< Brown, William Woodford

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Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers


WILLIAM WOODFORD BROWN, late cashier of the Waverly Bank, and widely and favorably known to the people of this county, met his death in a very unexpected manner at the Pacific Hotel in Jacksonville, on the 14th of May, 1889, by an overdose of morphine taken by mistake for quinine. He was a man generally respected in his community, where both his business and social relations had been of the pleasantest character, and his sudden taking off was not only a source of deep grief to his family and friends, but was generally regretted by the community. The main points of the testimony taken before the Coroner's Jury, conclusively proved that the drug was taken entirely by mistake, and whatever fault there was connected with the matter, lay with the person who prepared the capsules, and which were given to Mr. Brown as quinine. This he had been in the habit of taking quite freely, and it was known that he was strongly opposed to the use of morphine in any shape. A post mortem examination showed him to be singularly free from disease, and he was thus cut down in his prime, when but for this sad accident, it would naturally appear that he might have been granted years of life and happiness.

Our subject was born in Waverly, this county, March 26, 1839, and was the son of Dr. Isaac H. and Mary (Woodford) Brown, (further mention of whom will be found in the sketch of Dr. Albert C. Brown, on another page in this Album). The early years of his life were spent mostly in school, at the home of his parents. After leaving the schools of Waverly, he entered Illinois College in Jacksonville, and after completing his studies, embarked in the drug business in Waverly, which he prosecuted in company with a partner, until 1872.

Mr. Brown in the meantime had displayed more than ordinary business abilities, and, becoming quite prominent in local affairs, was employed as Deputy Circuit Clerk under Joseph W. Caldwell, which position he held four years. At the expiration of this time he entered upon his duties as cashier of the bank at Waverly, in which he was a stock-holder, and whose success was largely due to his excellent methods of transacting business, and his courteous treatment of the patrons of the institution. It is safe to say that his business interests were probably more extensive than those of any one man in Waverly. He left a valuable estate, consisting of bank stock, houses and lots in the town, and ana interest in a farm in Macoupin County. He also carried a life insurance to the amount of $23,000. Politically, he was a decided Republican, and held the various local offices of his township. He was once a candidate for Sheriff of Morgan County, running far ahead of his ticket, and coming within nine votes of being elected. During the progress of the Civil War, he was one of the first to enlist with the three months' men, and was only prevented from entering the regular army by physical disability. He was for twenty-eight years a member of the Masonic fraternity, and officiated as Master of the Waverly Lodge No. 118. A steady, thorough going business man, a genial, honorable gentleman, and an upright substantial citizen, in his decease the county lost one of its most valued men.

Mr. Brown was first married to Miss Laura, daughter of A. A. Curtiss, who departed this life at their home, in Jan. 20, 1870, leaving one child. His second wife was Miss Mary Hobson, who survives him, and who is the mother of two children, Cornelia and Edward T. No one was more deeply attached to his family than Mr. Brown. He was prosperous in his business relations, beloved by many friends, and apparently was surrounded by everything to make life pleasant and desirable. The funeral was conducted by the I. O. O. F., of which he was an honored member, and the impressive ceremonies were attended by a large concourse of people. The last hours of Mr. Brown had been spent in pleasant conversation with a friend, and he had retired in his usual good health and spirits. When he did not make his usual appearance in the morning, and could not be aroused from without, his room was entered, and he was found in a state of coma from which it was impossible to awaken him, although he was breathing as his friends entered the room. Physicians were summoned, and everything possible was done to counteract the effects of the fatal drug, but in vain, and he breathed his last at 10:30 a.m.

1889 Index
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