“. . . the partner of my own choice, & the sharer of my poverty, trials, discredit, & sore afflictions; as well as of what of comfort, & seeming prosperity
has fallen to my lot; for quite a number of years. . . . I do not forget the firm attachment of her who has remained my fast, & faithful affectionate friend,
when others said of me (now that he lieth he shall rise up no more.) . . . I really admire at your constancy; & really feel notwithstanding I sometimes
chide you severely that you ar[e] really my better half.” – John Brown, ca. 1847 (Boyd B. Stutler Collection)
Mary Ann Day, 1816-1884, born in New York, was the daughter of Charles and Mary Day. The family moved to Crawford County, Pennsylvania, when Mary Ann was a young girl. She married John Brown, a widower twice her age, on July 11, 1833. Strong and quiet, Mary Ann Brown gave birth to thirteen children over a period of two decades, outliving all but four of them. At the time of John Brown’s death in 1859, she was living on the farm in North Elba, where he was buried. In 1863, she and her children moved to California. She lived first at Red Bluff, then Rohnerville, and, finally, at Saratoga. In 1882, she made a trip east. She was honored at public receptions in Chicago and Kansas, visited several places associated with her life and that of her husband, and attended the burial of the remains of her son Watson at North Elba with his father. Mary Ann Brown died on February 29, 1884, and was buried in Madrona Cemetery in Saratoga.