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THOMAS LEE BROUN


Submitted by Carol Graley


Major Thomas Lee Broun, attorney at law, was born in Loudoun County, Va in 1823. His parents were Edwin Conway and Elizabeth Channal Broun. The former was born in Westmoreland County, Va, and the latter in Loudoun County, VA. In 1848 he graduated at the university of Virginia in several of the tickets, after which he taught school in his native county for two years. At the expiration of that time he came to Charleston and began the study of law under the late Hon. George W Summers, and was admitted to practice in 1852. He formed a partnership with George S Patton, which continued for several years, and became associated in business with Gen. Rosecrans and others, who were largely interested in the Coal river region. He was employed as the attorney for several different companies engaged in mining and shipping cannel coal from the Coal River region. After Gen. Rosecrans' resignation from the office of president of the Coal River Navigation company, Major Broun was elected to that position, and was continued in the same until the breaking out of the civil war. He entered the Confederate service as a private in the Kanawha Riflemen, and was soon promoted to the position of major in the Sixtieth Virginia regiment of "Wise Legion."

He was severely wounded at the battle of Cloyd's Mountain, in Pulaski County, VA, his former partner, Col. Patton having been killed in battle about the same time at Winchester, VA. At the close of the war, Major Broun returned to Charleston, and soon after was re-instated in his old position as president of the Navigation company. As Confederate soldiers were not allowed to practice law in West Virginia at that time, Major Broun removed to New York city in June 1886, where he was engaged in practicing his profession until November 1870, making West Virginia law and land titles a specialty while in New York. In the last mentioned year he returned to Charleston, and devoted his energies to the law and the development of the Coal river region, in which he had a large personal interest. He was a member of the Kanawha lodge, No. 20, A F & A M; was a director of the Sheltering Arms hospital of Charleston, and a prominent communicant of the Episcopal church, in which he served as vestryman and warden for many years. He was also a member of Camp Patton ex-Confederates. In June, 1866 he married Mary M Fontaine, daughter of Col Edmund Fontaine, of Hanover County, VA, by whom he had three children: Louise Fontaine, Edmund Fontaine and Annie Conway. He died March 1914 and is buried in Spring Hill Cemetery, Charleston, WV. Major Broun's father-in-law had the proud distinction of having been the first president of the Chesapeake & Ohio railroad and for many years previous to that was the president of the Virginia Central railroad. William Broun, the grandfather of Major Broun was a native of Scotland who settled in Westmoreland County, VA, and practiced law there when Virginia was a colony. His grandfather's brother, Dr Robert Broun, settled in South Carolina, near Charleston. These brothers have a long line of descendants in Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama and other states. Originally the name was spelled Brohun. In course of time the letter h was dropped and the name was spelled "Broun," with an accent on the letter u, showing the contraction. His family being of French origin and from Bordeaux, France, the name is now generally spelled without the accent.



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