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BROWN, Henry & Horace

Biography of Henry BROWN [Brother of Horace BROWN]
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 634-637

In the monetary and mercantile fields, Henry BROWN is known to be a man of undaunted integrity and sustantial ability.  He is careful and conscientious, ever adhering to the dictates of his conscience in matters both of a public and private nature.  After removing to Rockford in 1869, he was for ten years actively engaged in the livery business and was one of the prime movers in the organization of the Cooperative Furniture Company, with which branch of business he was interested for eight years.  Since that time, however, he has lived retired from active labor.

Henry BROWN was born in Springfield, Windsor County, VT, 26 Mar 1826, and was a son of Jonathan BROWN, who was also a native of that place.  His grandfather, Elisha BROWN, hailed from Cohasset [County], MA, and was active in the cause of American liberty, having participated in the battle of Bunker Hill and served through the entire Revolutionary struggle.  His father served in the French and Indian War and bravely endured all the privations which fell to the lot of a soldier.  He, in the company of his brother, Abel, and a Mr. STEVENS were the third settlers in Springfield, VT.  The grandfather secured a large tract of timber land, which he cleared from the wilderness and resided upon for many years.  There being no railroad in the vicinity of his home, the farm products were conveyed by team to Boston, 92 miles away.  The maiden name of his wife was Merrill  BATES [also spelled Merril and Merriel in the bios of Horace BROWN that follow], a native of Cohasset [County], MA, who lived to the advanced age of 100 years, lacking four months.  The father of our subject was reared on the old home farm, and when starting out in life for himself, settled on a tract of land owned by his father, which was located one mile from the village, on which he made his home until a short time before his death, when he removed into the village.  The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Hannah STOCKER, who was born in Springfield, VT, and whose father was a Revolutionary soldier, having participated in the battle of Bunker Hill and was present at the surrender of Cornwallis.  Our subject removed to Winnebago County [IL], where he was among the early settlers.  Mrs. Hannah BROWN, his mother, died in Springfield [VT], having borne her husband six children:  Horace, Henry, Homer, Augusta, Abbie, and Emily.

Henry BROWN was reared in Springfield, VT, and resided with his parents until reaching his 20th year, when he removed to Lansingburg [Lansingburgh, Renssalaer County], NY, and engaged in the manufacture of oil cloth.  In 1849 he came to Rockford [Winnebago County, IL], by way of the [Great] Lakes to Chicago and overland to this city.  After spending a few months here, he returned to the Empire State [NY] and was again engaged in the manufacture of oil cloth at Lansingburg[h].  In 1869, however, he made permanent settlement in Rockford, where, as before stated, he conducted a livery stable for ten years.

In Dec 1849 Mis Ellen BROOKS, who was born in Lansingburg[h], NY, became the wife of [p 637] Henry BROWN.  To them have been born two sons, Harry W. and Howard B.  The former married Fannie GASKETT and is the father of three children:  Clara, deceased, Chessie and Sarah A.

1st Biography of Horace BROWN [Brother of Henry BROWN]
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 883-885

Like all other cities of note, Rockford [Winnebago County, IL] has been built up b a class of energetic men, among whom may be properly mentioned Mr. Horace BROWN.  He is one of the charter members and vice president of the Rockford National Bank, which important position he has held since its organizaton in 1871.  He has also been a charter member of the Forest City Insurance Company, and has served as a member of its Board of Directors, and as Treasurer and Vice president of the company.  He was elected President of the Skandia Furniture Comapny at the time of its organization.

Born in Springfield, Windsor County, VT, 24 Jun 1824, our subject is the grandson of Elisha BROWN, who was, from the best information at hand, a native of Winchendon [Worcester County], MA, and of English ancestry.  The latter named gentleman was a patriot of the Revolutionary War, participating in the battle of Bunker Hill.  He emigrated to the town of Springfield in 1788, where he was among the very early settlers.   He purchased a tract of land on the east side of the village, which he cleared, and sold with the intention of going to Western NY, but being prevailed on his wife and friends to remain, he bought another tract of timber land on the west side of the village.   This he improved and put under excellent cultivation and continued to reside upon it until his death, 10 Sep 1827, when in his 76th year.

The maiden name of the grandmother of our subject was Merril BATES.  [Note her name is spelled Merriel in the second biography of Horace BROWN, which follows, and Merrill in the bio of Henry BROWN above.]  She was born in Cohasset [Norfolk County], MA, in 1754, and was also of English ancestry.  Her father was killed in the battle of Bunker Hill.  Mrs. Merril BROWN departed this life in Springfield [Windsor County], VT, 22 Aug 1851, after having attained the advanced age of 97 years.

Jonathan BROWN, the father of him of whom we write, was a native of Springfield, VT, where his birth occurred, 05 Oct 1796.  His father operated a tannery and shoe factory in connecton with his farming interests, and his son learned the trade of shoemaker under him.  After attaining his majority, he was in the employ of his father for five years, at the expiration of which time he located on land given him by the latter, and which was located one and a half miles northwest of Springfield [VT].  He continued to make his home on that estate for a number of years, and later moving into the village, lived retired until his decease, 08 Aug 1878.

Hannah STOCKER was the maiden name of our subject's mother.  She was born in Springfield [Windsor County], VT, 01 Nov 1801, and was the daughter of Elijah STOCKER, a native of the Bay State [MA], and of English ancestry.  Mr. STOCKER was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and like many of the ancestors of our subject, participated in the famous battle of Bunker Hill.  He was among the early settlers of Springfield, where he departed this life in 1807.  He had married Sallie SCHOLEY, who was born in Lynn [Essex County], MA, of Scotch ancestry.  Hannah STOCKER, on the death of her husband, was married to a Mr. TOWNE, and spent her last days in Windsor County, VT.  The children of whom she became the mother bore the respective names of Emily Lois, Horace Henry, Augusta, Homer, and Abbie.  [Note a comma is missing in the text between the names Horace and Henry.]  The eldest child was born 01 May 1823, and died 27 Dec 1824.

Horace BROWN was reared and educated in his native county, and assisted his father in operating the home farm until reaching his 20th year.  He then engaged to work one summer for William THAYER, whose daughter he afteward married.  In 1845 he went to Lansingburgh [Renssalaer County], NY, where he was engaged in the manufacture of oil cloth, continuing to be thus employed until 1850, when he came to IL to look over the country, with a view to securing a location for his future home.  He came by way of the railroad to Buffalo [Erie County, NY], where he embarked on the steamer "Niagara," Captain PEASE commanding, to Chicago, which was then a [p 884] city of about 30,000 population.  From ther he went to Elgin [Kane County, IL], at that time the Western terminus of the railroad, and thence by stage to Rockford, a village of 1,800.  He immediately secured 200 acres of land in what is now New Milford Township, paying for the same $10 an acre.  One hundred acres of this tract was under cultivation, and he spent the first winter on the farm.  He then returned to VT and was married, in Sep 1850, to Mary A. THAYER.  He at once started with his bride for Rockford, coming hither via the same route as when making the trip alone, some time previously.

It was the intention of Mr. BROWN to make his permanent home upon the above named farm, but as wheat at that time sold for 45 or 50 cents a bushel, and as there was no market whatever for corn, except as feed, he spent the winter in Rockford.  He returned to Lansingburgh, NY, and resumed work in the oil cloth factory, where he was employed until the fall of 1852, when he again came to Rockford and traded his farm for West Side city property, opening up in the livery business in partnership with G. W. REYNOLDS.  Mr. BROWN was thus successfully engaged for two years, when he disposed of his interest in the business and returned to his native town.  After spending the winter in the village of Springfield [VT], he purchased a farm near that village, which he sold at a good profit a few weeks later.  He then became the owner of a sawmill, which was operated by water power on the Black River, and at the same time purchased a pleasant home in the village.  Later he bought 60 acres of his Grandfather BROWN's homestead, in addition to which, he became the owner of a like amount of timber land, which was located three miles from the village.

In the fall of 1858, he disposed of his interests in VT, and in the spring of the following year came to Rockford, where he has been a continuous resident since.  When locating in that section, Luke JOSLIN, the uncle of his wife, owned a large tract of land, now know as Park Ridge.  He deeded 44 acres of his property to our subject, which is his present beautiful home.  The Ridge extends from north to south, with a western slope, on the top of which is located his commodious residence.  This is a farm structure of a modern style of architecture and is finished and furnished in a style which indicates that its inmates are people of culture and means.  The dwelling is so located that it commands a magnificent view of the Rock River and also the city, the interests of which he has been an active factor in promoting.

Mrs. Horace BROWN was born in Springfield, VT, and is the daughter of the Hon. William THAYER, whose birth occurred 17 Jan 1790, in Rockingham [Windham County], VT.  His father, Captain William THAYER, was a native of MA and was one of the early settlers in the town of Rockingham, where he improved a fine farm and spent the remainder of his days.   The maiden name of his wife, the grandmother of Mrs. BROWN, was Susan LINCOLN; she was also born in MA, and departed this life on the home farm in Rockingham.  The father of Mrs. BROWN, when a young man, joined the state militia, of which he was commissioned Captain.  After his marriage he located in Springfield, Windsor County [VT], and there opened a tannery and was engaged in the manufacture of shoes for a number of years.  Desiring to pass his remaining years on the old homestead in Rockingham, he returned there and died 23 Dec 1853.

The maiden name of Mrs. BROWN's mother was Sarah JOSLIN; her birth occurred on 15 Aug 1794, in Winchendon [Worcester County], MA.  Her father was Peter JOSLIN, whose birth occurred 12 Oct 1759, in Lancaster [County], MA.  He was married, in 1786, to Sarah KIDDER, who was also a native of that place, having been born 30 Aug 1764.  They continued to reside in Winchendon some years after their marriage, thence went to Walpole [County], NH, where they passed the remainder of their life.  Mrs. Sarah THAYER died 05 Jan 1858, in Rochingham [VT], after having become the mother of the following six children:  Sarah, Mary A., Herman, John, Harriet, and George.

Mr. and Mrs. Horace BROWN of this sketch have one son living, William Thayer, who married Mary L. SPALDING, and has two children:  Horace Spalding, and Harriet Irene.  He resides at Kenwood, Chicago, and is a man of broad and comprehensive [p 885] business attainments.  He is a member of the firm of A. G. SPALDING & Brothers, wholesale and retail dealers in sporting goods, with their main office in NY and branch establishments in London, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

The eldest daughter of our subject, Alice C., was born in Springfield, VT, 28 Apr 1856; she married Duncan H. FERGUSON, and died 23 Mar 1890, leaving one son, Donald Brown.   Carrie A., the second daughter of our subject, was born 27 Jul 1860, and passed to the world beyond 10 Apr 1885.  Our subject and his estimable wife are influential members of the First Congregational Church, to the support of which they are liberal contributors.

In politics Mr. BROWN has been an ardent Republican since the organization of that party.   He has been the recipient of many positions of trust in local affairs, and for nine years was City Treasurer.  Being of a retiring disposition, he has always shrunk from notoriety and public notice, and although he has often been urged by his friends to allow the use of his name as a candidate for the highest office in the gift of his fellow townsmen, he has invariably declined.  A man of decided ability, he is very popular with the people of this city, and is well calculated to aid in the upbuilding of a new country, being a citizen of sterling worth and integrity.

2nd Biography of Horace BROWN
Past and Present of the City of Rockford & Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church.  Chicago: Clarke, 1905, pp 172-173

Horace BROWN, banker and capitalist, whose intense and well directed activity has gained him a foremost position in financial circles of Rockford [Winnebago County, IL], was born in Springfield, Windsor County, VT, 24 Jun 1824.  His ancestry, both lineal and collateral, has through many generations been distinctively American, but still farther back the record leads to Edward BROWN, who was born in Horton, County Kent, England, in 1591, and became one of the early colonists of Ipswich [now in Essex County], MA, sailing from London, England, on the ship *Hopewell.*  Representatives of the family lived there down to the time of Elisha BROWN, grandfather of Horace BROWN, who was born in Ipswich, MA, 07 Jan 1748.  Following his removal to Hingham [Plymouth County], MA, he was married there to Merriel BATES [also spelled Merril and Merrill in the above bios], and in 1773 removed to Winchendon [Worcester County], MA.  He studied closely the attitude of the mother country as she encroached more and more closely upon the liberty of the colonists, and when the attempt was made to throw off the yoke of British oppression, he joined the American army and participated in the battle of Bunker Hill and other important engagements.  In 1778 he took up his abode in Springfield, VT.

Jonathan BROWN, father of Horace BROWN, was born in Springfield [Windsor County, VT], 05 Oct 1796, and wedded Hannah STOCKER, who was of English and Scotch lineage.  Her father, Elijah STOCKER, also a patriot of the Revolutionary army, participated in the battle of Bunker Hill and also in the engagement at Yorktown, where Cornwallis surrendered.

In his native county Horace BROWN acquired a public school education, and when not engaged with his textbooks assisted in the operation of his father's farm, remaining at home until 20 years of age, when he entered the employ of the Hon. William THAYER, a farmer of the neighborhood.  In 1845 however, he turned his attention to the manufacture of oil cloth in Lansingburg [Lansingburgh, Renssalaer County] , NY, where he remained until 1850, when he started for the middle west, reaching Rockford on 12 May 1850.  He made investment in a farm in New Milford Township, then containing a population of only 1,800, and after leasing the property he returned to the east for his bride.

Mr. BROWN was married 12 Sep 1850 to Miss Mary A. THAYER, a daughter of the Hon. William THAYER, his first employer.  Her father, better known as Captain THAYER, was a man of prominence in his community, where he served as justice of the peace and was also a member of the state legislature for several terms.  He was engaged in the tanning business and the manufacture of shoes.  Mrs. BROWN was born 16 Feb 1827, and with her husband returned to his western home, but in the following spring they again went east and Mr. BROWN accepted a position in the oil cloth factory, where he remained until June 1853.

On that date they arrived in Rockford, where they located.  Mr. BROWN trading his farm for property on the west side of the city, while he turned his attention to the livery business, forming a partnership with G. W. REYNOLDS.  The new enterprise proved profitable, but after two years Mr. BROWN sold out and again returned to his native town, where he was connected with the conduct of several business interests.  He took up his abode permanently in Rockford in 1859, and his home has since been on Park Ridge, one of the most beautifully located districts of the city.  He has long figured prominently in financial circles.  He assisted in the organization of the Rockford National Bank in 1871, with Gilbert WOODRUFF as president; Mr. BROWN, vice president; and D. H. FERGUSON, cashier.  Later M. S. PARMELLE was made cashier and was succeeded by W. F. WOODRUFF, who became vice president after the death of his father in 1875, at which time Mr. BROWN succeeded to the presidency, and H. S.  BURPEE was made cashier.   The bank was organized with a capital of $100,000, and now has a surplus of the same amount.  The safe conservative policy inaugurated by the bank at the outset has always been maintained, and the bank almost immediately took rank with the leading moneyed institutions of the state and has been accorded a patronage which makes its volume of business of a proportion that would be creditable to the banks of much larger cities.   To other fields of business activity Mr. BROWN has extended his efforts.  In 1892 he was one of the promoters of the Forest City [Rockford] Insurance Company, of which he has served as treasurer and vice president and also as a member of the board of directors , being the only original director now left, and he ws president of the Insurance Company of the State of Illinois during the first years of its existence.   He has been a factor in public progress in community interests and as the champion of beneficial public measures his labors have proved far-reaching.

Mr. and Mrs. BROWN had one son and one daughter.  William Thayer BROWN, born in Rockford, 02 Mar 1854, is a member of the firm of A. G. SPAULDING & Brothers.  He resides in East Orange [Essex County], NJ, and has his office at No. 126 Nassau Street, NY City.  He wedded Miss Mary L. SPAULDING on 24 Aug 1875.  She was born 23 Oct 1854, and they have four children:  Horace S., Harriet Irene, William Thayer, and Elizabeth.  Alice C. BROWN, born 26 Mar 1856, was the wife of D. H. FERGUSON, of Denver, CO, and, died 23 Mar 1890, leaving a son, Donald Brown FERGUSON.  Carrie A. BROWN, born 27 Jul 1860, died 10 Apr 1885.  Mr. and Mrs. BROWN have ever occupied in social circles the prominent position accorded in recognition of culture, intelligence and long residence, and in business circles, where he has been known for more than half a century, his judgment is regarded as of great value and his name is honored.

Submitted by Cathy Kubly.