FOREST LAFAYETTE BROWN
Forest Lafayette Brown was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina August
12, 1881. He was the son of William Theodore Brown, who had served as
a corporal in the Confederate army during the Civil War. Forest was one
of their 18 children. Since the production of cotton and cotton milling
was the chief source of livelihood there, Forest was sent to the mills at
a very early age to work and help support the family.
Anxious to be on his own, he left home as a young man and followed the
milling trade all through the Southern states. Eventually he settled in
St. Louis, Missouri. He served as an assistant foreman in the "Home
Cotton Mill". In 1910 Forest married Elizabeth Staat who was born and
reared across the street from the mill, and was employed as a weaver.
To this union was born one son, Forest, Junior on April 22, 1913.
In the spring of 1920, Forest and Elizabeth, tired of the mill trade,
purchased a small farm in Jefferson County, two miles north of
Woodlawn. They acquired a retired fire-engine horse and a high wheeled
peddler wagon and drove from St. Louis to Woodlawn over miry muddy roads.
Many terrifying experiences were related by the city-bred wife and son
about the fire horse which reared and plunged and ran backwards when it was
Forest and Elizabeth sold the farm and moved to Mt. Vernon in 1947
where they operated a cafe for a number of years. Forest, Sr. died in
1951 and Elizabeth in 1955. Both are buried in Old Shiloh Cemetery.
Forest, Jr. married Mary Stonecipher in 1934. They began farming and
seasonally Forest was employed at the Woodlawn Hatchery. Later they
moved to a farm owned by their employers, John and Della Watkins. In
1943 they purchased the Joseph F. Payne farm which had been in the
Payne family since its purchase from the government in 1837. The adjoining
farm of William B. and Bess Gaston was added in 1957. Originally this
farm was obtained from the government by Franklin S. Casey for $ 1.25
per acre. The house on the Payne farm, in which Forest, Jr. and Mary
reside was built 140 years ago. It has been added to but is still in
Some ommisions may have occured to protect living individuals.
Source: "Facts and Folks A History of Jefferson County, Illinois"
Jefferson County Historical Society
Printed by Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, TX
Submitted by Sandy Whalen Bauer