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94th Brown-Fisher reunion offers glimpse of past, vision of future

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The 65 members and friends attending the 94th annual reunion of the Brown-Fisher Association were asked to imagine the past, with sweeping fields of wheat, cotton and corn covering the hills surrounding Michael Brown’s Old Stone House. There, you’d have found 16 indentured servants, and, in later years, a mix of laborers working the land. Built in 1766, Michael Brown’s House and Grounds fell into neglect, being vandalized over the years to the point where the rock walls of the house were the only remnants. The fields were overtaken by the woods, leaving the incorrect impression that the house was originally nestled in the forest.

With the help of recent grading and tree removal, attendees were then asked to imagine a brand new Visitor’s and Event Center situated on the hill above the house, offering a view of the Old Stone House below, surrounded by a working farm, complete with quarters for the indentured servants and the crops from long ago. That vision is now one step closer, thanks to a bequeath from the Estate of Juanita Fisher Lagg. Mrs. Lagg had dreamed for years of a building to house the archives and heirlooms of both families, as well as to house handicapped accessible restrooms, a gift shop/office and other amenities.

President Stephen Brown of Durham explained the progress on this project, including the removal of the 1950s caretaker’s house and taking control of a log cabin, gifted to them by the estates of the late Rep. Eugene and Jean Fisher McCombs. Remnants of the cabin have been moved to the grounds and will be used to reconstruct the quarters of the indentured servants.

President Brown discussed the relationship between the Browns and Fishers and how the two families , having been separate organizations previously, joined into one association in 1925. The Association includes descendants of German immigrants who migrated to Rowan and Cabarrus Counties from Philadelphia and other ports of call. Original ancestors were brothers Abraham, Andrew, Jacob, and Michael Brown (Braun) and Frederick, George, Jr. and Sybilla Fisher (Fischer).

$1 gold coins were awarded to the following: oldest attending – Jack Taylor of Salisbury, age 91, and Shirley Brown of Salisbury, age 87; youngest attending – Brooks Brown, son of Ben and Candace Brown of China Grove, age 4; traveled the farthest – Melissa Brown Hayes of Nashville, Tenn; most descendants attending – Grace Brown Marlatt who represented 10 first cousins of Juanita Fisher Lagg.

Debbie Brown Taylor of Salisbury, Norman Ribelin of Granite Quarry and Keith Wolf of Albemarle each agreed to serve another term and they were duly elected.
In closing, President Brown asked members to think back to that vision of fields of wheat, corn, and cotton surrounding the Old Stone House, cabins to tell the stories of indentured servants and perhaps even a shed where Michael perfected his printing process before opening shop in Salisbury, a vision of Michael Brown’s farm once again coming to life.

More reunion news

• Boyden High School Class of 1969
Oct. 18-20, including a dinner on Oct. 19. Join the planning committee? Contact Debbie Young Carter at debbieandsummie@yahoo.com. All ‘69 classmates send contact info to Franklin Miller at fmiller@rsvpcomm.com
• East Rowan High Class of 1969
Oct. 19: 50th reunion. 4:30-9 p.m. Dinner at St. Matthews Lutheran Family Life Center, 9275 Bringle Ferry Road. Arrive 4:30-5 p.m. for social hour. Meet Friday for dinner at Monterrey Restaurant, 119 N. Link Ave., pay individually. Home football game, East vs Carson, Friday. Details at classof69eastrowanhs50threunion@carolina.rr.com
• VA Retirees Luncheon
Saturday, Nov. 9, noon-330 p.m. at China Grove Family Restaurant. Bring canned goods for RHM.

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