Sunday, August 14, 2016

Water resources: Brown family genealogy conversation, A few questions about my Aunt Mary Chadbourne Brown for me? 1. Do you know if her son is still living? 2. Do you know if he might have any photos he would be willing to share of her as a young woman?

On 7/31/16 11:17 AM, Lynda Winslow wrote:

Are you still living in the Bay Area, and if so, could you please answer a few questions about my Aunt Mary Chadbourne Brown for me?

1.  Do you know if her son is still living?
2.  Do you know if he might have any photos he would be willing to share of her as a young woman?  

She knew my parents when they were first married and living on Channing Way. I still have a book of her poetry here somewhere. I would love to send it to him if he wants it (or copies), and doesn’t have it. She was very good to me when I was growing up and I am making some art about the time/places we got to be with her. She also may have been part of the inspiration for me to become a writer. She gave me some amazing books. She sheltered me and witnessed for me during some very hard times, while she was having some hard times of her own over on Hillegass Avenue.

I would appreciate anything you can share. I am working on a tartan-based utilikilt type skirt right now. I am calling it the Mary in her honor. I am trying at this stage of my life to write some things down before they are lost about my early life. I am grateful for everything she was able to do for me as a young person so long ago.

PS:  It would also be good to know if you could perform briefly for a ceremony (a wedding celebration party) my family is planning to have in Monterey county one of these days. It is a long way to travel I know. We are commemorating our marriage (13 years together, just married a few months now — February 29 was our day) and they want to give a party / reception for us in Carmel.

Thank you for considering my questions.

Best regards,

Lulu Winslow
El Cerrito, California


Hi, Lulu Winslow,

Thanks for your email - and sorry it's taken me so long to reply. I'm still living in the SF Bay Area (in Canyon), and I'm sorry to say that Edward "Denny" Titus MD is no longer living. I don't have any photos of his mother, my Aunt Mary Chadbourne Brown, and don't know any other family members who do either. It's possible, however, that Denny's widow, in southern California, might have such photos. I'm including the email I had for Cathy Titus many years ago in this email, as well as
this note:

Hi Cathy, Warm greetings! Lulu Winslow, has inquired about Denny's mother, Mary Chadbourne Brown, in the email below, and about photos of her. Do you happen to know of any such photos? How are you? Hoping this finds you well. Warm regards, Scotty

I visited my Aunt Mary years ago in Berkeley, and have wondered repeatedly where her home is, but haven't been able to re-locate it. I'll look along Hillegas sometime near where I think I visited her decades ago.

Concerning piping, I'm only playing the lovely and harmonious Scottish small pipes these days, and no longer play the Great Highland Bagpipe (due to an ear condition). Here's my piping web site - Would you like to have Scottish small pipes played at the wedding celebration you write of?

I just recently blogged about the Chadbourne family here- (in my daily blog) - about which you might have possible interest.

Thanks again for your email, and best wishes in your search.

Best regards,


Hi Scott,

Mary lived at 2918 Hillegass, on the second floor; hers was the rear apt.

She steadfastly remained there even though she had been mugged at least 2x on her way to buy groceries, which you could still get at that time near Ashby and College in the stores. I imagine it was rent controlled.

I think the last time I may have seen her was about 1983. My marriage was entering a pretty difficult phase and I found her company delightful, but that’s another story.

My current husband, Ryan Young — has heard a little about how Mary lived across from my Mom and Dad when they were newly married and living on Channing Way. She taught my Mom a bit about cooking (Mom had no skills in that area).  Mary was a great cook and loved food.

I still have an ironwood breadboard and a spoon she gave me. These are yours if you would like a remembrance of your Aunt. So is Autumn Harvest (her book of poetry) if I can find it; its around here somewhere. 

She was my correspondent from the time I was about 9 years old. When I moved from California she loyally responded to all my letters. 

When we talked about her young life in New York I think she said she was a magazine editor, but I may have that scrambled.

I would love to know more about her.

My favorite books she gave me were James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl) and the Thirteen Clocks and the Wonder O (James Thurber). I remember sitting with her one time in the back of my parents car and her giving me a gift of a book and saying it was very good. I must have looked shocked. She said she read everything she gave me before giving it to me just to make sure it was as good as she thought it was the first time.

She was a wonderful person. I have a dim memory from the latter part of that same day where we went to the Claremont Hotel for Mother’s Day brunch and we all had too much dessert. I think she was really good at groaning. At least that is how I like to remember it.

She gave me the bread board because she said, even though she loved home baked bread with a passion, her idea of how to eat it was hot from the over slathered with butter — and that recently her doctor had informed her that 6 hot slices of bread slathered with butter consumed gleefully at regular intervals was not a life-prolonging plan.

I loved her.

Will write more later, my kettle is boiling a bit.

With respect,

Lulu Winslow


Dear Lynda:  My cousin Scott MacLeod copied me on a string of emails between you and him about my aunt Mary Chadbourne. I can probably dig up a couple of photos of her but they would be of her when she was quite old.

As you may know, Mary was one of three children of Alden Brown (after whom I was named) and Martha Chadbourne Brown. Alden was a mining engineer and Martha had had quite an interesting life prior to getting married. (If you read the book Loving Frank about Frank Lloyd Wright's affair, Martha is featured prominently in the early part of it and most of what is in the book is true though the names of the children are changed.) The eldest child of the union was Alexander (Sandy) Brown, Scott's grandfather. The second was Mary and the third was Martha Brown (my mother).  Martha Chadbourne Brown died in 1909 as a result of the birth of my mother. Mary and Alexander were adopted by an uncle and aunt who had decided not to have children because
they thought they would be poor parents. (They were right.) But they felt they couldn't adopt the infant (my mother) and she was passed around among several families until she was adopted by the Higley family.  However, the three siblings spent summers together  in their youth.

Mary was married several times and had some problems with alcohol and depression. Her son Edward ("Denny") Titus was a very bright person who was not socially adept. He became a psychiatrist. His first wife got MS in her 30's and he cared for her heroically for many years, keeping her at home as long as he could and finally institutionalizing her. When she was completely unable to control herself, he divorced her but supported her financially, and married a delightful woman with whom he spent the rest of his days. He died about ten years ago.

Mary spent a lot of time doing research work for psychiatrists. She lived in several places around the Bay Area including Napa and Albany. I spent the summer of 1965 taking classes at UCAL Berkeley and spent a lot of time with her. Then in the summer of 1967 I spent the summer in San Francisco while working as a counselor at a camp in Vallejo. That summer I spent a lot of time with her. About once every 10 days we would go to an ethnic restaurant.

She died in the fall of 1982. Her son Denny, I, my mother (Martha Brown Higley Briscoe), Alexander Brown (Scott's grandfather) and Rachel Brown (Scott's grandmother, and Janie MacLeod Brown (Scott's mother) came to the Bay Area for the service.

I hope this gives you some information which will be helpful. Mary was indeed a delightful person and I really enjoyed all the time I spent with her those two summers.

Alden F. Briscoe
Executive Vice President
Brakeley Briscoe Inc.
322 W. Bellevue Avenue    San Mateo, CA  94402  USA
tel (1) 650 344 8883     fax (1) 650 344


Hi Lulu (and Alden),

Thanks for your quick and lovely reply, Lulu. (Thanks, too, for your email this morning to us, Alden, to which I'll reply after a bit, as well). When I visited a woman, whom I think was my great aunt Mary Chadbourne Brown, it was in north Berkeley in the hills and in a house (and I actually spend a lot of time in the Berkeley neighborhood where she lived on Hillegass, I think, in recent years). Since she died in
1982, I must have visited her before that, but I only came out to Portland, Oregon, to go to Reed College in 1979, so I can't quite piece together at this time how I would have visited my great aunt Mary in Berkeley in a house in north Berkeley, since I didn't visit Berkeley very much at all between 79 and 82. (There's a good chance, Alden, I got in touch with her at the time through you). I'll go find where she lived at 2918 Hillegass (actually this could be in north Berkeley, but I don't
think so), - but when I visited Mary, she was living in what I think was her own house, and it had a kind of turret or tower over the entrance way as part of the design of this Berkeley house. She also had a view of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Thanks for all your lovely recollections, Lulu. I'd love to see her "Autumn Harvest" book of poetry if you can see it - and the other items you mention. And in my own nuclear family, we enjoyed those children's books (Dahl and Thurber) too . What a great connection you had with her.

What years are you writing about knowing Mary roughly? And, out of personal interest, in what ways would you say my great aunt Mary had a Bohemian side to her, or a Berkeley-ite aspect, or even a hippy way of seeing the world, if at all? (All of her son Denny's first cousins - Alden, his older brother, John, Jane, my mother, and Ted, her older brother) have quite liberal orientations in many ways, but except
possibly for John, none were really hippies, I'd say, and Denny was a Californian, I think, while the rest of Mary's nephews, Denny's first cousins had deeper roots in the eastern seaboard (eastern woodland forest - well, CT and OH, where they grew up).

It's wonderful that you loved each other. Thanks for your lovely recollections.

Friendly regards,


Hi Alden, and Lulu,

Thanks for your very interesting and helpful recollections about Aunt Mary, Alden. Please keep me in the loop if you begin to share photos of Aunt Mary Chadbourne Brown.

(I'd love to get a digital repository of family photos going, easily accessible online. I may get back into at some point. Sometime in the 1990s or early 2000s, I was able to upload about 400 names, but very few photos, in / / both of which may have developed into before a computer crash or data crash caused me not to have access to this program again. (I've almost always recovered data and programs from all crashes, except this one interestingly). It would be in such a similar repository as that I may eventually begin to create a family history repository again with photos, etc.)

As you'll see in my Chadbourne blog post -

- my two quite basic family history resources / web sites are

- -

- -

If we find early photos of my great aunt Mary Chandbourne Brown, I'd
certainly add them above eventually.

Thank you again for your emails Lulu and Alden!

Sincerely yours,


Lulu:  Sorry that I can't help on Mary's relationship with the families of Ron Partridge or Ruth Asawa. I grew up on the East Coast and my first time in California was in 1960 when I was in college. Mary visited us in Connecticut probably in the late 1940's but I don't think I saw her again until the summer of 1960. I do have a copy of a book of poems she wrote.

Best wishes.



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