Browse Family Papers

Submitted by Gerald Bills.


     The following has been extracted from the West Virginia and Regional Collection Newsletter: Volume 22, No. 1, West Virginia University Libraries, Fall 2006. Robert L. Pemberton refers to these papers in his History of Pleasants County, West Virginia and people have made inquiries of where the papers are located. The "Browse Family" has donated the papers to the University Libraries as a gift in 2006.

  • "Browse, Thomas. Family Papers, 1830-1930, 7 ft. 6 in., Gift, 2006. A&M 3532. -- Papers of the Thomas Browse family documenting immigration from England to the Ohio River region in the vicinity of Ohio, western Virginia, and Kentucky (1830); farming in Pleasants County, West Virginia in the vicinity of St. Marys on the Ohio River (ca. 1830s-1900); and the acquisition of and royalties from oil lands in Pleasant County from the region of "Fish Pot" (ca. 1.880s-1910). Includes diaries of Thomas Browse (1830-1878) and diaries of his daughter Mary E. Browse (1855-1910, incomplete). Also includes family papers of descendants Robert H. Browse and Henry Nicholas Browse documenting services purchased and business transactions conducted along the Ohio River in the region of the towns of St. Marys, New Martinsville, and Wheeling (ca. 1880-1930).

  • "The diaries of Thomas Browse consist of daily entries documenting in vivid detail his experiences in immigrating to America from England and running a farm in Pleasants County in western Virginia. The diaries record his land speculation activities in the Ohio Valley (in Ohio, western Virginia, and Kentucky) upon his arrival in the area including listings of land values and buildings. The names of people with whom he engaged in business are also recorded as are the names of steamboats. Later records include lists of goods produced (such as corn, apples, wool, etc.), on the Browse farm, sales of goods and their values, and later land transactions. Personal and recreational events are also recorded. The Civil War appears to have little effect on Browse as there are few Civil War related entries. There is mention in the entry of July 23, 1863, of the posting of men of the 88th Ohio Regiment under Lieutenant Howe in St. Marys in order to intercept Morgan's Cavalry during his famous raid north. About 20 of these men were fed by the Browse household.

  • "The diaries of Mary E. Browse record life on the Browse estate including documentation of farm work and business, but also including references to household activities and chores. Her diary of 1855 vividly records a sea voyage from New York to Liverpool in order to visit relatives in England.

  • "The papers of Robert H. Browse include extensive documentation of oil land acquisition in Pleasants County. including oil deeds, leases, plats and royalty documents from ca. 1880-1910."