Mary E. Brown, 97 a resident of Gum Springs in Fairfax County for most of her life, died Thursday at the home of a daughter, Laura Nimmons, in Washington after a stroke.
Born Mary Carter in Gum Springs, Mrs. Brown was descended from one of the slave families owned by George Washington, who were freed after the death of Martha Washington in 1802.
Gum Springs, part of the original Mount Vernon plantation, was known in Washington's day as "The Muddy Hole Farm." He had kept slaves on 600 acres of swampy land there. When the slaves were freed, they were given parcels of land on the site.
Mrs. Brown was educated at the old Spring Bank School in today's beacon Mall area near Gum Springs. She married Walter E. Brown, a carpenter, who was a deacon of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Gum Springs. He died in 1955.
Mrs. Brown, believed to be the oldest living member of Bethlehem Baptist Church, had divided her time in recent years between her home in Gum Springs and Mrs. Nimmons' home in Washington.
In addition to Mrs. Nimmons, she is survived by another daughter, Oacy Douglas, of the Gum Springs home; a son, Eugene Brown, of Washington; 12 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren.