Brown family


Brown family
Slave Holding
Around the bend west of Colonel Johnson’s land lay another large plantation owned by Captain John Brown (1752–1824), who also served in the American Revolution. Captain Brown was from New Jersey and moved to North Bend during the 1790s after purchasing 650 acres from the Christopher Clark land grant. Brown also frequently crossed the Ohio River, visiting his close friend Colonel John Cleves Symmes. Nothing is known about Brown’s wife; Captain Brown lived on the large plantation with his only surviving child, Clara Harlowe Brown, born in 1783.
In March 1801, young Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike (1779–1813) married Clara in Boone County. Pike was the son of Zebulon Pike of Lawrenceburg and Isabella Brown, reportedly John Brown’s sister. While Clara stayed behind at Sugar Grove, Pike was assigned to various frontier posts. In 1806, he led an expedition to explore the Southwest, discovering the mountain known as Pike’s Peak. By 1813, Pike had risen to the rank of general and was sent to Sackett’s Harbor on Lake Ontario for a campaign against the British. He was killed by flying debris during the Battle of York and buried at Sackett’s Harbor, leaving Clara a widow with young children. The only Pike child to reach adulthood was a daughter, Clarissa Brown Pike, who married John Cleves Symmes Harrison, son of President William Henry Harrison, in 1819. Tragically, John died in 1830, and Clarissa died in 1837, leaving behind six children whom Clara raised at Sugar Grove until her death in 1847.
The original Sugar Grove mansion is said to have burned down sometime in the 1840s, taking much of Zebulon Montgomery Pike’s memorabilia in the fire. The home was later rebuilt farther inland, using the bricks from the original mansion. In the early twentieth century, the Southgate family became the owners but never lived on the property. Over the years, the mansion became uninhabitable and eventually burned down in the 1980s. Located beyond the end of the county-maintained Route 8, the property bears no resemblance to the majestic plantation it once was. The cemetery is the only reminder of the Brown/Pike/Harrison story.

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