My Present Past
A genealogical experience
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Browning, Linn County, Missouri
The land that is now Browning, Missouri was first purchased by a man named Francis Stone on October 30,
1840.  The land passed through various hands including
Lot Lantz, until it was officially surveyed and platted by
C. G. Bigger on November 15, 1872, partially in Linn County and partially in Sullivan County. Justin Clark of the
Burlington & Southwestern Railroad Company, named Browning after Ann Browning who was the sister in law of
Orville H.
Browning of Burlington, Iowa.
The tracks that ran through Browning were originally the Central North Missouri Branch of the St. Joseph &
Iowa Railroad. In 1871 the line was purchased by a group of investors, including
Benjamin F. Northcott, of the
Burlington & Southwestern Railroad Company and re-named the Linneus Branch of the purchasing line. Service
first began to Browning from Burlington, Iowa in 1872 with a southern connection at Laclede, Missouri with the
Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad. In 1881 the line was re-organized by the Chicago Burlington & Kansas City
Railway and then finally in 1901, to the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad.
Browning was the second largest railroad shipping town in Linn County, next to Brookfield, with logs, lumber and
hoop-poles being the main items shipped. Coal was mined locally, though not commercially.
In 1892 it became a fourth class city. The first electricity was put into effect on June 21, 1915. The streets
of Browning were graveled in 1929 and city water was installed in 1956.
The town grew quickly after the railroad arrived and had around 1,000 people in the early 1900's.
In the late 1930's, the Burlington Railroad discontinued regular passenger trains on the line that ran through
Linneus, Purdin, and Browning. A self-contained unit known as the “Doodle-Bug” or “Puddle-Jumper” replaced the
regular locomotive passenger trains, containing a power and a passenger section, which twenty-five to forty
passengers could be accommodated, plus a small freight compartment.  Mail was carried in the freight section.
After WWll, regular freight and mail service was once again restored to Browning with a regular locomotive
engine, freight car and caboose. There was no regular passenger service to Browning after WWll.
Rail service to Browning was discontinued in 1981 and the track was removed in 1982.
1882 History of Linn County
Page 751
1882 History of Linn County
Page 752
1882 History of Linn County
Page 753
1882 History of Linn County
Page 754
1882 History of Linn County
Page 755
On May 10, 1894, it was discovered that Gus Meeks, his wife and all of his children except a little girl named
Nellie had been murdered and hidden away in an old straw-stack on a farm belonging to George E. Taylor,
southwest of Browning about four miles. Suspicion was immediately directed towards William P. and George
Taylor, who fled the county,  were pursued and finally captured in Arkansas. They were brought back to
Missouri, tried in Carroll County and convicted of murder in the first degree.
Before their execution George Taylor escaped from jail and was never found.
William Taylor was executed in accordance with Missouri law.
Nellie Meeks grew into a beautiful young woman and married Albert R. Spray on January 06, 1904 in Milan,
Sullivan County, Missouri.

Tragically she died on
March 04, 1905 while giving birth to their first child.
She is buried in
Bute Cemetery in Sullivan County, Missouri
The Weekly Graphic
Kirksville, Missouri
Friday, May 18, 1894
Robert E. Jacobs worked at the Chicago Burlington & Quincy depot in Browning, Missouri between 1945 and 1956
as a relief operator and leverman. When one of the regular operators would go on vacation or be off for a length
of time, Gene would drive up from Liberty and fill in. When his shift was over he would drive to Brookfield and
stay at a motel provided by the railroad. Then he would drive back to Browning on his next shift.
Upper: 1954 Browning, Missouri Burlington Depot

Lower Left: Ruth Jacobs waiting out front of the depot
for Gene to get off work in 1954.

Lower Right; Downtown Browning, Missouri in 1954