Igo, at the young age of nineteen, Arthur Brown graduated from Antioch College in 1862. Being an ambitious man, Brown announced to his classmates at graduation that one day he would be a United States Senator (See Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 Arthur Brown (JPG)

Fig. 1 Portrait of Senator Arthur Brown circa 1895 (Image courtesy of United States Senate Historical Office via Wikimedia Commons)

Almost thirty years later, Brown returned to Yellow Springs accompanied with his supposed wife, Mrs. Kathryn Brown, originally from Utah. Claiming to be an heir of the Mercers, Arthur Brown was in town to settle the Mercer estate, which included a beautiful stone house. Arthur Brown promised his wife that this house located in Byron would soon be their home (See Fig. 2).

Fig. 2 Wolf House (JPG)
Fig. 2 1594 Dayton Yellow Springs Rd. (Greene County GIS)

Upon settling their business in Ohio, the couple left for the nation’s capital. However, shortly after their arrival, Mrs. Brown shot her husband in his hotel room (See Fig. 3).

Fig. 3 Xenia Daily Gazette, Dec. 13, 1906 (JPG)
Fig. 3 Xenia Daily Gazette, December 13, 1906 (Newspapers.com)

Surprisingly, Kathryn Brown was not actually married to Arthur Brown and her real name was Anne Bradley (See Fig. 4). Bradley had found out that Arthur Brown was currently married and had a family living in Utah. She also realized that she would never be living in the grand house along Dayton Yellow Springs Road. Enraged, Bradley fired a pistol at Arthur Brown severely injuring him. The bullet wound eventually killed Arthur Brown.

Fig. 4 Anne Bradley (JPG)
Fig. 4 Anne Bradley (Image courtesy of HWA via FindAGrave.com)

Astonishingly, Anne Bradley was acquitted on all charges and returned to Utah. Igo reports that about a decade later, a farmer returning home one night, spotted a man and woman walking along Dayton Yellow Springs Road. He gave them a ride to the stone house because they had mentioned they were interested in looking at it and possibly purchasing the property. When the driver arrived he turned to the couple and to his surprise, they disappeared. The driver described what the couple looked like to some folks and they had claimed that it must have been “Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Brown.”

In order to determine what really happened, we looked at maps, census, deed, will and estate records and newspaper articles.

Found in deed and estate records, as well as an 1896 Greene County map, the house had been owned by the Wolf family since it was built in the early 1800s. It was not until recently that the house was sold to someone outside the Wolf family. In addition, census records do not indicate that any Mercers lived in the Byron area at the time (See Figs. 5 & 6).

Fig. 5 Map of Byron colored (JPG)

Fig. 5 Map of Byron in Bath Township, 1896 Greene County Atlas (Greene County Archives)

Fig. 6 Deed Record (JPG)
Fig. 6 Deed Record of Wolf Property in Byron (Greene County Archives)

We also know that Arthur Brown did attend Antioch College and later obtained a law degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. In 1872, he married a Ms. Lydia Coon and they had a daughter named Alice. However, only a few years later, Arthur Brown (who was still married), met and fell in love with a Ms. Isabel Cameron. Newspaper articles indicate that his wife, Lydia found out about the affair and tried to shoot her husband, Arthur. Lydia missed and Arthur filed for divorce.

Arthur Brown then moved with Isabel to Utah and the couple were married in 1879. In 1882, their son, Max was born. In 1896, Arthur Brown and Frank J. Cannon were elected as Utah’s first U.S. senators. Unfortunately, Arthur had a roving eye and began an affair with Anne Bradley during his political career. In 1902, Arthur’s wife Isabel, who was back home in Utah, read in local newspaper articles that her husband Arthur had brought Anne Bradley to Yellow Springs. She learned that he had introduced Anne Bradley as his wife. Again, Arthur wanted to file for divorce but Isabel had Arthur and Anne arrested for adultery.

Following Arthur and Anne’s arrest, what occurs next is straight out of a soap opera. Next week, we will learn about how Arthur met his lover and killer, Anne Bradley.

Until Next Week!

Sources:
FindAGrave.com
Greene County Archives
Newspapers.com
Wikimedia Commons

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