The history of the Timothy Demonbreun Heritage Society can best be told by the people who were there. The following stories are respectfully entered here in an effort to remember the past and enlighten the future.
FROM MOVEMENT TO ORGANIZATION: THE BIRTH OF THE TIMOTHY DEMONBREUN HERITAGE SOCIETY
The Personal Recollections of James H. McBroom, Jr.
Husband of Marian Demonbreun McBroom
It was September of 1940 when Marian Demonbreun entered my life. I saw her at a church gathering in Montgomery, AL and resolved to meet her as soon as possible. A mutual friend introduced us after the service. I then learned that she was a freshman at Huntingdon College there in Montgomery. I was a senior at Auburn sixty miles away. To put it mildly, I was really impressed!
A few days after our meeting I called Marian and asked her to accompany me to the Auburn-Villanova football game to be played in Montgomery a few days later. To my delight, she responded positively. She sat beside me in the band section of the stands (I was a member of the Auburn band) , and what a thrill it was to have her seated there beside me! After the game we had dinner at Morrison's Cafeteria in downtown Montgomery. As we talked, I asked her, "How in the world did you get a name like Demonbreun, and how do you pronounce it?"
With great enthusiasm, she informed me she was a descendant of Timothy Demonbreun, that he was a French-Canadian fur trader who established trading posts in the Ohio and Cumberland valleys, and that he was a pioneer settler of Nashville, Tennessee. In fact, she said, a group of citizens met in the Demonbreun home to plan the formal founding of the city of Nashville.
At this point, I began to realize that this Marian Demonbreun was one dynamic young lady. Then I asked her how she happened to be living in Alabama. She told me her family had moved from Davidson County, Tennessee to the Mongomery area to persue timber and farming enterprises. Marian had been six months old when they moved. Her family made frequent visits back to Tennessee, and as she grew older, she learned more and more about Tennessee and French-Canadian history. I was delighted to hear of her Tennessee roots because mine were there as well.
As time progressed we continued dating. I entered the Army in August of 1941. We were married February 22, 1942. (The Army was cooperative, and I was given a few days leave from my duties at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.) On our wedding day, the church was filled with our family and friends. On the Demonbreun side, the white friends sat in the main auditorium and a large delegation of colored people (as they were known then in the deep south) sat in the balcony. They were very fond of the Demonbreun family. Marian's parents were John David Demonbreun and Rosa Belle Hicks Demonbreun. The farm workers did not call Marian's father "Mr. Demonbreun." They called him "Mr. Dave" because they had trouble pronouncing his name... like everyone did! They called Marian's mother "Miss Rosie."
In the subsequent years, we traveled extensively, and everywhere we went Marian investigated the French history of the area. For example, when we checked into a hotel room, the first thing Marian did was check out the local phone book to see if there were any Demonbreuns listed. If so, she called them that evening and gave them an extensive briefing on the importance of Timothy Demonbreun. This practice continued for many years. Finally, after creating a lot of enthusiasm among the many descendants of Timothy Demonbreun, Marian, along with H.D. Demonbreun and Jonnie Demonbreun, decided it was time to create a formal organization in order to propel the movement forward.
After securing the charter in 1975, Marian continued gathering support for forming an organization among relatives, friends, and community leaders. Subsequently, an organizational meeting was called for October 16, 1976 at the Nashville Public Library. Notices were placed in the Nashville Tennesseean and the Louisville Courier-Journal . A large crowd assembled for the meeting. Among those present were Dr. Weldon Demunbrun and several members of his family. After Marian's presentation and many comments of support, an election was held. Dr. Demunbrun nominated Marian to be the first President of the new organization to be called the Timothy Demonbreun Heritage Society. Marian was elected unanimously.
Later years of the Society will be described by other writers. They will describe the exciting years under the leadership of Dr. Weldon Demunbrun, Dr. Donne Demunbrun, and Dr. Steve Demunbrun. Hopefully, the Society will prosper and continue to enhance the appreciation of Timothy Demonbreun as an outstanding citizen of Middle Tennessee.
~ James H. McBroom, Jr.