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Biographies of Buchanan County Residents:

Isaac Brown

Transcribed by Danielle Thompson

From the History of Buchanan County and the City of St Joseph and Representative Citizens

ISAAC BROWN, one of the representative men and successful farmers of Marion township, Buchanan County, living retired on his fine farm of 120 acres in section 33, township 57, range 33, has resided here for the past 35 years. He was born April 19, 1833, in Wayne County, Indiana, and is a son of Samuel and Sarah (Van Meter) Brown.

Samuel Brown was born and reared in Ohio, where he learned the trade of carpenter. At the age of 21 years he went to Wayne County, Indiana, where he married and lived until 1842, when he removed to Manchester, Indiana, where he died in 1847. He was a Democrat in politics. Both he and his wife were members of the Christian Church. After the death of her husband, the devoted mother determined to keep her children together and this she succeeded in doing until the survivors reached maturity. She died at Logansport, Indiana. Her children were: Helen, deceased; Isaac, of this sketch; Frank, deceased; Wallace W., a carpenter and farmer at Mexico, Indiana; Samuel, a farmer living near Logansport, Indiana; Amanda, of Rome, Indiana; and Letitia, who died young.

Isaac Brown, being the oldest son of the family, had many responsibilities thrust upon him in boyhood and had little chance to attend school. He recalls a short season at the neighboring log school house, but his attendance was so limited that he acquired little beyond the first principles. When he was 20 years old, he started out to make his own fortune. He learned the carpenter's trade from his uncle, George Brown, and for the first year worked for $33 for every day that he was able to put in at work outside of the shop he received 50 cents. His neighbors about this time began to talk of removing to Northwestern Missouri to take advantage of the rich farming lands, and it needed little persuasion to induce him to join them. The party of five families started out with ox teams, for they had much hard traveling before them, and the party reached St. Joseph, Buchanan County, on July 4, 1852, after nine weeks of journeying.

Mr. Brown was engaged first by Joseph Pickett on the latter's farm, but later he became connected with the construction force which did the very first work in the building of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad. He became foreman and worked for the road for a year and then, starting out to do carpenter work all over the country, he found plenty to do at good wages in and around St. Joseph. In 1869, he bought his present farm and has occupied it ever since, being considered as one of the pioneers of Marion township. He has made all the improvements on the place and at the present time carries on a general farming and stock-raising business in addition to carpenter work. He has some 22 acres of fine orchard and raises a large amount of excellent fruit. Mr. Brown served in the Missouri State Militia for one year.

At Easton, Missouri, Mr. Brown was married to Jane Woodward, who was born in Kentucky, but died in Missouri, mourned by all who knew her and tenderly remembered by her husband and her six surviving children, viz: Alice, at home; Sallie L., at home; James, a farmer in Washington township; Aubrey, a teacher and also a dairyman, at Hemple, Missouri; Amy, a teacher in the schools of St. Joseph; and Charles, the home farmer.

Mr. Brown has been a lifelong Democrat, and he has frequently held township offices. For the past 15 years he has been a member of the School Board. He belongs to and liberally supports the Christian Church. He is one of the self-made men of his locality and one who commands the respect of all who know him.