Booker Sampson Brown was born in May of 1836. While my research has not determined the identity of Booker’s parents. Family legend suggests that Booker cared for his younger brother Hillery during the latter years of slavery. Later, according to the marriage certificate, he served as a witness to Hillery’s marriage to the former Bettie Roberson.
In January 1864, during the darkest days of the Civil War, Booker was “enrolled” into the 17th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry for a three year tour of duty. Although I’m not fortunate enough to have a photo of Booker, his enlistment record describes him as 5 feet, 10 inches tall, dark complected with Black Hair. For the privilege of spending his new found freedom as an enlisted soldier in the army, Booker owed $26.43 to the U.S. government for the uniform(s) provided.
Clearly, this enrollment (or the experience of service itself) was not to Booker’s liking; and February 2nd of the same year, Booker “deserted.” Booker Booker’s service is on display on plaque Plaque Number: B-34 in the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 1999. By 1870, Booker settled down with his wife, Frances, and had a total of nine children.