Thomas Morton and Martha Frances Brown were twins born on February 17, 1838 in Pike County, Georgia to Stephen Justus Brown (1798-1857) and Susanna Lacy (1817-1878). Stephen and Susanna were actually cousins, the children of sisters Francis and Anne Durham of North Carolina. Their ancestors settled in the area and were responsible for naming Durham, North Carolina. Stephen’s father, John R. Brown, was a captain in the Revolutionary War who was born in Virginia and moved to the Chapel Hill/Durham area. John would later move to Baldwin County, Georgia. He married Frances Durham after his first wife died. Stephen and Susanna moved to Pike County, Georgia in 1828 and settled on Zebulon Road about two miles west of Barnesville. He was listed as a farmer in the 1850 census.
Martha Frances married Benjamin Charles Milner (1832-1902) on December 27, 1853 when she was 15 years of age. Her daguerreotype was likely made at about the time of their marriage based on case and mat characteristics. The Milner family was prominent in the area and was involved in railroad construction. Benjamin Charles and Martha were living in Baldwin County, Alabama near Stockton in the 1860 census as they were in the area for railroad construction. Incidentally, it appears that Thomas Morton was living with them at the time and was listed in the census as a “railroad overseer”. He had apparently joined in his brother in law’s railroad construction endeavors. Martha died on February 10, 1910 and is buried in Zebulon Street Cemetery in Barnesville.
Thomas Morton enlisted on May 7, 1862 in Griffin, Georgia to Captain Obadiah C. Gibson’s company of light artillery (Griffin Light Artillery). This unit was later led by Captain John Scogin and became known as Scogin’s Battery of Georgia Light Artillery. The unit was initially in John King Jackson’s brigade of Withers’ division in the Army of Tennessee. They were later transferred in August 1863 to Cheatham’s division. Brown was killed in action at the Battle of Chickamauga on September 19, 1863.
The image of Brown was taken on March 2, 1863 based on the case inscription. In the image, Brown wears a dark unbuttoned jacket with 5 of the buttons visible but gilded. The jacket does not appear to have any insignia. His belt buckle is an imported “snake buckle” that has been gilded. He also has two revolvers tucked in each side of his belt. The image is presented in a Berg 5-21 “fold over” leather case. This case was popular in 1858-1865. The inscription on the pad of the case reads:
“March the 2nd ‘63
Killed in battle of
Sept. 19 1863.
Apparently Morton was the only member of the unit killed in the battle as Captain Scogin’s report noted that only one private was killed in the action.
The first of Benjamin Charles and Martha’s children was Tilola Warthen “Lola” Milner. She was born on February 28, 1855 in Barnesville. She was 5 at the time of the 1860 census. Lola was responsible for the inscriptions that accompany this image grouping. Her image was likely taken in 1859-1860 based on case characteristics. Lola would die on July 11, 1936 in Atlanta, Georgia. The ninth plate ambrotype of Lola shows her at about 5-6 years of age wearing a dress with checks. She wears a gilded round medallion around her neck. The image has some loss to the lower right side. It is presented in a Nolan #826 (Morgan’s geometric) full case.