1925 Biography - T Brown

Some time in the early seventies, a man, woman and child came to Vienna and settled down to make a home together apparently with very little to begin with. They were recognized by neighbors and friends as Mr. T. C. Brown and family. He applied himself to work of different kinds to procure a living. It was soon discovered that he was a man of ability and he was elected Police Magistrate and to some minor offices of the village. Being and educated man and conducting himself with propriety and good judgement, he made many Friends in the village and county. He acquired some property and was a citizen and officially (County Judge) in good standing in the county. Early in the spring of 1879 a messenger from the Masonic Manual Life Insurance Company came here looking for Pressley J. O'Bannon who had disappeared from the town of Leavensworth, Crawford County, Ind., seven years before. O'Bannon was about 34 years old when he disappeared. A lawyer by profession, interested some in politics and was Township Trustee. Where he resided he had a wife and two sons and a some of property. Up to within a few months before his leaving he had borne a splendid character and was supposedly happy in his family life. A short time before, however, he began drinking. He left his home, Fredonnia, Ind., one evening to attend a meeting of his Masonic lodge at Levensworth, a town nearby, conduct. He entered the lodge room intoxicated, so the story goes, and asked a stay of proceedings which was granted. He staggered out of the room and was seen no more. His horse was found tied in an unused stable a few days afterward, but no trace of the rider. A rumor was current that he had boarded an Ohio River steamboat on that fateful night and had been seen to leave it at Evansville, Ind. He seems to have lost track of himself for several days and when he came to himself he was sawing wood for a man in Southern Illinois. He decided never to return home thinking his family would be better off without him. He picked up a woman and child and wandered into Vienna and would probably have lived here many years as he had the last seven if he had not had a policy in the above mentioned insurance company. His family mourned him as dead. His wife administered on his estate and applied for the money due on her husband's policy. It seems she could not prove his death and they could not prove he was living but they continued to postpone the payment as long as they could and a short time before the seven years had expired a letter was received by the Postmaster at Leavensworth, Ind., from Dr. N. S. Hudson, a druggist of Tunnel Hill, Ill., who had served under O'Bannon in the army, asking if he would like to know the whereabouts of P. J. O'Bannon. The company sent a man in question. O'Bannon told this man he had never been married to the woman he was living with and the understanding between them was that she would accept what he had to give and that he might leave at any time.
He immediately returned to his father's home at Alton, Ind., where his two sons were. His father was overjoyed and while his wife was willing to forgive his absence, she was not willing to forgive the Mrs. Judge Brown and applied for a divorce. Any further knowledge of these parties is hidden by time and distance, but since truth is stranger than fiction, no doubt, the story ended with ample punishment for the transgressor. (A statement was given out that Brown as Judge had assessed a heavy fine on Dr. Hudson for selling liquor unlawfully and stung by this act Hudson sought revenge by reporting him. The court records show the case dismissed and no fine had been assessed.)

Extracted 08 Feb 2017 by Norma Hass from 1925 A History of Johnson County, Illinois, by Mrs. P. T. Chapman, pages 415-416.

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