Hettie gravestone

Birth and Mother

Hettie Brown (1851-1941). Hettie has a lot of oral history surrounding her birth and ethnicity. It has been said that she descended from a slaveowners daughter who had an illegitimate child. That her mother's father sent her away with a servant Louvenia. That she was "all white". Colorized photos present her as white but that was not uncommon for portrait photographers to adjust for their customer. However, living family members recall Hettie's long straight hair and pale complexion.
Louvenia Brown (1815-1919) lived and was listed as Hettie Brown's mother. Louvenia was reported to be born in Georgia or Virginia. Mother of Hettie Brown (may not be her biological mother). Louvenia had one other child: George Brown born 1847 Descendants of this son married into the Johnson family "first set".

Louvenia Web

MtDNA and Ethnicity

Mitochondrial (mtDNA) testing is for female to female lineage.
Grace Perryman Roberts granddaughter of Hettie Brown Johnson and daughter of Carline Johnson took the HVR1 and HVR2 testing through Family Tree DNA 1/25/2007. Her haplogroup tested at L1c2. L1c (noted on FTDNA's website) is found in Africa and dates to approximately 60,000 years ago with the highest frequency in central and southeast Africa. Unfortunately we cannot upgrade to a specific subclade because Grace's DNA degraded in storage. At the time of her testing only one tube was taken. President and Founder of FTDNA Bennett Greenspan personally confirmed that further testing could not be done. Grace died at 106 years old in 2011. It would have been advantageous to be able to have autosomal DNA testing done as well.
However, Grace matched to a Latressa G-----. Latressa's female line goes back to a Bettie Alexander. This is where it gets very interesting.
Bettie's 1870 census' records indicate that her mother Delia (black) born in 1830 and father William Alexander (black) born in 1812 came from Virginia in 1860, presumably enslaved. Bettie was born about 1861 in Mississippi or Virginia.
Are Bettie and Hettie sisters? MtDNA would indicate they are related but it could be thousand of years ago. MtDNA does not mutate as often as Y DNA. Y DNA can be measured in closer generations by its mutations and SNP matches.
Is Delia a Brown?
Autosomal DNA from other family members indicate we descend from a Brown surname based on the plentitude of Brown's in the matches. Indeed, I have tracked an autosomal match to Elizabeth Brown of Virginia. Do you recall the story of ghostly lights appearing in the North Carolina "Brown" mountain? That land was owned by Elizabeth. Latressa also matches through autosomal DNA to the same Brown match as a Perryman-Johnson male. Fascinating stuff! Further work needs to be done on the Brown name as the common ancestor.
Documentation also shows that Hettie and Bettie had a close personal relationship in Kemper County, MS.
In her 1906 probate record the Judge makes a comment about Hettie being at Ben Eichelberger's funeral. Ben was the first husband of Bettie. In addition it appears that Bettie married secondly a George Brown. Is this George the same person as Louvenia's son named George? Age is the same but Louvenia's son is living in 1940 with his daughter and Bettie Alexander Brown is listed as widowed (by whom?) and living with her daughter in 1930.

Autosomal DNA confirms Hettie and Bettie’s relationship

Hettie Brown and Bettie Alexander are either first cousins or sisters. This has been confirmed with several DNA autosomal matches with Alexander family members, i.e. descendants of Bettie and her brother Alonzo. Delia (Delilah) b1830 who was married to William Alexander born 1805 is Hettie's Aunt or mother. This is in addition to the MtDNA results with two females from the Alexander line matching Hettie's granddaughter Grace Perryman Roberts.

Marriage and Children

Hettie married Jack in 1871. She was more than 30 years his junior. She bore him ten children. See "second set" children listed under Twenty Children.

Year 1906

In 1906, probate records of more than 60 pages explore the inheritance of land owned by Jack Johnson who died in 1903. Together they owned 300 plus acres with 200 being in Hettie's name and 120 in Jack's name. The children argued for the sale and division of the property. Hettie preferred to do nothing. The court intervened in the dispute.


Hettie died on 25 March 1941 at the home of her daughter, Georgia "Carline" Johnson Perryman in Stallo, Mississippi.

1906 Hettie Brown Probate Records

Source Citation
Court Records, 1880-1955; Author: Mississippi. Chancery Court (Kemper County); Probate Place: Kemper, Mississippi
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