Brown, Catharine (ca. 1800-1823). Papers, 1818-1824.

Collection Information

Catharine Brown Papers


Brown, Catharine, 1800? - 1823.


ca. 1818 - 1824


25 items

Collection ID #:

MS 0834 (RG 0160). Small Collections

Conditions Governing Access:


Copyright: Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], in the Catharine Brown papers, MS 0834. The Congregational Library and Archive, Boston, MA.



Processing information:

Collection processed by Jessica Steytler, April 2011


Letters and reminiscences about Catharine Brown, sometimes written by Catharine, a Cherokee educated at the Brainerd mission in Chattenooga, Tennessee, who later returned to the Cherokee Nation. American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions collected the materials in order to write a biography about her.

Acquisition Information:

None available


Cherokee native, born "around" 1800, died 1823.  John and Sarah Brown were her parents and David Brown (ca. 1798-1829) was her brother. The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions sent missionaries to the Brainerd Mission where Catharine attended school. Upon completing her education, she taught at Creek Path. Her life was documented by Rufus Anderson.


Scope of Collection

Collection created when memoir was written. The processor speculates that given the age of the annotations on each item, it's likely that they were collated by Rufus Anderson while he wrote her memoir. Some documentation indicates that the memoir was written at Missionary House (predecessor of Congregational House / 14 Beacon Street).

Items include letters from Catharine to her missionary friends and some to her family, but they are primarily about Catharine immediately following her death. There are many letters from Moody and Isabella Hall, Laura and William Potter, and Dr. Alexander Campbell. There is an excerpt of Catharine's personal journal (copy of original) from 1820-1822 included.



At some point this collection was numbered by the Congregational Library. It does not seem to be chronological. Earlier numbering system from an earlier era on items, as well.


Related Material

"Memoir of Catharine Brown". Rufus Anderson, ed. Native American Autobiography, an Anthology. Arnold Krupat, ed. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1994 114-120.

Memoir of Catharine Brown. Rufus Anderson, ed. Philadelphia: American Sunday School Union, 1831

Catharine Brown, the converted Cherokee : a missionary drama, founded on fact. written by a lady. (1819) New Haven: S. Converse, printer, 1819. 27 p. ; 21 cm.


Access Terms

Brown, Catharine, 1800?-1823. American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions – Missionaries.
Brown, David, ca. 1798-1829. American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Cherokee Mission.
Brown, John. Home Missions.
Brown, Sarah. Brainerd Mission (Tenn.)
Campbell, Alexander. Cherokee Indians - Missions.
Chamberlain, William. Creek Path.
Ellis, Sarah Hoyt. Limestone County (Ala.)
Evarts, Jeremiah, 1781-1831.  
Gilbreath, Mrs.  
Kingsbury, Cyrus.  
Hall, Isabella.  
Hall, Moody.  
Leech, William.  
Potter, Laura W.  
Potter, William, Rev.  
Williams, Matilda.  


Detailed Description and Container List

Each item includes a bibliographic description followed by a physical description, including preservation issues/concerns. Items include extensive annotations written after the fact by multiple people. Initials of "AB" is frequent. Mrs. Potter often wrote for Catharine as well. When possible, the first line of text of each item is listed.

All 25 items are available as PDFs. Please reach out to in order to access them.

  Description Letter to "My Dear Son" from John and Sarah Brown. Creek Path, Cherokee Nation. August 13, 1822.
  Physical notes 31x19 cm. 1 leaf. Breaks at folds, acid burn on 1/3 of verso.
  Annotations Verso: "Her parents. Aug. 1822." ; "31".
  First line of text "It is now seven months since your brother John died..."
  Description Letter to "Dear Brother" from Mrs. Potter [unsigned, annotated later]. Limestone, Alabama. June 13 1822.
  Physical notes 31x19.5 cm. 1 folio. Minor breaks at center and horizontal folds, minor acid damage along central fold. Back page has dirt accumulation along folds.
  Annotations "Mrs. Potter's letter, just before her death" and "For Catharine Brown's Memoir"; "No. 24."
  First line of text "You have doubtless been anxious to hear from your friend at Creek Path, particularly since the receipt of your Brother Webber’s letter in which he stated your sister Catherine was ill..."
  Description Letter to "Dear Brother" from Catherine. Limestone Alabama. June 13, 1823.
  Physical notes 31x19.5 cm. 1 leaf.  Rough edge on left edge of recto. 6 cm rip on bottom left  corner.
  Annotations recto: "The following letter was dictated by Catherine and written by Mrs. Potter" [crossed out];
verso: "Catherine June 13, 1823" ; "No. 23".
  First line of text "My Dear Brother, Mrs. Potter has told you the particulars of my illness, and I will only tell you what I have experienced upon my sick bed."
  Description Letter to "Dear Brother" from Alexander A. Campbell. Limestone, Alabama. June 1823.
  Physical notes 31x19 cm. 1 leaf. Minor breaks along folds, some grime on folds of verso.
  Annotations verso: "Dr. Campbell's [account?] of her health" ; "No. 25."
  First line of text "Dear Brother, Though personally unknown to you I feel it a debt due you, to inform you– [relative?] to the health of your sister who has been under my care for some time..."
  Description William Potter's account of Catharine's last moments, addressed to Jeremiah Evarts, Esq.: Corresponding Secretary, ABCFM. Creek Path. September 20 1823.
  Physical notes 33x20 cm, 2 folios. Significant breaks along outside folio central fold. Rough bottom edge of last page of folio.  Damage from the sealing wax. Some broken away spots along back page folds. Pages mailed together, without envelope. Back page has postal direction to: "Jeremiah Evarts, Esq. Cor Sec. ABCFM Boston Mass. 2 sheets."
  Annotations Above mailing directions: "Rev. Wm Potter. Oct. 16 1823" ; "Mr Potter's account of Catharine's last moments" ; "No. 26."
  First line of text "In some of my communications the subject [?] this nation has been mentioned..."
  Description Letter to William Potter from William Leech. Huntsville.  March 1, 1824.
  Physical notes 33.5x21 cm. 2 folios. Rough edges along the outside edges of pages. Discoloration on back page. Mailing directions read: "Rev. Wm. Potter Creek Path".
  Annotations Verso of final page: "Mr. Wm. Leech's account of her last days" ; "No. 27."
  First line of text "Dear Sir, In compliance with your request, I have undertaken to give you some account of the removal of Catharine Brown from her Fathers house to Dr. Campbell's—"
  Description Letter to Jeremiah Evarts from Laura W. Potter. Creek Path. August 26, 1824.
  Physical notes 33x20 cm. 1 folio. Sealing wax on outside/verso, plus wear/grime at folds. Mailing directions read: "Jeremiah Evarts Esq. Boston Mass."
  Annotations Last page, verso: "Mr. Potter's recollections of Catharine. Sept 20 1824" ; "No. 5"
  First line of text "Respected Sir, I have recently been permitted by Mrs. Gibbreath to examine the papers of her lamented sister, Catharine Brown, among which I have found some fragments of a diary..."
  Description Letter to Moody and Isabella Hall from Catharine Brown. Creek Path. June 1 1822. Includes separate note on verso from William Potter, to whom the letter was sent.
  Physical notes 33x20 cm. 1 leaf.  Some acid burn, discoloration and sealing wax residue on verso. Mailing directions read: "Mr Moody Hall [Taloney?] Cherokee Nation".
  Annotations Verso: "To Catharine June 1st 1822" ; "No 19."
  First line of text "I know not what you think of me for not writing to you before this time. It is not because I have forgotten you that I have not written before."
  Description Letters: 2 copies to Alexander Campbell from Catharine Brown. Creek Path. March 16, 1822 and April 17 1823. Some meta-notes from Campbell at the beginning and end of the transcriptions to Rev. Potter.
  Physical notes 32x19 cm. 1 folio. Minor grime on back page.  Small rip from sealing wax, plus some residue from wax. Mailing directions: "Rev. William Potter Missionary Creek Path Cherokee Nation. Care of Wm Leach Huntsville"
  Annotations Back page, verso: "Catharine. March 16 1822. April 17 1823" ; "No. 18."
  First line of text "Respected Sir, Your kind letter was handed me day before yesterday by Mr. Little. I have only time to write a few lines as he expects to have us in the morning." and
"My Dear Mr. Campbell, My heart was made truly glad this morning by the arrival of Dr C. I have long been very anxious to see him on account of the low state of my health."
  Description Letter to Isabella Hall from Catharine Brown. Brainerd. October 16 1821.
  Physical notes 31x18.5 cm. 1 leaf. Minor grime on verso. Hole from sealing wax and wax residue. Mailing direction: "Mrs. Isabella Hall Taloney Cherokee Nation".
  Annotations Verso: "Catharine Oct. 16, 1821"; "Sis Catharine Oct 18 1821 ... 19th" ; "No. 17." (Not [inres?])
  First line of text "You have been much in my mind of late and do sincerely thank our Heavenly Father in permitting me..."
  Description Catharine Brown's private diary (copy), May 30 1820 - Feb. 2 1822.
  Physical notes 33x20 cm. 1 folio, 1 leaf. Some grime and minor breaks at the folds on leaf verso.
  Annotations Leaf verso: "Catherine's Journal from May 1820 to Feb. 1822" ; "No. 16."
  First line of text "Brainerd 1820. May 30. Tomorrow morning I shall leave this School, perhaps never to return."
  Description Letter to Moody and Isabella Hall from Catharine Brown. Creek Path. Nov. 19, 1820.
  Physical notes 24x18 cm. 1 folio. Significant damage to back page: rips, holes, acid burn, wax residue. Mailing directions: "Mr. Moody Hall [Pall?] Tolaney Mission Cherokee Nation".
  Annotations Back page: "Catherine, Letter" ; "No. 12." ; "Nov. 19 1820" ; "[?] and C. Brown. Sep & Nov. 1820".
  First line of text "My Dear brother & sister, This is the first opportunity I have taken to answer your kind letter which you wrote some time since."
  Description Letter to Isabella Hall from Catharine Brown. Brainerd. March 8, 1820.
  Physical notes 24x19.5 cm. 1 folio. Small rip on back page, very moderate sealing wax marks. Mailing directions: "Mrs. Isabella Hall. Tellony Cherokee Nation".
  Annotations Last page: "Catherine. March 8 1820" ; "No 15"
  First line of text "My Dear Sister, With pleasure I take my time this morning to address you with my pen And tell you my ardent love to you is still much as ever.  That is Christian affection which the world knows nothing of."
  Description Letter to David Brown from Catharine Brown. Brainerd. May 16, 1820.
  Physical notes 32x20 cm. 1 leaf. Fragile along folds: some break and verso is grimy along top third.
  Annotations Recto: "[G] To her brother David, on his way to Cornwall".
Verso: "Catharine. May 16 1820" ; "No. 14." ; "(P)"
  First line of text "My very Dear Brother, I cannot express my feelings this evening, [crossed out word] when I read your kind letter."
  Description Letter to Moody and Isabelle Hall from Catharine Brown. Brainerd. November 1819.
  Physical notes 16x19cm. 1 leaf. Moderate discoloration on verso at folds.
  Annotations Verso: "Written on our leaving Brainerd for Taloney" ; "Catherine, Nov 1819" ; "No. 13." ; "(copied)"
  First line of text "How solemn my Dear brother and Sister is the idea that we must soon part."
  Description To "Brother and Sister" Williams from Catharine Brown. Brainerd. July 5 1819.
  Physical notes 32x;19.5 cm. 1 leaf. Moderate tear at one of the folds.
  Annotations Recto: "Catherine letter. July 5, 1819" ; "No. 10."
  First line of text "My Dear brother & sister Williams, Altho I have long omitted answering your affectionate letters my heart has been often with you."
  Description Letter to William Potter fromSarah Hoyt Ellis -- recollections of Catharine Brown. Creek Path. No date.
  Physical notes 32x19.5 cm. 1 folio. Major section of back leaf ripped out entirely. No text lost. Rips starting on folds. Moderate discoloration, sealing wax residue, and ink blotches on back leaf verso. Mailing directions: "Rev. William Potter Creekpath C. N." (Cherokee Nation)
  Annotations Back leaf, verso: "Mrs. Ellis's (Sarah Hoyt) recollections of Catherine" ; "No. 4."
  First line of text "I rec'd your line by brother Arch (?) yesterday and regret that I cannot answer more fully."
  Description Letter to William Potter from Cyrus Kingsbury. Mayhew, C.N (Cherokee Nation). March 29 1824.
  Physical notes 24x21 cm. 1 leaf. Ragged edges, significant wear and tears at folds.
  Annotations Recto: "Copy".
Verso: "Mr. Kingsbury's reflections of Catherine B" ; "No. 3."
  First line of text "Dear Brother, I rec'd your letter of Jan.'y 23d about the last of Feby. As our beloved Br. & Sister Williams were better acquainted with particulars relative to our dear deceased Sister Catharine..."
  Description Biographical sketch of Catharine Brown. No author listed, no date.
  Physical notes 13.5x21 cm. 1 leaf. Torn right corner below text. Some ink smudges, list of names at 90 degrees from bulk of text. Paper is very thin, ink shows through to verso; minimal discoloration on verso. Penmanship less clear than in other items from this collection with several crossed out sections and overwrites.
  Annotations Verso: "Catherine Character" ; "No. 29."
  First line of text "Cath. B. was an Indian girl..."
  Description Biographical sketch of Catharine Brown by Mrs. Gilbreath. April 25, 1824.
  Physical notes 13x19cm 1 leaf. Ragged right and bottom edge, ink blot at top of recto that bleeds through. Paper remarkably unmarred and sturdy.
  Annotations Recto (written in hand different from verso annotation): "Furnished by Mr. Gibbreath Apr. 25, 1824.” ;
Verso: “Mr. Gibbreath’s description of Catharine.” ; “No. 6.”
  First line of text "Disposition remarkably mild. Dutiful and affectionate to Parents."
  Description Letter to Matilda Williams from Catharine Brown. Brainerd. Nov. 1, 1818.
  Physical notes 25x20 cm. 1 folio. Recto of first leaf: ink smudge. Tears along folds, paper weak. Verso of second leaf has significant discoloration, ink marks, and sealing wax residue. Mailing directions: "Mrs. Matilda Williams Yello Busha Choctaw Agency".
  Annotations Some on second leaf verso hard to read: "Bossvile [?] Cherokee Nation November 2" ; "Catharine Brown" ; "Catharine Letter. Nov. 1, 1818." ; "No. 8."
  First line of text "My dearly beloved Sister, I have been wishing to write you even since you left us."
  Description Letter to William Potter from William Chamberlain. Wills Town. Feb. 4 1824.
  Physical notes 34x21 cm. 1 folio. Very minimal scuffs on final verso. Mailing directions: "Rev. Wm Potter Creek Path Cherokee Nation".
  Annotations Final verso: "Mr. Chamberlain's account" ; "No. 7."
  First line of text "Dear Brother, Agreeably to your requests I will try and assist you in answering the questions relative to our dear departed Sr. C. ..."
  Description Letter, recipient unknown, from Alexander Campbell. Limestone.  July 25 1823.
  Physical notes 31x19 cm. 1 folio. Paper ripping at folds.
  Annotations Final page: "Dr Campbell's account of her sickness and death" ; "No 28."
  First line of text "Dear Brother, As I anticipated in my last letter to you, your sister Catharine has paid that debt all of us owe and will e’er long have to pay."
  Description Letter, recipient unknown, from Alexander Campbell. Tuscumbia. July 11, 1824.
  Physical notes 32.5x20 cm. 2 folios. Moderate rips at the central fold and very minimal discoloration on final page.
  Annotations Written on final page across text: "Dr Cambell's account" ; "No 30."
  First line of text "Dear Brother, A short time since I was in Huntsville and rec'd yours of the 17th."
  Description Excerpts from Brainerd Journal about Catharine Brown. 1817-1819.
  Physical notes 30.1x19 cm. 1 folio. Some ink bleed through to first page, discoloration on back page, rips at central fold.
  Annotations "Extracts from the Brainerd Journal, relating Catherine. 1818 and early in 1819" ; "No. 2."
  First line of text "1817. Oct 30. Katherine Brown a young woman about 18 years of age appears to be..."