Family Histories of Coleman County, Texas

by Elizabeth Alexander

From A History of Coleman County and Its People, 1985 
edited by Judia and Ralph Terry, and Vena Bob Gates - used by permission

Dr. Charles Miller Alexander, of Scottish descent, came to Coleman in January, 1883.  He was born in Marrowbone, Kentucky, January 17, 1857, son of Joseph Alexander.  His reason for coming to this new frontier town was that his fiance, Miss Mary Lee Brown, born September 6, 1863, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, had been advised by her doctor to live in a high, dry country.  Dr. Alexander received his A. B. degree from Cumberland University of Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1879.  He graduated with his M.D. degree from the University of Kentucky, of Louisville, with the class of 1882; in October, 1883, he and Mary were married.  In 1887, he did postgraduate work at the New York Polyclinic Medical School.  Dr. Alexander had purchased the block at 300 Neches at Plum, and they lived there, until they bought their new home in 1916, at 721 West College Avenue.  Their children were all born at their first home.

Dr. Alexander was truly a horse and buggy doctor, and would travel muddy and cold and hot miles to administer to the sick.  Dr. Scott, of Scott and White of Temple, said he considered him the finest diagnostician he had ever seen and offered that position to him with them.  He was a member of the Presbyterian Church and was an Elder as well as Superintendent of the Sunday School.  He was a Trustee of Daniel Baker College of Brownwood and Trustee of Texas Presbyterian College for Women, of Milford.  About ten years previous to his death he joined the Methodist Church.  He was a member of the Masonic Lodge.  Other offices of trust held by Dr. Alexander that might be appropriately mentioned were: Vice-President of the State Medical Association; member of the Board of Trustees State Medical Journal; and Vice-President and Senior Director of the First National Bank.  He was a member of the County, State and American Medical Associations.  Also, he was a member of the Founder's Club of Southern Methodist University and Chairman of Obstetrics and Pediatrics of the Texas Medical Association.  He was local surgeon of the Gulf Colorado & Santa Fe Railroad, from the time the railroad was laid in Coleman until the time of his death May 13, 1923.  Of singular honor was the fact that the District Court and all business houses in Coleman closed for the hour of his funeral.

Mary died in Coleman, November 21, 1949.  Her parents were Judge James Tinsley Brown and Elizabeth Frances Vernon.  They were of Scottish Irish and Dutch descent.  She graduated from Alexander College (salutatorian) and was one of the belles of Kentucky for her beauty and accomplishments in fine arts.  While their home was being built, they lived at the Buxton House in Coleman.  Their new home had the pioneer hardships, water to be hauled and other prevailing discomforts.  Mary learned to cook.  The doctor was fond of teacakes (now called cookies).  One day after unhitching his horses at the barn, he observed prairie dog holes filled with these cakes; upon inquiry, she admitted she forgot the sugar.  Afterwards, he jested, "Mary killed all the prairie dogs in Texas learning to cook.''  She loved her home and family and did beautiful fancywork, embroidery, battenburg, miles of briar stitching.  Mary was an ardent church goer She belonged to the Eastern Star; was a charter member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and later, the Shakespeare and the Garden Club.  Her greatest love was teaching the Primary and Junior Department of the Methodist Church.  The Alexander children were:

(1) Howard Lytton, born August 18, 1884, attended Austin College in Sherman and Bingham Military Academy, Ashville, North Carolina, noted for a fun-loving character.  He moved to Kentucky, married Catherine Combest, and they had two children: Amily and Howard, Jr. He died in 1945.

(2) Lillie, February 25, 1886-March 19, 1886.

(3) Amelia, July 13, 1887-May 28, 1957.  Attended Texas Presbyterian College, Milford, studied voice in Washington, D. C., her great beauty was a legend.  She married Lloyd A. Brewer of Rockville, Maryland, they had two sons: Charles Alexander and Lloyd, Jr.

(4) Charles Brown, August 20, 1897, graduated from Coleman School and from Texas Medical University.  Interned at John Sealy, Galveston and Scott and White, Temple.  Did general practice at Pineland and Bessmay, married Olney Cunningham. One daughter:  Mary Olney. Pediatrics became his specialty after post graduate work at Harvard, Boston, Mass.; practiced Pediatrics in San Antonio half century.  He died February 5, 1984.

(5) Elizabeth, February 22, 1902.  Graduated from Coleman High School in 1920.  Attended Southern Methodist University and University of Colorado.  Studied voice in Washington, D. C.  While at SMU, she was one of the ladies-in-waiting to the princess at opening of the Dallas Cotton Bowl Stadium.  Member of Alpha Rho Tau.  At the University of Colorado she did the Arapaho Glacier and received the Rocky Mountainer's climbing pin.  She was secretary of the Coleman Shakespeare Club (only club affiliated with Texas club women) and was a delegate to the Atlantic City, New Jersey, convention.  During World War II, she did government work in Washington, D. C.  After the war she joined the DAR and the Texas Poetry Society.  In 1981, she received a plaque from Cambridge, England, being written up in International Who's Who in Poetry.  In 1979 and 1982, she was included in the International biography of Who's Who in Intellectuals.

Mrs. James Tinsley Brown, better known as "Lizzie F.'' Brown, was the mother of Mrs. Alexander, Henry Brown of Coleman and Vernon Brown of Sherman, lived in Coleman from the early 1880's, until her death in 1918; born to the Thomas Vernons, November 2, 1834.  She was a Presbyterian.  Her early pictures depict her as a beautiful woman and a ring on her forefinger.  Her husband died shortly after the Civil War, (he was imprisoned by the Yankees and contracted T. B.).  In her later years, she, like Whistler's Mother, always wore black, a lace headpiece, and except for a black onyx ''breast pin,'' no jewels.  She died from a tragic fire.  Eleanor Brachey, born 1885, granddaughter of Mrs. Lizzie F. Brown.  Lived with Henry Brown's, attended Coleman Schools, moved to San Marcos, and married Dr. Thomas E. Ferguson, President of the school.  One daughter, Sarah, became an M.D. and married an M.D.

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