Taken from “Portrait and Biographical Album of Stephenson County, Ill.” Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1888
It was to avoid being persecuted by the Catholics in the North of Ireland that William Brown and his brother Matthew came to America, here to enjoy the privileges of religious freedom. William Brown, after locating in Pennsylvania, married Miss Mary Daily, who had also come from Ireland, at the age of fourteen, while her husband at the time of his arrival was eighteen years old. Some years after their marriage they went to Greene County, Pa., which became their home. It was very wild there then; Indians were present in the county, and it was to the redskins that William Brown owed his early death. Together with his oldest son and two other men, he was helping to move a family to the fort when the Indians waylaid them and killed all but the son, who escaped by swimming a stream, fell exhausted, and was under medical treatment for the next seven years, having been shot through the back, the bullet passing out at the fifth rib. He lived to be an old man and reared a large family. After the Indian troubles of which we speak he went to Kentucky, and later settled in what is now Brown County, Ohio, so named in his honor. In his latter days he went to Indiana, and died in the western part of that State.
The grandmother of our subject, Mrs. William Brown, in later live removed to Belmont County, Ohio, with some of her children, after she had reared them to manhood and womanhood in Pennsylvania, and she died advanced in years in Ohio. The Family of William Brown, Sr., is as follows: William J., Sally, Nancy, Vincent; John, Sr., who is the father of our subject; Mary, James, Katharine and Matthew. They all reared families, and are now all deceased.
John Brown, Sr., the father of our subject, a farmer by occupation, was born in Pennsylvania, was reared there and married Jane Hurley. She was a native of Maryland and came of Irish parentage. Her mother’s maiden name was Sally Stump. The parents lived for a time in Pennsylvania, but later went to Ohio, and died in the western part of that State on the Miami River. In religion they were Baptists. The parents of our subject were early settlers of Green County, Pa where they reared most of their children whose births occurred in the following order: Mary, who is deceased, lived to rear a family; Zachariah died at the age of eighteen months; Sarah, who is yet living in Vernon County, Mo, is the wife of Thomas Hathaway; Nancy is the wife of farmer David Rubel, and resides in Monroe County, Ohio; Nellie, who is deceased, was the wife of DeW.C. Mallory, who is living in Vernon County, Mo.; William is living at the Soldiers’ Home in Milwaaukee, Wis; he served in the Black Hawk War and in the late Rebellion, and was wounded at Pittsburg Landing, being shot through the hips.
Our subject, John Brown, was born June 30, 1811, in Greene County, Pa.; James, residing in Cresco, Iowa, is a carpenter by trade, and married Malinda Huckens; Cornelius, who married Mary Effingham, is, with his wife, deceased; Catharine widow of Richard Earl, lives in Fayette County, Iowa; Mr. E. was a general mechanic. Jane is the wife of M. Henthorne, who is a farmer in Cass County, Mo.
The early life of our subject was spent at home. He was only five years old when his father went to Belmont County, Ohio, and he was there educated. He married after coming to Illinois, and located in Vermilion County as early as 1827; later he participated in the Black Hawk War, and after its close returned to Vermilion County, and there took up farming pursuits. He had come to this State with his parents, and in a few months his father was killed by being thrown from a vicious stallion, dislocating his neck in the fall. The mother lived in Vermilion County some years, and then came to this county and died in Rock Run Township. Mr. Brown was married Nov. 22, 1834 in Vermilion County, to Miss Mary A. Hickman a native of Brown County, Ohio, born 1815. She is the daughter of Jacob and Sarah (Okewood) Hickman, natives of the Old Dominion. Her husband was of German descent, and died in Vermilion Counthy, Ill. The family were farmers, and in religion were Methodists.
Mrs. Brown was young when she came to this State, and lived at home until her marriage. She is the mother of eleven children, one of whom is deceased. Clark J., Sarah and Mary, all live at home; Martha is the wife of Frank Walker, and lives on a farm in Dakota Township; John H. married Catherine Young; his biographical sketch appears elsewhere in this work. Vennette married Harry Milliken, who is the Claim Agent for the C., M. & St. P. R. R., to Marion, Iowa; James C. married Anna Brown, who is no relation, however, and resides on a farm in Clay County, Iowa; Vincent D. married Miss Mattie Young, now deceased, and lives in Dakota; Allen lives at home and cares for the homestead, and with him also lives his eldest sister; Florence E. is the wife of farmer F.W. Mack, residing in Clay County, Iowa. The deceased child, Caroline, died at the age of four years.
After marriage Mr. Brown farmed some time in Vermilion County, and in 1834 made his first visit to Stephenson County, and engaged in breaking prairie about Freeport, turning the first furrow in that section. He was one of the first settlers of the county, and bought his farm here in 1837. He occupied himself in breaking prairie land for sixteen years, and plowed much of the wild land in this county. He prospered and became owner of more than 1,000 acres of land in this county. He now has 700 acres and other good property in this township, besides about 5 acres in Dakota, and is largely interested in the elevator at this place. He is a very worthy member of the community, a consistent Methodist religiously, and a Republican in politics. His wife and some of his children are also Methodists.
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