Theodore Brown
Morris Co. Up


Biographical and Genealogical History of Morris County New Jersey. Illustrated. Vol. II., Lewis Publishing Company, New York and Chicago, 1899.

A native of Morris county, Theodore BROWN was born at the old ancestral home of the BROWN family, in Newfoundland, August 19, 1843. For more than a century the property had been in possession of his ancestors. Hendrick BRAUN, a Dutchman, whose name had been Anglicized into Henry BROWN, left the lower point of Manhattan island, walked across the country, followed the Pequannock river for some miles in search of a desirable location on which to establish a home, and finally selected the present site of Newfoundland. The danger incident to the war of the Revolution caused him to seek refuge in New York during its continuance, but when American independence had been won he returned to his land, and erected thereon a cabin just in the rear of the beautiful and commodious hostelry which is now the property of our subject. Among his children was

  • Martin BROWN, the father of our subject, who was born October 10, 1764, and died August 23, 1850.

Peter P. BROWN, the grandfather of our subject, was born October 11, 1790 and died February 14, 1864. On the 15th of December, 1813, he married Elizabeth KANOUSE, and in 1817 removed to the Morris side of the river and erected the first section of the now famous BROWN Hotel. He constructed a store, engaged in farming, also operated a forge, and was recognized as a successful business man, having accumulated considerable property. In 1844 he disposed of all the interests just mentioned to his son, John P., and turned his attention to the iron business, following that enterprise in Clinton for some years, and then in Pompton. In his later life he resumed hotelkeeping, as proprietor of the old Passaic Hotel at Paterson, but spent his last years on the KANOUSE homestead near Newfoundland, where his death occurred. His children were:

  • Eliza A., who died in childhood;
  • Harriet, who married James M. ALLEN, and spent the greater part of her life in Ohio;
  • John P.;
  • Hannah C., widow of William HOWE, and a resident of Winona, Minnesota;
  • Susan, who became Mrs. I. J. ALLEN, and is now a resident of Roseville, a suburb of Newark, New Jersey;
  • Julia, deceased wife of Oscar DECKER;
  • Lydia, widow of C. F. DE CAMP, and a resident of Morristown;
  • Ira, who was with his father in the iron business at Clinton and Pompton and in the hotel at Paterson, after which he engaged in the livery business in New York as a member of the firm of Ryerson & Brown, which firm afterward merged its business into that of the New York Cab Company, one of the well-known concerns of the city.
  • Chilion BROWN, the youngest of the family, died in childhood.
  • John P. BROWN, the father of our subject, was born August 24, 1817, and was called to his final rest December 20, 1893. He was a type of the men found in the early history of the country, who disdained to simulate the suavity and mildness that the modern man of affairs so often assumes. He was stern and exacting, with the sharp corners of his nature wholly visible, but he possessed qualities of the greatest worth, which won him the admiration and respect of all. He abhorred dishonesty and had no sympathy for the dissembler, and integrity was the foundation of his own character. If a man was honest, however, and tried to do his best, but met failure, he then found in Mr. BROWN a true friend, who would generously extend to him substantial aid, without considerations of friendship. His likes and dislikes were strong. He despised the modern aristocrat for his notions about society; one man's money counted the same to him as another's, and he courted the patronage of the workingman as he did that of the wealthy summer guest, and he seated them in the same dining hall.
  • John P. BROWN was a man of strong physique and of great industry. He possessed the ability to conduct more than one business successfully, and derived his revenue from the wood and lumber business, the farm and the store, as well as from the hotel. He was united in marriage to Miss Maria, daughter of Samuel and Ann (SPEER) RYERSON, and they became the parents of three sons:
    • Theodore;
    • Ryerson, who was born December 4, 1846, and died December 22, 1852; and
    • Walter, who was born June 26, 1849, and died December 5, 1852.

Theodore BROWN, the present representative of this honored family that, through a century has been so prominently connected with the history of Morris county, received his business training under the direction of his father, whom he assisted, from an early age, in the store, home and lumber yard. Upon attaining his majority he assumed the entire management of the mercantile and lumber interests, while his father gave his close attention to the hotel and farm. Since the death of his father the management of the entire, estate has devolved upon Theodore BROWN, who is one of the enterprising, progressive and capable business men of his section of the county. His keen foresight and business sagacity have enabled him to conduct his interests in a way that has returned a good profit, and he is proprietor of one of the most popular hotels in this part of the state. There is an air of refinement and suggestion of home which pervade the place; neatness and comfort characterize every apartment, and the whole is conducted with a view to the greatest convenience and pleasure of the guests. Mr. BROWN always win the esteem and friendship of his patrons, and his circle of well-wishers is very extended.

On the 21st of October 1880, Mr. BROWN led to the marriage altar Miss Emma Gene TERWILLIGER, a daughter of Charles V. TERWILLIGER. She was born July 25, 1858, and by her marriage has became the mother of four children:

  • Delos John, who was born May 12, 1882, and is now deceased;
  • Theodore E., born December 2, 1885;
  • Ethel M., born October 2, 1887; and
  • Elizabeth Gene, November 19, 1889.

Mr. BROWN and his wife are members of the Newfoundland Presbyterian church, and take an active part in its work. In politics he is a stalwart Republican and has served in the offices of freeholder, town committeeman and town clerk, discharging his duties with marked fidelity and ability.

This biography was scanned and contributed by Catherine Smith DeMayo.


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