ROBERT BROWN has been prominently connected with the business interests of Gillespie since 1871. For two years he engaged in merchant tailoring, but for eighteen consecutive years has been manager and weigher for the Scale Company. He has also since his arrival in this place held the office of Village Clerk and Justice of the Peace. Being thus widely and favorably known, his sketch will prove of interest to many of our readers. He was born on the 8th of November, 1833, in County Monaghan, Ireland and is of Scotch descent. His parents. Thomas and Maria Brown, were also born and reared in the same locality. The father was a tailor by trade and followed that business on the Emerald Isle until the latter part of his life, when accompanied by his wife he crossed the Atlantic and they spent the remainder of their days near Mallahide in the Province of Ontario, Canada. In religious belief they were Presbyterians, having been life-long members of that church. Their family numbered ten children, seven sons and three daughters, of whom nine grew to manhood and womanhood and all came to this country.
In Mr. Brown we see a self made man, who by his own efforts has made of his life a signal success. At the early age of ten years he was put upon the tailor's trade and followed that occupation in connection with his father for seven years, when he decided that it was time to begin business on his own account. The New World seemed to furnish better opportunities than the old countries, and bidding goodby to home and friends he crossed the channel and at Liverpool, England, took passage upon the sailing vessel "Ocomoco" in the winter of 1849. After a voyage of eleven weeks and five days anchor was dropped in the harbor of New Orleans in January, 1850. Mr. Brown remained in the Crescent City for two years and then went up the Mississippi to St. Louis, whence in 1854 he removed to bunker Hill in this county. On the 5th of April, 1856, he arrived in Gillespie after having spent two years at journeyman work in the county. The same period of time he devoted to his trade in this village and then accepted his present position as manager of the Scale Company. His long continued service in that capacity well indicates his efficiency and faithfulness and the confidence of his employers in an unwonted degree is given him.
In Macoupin County Mr. Brown was united in marriage with Miss Mary Drennan, who was born in Tennessee, December 4, 1835. When two years old she was brought by her parents to Illinois, the family settling in Bunker Hill Township, this county, where her mother died when she was a mere child. She was reared by her father and step-mother, both of whom are now deceased. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Brown have been born eight children, but they have lost three - Thomas, William and Frederick, all of whom died in childhood. Those who still survive are M. D., a blacksmith by trade; Robert D., a miner; Anna, wife of John Kanous, a miner of Gillespie; Emma F. and May at home. The children were all afforded good educational advantages such as would fit them for the practical duties of life and are an honor to their parents.
In politics Mr. Brown is a stalwart Democrat, who with vigor supports the principles of his party. Since coming to this place he has been prominent in public affairs and has held several positions of honor and trust. Under all the different organizations of Gillespie he has been officially connected with the place and since 1871 has been Village Clerk. He was also for a number of years a member of the Board and for a long period has been Justice of the Peace. True to every trust reposed in him the duties of those offices have been faithfully and conscientiously performed in a manner acceptable to all concerned. He manifested his loyalty to his adopted country during the perilous days of the Civil War by enlisting in 1862 as a member of the Ninety-seventh Illinois Infantry, commanded by Col. Rutherford and was assigned to Company A, under Capt. Willard. The regiment was organized at Springfield and attached to Thirteenth Army Corps under Gen. McClernand, while Gens. Sherman and Grant were the chief commanders. they fought the enemy at Arkansas Post and afterward in other engagements, but before his term of service had expired Mr. Brown was honorably discharged in March, 1863, on account of physical disability. In his social relations he is a Master Mason and for some time has been one of the leading officers in the Gillespie Lodge, No. 214, A.F. & A.M. His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and, like her husband, has many warm friends throughout this community.