SAMUEL BROWN, who has been engaged in mercantile business at Plainview for more than a quarter of a century, is a native of North Carolina, and was born in Robeson county, of that state, November 15th, 1824. The Brown family is of Scotch origin. The grandfather of the subject of this sketch came to America before the revolutionary war, and settled in North Caroline. His father, Peter Brown, was born and raised there, and on growing to manhood married Catharine Baker, daughter of Archibald Baker. Her grandfather was a Scotchman who settled in North Carolina at an early date. His grandfather Baker took part in the struggle of the colonies for their independence, as a soldier in the Continental army. Another of Mr. Brown's grandfathers, McCallam by name, was also a soldier in the revolutionary war. Samuel Brown was the oldest of a family of eight children, of whom four are now living. In 1826, when he was a year and a half old, his father moved to Giles county, Middle Tennessee, where the younger children were born. The family resided in Tennessee till 1839 and then emigrated to Illinois, and settled near Carrollton, in Greene County. In 1844 the family came to Macoupin county, and settled in Chesterfield township, north of Medora.
The elementary part of his education he obtained in the old subscription schools of Greene county. The schools of that day were of course of a very ordinary character, and little to be compared to the thorough educational facilities of the present item. Boys then could obtain a good education only under considerable difficulties. His time was principally employed in working on the farm till 1846, when, at the age of twenty-two, he entered Illinois college at Jacksonville, in which he was a student till the spring of 1848. He subsequently taught school in Brushy Mound and Chesterfield townships. In the spring of 1849 he became a clerk in the store of Z. B. Lawson, at Chesterfield. At that time Chesterfield was one of the best business points in the county, and commanded the trade of large scope of country. He remained there two years and three months; the latter part of this time the store had passed into the possession of Miller Huskey. In August, 1851, he went to Alton, and for nearly two years was a clerk in the store of George Booth. He left Alton with the intention of entering into business at the present town of Plainview, but the opening of the store was postponed, and meanwhile he went to Carlinville, and was there employed in the store of William M. Maddox, then one of the largest mercantile establishments in the county. He was in Carlinville from May, 1853, to January, 1854. The latter date marks the time of Mr. Brown's coming to Plainview. With David Gore and Samuel Welch as partners, he erected the building which he still occupies, and established a mercantile business which has continued to the present day. Various changes have taken place in the firm. The business was first started under the firm name of D. Gore & Co. In September, 1854, in company with R. C. Bullman he purchased the interest of Messrs. Gore and Welch, and in January, 1858, bought in turn Mr. Bullman's interest. During late war of the rebellion his brother, Newell H. Brown, was in partnership with him and William H. Otwell was also a member of the firm. His brother afterward retired to go into the milling business, and Otwell remained as partner till January 1875. Since April 1, 1877, the firm has been composed of himself and his son, Gilbert S. Brown. He is now one of the oldest merchants of Macoupin county, and has sustained a reputation for honest and fair dealing second to that of no other business man.
He was first married July 11, 1854, to Sarah Smith, a native of Swansea, England. She was living at Carlinville at the time of her marriage. Her father, Joseph Smith, was one of the early settlers of Macoupin county. She died in March, 1856. His second marriage occurred May 20, 1858, to Mary J. Brown, daughter of John J. Brown, who settled in Chesterfield township in 1832. She was born in this county. He has one child by his first marriage, Gilbert S. Brown.
In his politics he was formerly a whig, and in 1852, cast his first vote for president for Gen. Scott. His father, although opp9osed to the doctrines of the early abolitionists, was an anti-slavery man in sentiment, and from early boyhood Mr. Brown himself was in sympathy with free-soil principles. Consequently, when the whig part went to pieces and the republican party came to the front he became of the first members of the latter organization; voted in 1856 for Fremont, the first republican candidate for president, and has been a republican every since. Since 1854, both under republican and democratic administration, he has been postmaster at Plainview. From the time he entered into business at Plainview he has been school treasurer of Hilyard township. He has been a member of the Presbyterian church the greater part of his life, and for twenty years a member of the session. He is a man temperate in his views on all subjects, and has commanded the respect of all who have known him, both as a business man and a private citizen.