The Brown Family Cemetery is located approximately 1 ½ miles north of Kosse, Texas, on State Highway 14. Thirteen members of the Brown family, who were pioneers in the Eutaw/Kosse area, are known to be buried in this cemetery. The earliest marked grave was in 1865 and the latest burial was in 1985.
The oldest member of the Brown family buried in the Brown Family Cemetery is Ervin Brown, who was born in North Carolina on October 1, 1801, and died on March 11, 1875. Ervin and his wife, Matilda Burdett, moved their family to Washington County, Texas, in 1846. In 1857 they moved to Limestone County and settled at Pillow’s Point near Eutaw. He was a farmer and was also a charter member of the Eutaw Masonic lodge. “A Masonic lodge was instituted at Eutaw in the late fifties. On June 13, 1859, Eutaw Masonic Lodge 233 received its charter and at that time the membership included A. T. Daniel, Nathan Gilbert, A. H. McDaniel, B. F. Burns, John W. McDaniel, Ervin Brown, J. P. Brown, and Samuel B. McKnight. A lodge hall was built; the lodge was moved to Kosse after the founding of that town.”1 The name Eutaw Lodge is still maintained.2
One of Ervin and Matilda Brown’s eleven children was James Petty Brown (J. P.). He was born in Jasper County, Georgia, on March 5, 1829, and died on July 23, 1897. J. P. is buried at the Brown Family Cemetery. He was a charter member of the Eutaw Masonic Lodge and entered the Confederate Army, October 13, 1861, as a second lieutenant in Company K, Parson’s 24th Regiment, Texas cavalry. J. P. was elected captain on May 18, 1862, and served during the war. He was elected as a Democrat to the Texas House of Representatives in 1879.3
Ervin Brown had another son, Thomas Jefferson Brown, who was also a great Texan. He was born in Jasper County, Georgia, July 24, 1836, and died in Greenville, Texas, May 26, 1915. Thomas Jefferson Brown graduated in law from Baylor University in 1858 and practiced law in McKinney, Collin County, Texas.4 He served in Colonel Robert Taylor’s Confederate Cavalry as second lieutenant of Troop E and was later promoted to Captain. In 1872 he moved to Sherman, where he was a prominent lawyer. Thomas was elected to and served in the Texas House of Representatives for the 21st and 22nd legislatures.5 In 1893 he was appointed by Governor Hogg as Association Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas6 and later served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas from 1911 until his death in 1915.7 He was “the foremost champion of the Railroad Commission idea [which was] carried into effect by the establishment of the Railroad Commission clothed with the powers that he contended such a body should be vested with.”8 Thomas Jefferson Brown is buried in the West Hill Cemetery at Sherman, Texas.
A grandson of Ervin and Matilda Brown, Gibson A. Brown, was another prominent figure in both Texas and Oklahoma government. The son of James Petty and Mary Ann Bryant Brown, he was born in Eutaw, Limestone County, Texas, in 1849 and died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, October 25, 1915.
After working some years in the law offices of Throckmorton and Brown in Sherman, Grayson County, Texas, he moved in 1882 to Clarendon, Donley County, Texas, and was elected county judge. In 1889 he was appointed by Governor L. S. Ross as judge of the newly created Forty-Sixth Judicial District of Texas, an office he held until 1903. In 1896, during his term in office, the U. S. Supreme Court determined that the south fork of the Red River would be the northern boundary of Texas. Greer County, Texas, became part of Oklahoma. Gibson A. Brown was selected by the people of Greer County to travel to Washington to protect their interests, as considerable apprehension was felt as to their status. He succeeded in getting an enactment from Congress to protect their homes and land.
Judge Gibson A. Brown had the distinction of presiding over the last court in Greer County, Texas, and the first state court in Greer County, Oklahoma. He was also elected and served as an Associate Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, an office he held until his death in 1915.9
There are thirteen marked graves in the Brown Family Cemetery. All are related to the Ervin and Matilda Brown family.
1 Ray A. Walter, A History of Limestone County (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1959), p. 46.
2 H. M. Jennings, Kosse-1900: Limestone County, Texas (Waco: Jennings, 1982), p. 19.
3 Legislative Manual for the State of Texas (Austin: E. W. Swindells, 1879), p. 263.
4 Neil John McArthur, The Twenty-Seventh Legislature and State Administration of Texas, 1901 (Austin: Ben C. Jones & Co., Printers, 1901), p. 7.
5 Sidney Smith Johnson, Texans Who Wore the Gray, Volume I (Tyler, 1907), p. 97.
6 McAuthur, p. 8.
7 Graham Landrum and Allen Smith, Grayson County: an Illustrated History of Grayson County, Texas (Fort Worth: Historical Publishers, 1967), p. 36.
8 E. H. Loughery, Texas State Government, a Volume of Biographical Sketches and Passing Comment (McLeod and Jackson, 1897), p. 4-5.
9 Joseph B. Thoburn, A Standard History of Oklahoma (Chicago: American Historical Society, 1916), p. 1196-1197.
10 Bruce Jordan, Survey of Brown Family Cemetery, p.1.