Stephen W. BrownSTEPHEN W. BROWN


Born: 26 May 1835 in Overton County, Tennessee (Death Certificate says: 6 June 1835)
Died: 5 July 1917 in Putnam County, Tennessee 
Buried: In an unmarked grave in the West Graveyard, Putnam County, Tennessee 
Parents: Joseph and Sarah "Sally" (West) Brown

1st Married: Phoebe Ann Cantrell on 1 September 1858 in Putnam County, Tennessee 
Born: 17 October 1836 in Smith County, Tennessee 
Died: 22 March 1874 in Lawrence County, Missouri 
Parents: Dickson and Fannie (Unknown) Cantrell


  1. Sarah F. Brown
  2. Harriet Brown
  3. Jefferson D. Brown
  4. Ambrose L. Brown

2nd Married: Martha A. Owens on 26 November 1874 in Lawrence County, Missouri 
Born: about 1853 in Missouri
Died: Between 1880 - 1900 in Lawrence County, Missouri 


  1. Mary E. Brown
  2. Polly Bell Brown
  3. Joseph L. Brown
  4. Grover C. Brown


  • Brother-in-Law: John H. Cantrell - 22nd Tennessee (Murray's) Infantry Battalion


16th Tennessee Infantry Regiment
Company K


  • Entered the service as a Sergeant and left service as a Sergeant
  • Enlisted 3 June 1861 at Camp Trousdale
  • July & August 1861: Present
  • 28 Feb 1862: Present
  • Mar & Apr 1863: Re-enlisted in Cavalry in Pocotaligo, SC 9 April 1862
  • 15 Jul 1863: Joined Cavalry in SC; Age: 28

Civil War Prisoner of War Records 1861- 1865

  • Name: Stephen W. Brown
  • Rank: Private
  • Unit: 8th TN Cavalry
  • Residence: Putnam County, TN
  • Complexion: Light
  • Hair: Dark
  • Eyes: Hazel
  • Height: 6'
  • Captured: Nashville on 22 Dec 1863 by General Grant

Register of Prisoners Received at Military Prison in Louisville, KY

  • Name: Stephen W. Brown
  • Rank: Private
  • Unit: 8th TN Cavalry
  • Residence: Putnam County, TN
  • Oath & Parole in December

Roll of Deserters of the Rebel Army

  • Name: Stephen W. Brown
  • Rank: Private
  • Unit: 8th TN Cavalry
  • Where Reported: Louisville, KY
  • When Reported: 23 Dec 1863
  • When Discharged: 25 Dec 1863
  • What: Took Oath and sent North

Civil War Prisoner of War Records, 1861-1865

  • Name: Stephen W. Brown
  • Rank: Private
  • Unit: 8th TN Cavalry
  • Released on Oath and sent North of the Ohio River 22 Dec 1863



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  • Filed 16 October 1907
  • Rejected
  • Resident of Cookeville, TN
  • Member of Company F 16 Tennessee Infantry Regiment; Captain H. H. Dillard; Col. John H. Hughes
  • Born 26 May 1835 in Overton County, TN; Lived in Overton and Putnam Counties until the war broke out. Was the County Registrar of Putnam County when he joined the Army
  • Enlisted: We organized at Cookeville, TN on the 26 May 1861 when SWB was elected 2nd Sergeant of Company F in the 16th Tennessee Infantry Regiment; Captain H. H. Dillard & Colonel John Savage
  • Battles Cheat Mountain, VA; Port Royal, SC; Chickamauga; Knoxville; Richmond, KY; Franklin, KY; Versailles, KY
  • Wounded: Shot in right hip with splint ball at Franklin, KY while on picket duty
  • Captured 27 Nov 1863 while crossing the Tellico River in East TN acting as a courier and carrying a message from General Armstrong to Major Smalling, commander of a supply train.
    • His horse was killed in the river. SWB was captured.
    • SWB was transferred to Rock Island Prison until May 1864.
    • Watson Cook, a prominent merchant of Louisville (formerly of Putnam County) obtained a parole for SWB.
    • After he was released, he stayed north of Ohio River and reported to the Provost Marshall one time per week.
    • In Feb 1865, SWB started to Cookeville to see wife and children with whom he had not seen in three years. SWB heard that his wife and kids were starving.
    • SWB got within 28 miles of Cookeville, when he ran into W. J. Perkins who told him that SWB would be killed by bushwackers and home guard.
    • SWB turned back and went to Nashville. He sent for his wife and children. They remained at Nashville until about 1868.
  • Wife: He married 1 September 1858 to Phoebe Ann Cantrell. They had three children with the last born in 1861. All are dead.
  • In 1868, he moved to Missouri.
  • His occupation is a carpenter and painter.
  • He returned from Oklahoma on 17 July 1907
  • Attest: Columbus Jackson Davis & J. C. Gabbert

Supporting Documents:

  • SWB (14 Oct 1907) -
    • SWB was elected to County Registrar in 1858.
    • He enlisted in the 16th Tennessee Infantry Regiment.
    • He never came back during the war.
    • He was afraid to come back to Cookeville, because he might be killed.
    • In 1865, he sent for his family. They traveled to Missouri and then to Oklahoma.
    • He returned to Cookeville on 17 Jul 1907.
    • All his brothers and sisters are dead.
    • He was a member of Dinwiddie Camp of Confederate Veterans in Chelsea, OK
  • SWB (14 Nov 1908) - J. H. Williams died last night. He was a pensioner. He was buried today. SWB requests a status of his pension.
  • Tennessee Board of Pension Examiners (16 Nov 1908) - Returns the status of his claim.
  • Tennessee Board of Pension Examiners (19 Dec 1908) - Requests SWB's service records from Washington.
  • Columbus Jackson Davis (7 Oct 1909) - Request Status
  • SWB (9 Aug 1909) -
    • SWB was captured just after the siege of Knoxville and sent to Rock Island, Prison about 1 Jan 1864
    • In May 1864, he was paroled after they ceased exchanging prisoners.
    • The substance of the oath was that SWB would not take up arms against the Federal Government until the regular exchange.
    • He did not swear allegiance to the Federal Government until 1872 in Missouri.
    • He was paroled because his wife and children were suffering at Cookeville.
    • He started home when notified by the Federal Authorities that he must remain north of the Ohio River.
    • He went to Louisville where he met Watson Cooke, a friend and Union sympathizer, who intervened on his behalf.
    • In Jan 1865, Watson Cooke granted permission to go to his wife and children. He got to Nashville and then to Chestnut Mount (28 miles). He met W. J. Perkins, a Union man.
    • Perkins told him that if SWB went to Cookeville, he would be killed by the Yankees.
    • SWB went back to Nashville and sent for his wife and children. One child dies in Nashville.
  • Matthew Langford (10 Aug 1909) - Support his claim.
  • Tennessee Board of Pension Examiners (9 Oct 1909) - Send status of his pension request.
  • J. H. Davis(2 Aug 1911) - Jacob H. Davis supports his claim.
  • SWB (2 Aug 1911) - SWB describes the war circumstances.
  • War Department (3 Feb 1912) - Sends service records
  • Special Examiner (10 Feb 1915) - SWB is barred from receiving a pension, because he took the oath to get out of prison.
  • Special Examiner (26 Aug 1915) - Details the information in the records from Washington.
  • E. L. Wirt (1 Jan 1916) - Please put SWB on the rolls.
  • E. L. Wirt (31 Jan 1916) - Please put SWB on the rolls.
  • Special Examiner (14 Feb 1916) - The records in Washington show that SWB was a deserter who stayed in Louisville.
  • E. L. Wirt (13 Apr 1916) - SWB was captured near Knoxville and taken to Nashville. He could not have been a deserter. SWB left a wife, two babies, and the Office of Registrar in Putnam County to serve in the Confederacy.
  • SWB (???) - Restates his claim. He also states that his horse was shot out by the Michigan Cavalry.


(Download Soldier's Home Application)

  • Filed: 24 February 1908
  • Residence: Cookeville, TN
  • Member: Capt. H. H. Dillard Company under Col. John H. Savage
  • Slightly wounded by a pint ball between Franklin & Columbia
  • Born: Overton County, TN in 1835
  • Slightly wounded by a spent ball and only prohibited from riding from soreness a few days. Struck in the hip, but wound was not serious
  • Captured 27 November 1863 and carried to Rock Island, IL
  • Did you take the oath of allegiance to the United State Government? "No -- except to vote after the war 1872 and an oath that I would noot take up arms till legally exchanged. This was while in prison & in order to get out and return home. But I got to Louisville, KY -- and I there got orders that all captured Confederate soldiers should not be permitted south of Ohio River and therefore I was held at Louisville by Watson Cook and stayed with him until 1865 -- when he released me -- & told me to go home."
  • Has been married.
  • All of his family are dead.
  • Tenn has always been my home however I have been living in Mo & Indian Territory since the war as I was notified that I could not live here therefore I did not return to Cookeville to the last July 1907.
  • Witnesses: H. D. Whitson and J. C. Gabbert


  • Tennessee Board of Pension Examiners (24 Feb 1908) - Requested Service Records
  • War Department (27 Feb 1908) - Sent Service Records


  • 1850 Census: Jackson County, TN, Page 242
  • 1860 Census: Putnam County, TN, Page 1
  • 1870 Census: Lawrence County, MO, Page 522
  • 1880 Census: Lawrence County, MO, Page 461
  • 1900 Census: Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, Page 303B
  • 1910 Census: Putnam County, TN, Page 81B


Putnam County Herald
5 July 1917
Vol. XV, No. 27, Page 1
(Chronicling America)

  • S. W. Brown Dies: S. W. Brown died at the county farm this afternoon (Thursday) and will be buried Friday at the West graveyard. Mr. Brown was in his 83rd year and served faithfully as a Confederate soldier. He had been in poor health for several years.


  • Death Certificate: Putnam County, TN (1917) - #475 - S. W. Brown
  • History of Putnam County, Tennessee by Walter S. McClain: Stephen W. Brown was Register of Putnam county when the Civil War came on. Responding to the call for volunteers, Mr. Brown handed over his keys to Charles R. Ford, telling him to look after the office until his return. Four years later when Mr. Brown came back he found the county government in the hands of Union men and he and his comrades disfranchised. [Page 58]

  • Putnam County Herald, 19 June 1913, Vol. XI, No. 25, Page 2 (Chronicling America)
    For Register, S. W. Brown - To the Voters of Putnam County: As I hear inquiries as to who S. W. Brown is, relative to my canvass before the nominating primary election of Nov. 1 next, for the office of County Register, I will say that I was born in Overton county 78 years ago the 26th day of last May. My father, Joseph Brown, sold out in 1847 and moved to Jackson county, one mile east of Joe Ray's store, now Double Springs, on the old Walton road. In February 1850, he died. I was the oldest of six children, three boys and three girls. In the fall of 1851 my mother, who was behind with the estate, traded or swapped places with Mark Matthews and got some money to boot. She moved to that place, and I being the oldest child had to hire out to assist my mother to live. In 1854 Putnam county was surveyed by Act of the Legislature, and Cookeville was surveyed by Maj. Cooke, who was in the State Senate at the time. The first county officers elected were: Pleas Bohannon, sheriff; Curt Mills, circuit court clerk; Russell Moore, county court clerk; Silas Gentry, trustee; William Baker, register. In 1856 I married Pheby Cantrell in Dekalb county. In 1858 I was a candidate for register, my opponents being Wm. Baker and Jordan Huddleston. I was elected and served in the office until June, 1861, when I enlisted in Capt. H. H. Dillard's co. K, 16th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, Col. Savage's regiment. In November, 1863, I was taken prisoner near Knoxville and was confined in Rock Island military prison until in May 1864, when I took what they called a parole oath to come home to my starving and destitute wife and three small children. Came to Nashville in the winter of 1865, and my family coming also I went to work at carpenter's trade in and around that city until the fall of 1868. My wife would not consent to go back to Cookeville so we went west. I lived in Lawrence Co., Missouri, thirty years. My wife died in 1873, and all my children died. I went to the Cherokee Nation (now Oklahoma) in 1894. In 1906 I came back to Putnam county after 45 years to live the balance of my days where pure mountain water flows. And now, being a candidate for the nomination for register before the Democratic primary election on Nov. 15, I will say that I am destitute of finances or means to make the canvass as I would like to, so take this method of getting before the people, as I am leaving my merits and demerits for you to decide on. If I am your choice in November I will make the race the best I can, and if elected to the office will endeavor to fill same according to law and oath of office, and satisfactory to all. AS to qualifications I will refer you to the now oldest book in the register's office as a sample of my work 52 years ago. Now, Democrats, vote of S. W. Brown for register in Nov. More anon, if the Herald editor, good man, is willing. -- S. W. Brown

  • Putnam County Herald, 21 August 1913, Vol. XI, No. 34, Page 5 (Chronicling America)
    RECOLLECTIONS OF A VETERAN -- Stephen W. Brown Tells of His Experiences as a Confederate Soldier

    As I have been solicited by many friends to write something relative to my personal experience during the war with the states, I will, with your kind permission try to comply.

    After having C. R. Ford qualified as deputy register I enlisted in Capt. H. H. Dillard's company and left Cookeville on June 6, 1861, for Camp Trousdale, on or near the Kentucky line, north of Gallatin, on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. There we were organized into regiments, Dillard's company being put into the Sixteenth Tennessee infantry Col. John H Savage commanding.

    The latter part of July we were ordered to Virginia. The first battle of Bull Run had recently been fought when we got there, so we were ordered to West Virginia, Gen. Dan S. Donaldson commanding a brigade of Tennessee troops including the Eighth and Sixteenth Regiment all under the command of Gen. R. E. Lee.

    We went by Railroad to Staunton, Va., where we started on foot across the mountains to Huntsville. We were camped there through the entire month of August, it raining about all the time we were there.

    On the first day of September we broke camp, filled our haversacks up with salt meat and hardtack and started across the mountain to Cheat Pass, where Gen. Rosecrans was advancing with several thousand Federal troops. We met them at Cheat Pass at daylight on Sept. 13 Gen. Lee came to us in person and ordered a countermarch back the way we came. Dillard's company, K, was on the left wing of Savage's regiment. We were in the rear going in, then about-facing made us in front going out.

    The Federals found out during the night how we were located and moved some of their army to our rear. We did not get far down the mountain when we were fired on. The first order we got was to charge. We did so and broke the federal lines, killing, wounding and capturing fifty men, with a loss of one man killed in Capt. Coffee company; Harvey Fisher wounded in the shoulder, and the drummer of Dillard's Company, Moody West, had some holes shot through his drum, and the writer had some holes shot through his clothing.This was our total loss in our first fight.

    We were then ordered that the same trail we came in on some three miles to the top of the mountain and there learned that Lees artillery had failed to get the positions desired owing to the high water, it raining all the time, so there was no general engagement.

    Rosecrans fell back and started for Kanawha Salt Works, while Lee with his army fell back to Green River bridge and then started to meet Rosecrans at Big Seville Mountain, a long hard march through mud and water. We got there but Rosecrans had left -- we knew not where.

    We march that some one hundred miles to Wytheville, Va., on the East Tennessee & Virginia railroad, where we got on trains again for a long ride to the coast of South Carolina. We rested at Charleston for a few days and were moved south to Port Riyal and camp there through the winter of 1862 until April.

    I with others then volunteered in McBride's company of cavalry, made up out the Sixteenth Infantry, got a furlough for 30 days to come home, get a mount and return to Chattanooga for service. Capt. McBride's company was mustered into the Third Tennessee Calvary and we left for Kentucky via Cumberland Gap, under the command of Gen. Kirby Smith.

  • Putnam County Herald, 16 October 1913, Vol. XI, No. 42, Page 3 (Chronicling America)
    More Civil War Experiences:
    Mr. Heral Man, Kind Sir: --By request of many friends, I will try to continue some of my personal experiences of the late Civil war.

    Now being mounted and organize in the 3rd Tennessee Cavalry Col. Starnes' regiment at Chattanooga, the spring of 1862, we started up the Tennessee river valley. After much skirmishing in the East Tennessee mountains, we captured a battery of little brass mounted howitzers. After trying to make a detail from the regiment to man them, which caused some dissatisfaction, the call was made for volunteers, which was soon made. We organize the battery under Captain Hewell. We drilled some and divided up in three sections 1s, 2nd, and 3rd. I was put in charge of the 3rd section of two howitzers, Canister or grape-shot and shells were our charges.

    Gen. Kirby Smith, commanding that wing of the army, advanced across the mountains into Kentucky in the rear the federal army Cumberland Gap. No. 3, Hewall's Battery, two guns, with one company of Col. Bates' infantry to support us, we were advanced guard across the mountains of Kirby Smith's army. The Federals in the Gap finding themselves, surrounded, spiked their guns, left their heavy baggage and made their escape after dark, to the mountains to Ohio and Western Virginia. Gen. Smith order a march through Kentucky. At Richmond we met the Federal army in a general engagement to place August 30 and 31. Col. Scott commanding the Cavalry in advance. The second day, Aug. 31, the cavalry and Hewell's Battery were ordered to the rear the federal Army we got there on pike near Lexington. The Federals came, than the mes [sic] and mix up took place and we got 8,000 prisoners. All their artillery, wagons and supplies. My horse was killed in the fight, but it was not long until I was mounted on a captured horse, but finding him branded U.S.A., I did not like him, and so we meeting up with a citizen who was riding around sight seeing over the battle ground, I swapped horses with him satisfactorily to myself but so with him. At my urgent request he put up with it though. Changing saddles, I left him, and mounted on a Kentucky thoroughbred. The Cavalry and Hewal's Battery went on to Frankfort the capital of Kentucky. Gov. Bramlett and most of his legislature had seceded, but we took down the Stars and Stripes from the capitol and planted the Confederate instead, the writer of this assisting. We made a military governor of Col. Armstrong. We then took possession of the state prison and had our horses shod all around, I suppose I superintending Hewall's Battery horses.

    Forward we went to Louisville fair grounds, finding the Federals in strong force. We started back on the same road, fighting and skirmishing day and night, almost continuously until we got to Frankfort, where we made a stand, fighting all night. At daylight we left, the Federals in possession. We came back to Versailles and came in possession of a vast amount of U.S.A. bacon, flour, etc. We prepared all the wagons and teams we could get and started them South, burning all we could not get out. From there we went to Mumfordsville, where we captured the garrison and more supplies. At about the time the battle of Perryville took place. We were not in the battle but were in hearing on the right wing of Bragg's army. Very soon we found the whole army in retreat to more southern clime, to-wit Tennessee.

    More Anon.
    S. W. Brown

  • Putnam County Herald, 16 April 1953, Page 2
    At the outbreak of the Civil War, many Southerners believed that the South would soon win and the war be over with. Enlistment for the first Confederate Company organized in Putnam County, Capt. H. H. Dillard's Company, were being received in May 1861 at a Southern rally held on the Southeast corner of the Public Square in Cookeville. Speeches were made by Southern speakers, and the band commenced playing while men were "signing up" as Confederate volunteers, a large crowd was in attendance and patriotic fervor permeated the scene. Stephen W. Brown, County Register of Putnam County, a married man with a dependent wife and children, was in the crow and, motivated by patriotic zeal, he determined to enlist, and handing the key to his County Register's office to the late Esq. Charles R. Ford, he said "Esq. Ford, look after my office until I get back, I am going to enlist", and rushing forward he "signed up" as a Confederate volunteer in Capt. Dillard's Company. After four years service, the Civil War, and Mr. Brown started back to Cookeville. At Chestnut Mound, he met W. J. (Jurdon) Perkins who was Sheriff of Putnam County while Brown was a County Register. Perkins too had served in the Confederate Army until the close of the Civil War. Before Brown entered the Confederate Army, by appointment of the Confederate authorities, he had been calling for and receiving gift rifles and other guns from Putnam Countians for the use of the Confederate authorities, and by his Southern activities he had incurred the ill will of the Union men and his personal friend and War comrade Perkins told him that the feeling and excitement of the Federals in Putnam County was so high that it would not then be safe for him to return to Putnam County, so Brown sent for his wife and children and moved to Missouri. He did not return to Putnam County for about 45 years. His wife and children had died in Missouri and he, an old and inform man, came back to Cookeville to spend his last year. Arriving in Cookeville on the noon train, he proceeded to the Court-House. The passage of the years had changed his appearance and no one recognized him until he revealed his identity. He soon inquired if the Masonic Lodge still met in the upper story of the Freeze store building, on the West side of the Public Square, stating that he was made a Mason in that building before the Civil War. He died a year or two after his return.

  • Putnam County Herald, 12 July 1917, Page 4 (Chronicling America)
    I was also very sorry to hear of the death of Brother Stephen Brown. I was small when I saw him baptized in the Methodist church. I also stood by and saw him bid his wife farewell and start to join the Confederate army. His wife was Phoebe Cantrell, a good woman. His father was said to be the second person buried At West graveyard about 75 years ago. - Rev. M. Judd.


Photo Source: Putnam County Herald, 21 August 1913, Vol. XI, No. 34, Page 8