Mary Brown was born May 6, 1861 in Clarke County, Alabama. She was the daughter of John L. Brown and Charity Truett. John L. Brown was the son of John Andrew Jackson Brown (1802-1885) and Eula Ann Ansley (1806-1864) of the Henry-Dale counties area of south Alabama. Charity Truett, her mother, was the daughter of Rev. William Hampton Truett and Alcey Wiggins. John L. was killed during Civil War service at Dalton, Georgia on March 28, 1863 and on October 16, 1865 his widow Charity, married William Sheffield, the son of Adam and Elizabeth Hare Sheffield of Clarke County. William adopted the Brown children (William, Melissa, Peter B. and Mary) from his wife’s first marriage and the couple had eight more children over the years (John Henry, Malone, George Daniel, Noah H., Nancy Jane, Sarah Jane, Charlie and Martha Della).
William’s father, Adam, had purchased land in Itawamba County during the early 1840’s near the old Woodlawn Post Office (present-day Greenwood community) and after the war William and Charity Truett Sheffield moved upriver on the Tombigbee from Clarke County, Alabama to Itawamba County first settling on his father’s Mississippi land. Shortly thereafter, the family bought a farm on Mantachie Creek near the Tombigbee River (on present-day Van Buren and Peppertown roads north of Mantachie Creek).
Mary Brown married James Herrinton McMillen on January 3, 1886 in Itawamba County. He was the son of James Richard and Nancy Kingsley McMillen. Mary Brown McMillen died November 3, 1937 and was buried in the Walton Cemetery.