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Darling Belk – my 4th great-grandfather

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Darling Belk - "aged about 72 years" d June 30, 1835

My fourth great-grandfather, Darling Belk, is buried in the Old Antioch Cemetery in Union County, North Carolina.  This cemetery is also referred to as the “Belk Cemetery.”

Narcissus (“Nicey” in some census records) Belk was the daughter of Darling Belk and Agnes Nelson.  Narcissus was born December 29, 1793 in North Carolina.  She married Alfred  Brown.  The Brown family settled in Benton County, Arkansas where they are buried.

Alfred and Narcissus had a son named for his father and this Alfred (Alford) Brown (1826-1865) married Louisa Jane Centers and their daughter Martha Letitia Brown was my great-grandmother.

The Darling name was passed down through several generations of Belks and Browns and was generally shorted to “Darl.”

Alfred (Alford) Brown and his older brother Darling Brown are buried in Spring Creek Cemetery (as are other members of the Brown family) with the inscription on their tombstones:

“Killed in War March 14, 1865”

The Belk family was of English or Welsh lineage.  Darling Belk’s father John Belk was born about 1718 in England.

John Belk’s tombstone reads:
THE ORIGINAL
JOHN BELK
Born in England
1710 – 1788



John Belk is buried at the old cemetery of Antioch Church on the Trinity Road in Buford Township, Union County (formerly Mecklenburg County), North Carolina.

“We are the children of many sires, and every drop of blood in us in its turn … betrays its ancestor.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

My Brown Heritage

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Thanks to a Brown cousin, Lily Brown Taylor, I didn’t start from Zero when researching my Brown lineage.

Lily researched, compiled, and shared a great deal of Brown information with her family.  We (speaking of folks like me who are amateur researchers) owe a great deal to those who came before us and I am most grateful for the generosity of folks such as Lily (Brown research); Fran Laird (Williams research) and so many others.  Bless them!

Alex Haley said that “every time you see a little frog on top of a fence post, you know he had some help.”

This old photograph is of my great-grandparents: James Martin “Bud” Caldwell and Martha Letitia Brown Caldwell.  This is obviously a very early photograph of them; they are so young.

I’ve written in earlier posts about my Caldwell lineage.

I did not know my great-grandfather James Martin “Bud” Caldwell; he died before I was born (before my parents were even married).

However, I vaguely remember my great-grandmother, Martha Letitia Brown Caldwell.  In fact, after my birth, my parents and I lived in a small house behind her larger home on the Caldwell  property in Springer, New Mexico.

As a child, I remember visiting Martha Caldwell when we would come to Springer in the summers.  She always wore long dresses and generally had an apron covering her dress.  There were lovely items in her home (which were not to be touched by little fingers, of course).

She raised a family of three daughters (one daughter died as an infant) and six boys.  She had stamina (or grit), intelligence, a stern beauty, and endurance.  I wish I had known her better.  She died when I was thirteen years old and since we didn’t live near her, there were few visits.

Martha Letitia Brown Caldwell died in 1951 at age 91 and was still intellectually sharp and walking each day to retrieve her mail at the post office in Springer, New Mexico.

I came across a short article in the Colfax County Stockman, June 13, 1903 – Hall’s Peak Item – which indicates Martha was her Own Person.

Mrs. J. M. Caldwell and Miss Nichols, teacher at the Vanderitas school, were recently seen drinking in the beauties of Canada Bonita.  It is stated that to sustain them on their homeward journey they also partook of a draught of that ambrosia brewed by cook Woodruff at the mill camp.

Martha Brown Caldwell was the daughter of Alfred (or Alford as was sometimes written) Brown and Louisa Jane Centers.  Her father was born in 1826 in North Carolina and died in 1865 at the end of the Civil War.  He had returned home to see his wife and newborn son, Remington, when he was “waylaid by Union soldiers, fourteen of them, at a ford in a little creek.”  His family heard the fighting from their home.  Alfred never saw his son Remington.

Alfred/Alford Brown was the son of Alfred Brown, Sr. and Narcissus Belk and the grandson of Amos Brown and Elizabeth Brown (who was perhaps a cousin of Amos; I’ve not been able to trace her lineage).

Amos Brown served in the Revolutionary War:

Certificate No. 12625 in N.C. agency
Amos Brown, Macon County, N.C. agency
Private, Capt. Whitners County, Gen. Morgans Regt. in the Georgia Line for 7 1/2 months
paid at rate “25 per annum” to commence 4 March 1831
Certificate issued 15 May 18 (illegible) and sent to L. P. Casson, Pleasant Gardens, Georgia

In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future. ~ Alex Haley