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Thomas Brown Fea

Thomas Brown Fea was born in Falkirk on 18 June 1815.

His primary occupational listing was that of a blacksmith. He married Ann Liddle (b. 25th June 1817) on July 24, 1837 and they began their family in Falkirk, living first with James on Gardner Court then at Grahamston by 1851. Thomas and Ann chose to immigrate to the United States leaving from Liverpool on 8th February 1853 on board the SS Jersey arriving New Orleans, Louisiana on the 22nd March. Seven children sailed with them.

He and his family first settled in St. Louis Missouri where he was listed in the city directory as a gunsmith. In 1859 Thomas and Ann homesteaded land just outside the town of Potosi, Missouri. Their brood eventually grew to eleven.

  • John Fea b. 28th June 1837, Falkirk (assumed to have died prior to his 18th birthday)
  • Catherine Fea b. 11th May 1839, Falkirk d. 6th June 1939 Newport, Washington
  • Elizabeth Fea b. 24th June 1841, Falkirk d. 1st February 1933 Moberly, Missouri
  • Thomas Fea b. 1st January 1844, Falkirk
  • James Fea b. 29th September 1847, Falkirk d. 17 April 1881 Potosi, Missouri
  • Joseph Smith Fea b. 31st December 1850, Falkirk d. 14th April 1938 Usk, Washington
  • Hyrum Fea b. 1853 Falkirk (?) (thought to have died in infancy)
  • John Crabb b. 9th December 1852 Scotland to John Crabb and Jane (Howe?). John Sr. died 18th October 1858 and Jane Crabb died 29th November 1858, both in St. Louis, Missouri. Thomas Brown Fea, initially assigned by the probate court to help Jane with her duties as executrix of John's estate, was appointed executor upon Jane's death. He and Ann sought guardianship of John Jr. and he was adopted in 1863.
  • Jessie / Jennie Fea b. 28th March 1856 St. Louis, Missouri d. 30 March 1937 Newport, Washington
  • William E Fea b. 27th September 1858 St Louis, Missouri d. 20th January 1897 Potosi, Missouri
  • Nixon Robert Fea b. 9th July 1863 Potosi, Missouri d. 15th December1926 Electric Mills, Mississippi

In addition to the children shown above, the 1860 Missouri census shows another young male, named John Crabb, living with the family. Thomas's probate records designate John Crabb as an adopted son.

Thomas Brown Fea was killed in an explosion on the 24th of November 1870.

Explosion of a boiler! One man killed and another severely scalded! Destruction of a Mill!

At about three o'clock today a shocking accident occurred at the stream saw mill of Messrs. Fea and Turnbull (generally known as Caldwells Mill) resulting in the death of an estimable citizen Mr. Thomas (Brown) Fea and severe, although not dangerous injuries to his son, Mr. Joseph (Smith) Fea. The Mill had been lying idle for a long time, until about two weeks hence when it was leased by Messrs Fea and Turnbull, and put in operation. At the hour named the Mill was started after an intermission of about an hour in the operation. Mr. Thomas Fea was firing and his son, Joseph Fea, was running and edger nearby when the boiler exploded with such force as to break and scatter the machinery in every direction. Mr. Thomas Fea received injuries, from scalding and otherwise, which resulted in his death within an hour or two. His son, Joseph, was severely scalded on his arm and hand but not otherwise injured. It is thought Mr. Fea was a native of Scotland. We think about fifty years of age. His honored family have the earnest sympathy of our Community in their said bereavement.

The Washington County Journal - Thursday, November 24, 1870

An obituary appeared in the Washington County Journal


Mr. Thomas (Brown) Fea, recently killed in the explosion which occurred at the stream saw mill of Messrs. Fea & Turnbull, a few miles from Potosi, in this county, was born in Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland on the 18th June 1815. He emigrated to this country in the year 1853 and settled in St. Louis; subsequently to moving to the county, where he has filled the various offices of an affectionate and devoted head to his family, a generous, industrious and esteemed citizen. He died on the evening of the 24th of November 1870, within a short time after the occurrence of the terrible accident to which he fell victim. On the day following his death, his remains were deposited in the Presbyterian Church Yard at Potosi. Mr. Fea left a bereaved widow (Ann Liddle) and nine (then alive of their eleven) affectionate and sorrowing children to mourn their loss.

The Washington County Journal, 8 December 1879

Ann Liddle died the 20th May 1909 at the age of 94. An obituary in the Newport Miner gave details of her life and family. She lived her final days in what was know as the "Cottage Hous", Newport, Washington.

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